Magnotron 1974

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Magnotron 1974

Post by Poutinemaster »

Greetings community,

Today I got my first pinball machine, it is a 1974 Gottlieb Magnotron. As you will see, it needs work, I m good with my hands and I was looking for something like this for quite a long time given todays prices. It seems to work overall quite well, it will certainly need a big cleanup and tune-up. Change light bulbs, the rubbers, etc. Exterior metal parts are also rusty (very mild surface rust...). As a second step, at some point give it back its original colors on the exterior.

I m looking for any advice from you please, I m collecting information as this weekend I will start working on it. Many of you have several hundred hours of experience with these, I m starting & learning.

- Anything particular I should know?
- Recommendation on where to get light bulbs, rubber, fuses, any other things I shiuld get? Wax?
- How can I open it? Disassemble it? So I can access the electronics and the interior?

In advance, many thanks!
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by GILV »

Congadulations. :)
Is it in working condition?
I see somebody painted over the orginal cabinet art with different colors from original.
How far do you want to push the restoration process?
Are you planning on stripping it completely into hundreds of parts to clean, derust, polish, paint and clear coat etc. etc. ?
Answering these questions will help members know how to give you good advice.

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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by cap »

Welcome to the gang. Where are you located? That might help to get suggestions for the parts.
There is a thread listing where to buy parts in Canada: viewtopic.php?t=26222
You can also buy from the US but you must account for the sometimes expensive shipping fees.
I prefer to patronize the local shops. If nobody goes, they will close and everyone loses.
If you search for "how to open a pinball machine" on youtube, you will find many videos on that topic.
The head can be different on a newer machine, so watch at least one video for a machine like yours.
One place you can learn about pinball restoration is the list of vid's guides on pinside.
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic ... -collected
There is a lot of information there and it can be overwhelming. Take it one step at a time.
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by semicolin »

Welcome! I'm excited for you!

You're going to need the manual/schematic. Gottlieb ones aren't easy to find online because there are some folks that are overly aggressive with their fifty-year old copyrights. Steve Young at Pinball Resource will be able to sell you a copy. Perhaps someone else here might slide into your private messages with a scan.

Besides rubbers and lamps, you're almost certainly going to need to rebuild the pop bumpers and flippers. Look up "Vid's Guide to Rebuilding" for each on pinside. Pinball Resource also sells kits for that... in fact, they specialize in old Gottlieb games, so you're going to get used to dealing with them and the garbage way they handle international payments. You'll want to sign up for a Wise account.If you don't have one already, drop me a PM and I'll send you a referral code and you'll get a free transfer.

Every coil should get a new sleeve.

You will find broken things, drywall screws, and missing pieces. Don't be afraid to ask here for help.

For lamps, I would put LEDs in because they last longer and they don't generate heat which can damage impossible-to-obtain plastic parts. Some people don't like the look and prefer to keep the classic incandescents.
If you decide to stick with incandescent lamps, use #47 bulbs as they are lower draw and produce less heat.
For LEDs, you'll want two different products. For general illumination, lights that never turn off, their Warm White Retro SMD lamps are very good. For feature lights, lights that indicate bonus scores that turn on and off, you'll want lamps that are designed not to flash when coils in the game turn off. EM games have lots of electrical noise that can cause regular LEDs to flash. You'll need these Non-Ghosting Warm White Retro SMD lamps.
Leaving incandescent lamps inside pop bumpers is not an option... inside those enclosed spaces, the heat will eventually discolour and perhaps even melt the bumper cap. I put these Pop Bumper Discs in all of my games.

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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by HPR Pinball »

Welcome to the hobby. For a first project you start at a very high level!! But hey, there's no electronics inside, just electromechanics system based on coils and actuators :D :D ;) ;)
The video game i want to play is always the one i don't have :FP:
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by cap »

Dealing with Pinball Resource directly is a pain. You must know the exact part number or else... If you are in the Montreal area, it's much easier to go through Robert at Alouette.
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by sylvain »

Bienvenue / Welcome !

There are tons of info on similar EM (Electro-Mechanical) machines on the Web now, including repairs, restoration, etc.

Safety-wise, work inside the machine only when it is unplugged to be safe.
Check all fuses and ensure they are of proper ratings (e.g. verify that there is not a 30A where a 10A should go).
(often 4 inside the cabinet and quite often 1-3 under the playfield for target bank reset coils to check).
Did someone cut the ground prong on the AC plug? Replace it with a proper one.
As mentioned by semicolin, make sure you get an original manual for the game, including a schematics. Very useful.

There is a very good repair info and reference here:
http://www.pinrepair.com/em/index1.htm

Bonne chance / Good luck!
-Sylvain.
Last edited by sylvain on Tue Nov 02, 2021 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by Poutinemaster »

Many thanks everyone, Merci! I m in Mascouche, QC

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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by Poutinemaster »

Hello,

- I will take time over the weekend to fully test it, what works, doesn't. From a quick test, it still works. The 4 counters the 2 flippers and other parts work fine. There will be certainly elements that does not work. I can already see that several lights are out. The rubbers, while they still work overall ok, I will change them, they look quite worn / used anyways.

- As a first step, I want to make sure that it works really fine and the internals are in good condition and have received proper maintenance. I haven't opened it yet fully, will have to figure out how to do this over the weekend. I'm also expecting surprises, from a quick look, the machine seems to be quite unmolested, except for the exterior which is very rough. It will need a big tune up for sure, since the legs are rusty, I'm crossing my fingers, really hope that it is not rusty inside. Ideally I would like to have the field, the internals, etc. at a 4 out 5 level or more.

- If I was able to take back to good shape the internal parts, works fine, etc., next year, probably in the summer, I would like to repair chipped wood corners, sand it, etc. and then repaint it to its original colors (have a spray gun and an airbrush kit...). Will have to evaluate what it would involve to take out all the parts so I can do a nice work on the shell. If it is a lot of work, I'll keep it like that.

This weekend I will carefully open it, so I can make an assessment of what shape the internals really are before starting to work on it.

I'm in Canada / Montreal, so I'm ready / started to look into where to order from the rubbers + a light bulb kit + whatever else would need to start (ex. recondition the flippers). Stuff for removing rust, cleaning contacts, lube contacts / parts, clean and/or wax surfaces, springs, etc.

Cheers
GILV wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 5:47 pm
Congadulations. :)
Is it in working condition?
I see somebody painted over the orginal cabinet art with different colors from original.
How far do you want to push the restoration process?
Are you planning on stripping it completely into hundreds of parts to clean, derust, polish, paint and clear coat etc. etc. ?
Answering these questions will help members know how to give you good advice.

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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by mrmikeman »

BTW Do NOT use spray contact cleaner or other flammable substances. You will set the game on fire.
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by cap »

In general, pinball machines require no lube. I don't know EMs so there might be exceptions. Do your research before adding lube anywhere in your machine.
https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads ... rg.127166/
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by Poutinemaster »

Many thanks for your feedback! Alright, so I won't use Deoxit and stuff like that on it. Got some time on my break today (thanks to WFH...) so I opened the machine, good news, the components are in good shape, there is no visible sign of rust or broken / molested / altered parts. There is a lot of dark dust on the components at the bottom part of the cabinet, I'll try to dust it off. Since things look in quite good shape, I went ahead with your recommendations for online stores in Canada and ordered some parts to start with (light bulbs, rubbers, springs, wax, etc.).

Cheers
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by HPR Pinball »

I love this pure beauty of mechanisms!!
The video game i want to play is always the one i don't have :FP:
Les arcades, j'suis tombé d'dans quand j'tait pti !! :-)

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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by Poutinemaster »

Mmmm... Was able to fix some of the easiest issues, the scoring wheel for the player 1 is acting improperly (the scoring is partially incorrect), the chimes do not make sound, etc. there are several issues here and there... Looks too hard for me to fix those. Would someone know please a person who can fix pinballs (north shore of Montreal...)? Thanks

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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by cap »

Montreal Pinball or Pinball Medics.
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by Poutinemaster »

Hello,

It's been a while since I started working on the machine. Thank you for advices. I took a lot of time to read information and watch videos as I wanted to learn and be sure I was doing things right. Good news, it is working again quite fine (needs 2-3 minor tweaks). My son and myself we play with it 4-5 times a week. While this is a pretty old and basic machine, we like it a lot. It took a lot of work, about 100 hours I put in it myself and then Robert from Montreal Pinball tuned it to finish it. It was in pretty bad shape, a lot of dust, surface rust, hard life, etc. It mainly needed to be disassembled, cleaned and tweaked. Luckily enough, only a few parts were broken or were due to be changed. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the result, I mainly worked on it over the winter in evenings and weekends when I had time. With the lockdown (COVID), it also kept me busy with a goal in mind so that was a great plus.

- Cleaned all contacts.
- Fully disassembled and cleaned all the 16 reels / counters, switches.
- Rebuilt and /or cleaned the chimes, tilt mechanism and all the core parts.
- Refurbished several chromed parts (as much as possible / reasonable...), the coin door, the legs, several other small parts of the field, etc. ...
- Fully disassembled, cleaned and rebuilt the playfield, but did not repainted it. Someone put on it a plastic protector (it can be removed), it actually saved the playfield, I left it there, is still in very good shape.
- Fully disassembled the lower part of the machine where are all the switches, tilt, reset, start, etc, you'll see the difference in the pictures. It was super dusty, metal parts were gently brushed with a Dremel (and a LOT of small metal brushes).
- All broken parts were replaced with genuine parts from Montreal Pinball and Pinball Medics.
- Obviously replaced the light bulbs, rubbers, etc.
- For small chromed parts, screws, washers, springs, the playfield 's posts, reels' parts etc. which had surface rust, I prepared a white vinegar bath. Turned out super effective to restore pretty much every thing that could fit in the plastic bin I used for this. - - The legs, I used aluminum foil paper + Coke (no joke!)

Many, many thanks to Robert of Montreal Pinball for his work and teaching me things I could not do myself.
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by Poutinemaster »

Pictures... part 2...
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by Poutinemaster »

Pictures... part 3...
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Re: Magnotron 1974

Post by dr.nybble »

Great work, looks nice! I too started with a four player game not realizing those 16 score reels to clean....

Also didn't realize how much of restoration is just cleaning -- but it is still very satisfying.
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