Guide To Williams EM Score Reels – Cleaning and Fixing
Prior to starting, please read the introduction and parts needed page.
Understanding the Switches
Note that the open / close state of these switches changes from generation to generation of the reel. The following description is for the Williams Score Reel used in the 1970’s.
Each Williams score reel has several switches, each one crucial to the operation of the pin. Failure of any switch in any reel can prevent the machine from entering game play.
The switches 1 – 3 open and close as the score reel moves. The switches stay in the same position for numbers 1 – 8, then move on 9 and zero (see table below).
Switch #4 is a EOS (End of Stroke) switch. This makes sure that the solenoid is powered long enough to pull all the way in. When this switch opens, the power is removed from the solenoid and the number advances. If it opens too soon then there is not enough power. If it does not open at all and the solenoid stays energized and may burn.
Switch sequence for 1970’s Williams Score Reel:
|Switch||Zero||1 – 8||9|
If the three switches do not open at zero, then the machine will not know that the score reels have reset. A side effect is that the Score Motor (in the cabinet under the playfield) will keep spinning.
If the bottom switch does not close at 9, then the next higher reel will not advance when this reel moves to zero.
Step By Step Instructions For Making a Williams Score Reel As Good As New
[For each image, click on it for a larger picture.]
The first time will be confusing and feel like it takes a long time. Trust me in that doing it a second time will be a lot quicker. After a while, you will be able to do this quickly and easily.
It is crucial to be organized, especially with parts. Suggestion to use a muffin tin, or at least a cup to collect parts as they are removed during disassembly and cleaning.
Games can have anywhere from 4 (single player) to 20 reels. All will have to be cleaned in order to insure proper operation of the pinball machine.
1) Remove the first score reel from the cage. Each reel is ‘locked’ in place by a stiff metal lock wire at the bottom of the cage. Push to the side and slide out the reel and let it hang by the wires.
2) Using a sharpie, place a mark next to the screw nearest the zero position. Loosen and remove the three screws holding the reel in position and carefully store the screws. While removing the reel, note the screw hole on the wheel underneath next to your sharpie mark. Also mark that wheel. This is so the numbered wheel goes back into the same position.
Store the numbered reel off to the side.
4) Note the plastic piece towards the top held in place by two screws. This also holds in the metal wire that locks the score reel in place. Remove those two screws, the plastic piece and the wire. Note the way the wire fits partially behind the plastic piece while the two screws hold it in place.
Remove the retaining ring and set it aside. Remove this nylon plastic rocker arm and place it aside.
9) Remove the screws holding the plunger stop in place and set these parts aside. Leave the coil with its sleeve hanging.
Cleaning and Lubrication
Note about lubrication: Most pinball parts are designed to run ‘dry’ meaning no oil. But we now have ‘dry lubricants’ – meaning Teflon, so they can be used without the parts getting gummed up. Light sewing machine oil has also been successfully used on metal to metal contacts. Never use WD40 as it is flammable.
11) Wipe a tiny amount of teflon chain lubricant on the circuit board. Wipe off any excess with the microfiber cloth. If there is too much, the circuit board might not conduct.
12) Note the area where the plunger slider moves. Any dirt or worn marks on the metal plate could cause the plunger to hang up. Use the Dremel tool along with the 1/8″ Carbon Steel Brush 443 to clean up that contact area. Wipe with Mothers Polish, clean with isopropyl alcohol, then a small round of Teflon dry lubricant. This and cleaning the coil sleeve / plunger maybe the most crucial steps to having the scoring wheels ‘snap’ into position.
13) Remove the coil sleeve from the coil. Either replace it with a new one, or soak a linen cloth with isopropyl alcohol and work it through the sleeve.
15) Select the plunger and clean it with isopropyl alcohol.
16) Clean the leaf switch contacts. Generally, all that is needed is a Q-tip and isopropyl alcohol. If there is arching damage on the contacts, clean with the Dremel and the carbon steel brush, or Dremel sanding flap wheel. This can remove the damaged area of the contacts. Another technique is to put a fine metal file between the two contacts, pinch them together and drag the file back and forth. Each technique has its advantages and detractors.
18) On the other side of this gear, clean out as much of the gunk as possible. Isopropyl Alcohol and Q-Tips usually do the job, but sometimes a toothpick is required. Don’t forget to clean out the shaft area. Do not erase the mark to indicate orientation of the score number wheel.
20) Using the two screws, install the top plastic holder and wire tab. This plastic holder keeps the plunger in place as well as the lock wire. Note that the lock wire fits under the plastic holder in the slot provided in the back of the tab. It will be obvious when this is assembled properly and it will not fit well if it is not.
22) Insert this rocker arm into the leaf switches 1 – 3. It is crucial that this rocker be in the correct location.
23) When the rocker arm is correctly positioned in the leaf switches, secure it with the retaining ring.
24) Grab the nice and clean center gear and slide it into place.
25) Grab the numbered wheel and align it with the mark you also placed on the gear. Attach with the three screws.
Almost done. Now to check proper operation of the switches.
26) Refer to ‘Understanding the Switches’ at the beginning of this page. Insure that switches 1), 2), 3) open and close as the score wheel turns. Advance the score wheel by manually pulling in the plunger. Inspect the switch 4) and insure that the EOS switch stays closed and opens as the plunger pulls in fully.
If adjustment of the leafs is needed, refer to Switches – Fixing and Adjusting and go to the Leaf Switch section.
All done. Insert back into the cage, power up and check for proper operation of the reel. Insure that as the reel moves from ‘9’ to ‘0’, that the next reel advances.
Comments, including suggestions, improvements, errors, etc. are welcome (see below).
If you have a specific question about your game that does not directly apply to this page, please see our FAQ section.