Pinball, Pinball, Pinball!

Two weeks ago I got an email from my brother-in-law telling me there were two pinball machines up for auction by the State of Minnesota.

Last week I won the auction for a 1979 Gottlieb Genie pinball machine!

I got it home and immediately tore it apart for cleaning. It was in pretty good shape, but it was filthy.

I cleaned off the playfield, replaced all the rubber bits and a bunch of the light bulbs. The Marvin 3m site has a great page about all the things you should do to an old System 1 machine, so I did most of them:

  • Changed the big capacitor on the power supply
  • Tested all the coils to make sure they weren’t burned out
  • Tested all the transistors on the driver board to make sure they were good
  • Ran additional ground wires to all the circuit boards
  • Replaced the on-board memory battery

I did not replace all the pins in the connectors as they all looked fine. If I start having issues I can do it later.

I also bought some corn cob cleaning media at a gun shop and put a bunch of the metal parts into an old rock tumbler I bought at a garage sale for $5. Man, that worked sweet! The ball arch and ball gate cleaned up so well they look brand new! I’m going to have to tumble some of the parts on my other machines now.

Last night I got it all back together and was able to play it. It all works! There are a few bulbs with bad sockets (dim/flickering) and a couple switches need tweaking, but overall it’s in good shape.

Rosalyn managed to put up a score of 475,000 on her first game and totally kicked my ass!

I also spent a bit of time to figure out why my Drop-A-Card machine wasn’t resetting correctly. Turns out there was a contact on the reset relay that needed a bit of adjusting. Sleuthing with the ladder diagram and chasing some wires reveled the problem.

This brings the total number of pinball machines in the house up to three:

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