I must really love punishment, because here I am again fixing another EM pinball machine. I can’t help it though, their tendency for faults aside, EM’s are beautiful machines and every line up should contain at least one. This time I’m looking at another baseball themed machine by Gottlieb, appropriately (maybe boringly?) named “Baseball”. It was released in 1970 with around 2350 units shipped. It came out about a year before Playball (which I fixed up recently) and both machines share a very similar playfield layout and feature set. This isn’t my machine and I’m simply repairing it for someone else (the same guy owns the Playball I fixed up and documented recently). It’s not a restoration, just a fix up for the issues it’s having.
Not long after finishing up on my X-Files machine, I was contacted by a guy who needed some help with an EM machine he owns. After reading the various posts I made on Space Orbit (Gottlieb) and Mariner (Bally), he was hopeful I might be able to assist with fixing his Playball machine. EM’s are really interesting to work on (plus a challenge), so was happy to offer my help. No promises were made, but I’d do what I could. Playball is a baseball themed pin released by Gottlieb in 1971. It has two sets of score reels, one to track the score and the other to track the home run count. It lacks a plunger to launch the ball, instead the ball is launched from between the flippers using the right flipper button to trigger a slingshot style arm. This actually gives the playfield area a little more space and room for features. Another really cool feature is the game has a ball save – if you fail to hit a 10 or 100 point target, the ball can be played again. I didn’t realise this kind of feature was present in EM’s – neat! I like the playfield on this game and I think it would be a fun title to play. That’s enough incentive to get cracking on it and get it working again so I can get a few games on it before it goes back to the owner.
During my initial inspection of the machine in the first update, I had noted down a few things to look at before I attempted powering it on for the first time. This update will focus on these items. First on my list is the fuse panel. Located just inside the coin door, there is a small panel which is home to 4 fuses. My understanding is that the fuse clips on Bally EM’s are crap and a common source of problems as they often break. One of the fuse holders has already been replaced, with the new fuse holder being installed over the old one. The fuse holder on the far right (8A line fuse) is missing one of the clip arms, so this will have to be replaced.