1963 Williams Major League Pitch and Bat Repair (EM)

I don’t know electro-mechanicals like I do solid state games, a large part being that I have only owned one EM in my entire collecting career; however, I have ended up fixing a few and like the challenge. I’m always keeping my eye out for a reasonable project just for more experience with these machines, so if you have one that needs some work, contact me!

The issue with this game was that the Outs were not resetting correctly, or sometimes they would reset and then not step up properly, etc. I told the owner EMs weren’t my forte, but I’m always happy to take a look and see if I can help out.

The great thing about electro-mechanical games is that a lot of what’s wrong with the game is visually evident. The machines work off of AC power, as opposed to the primarily DC-driven solid state games, and operate through a series of NO (Normally Open) and NC (Normally Closed) switches, relays, motors and stepper units. The actual playfield components aren’t too different from their solid state younger brothers in operation.

Sure enough, the Outs were not working. You could see the lights blink up, but then not reset at the start of a new game, and many times they’d start on odd numbers. We took the playfield off which was attached to the bottom cabinet with a piece of bakelite (a snap in/out connector that is typically used to connect the playfield harness to the backbox).

Stepper Unit that controlled the "Outs" that needed attention.

Stepper Unit that controlled the “Outs” that needed attention.

We then started a game and I watched as I hit the “Out” on the game with my hand. The function ended up being controlled by a stepper unit in the back of the cabinet. It was a total reset stepper that would increment up for the 3 Outs, and was then supposed to reset back to the beginning position. This one would increment up just fine, but then sluggishly reset.

Upon reset, a solenoid is supposed to fire to release the bar over the gear and a spring allows the gear to reset to it’s “first position”. As we continued testing, the Outs actually began to register normally; however, you could tell it would just be a matter of time before it would stop working as the reset function was so slow and sluggish.

Over the years, these games get gunked up and the stepper units need to be taken apart and cleaned. Being some 50 odd years since this unit had been disassembled, it proved difficult to get it fully apart. We did get it mostly broken down though and were able to clean away the gunk with Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol.

Once back together, I manually fired the increment solenoids and reset with my hand and it was as smooth as butter. We put the game back together and the owner play tested a few games and everything was working perfect.

I was happy to be able to help the owner out, and it was fun to get to work on not only an electro-mechanical game, but a pitch and bat that you definitely don’t see every day!

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About Matthew Mandarano

Matthew is a cinematographer and video specialist by day and pinball fanatic at night. Somewhere in between he also finds time to play the guitar, collect vinyl records and watch a good deal of movies and TV shows.
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