Working with Gottlieb EMs: Fixing Scoring Problems & Score Reels

I had a chance to spend some time with a 70s era Gottlieb EM machine I recently picked up. This game came to me in non-working condition, mostly complete. For the complete video series with the early “first look” footage see this article.

In this series I spend most of my time diagnosing issues that are relating to the score reels.  I also take some time cleaning various contacts and relays which end up solving a variety of problems from games that never end to problems properly scoring shots and bonuses.   I hope you enjoy as I dive into this game getting it back to playing condition and learning along the way.

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9 thoughts on “Working with Gottlieb EMs: Fixing Scoring Problems & Score Reels

  1. Hi,
    Was looking to see how to fix the recessed inserts when I found your set of excellent videos. Those were excellent so I went to your web site and found on the welcome screen your video on the Top Score game!! What a coincidence as I just picked on of those up a couple weeks ago to give a stab at repairing one of the EM games. After a couple of evenings of wondering what I was thinking about it was enlightening to see that I’m in good company to be a bit puzzled with what’s wrong where. Mine has almost identical problems to some of those you call out. I do have a schematic of the game and it seems to be a little better than some I’ve seen. Let me know you still haven’t found one and I’ll make my best effort to copy it and get it to you.

    I’m finding that if I trip the AX relay the score motor runs continuously so there is something not working in the AX reset circuit (the coil is good). I’m starting from there but also have the same problem with the game not ending as the balls are played out that you are.

    Let me know if you would like to share experiences and stay in touch. Think I’ll explore your web site some more. Talk to you later.

    John

  2. Hello. I just stumbled across your website and have just finished having a brief tour. I too have the two player only Top Score pinball machine. Have managed to get most things operational, however like the other fella when the ball drains it just sits in the trough without registering a thing and without reloading for ball 2. I’ve got no schematics. I’ve tested the trough switch 100% wiring 100% also. Please shed some light this way. With thanks. Gav.

    • That’s a tough one, but if you have the schematics, you need to follow the circuit that the ball trough switch goes through and see what isn’t right. Also, go through any other switches on the playfield and make sure nothing is stuck down.

      • Hi there.
        Good point re; switches stuck down. Will check that one 1stly. I do NOT have any schematic charts. Thanks for your help. I’ll drop you a line back if that solves the problem.
        Cheers Gav.

  3. Mike – My 300 is doing exactly what you’re first video of the Top Score showed. It doesn’t count the 1,000’s on the playfield (won’t roll over) but will count them when counting the balls. You didn’t mention how you fixed this problem in your second video on the game. How did you do that? I look forward to your reply. Thanks for posting these Vids!
    Murphy

  4. Hello Mike! love the site and hope you can shed some knowledge on my issue. I have a four player Jet Spin that I got for free. The machine cycles fine ejects a ball but no score no flipper action. Now and then I do get the flippers but takes some playing with to work. After a bumper or two the scoring and flippers stop goes dead. I have the schematics and manual but lost on what is going on all the tests come out fine.

    • My first thing to check would be the player stepper unit. This is a common area of the game that starts misbehaving over time.

      • It looks good but noticed that my first ball coil was hot. Going to look for a replacement. I checked for voltage at the flipper and other score locations and came up with nothing. Now when I plug the machine in I get a tilt error which will clear when I push the ” start” button on coin box.

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