Sinbad Restoration Log

14 September, 2008 (06:23) | Restoration Logs | By: admin


During the summer of 2007 I was fortunate enough to purchase 3 Sinbad pinball machines. One machine was in playable condition with what appeared to be minor cosmetic and electronic issues and the other 2 were basically complete but untested. This page covers the restoration that was performed on the first machine. This machine was playable when it came in but had many issues that had to be fixed before the game could be considered reliable.

The Gottlieb System 1 series of machines have many known problems and this machine was no exception. For this reason many of these machines can be found today in great physical condition with coroded or non-working electronics. With the resources that are available today in reproduction parts and repairs of original parts these machines can be brought back to life to play for years to come.

If you are planning to restore a Sinbad or any other Gottlieb System 1 pinball machine be sure to check out the following links. There is no way I can recreate the depth of knowledge available in these pages in my restoration log of one machine.


Pinrepair.com – Excellent overall restoration guide

Ni-Wumph – Reproduction Gottlieb System 1 MPU Board

Pascal Janin – Creator of an all-in-1 board for Gottlieb System 1 machines.


The machine was playable and wasn’t too dirty compared to many other games I’ve restored. This picture shows the playfield with plastics and apron removed. It is dirty and there are a few areas that will require special attention but overall it should be a fairly easy playfield to restore.

Here is an example of an area where special attention may be needed. I use Novus #2 for most of my playfield cleaning but spots like this may need extra attention or more aggressive methods.

I was able to remove a lot of the ball swirl from the face and yellow areas on the playfield. I didn’t get good pictures these areas before cleaning but you can see how vibrant the colors became after proper cleaning. This picture was taken just before the wax was applied.

I did some minor touch-up of the black areas and inserts but overall the playfield looked amazing with just a good cleaning. Stripping as much of the playfield as possible makes cleaning and waxing so much easier. It is impossible to achieve the best results without stripping the playfield as much as possible.

This image is a nice example of how much cleaner a game can look with proper care. Before the melamine foam method of cleaning was available these areas were tough the get this clean. The second picture was taken after the playfield was waxed and assembled.

Here are some more pictures of the playfield after it was waxed and assembled. I’m even lucky enough to have images of this machine in ipdb.org.

The plastics and every other part on the playfield were also polished with Novus #2. I like to clean each post individually. The overall effect of removing and cleaning each part individually just can’t be replicated any other way. Every bulb in the machine was replaced with a new #47 and all of the inserts were cleaned from the bottom of the playfield. When this machine was assembled the playfield was about as close to new looking as you can get. I was very happy with the results and I’m looking forward to restoring my other Sinbad machines. This one has been sold.

I am an advocate of completely stripping a playfield during a restoration but I’m not opposed to automated parts cleaning whenever possible. If you’re planning to restore more than a few pinballs it’s a good idea to make the process as efficient as possible while creating the best results.

Here is an example of why it is a good idea to replace every bulb in the machine and clean every insert from the top and bottom of the playfield. All of the bulbs in the first picture were working but you can see how dark they are and how much dust is on the under side of the insert. The second picture shows the inserts cleaned and new #47 bulbs installed. The difference this made to the view from the top of the playfield was amazing. This same procedure was done on every bulb in the machine.

I also disassembled and cleaned the flipper mechanisms. Everything was fairly tigh on this machine so I just cleaned them up and put them back together using NO LUBRICATION. The game played more than fast enough for me with these flippers.

While I was restoring the playfield I found that there was a few lamps that were not working but had good bulbs installed. Once the playfield was finished I had to get these lamps working so I decided to trace them back to the driver board. I checked for continuity between each lamp and it’s pin on the driver board and found the harness from the playfield to the driver board to be good. I now knew what I suspected. There was a problem with the driver board.

If you look closely you can see the problem with the driver board. There is a transistor MISSING.

Luckily I had a donor driver board that I could take the part from.

There were also a few other lamps that either had problems with sockets or problems like the socket in this image. There’s not enough solder on the connection so it just broke off over time. Modifications were made to some lamp sockets. It is a good idea to perform these modifications to all lamp sockets in the game. If you have flaky bulbs that “sometimes” work in your game this is probably the solution for you.

I also performed the ground modifications to the machine and replaced the filter cap and rectification diodes in the power supply as well as reflowed and cleaned all of the header pins on the power supply. All edge connectors in the machine were cleaned and some that had been sanded were tinned, as seen in this picture.

The next problem to tackle was the chime box. Some of the chimes were only working occasionally and I could also hear that some of them were loose.

I started by removing the chimes and energizing the coil for each chime in test mode. It was clear the the circuitry driving the coils was good but the plungers were getting stuck in the coil sleeve some of the time.

The plungers were removed and cleaned as well as the coil sleeves. They were in good condition so nothing more was done to them.

After further disassembling the chime box I was able to see that the plungers had worn down the foam that was originally installed to cusion them against hitting the metal case. The foam was so flat that the plungers would occasionally get stuck and not make a sound.

I was able to take the surrounding foam and glue it in place where the flat stuff was. This chime box is ready to go another 30 years.