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Pinball Machines

Updated on October 31, 2009
Jungle Queen and Baseball Pinball
Jungle Queen and Baseball Pinball

Pinball Machines

Pinball Machines My friend has an interest in antique items. He recently purchased a 1977 Jungle Queen Pinball Machine. The best thing about this machine is how its lights up and you hear all the dinging noises. When we put the machine together it didn't work so well. It kept making strange noises and the game wouldn’t play right. I have a good working knowledge of electricity and micro electronics so we started investigating multiple issues. The internet didn’t provide much insight into how to repair the pinball game. So my goal is to explain a little about what we did.

Internal electronics

Inside of bumper and paddle relays and lights.
Inside of bumper and paddle relays and lights.

Looking for the problem.

The first step was to check all the electronics to make sure they were connected properly. Multiple ones had to be checked as any short circuit can prevent the machine from operating properly. This can be performed visual also a continuity tester. After researching this we found that was not the problem. My friend and I were pritty new to something this complex but we started thinking that there might be issues with the relays. When we turned the game on we could see them cycling. The next step was to check the relays.

Pinball Relay

Pinball Relay Electronic: "plastic arm and elctro magnet not shown"
Pinball Relay Electronic: "plastic arm and elctro magnet not shown"

Problem Found

Yep we found the problem there were several shorted relays, in most cases the terminals were bent causing the circuit to be always completed. As you can see on the right there are 2 circuits to be completed. This is done by an electro magnet “not display” that pushes a plastic arm up and down. This pushes the center metal piece back forth completing the respectful circuit. So with several bent and making contact, we just bended them back correctly and made sure there was correct gap. Also we cleaned the contacts with contact cleaner.

1977 Gottlieb Pinball Machine

Our now workig 1977 Gottlieb Pinball Machine
Our now workig 1977 Gottlieb Pinball Machine


 So after we cleaned and corrected all the relays we were able to put the machine back together. My friend Andrew who purchased this machine also cleaned it very well. Using compressed air and a cloth with very mild solvent. We also had to soldier the light bulb bases as the lights were flickering to make a good connection. Now its time to play some pinball!!!

Machine works like a charm

 So there you have it we got our old pinball machine running. Also please check out which has some more pictures about the machines that were restored.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chicago Baseball PinballScore RelaysInternal Relays
Chicago Baseball Pinball
Chicago Baseball Pinball
Score Relays
Score Relays
Internal Relays
Internal Relays


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    • profile image


      7 years ago from Brazil

      Wow James, this hub was very useful for me, especially the video. You can try out my site for some new machines in the market, have you checked them?

    • profile image

      jonathan crick 

      8 years ago

      if you need any parts for the old pinball game i have a list of spares here

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Really like this page! Thanks!

    • profile image

      9 years ago

      Hey, that old pinball machine is cool


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