Repairs I've Had to Make

Updated Feb, 2004.

Click Here To See Skill Shot Ramp Repair Section

This was one I had forgotten about for awhile because the previous owner had repaired it with duct tape and that repair worked for a long time. On the sides of the playfield, you have thin metal slats about one inch tall that serve as boundaries and guide the ball path. On my machine, two of the L-brackets that were riveted to the the upper right slat had broken and the slat was held in place with the tape.

First you've got to remove the wireform ramps that run from the skill shot ramp. It looks difficult, but once you begin to unbolt them, you will see that they slide right out of the ramp. You can ignore the ramp that runs from the left VUK to the left slingshot. After you've gotten those removed, you will have to remove the upper right plastic (which is probably dirty anyway).

Once all that has been removed, you can unbolt the metal ball guide slat. I ran into a problem here because all I had handy were brass L-brackets, but they were going to need to be cut down to work for this. Lacking the right tools, I decided just to reuse what was left of the old brackets.

The first thing you will need to do is drill out the old rivets and remove the brackets. Looking at picture 1, you can see (vaguely) what the old L brackets are supposed to look like. Two holes riveted to the slat, one hole screwed to the playfield. Picture 2 is what my brackets looked like - snapped at the bend. Take one end of the bracket and bend it so that it is the right length to screw to the playfield, like in Picture 3. The playfield hole should line up just fine, but you will need to drill a new hole into the long part of the bracket to bolt the slat to, as in Picture 4. Just bolt the bracket into a scrap piece of wood, hold up the slat to it, mark where the new hole needs to be and drill it.

The next thing you have to do is a slight modification to the metal slats. Since I replaced the rivets with #4 machine screws, I have to taper the holes so that the machine screws would sit flat. Just take a drill bit slightly wider than the hole and press down into the hole, without completely drilling through the metal. You'll end up with a nice tapered holes as in Picture 2.

If you want to leave the machine as "unmodded" as possible, you could just drill the bottom hole, but I went ahead and did both thinking some day I might replace the brackets with something longer that reached the top hole (and would still be using #4 screws instead of rivets). If you are going to use rivets, then just leave the holes as shown in Picture 1.

Once you have done that for all the broken brackets, you're ready to put it back into the machine. First screw the brackets onto the playfield, and then run #4 flat head machine screws through the slat into the bracket. Then, just barely push the bolt through and line up a lock washer and nut. It will be a tight fit inbetween the playfield screw and back of the bracket! Screw it tight and your repair is done. The repaired slats felt rock solid to me without any flex, but if you want to cut down on the possibility of flexing and absorb some vibration, I'd stick a piece of high density foam inbetween the slat and the wooden playfield wall.

No guarantees on how long this will last in home use, but I'd guess I long, long time.
Machine will attempt to reset drop target banks twice at the beginning of each ball and then give up. Many Stargates apparently have a problem with this when brought in off location - a pain because these are worth big points. My theory is that the coil used to reset the targets is barely adequate for this use. The way to fix this is to take the assembly apart and clean everything. Plunger, coil sleeve, targets, metal on metal friction points. Be sure and also disconnect and reconnect the two wire connector for this coil to cut down any resistance there, too. Stargates can only reset these targets reliably if the entire assembly is sparkling clean.

After about 10 months of home use, I had the same issue with the Sarcophagus/Save Sari drop target. A good cleaning has it working great.

No other Stargate owners have told me they had a problem with this, but I was pulling my hair out for months! Everytime the left guardian lifted in the air, he fluttered up and down breaking and closing the EOS switch on his coil. My first problem was that the hold winding on my original coil was shot, so I ordered a replacement from For Amusement Only. The problem still didn't go away even though the new coil was perfectly within spec. I replaced the switch leafs, polished the entire assembly, adjusted and readjusted the EOS switch and none of those made any difference!

Finally I repaired it, and it was all fairly simple. Once again, another barely adequate coil. First, I tightened the above-playfield spring that helps lift the guardian about 4 turns and removed the "plunger return" spring below the playfield (that pushes him back down). It was working at this point, but looked a little weird since the guardian didn't have much movement - just barely lifting and lowering but enough to play the game correctly. I didn't want to permanently modify the coil return spring, but it was too strong to leave in the machine as-is. So, I took miniature cable ties and shortened the coil return spring 3 turns and stuck it back in.
Another issue was that the machine was set too steep. Lowering the angle to the specifications in the manual made a drastic difference in Guardian movement (and changed the ramp shots from a fluke occurence to something that can happen if you nail them just right).

Problem solved!

This one wasn't a difficult repair, which made the playfield damage especially aggravating! One of big play features in Stargate is a gate on the left outlane that opens and closes. If you get a ball in there, the machine then fires it towards the 3 drop target bank. It's a very simple mechanism, but the screw holding the metal gate flap is prone to getting loose and letting the flap drag on the playfield. On many machines, this flap is missing entirely.

It wasn't missing on my machine, but the damn thing worked a number on the paint in that area. Anyway, the fix was to put a little JB Weld on the threads of the screw and then get it nice and tight. Why this never occured to the previous owners... I will never know.

That's it! A testament to how reliable and well built Gottlieb System3 machines are!