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AFD The Gambler - fixing and restoring


Snux
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I picked up a 1976 AFD "The Gambler" machine from Ebay.  Kind of working.  Kind of not.  I figured I'd post a thread here on getting it fixed up and running, I know this kind of information is useful to me when others post so hopefully returning the favour and someone else finds this interesting or useful.

I've fixed up some Bally EM machines in the past, but have been looking to do something from the UK from the 70s.  The Ebay listing states the machine is all working, but only included one photo.  Wasn't convinced it would all be working, but figured I'd be able to fix it up anyway.  This is the picture from Ebay

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So once it arrived with me, I of course conducted a full electrical safety check before trying anything.  Or as we actually tend to do, I just plugged it in and switched it on.

The Good...

  • Takes coins, spins reels on start, hold buttons work when activated.
  • Pays out (or would if there were any 10p coins in it)

The Not So Good....

  • Double/Lose feature lights up and flashes, but most times even on a "Double" you lose.
  • Sometimes after a game is done, one of the motors carries on running until after the next game.  Maybe that's normal, not sure.  @BF74has a schematic he's going to scan for me, so hopefully that will help clear that up.
  • Reel 3 doesn't spin at all - found broken connector on the coil that releases the reel.
  • Reel 1 stops at the right time (first), but then the coil activates briefly a couple of times and the reel jumps ahead a symbol or two.
  • Hack job on the power inlet and no earth
  • Probably a bunch of other things
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So first the power inlet.

I guess the original 3 prong plug got lost sometime between 1976 and now, so someone had just hacked in a cable into the back door and decided earth wasn't needed.  It also meant that the bare pins inside the socket on the back of the machine were actually live mains :(

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Edited by Snux
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Took the power inlet all apart, then after use of rust remover, a junior hack saw, some white paint and a new socket we're sorted out and earthed.

Nice removable kettle-style lead and socket with an illuminated power switch.

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New connector on reel 3 fixed that problem, it spins now.  The reel 1 ticking a few extra notches is something to do with the gamble unit running when it shouldn't.  I found a connection to the first switch on that unit that causes it to run when you wiggle it, tried a new connector but no fix so I suspect the switch might be broken.  Trying to work out how to get at it when I realised that the whole unit with the motor and relays on can be removed quite easily.  I see cam and switch cleaning in my future :)

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Those wiring connectors to cam switches on electro machines have deteriorated over the years and many are now loose or broken.

The machine relies on all the connections to be tight or faults will occur.

It is best to replace any loose/broken wire connectors for new which saves many hours of fault finding.

All the Cam switches have also seen many years of service and those too are developing faults on electro's, many just collapse but some although still appear to operate, the internal switch contacts fail, Metering the suspect switch from the common contact to both normally open and normally closed contacts to make sure the switch is still sound.

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Yup, the switch that was doing strange things when just wiggling the connectors attached to it was all broken up inside (I pried it apart to see).  From my pinball bits and pieces I found an old one that fits although it's also a bit knackered.  Good news is that sorted out the problem, so the reel all now spin as they should and don't jump at all after they stop.  It was a switch on the gamble unit which has also fixed the problem of the double/lose feature not working properly.

I've also ordered 10 new switches (think I got the right ones) in case I find any others that are broken.  

For the bulbs which aren't working, it's generally because they're missing, fortunately 6v AC is what pinball machines use so I've plenty of spares.

Things still to sort out :

  • The 'no change' light doesn't come on, think that's a bad switch on the 10p coin tube
  • When you put in 10p for 2 plays, the 2 play light doesn't come on.
  • The double/lose gamble feature doesn't always seem to flash the lights by the buttons, even though the feature is running.
  • Reel strips need lining up a little, they've slipped a little over the years (my Bally machines used to have that too)
  • Thinking about replacing the fluorescent tubes with LED, that way no need for any mains voltage in the cabinet.  Less need to worry about where your fingers are poking
  • Coin mechs need some lubrication, as do the payout slides/solenoids.  10p coins also quite often miss the coin tube, needs a little tweaking.
  • Reel mech could probably use some lubrication and some gentle cleaning of the payout wipers/contacts.
  • The blue plastic coating on the frame that holds all the motors and relays is all flaking off.  Might strip it and repaint if I can be bothered.

Anyway, it's actually playable now so that's great.

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13 hours ago, Brigham said:

In my experience, the last thing coin mechs need is lubrication.

True, actually what they need is a good clean, they're a little rusty and dirty.  Coins quite often just stop and don't run through.

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14 hours ago, Brigham said:

In my experience, the last thing coin mechs need is lubrication.

Yes that is correct, if you oil, grease or use any lubrication on mechanical coin mechs, especially S1s, they will just clog up and stop working again.

A good clean and shine up is all they need and once set to correct coin size will operate just fine.

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Did some more work last night.

So the "10p 2 plays" light not working was just a blown bulb.

The "No change" light was also a blown bulb, so I replaced it and it blew again.  Looking at the schematic, that bulb is on the 50v circuit so putting in a 6v bulb isn't going to work too well.  Ordered a few 1.5w and a few 2w bulbs to replace it, I'll see which looks best when they arrive.

The cam switches I ordered came in the post, they are fortunately the right size so I was able to replace the suspect switch on the control unit and also replace a broken connector on another switch.  That has now fixed the double/lose buttons not flashing, and also stopped the scrambler unit motor from sometimes running after the game was over.  It now only continues to run if the game was a win, which according to the schematic is what it should do.

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So time to pull these crusty coin mechs...

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Edited by Snux
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One of my machines arrived with mechs in very poor corroded condition, the good points about electro machines are that they can be stripped right down to component parts to clean and repair.

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2 hours ago, Snux said:

Did some more work last night.

So the "10p 2 plays" light not working was just a blown bulb.

The "No change" light was also a blown bulb, so I replaced it and it blew again.  Looking at the schematic, that bulb is on the 50v circuit so putting in a 6v bulb isn't going to work too well.  Ordered a few 1.5w and a few 2w bulbs to replace it, I'll see which looks best when they arrive.

The cam switches I ordered came in the post, they are fortunately the right size so I was able to replace the suspect switch on the control unit and also replace a broken connector on another switch.  That has now fixed the double/lose buttons not flashing, and also stopped the scrambler unit motor from sometimes running after the game was over.  It now only continues to run if the game was a win, which according to the schematic is what it should do.

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So time to pull these crusty coin mechs...

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Them switches look correct.as for coin mechs I wash in warm soapy water,rinse then hang out to dry.many of the female spades become loose and cause havoc.but in my experience it's rare that micro switches fail and even rarer for relays to fail,unless someone has been messing.

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8 hours ago, warlord said:

I'm assuming you have bought 50 volt lamps then,wattage really only determines how bright they are ,go for dimmer,that way it keeps heat output down and is kind to artwork.

Yup, they're 50v bulbs (48 actually, but close enough).  Bought both wattages just to see which is the closest match to all the 6v bulbs.

13 hours ago, warlord said:

Them switches look correct.as for coin mechs I wash in warm soapy water,rinse then hang out to dry.many of the female spades become loose and cause havoc.but in my experience it's rare that micro switches fail and even rarer for relays to fail,unless someone has been messing.

They fit fine.  2 of the cam switches were broken internally (always connected to the normally closed lug), replacing those has fixed most of the issues.  I've stripped one of the coin mechs apart for cleaning, there is a lot of rust and corrosion in there that hangs up the coin sometimes.

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I had a pile of old shillings from previous machines, but no old 10p or 50p coins, so I bought a bunch on Ebay.  They were pretty mucky, so I threw them into a tumbler I used for polishing/cleaning pinball parts.  Came up really nice.

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Picked a couple of nasty parts from the coin mech and I've thrown them in, let's see how they come out.

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I use crushed walnut shells with a good squirt of a polish.  It's usually cheaper to buy from a pet shop as it's often used on the bottom of reptile enclosures.  For pinball parts things usually come up really well.  For things that are really rusty, it should remove the rust and then a little work with a brillo pad should be good.  Be interesting to see how these coin mech parts work out.  I'll pop some pictures on here "post-tumbler" and "post-brillo"

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On one part, the rust on the inside is a bit too thick and crusty for the tumbler and even though I was a bit impatient and took it out already (normally leave for 24 hours) I can see it's not going to do the job I want.  Some smaller parts from the machine for sure, but not nasty rusty bits.  So I'm going to soak these in rust remover overnight, then clean them up with the brillo pad after and see where we go from there.

The new bulbs turned up already, we have a working "no change" light now after some adjustment of the switch on the 10p coin tube.

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The rust remover was unsurprisingly a lot more aggressive and after just 30 mins all the parts were rust free.  And also plating free.  That said, the plating was generally somewhat corroded so having it all removed actually looks better.  So one mech is ready and put back together, the other will be dunked today.

In these photos you can see 2 mechs, the one on the left is rust (and plating) free, the one on the right is fresh from the machine.  After the rust remover some parts had a very light wipe with a brillo pad.

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38 minutes ago, daveo138 said:

What rust remover are you using?

I've used a few, at the moment I'm using this one.  I bought it from Amazon, although if you find yourself in B&Q sometimes they have it for about 20p less.  You dilute it 1 part rust remover to 5 parts water.  I keep it in a plastic tub with a tight fitting lid, you can use it many times before it needs replacing.  Also it stinks of rotten eggs when it's dissolving rust, need to open a window.

HG 176050106 500 ml-Removes Rust Without Sanding-Fast & Efficiently-Long-Lasting Effect
by Amazon
Learn more: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000IU3VUI/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_FFV6KBK2AYYNCZ6AKTXG?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

 

The next mech I just removed the lockout coil and then dunked the whole thing in rust remover without taking it apart.  20 mins soaking, rinse with cold water, 5 mins in a warm oven to dry and a quick wipe over with a brillo it came out nice

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So the 3 coin mechs are now done and back in the machine.  The screws / nuts were a complete git to undo, no space to work in plus they were rusty, I lost some skin on my knuckles to prove it.  I know it's not "standard", but I've used normal Philips machine screws to mount them back in.  Not secure in an arcade or club, but this machine is only ever going to be in a home and these screws will make removal so much easier for the next time.

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So now what to do with the relay / motor section.  It all works fine (as far as I can tell at the moment) but looks very untidy. The motors and cam units are a little rusty in places, but I don't trust myself to take them apart and get them back together without making a mistake.  The metal frame it all sits on is losing all of it's plastic coating and I originally thought I'd strip it down and paint it.  However the sockets for the relays are riveted in place and I don't fancy drilling them all out and replacing those either.

Opinions on what to do?  Just leave as-is, or be brave with some of it?  I am planning to print labels for all the motors and relays so we know what they are, but maybe I leave it at that plus a quick wipe down?  Or is this easier to dismantle than I think?  Will ponder while searching for a source of new T-moulding for the cab sides.

 

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