Diagnosing weird game issues with Gottlieb System 80B (Raven)

Just when I thought I had my Raven running beautifully, it just started acting up. I would press the start button and the game would begin to start, but then not kick out a ball, the sound would stop, and none of the coils would fire. It was very odd. I knew from experience that Gottlieb games can get a bit wonky with irregular power or switch inputs, so here’s a short, 2-part video series of the “rabbit hole” I went down trying to figure out what was wrong? (As always, Ockham’s Razor tends to prevail)

Along the way, we learn a few things about the switch matrix on these System 80 games and how they differ from other manufacturers like Bally/Williams when it comes to trying to trace switch matrix issues. Here’s part one:

And here is part two, where we figure things out…

Diagnosing and replacing a burned-out coil on Gottlieb Card Whiz

This is a short series of videos on fixing a Gottlieb Card Whiz (two player version of Royal Flush) EM pinball machine that was having problems advancing the next player/ball. Upon investigation I discovered a coil that was burned and fell apart when I pulled it out of the assembly. I’ll go over replacing the coil.

Upgrading Gottlieb System 80 MPU board with new battery pack

One of the first things you have to do when you get an original Gottlieb System 80 game is deal with their on-board NiCad battery pack, if it has not already been addressed. Gottlieb installed these batteries on the actual MPU board itself and like on other games, it’s a common cause of serious problems with the game. The batteries begin to leak after awhile, releasing electrolytes that corrode the MPU board and the components on it. This can happen even if you don’t see any obvious leaks. The batteries need to be replaced. There are a few options you have to do this: a remote battery pack (3 AA batteries along with a blocking diode to keep them from being charged if they’re not rechargeable batteries), a 2032 lithium coin cell, or my favorite, a 5.5v 1.5F memory capacitor. The memory cap will last the longest and will not destroy any components on the board. It will keep a charge for at least a month or more without power. Here’s a video of me adding this fix to a Gottlieb System 80B MPU


Diagnosing and fixing stuck flippers (on a Gottlieb System 80 and other machines)

I got a new pinball machine in the other day and one of the flippers was sticking up. In this video series I go over examining what was wrong and how to address it. There are a number of causes for stuck flippers. The most common cause is a dirty or worn coil sleeve. Also sometimes there can be a hang up with the EOS (end of stroke) switch (more common on Bally/WMS than older Bally or Gottlieb games).

1963 Gottlieb “Slick Check” – Flipper Maintenance

People were complaining that one of the flippers in our Gottlieb “Slick Chick” was not working properly. The metal was fatigued on the assembly and the switch contacts were well worn, so I’ve ordered new switches and am showing how to remove and replace the flipper switches and make your flippers perform much better.

Dignosing and fixing a dead WPC MPU board (with RAM upgrade)

In this video series, I am working on a client’s “Dr. Who” pinball machine that wouldn’t boot up. It was just dead. None of the diagnostic LED blinks would blink on the WPC-89 MPU board, so I go over the process of how to identify and isolate the problem, then I upgrade the board with NVRAM (non-volatile memory) so that it will never need batteries again.