This was bally marketing speak for the idea that
something may or may not happen when a credit is played
or a coin is deposited.
The not-happening is what
makes the games gambling devices in many jurisdictions.
Generally, something would improve initially
as each coin/credit was played, but as the
scores/features got better, it became more
likely that cycling the machine flashes the lights
but nothing else happens.
Score/Instruction cards. The score cards defined the
payouts for 3,4, and 5-in-line/section, and the instruction
cards gave minimal info on what the features did.
Many games also have a third/fourth card which explained
unique features of the game, or indicated the
OK game/red letter game guaranteed minimums.
The spin cycle is when the game is eating your coins/credits
as you attempt to impove the scores/features. "Spin" comes
from the flashing lights that sequence around the backglass.
A number being lit on the bingo card without
a corresponding ball being it the hole. Usually
spotting occured before the game started, but some
games used the roll-over buttons
to spot numbers.
About the most frustrating thing to do when playing a bingo
is drop a ball in a hole that is already spotted, thus
wasting the ball.
The one-way metal flap at the top of the
which the ball passes under to enter the main
Besides preventing the ball from re-entering the runway, there's a switch under the
metal shell that triggers the lifter start relay to turn on the ball lift motor to raise
another ball...unless you have one of the few games with a manual ball lift.
The mechanism used to raise the ball from beneath the
playfield to the ball shooter tip.
- A plunger below the ball shooter can be pushed in
at any time to raise a ball for play.
- A motor raises the ball when appropriate. On most
games, a ball is raised as soon as the current ball
leaves the ball gate. Some
later games actually detect when a ball has fallen
into a hole, and raise the next ball then.
The channel along the right side where the ball is
launched up by the ball shooter
to enter the main playfield area.
The spring loaded plunger with a rubber tip used
to launch the ball into the playfield area.
tip should be replaced if torn, as pitted balls will damage
the playfield quickly. The rubber tip and springs
are cheap and and easy to get.
clutches/clutch washers/clutch plates
Any time there is a motor turning, but some things on the motor shaft need to
be held still, a clutch is used. In this case, the clutch plate is a rotating metal disc
keyed to the motor shaft - when the shaft turns, the clutch plate turns also.
Between the clutch plate and the thing you want to turn or hold still is an oil-impregnated
leather washer. This washer is what slips. The surface between the washer and
clutch plate and/or the washer and thing to turn may be the part that is slipping.
You're supposed to oil the washers with neatsfoot oil occasionally, but for limited use
games occasionally = years. For games that have been sitting a long time, the clutch washers
are often stuck and the only good solution is to disassemble the shaft to free and reoil them.
The pic shows a couple ok washers as well as some worn/damaged ones.
The front door that can be opened for access to the
cash box. Early machines used a wooden door,
while later games used metal.
The condition of this door can tell you a lot
about how the game was operated. If the coin door
has extra metal, locking bars, or gouges from attempts
to pry it open, the machine has had a hard life.
The drag arms are a couple of metal bars leaning up
against cams on the front of the control unit. They
periodically stop the cams from rotating, and in the process alter the
positions of the cam lobes between themselves and the rest of the
control unit. The net affect is to randomize the timing
of certain events during the cycling of the game, such
as the amount of time the spotting wipers turn.
In this pic, the arms are highlighted. The right arm is missing the
drag arm stop. See dram arm stops.
The wood or metal covered bar across the bottom of the
game that holds in the playfield glass and often has
feature control buttons/knobs on it.
the plugs/sockets used in bingos that connect parts
of the machine together (e.g. playfield to head).
Jones was the company that made them.
Some very late model bingos didn't use jones plugs. They used plastic
amphenol connectors instead.
Much more complex than the reflex unit,
the mixers are used to do "proportioning" during the
From a players point of view, proportioning
simply means that the higher your scores/features go,
the less likely it is that the game will give you
extra balls or increase the scores/features even more.
The sliding board under the playfield that allows/prevents the balls from dropping through the holes
is the shutter panel.
On most games, a metal bar is attached to the shutter panel and it pushes a set of switches when the shutter is closed.
On the schematic, these switches are called "panel switches" or "shutter switches".
It's not unusual for the bar to loosen and not operate the switches correctly.
On some games, the panel switches are called shutter switches and you see things like "shutter sw. closed when open".
While this is probably a more correct term ("panel" was also used for the flip-down
board in the head that had all the lamps on it), it's also confusing
because the shutter motor cam switches were sometimes labelled
something a bit shorter than that - like "shutter cam 3C" or "shutter
motor 3C". The almost always safe thing is to look and see if the
switch in on the shutter cams by looking at shutter motor diagram in the manual for a switch with the right
wire id's connected. If you don't find it there, and you aren't
unfortunate enough to have a manual with a lot of errors or no shutter motor diagram, look on the
bottom of the playfield at the panel switches.
A button on the foot rail
with a single letter R on it. In order to
score your wins, you need to push the R-button.
On games where you could rearrange winning combinations
via things like the magic screen,
you need to push the R-button for every winning combination
you set. If you don't find all the possible winners before
starting the next game...too bad!
The main reason for the R-button was to have more control
over when scoring happened, and it had the nice side effect of
reducing wear in the game, as the search disc
was held stationary until the R-button was pushed.
On earlier games
where the search disc was rotating constantly, the contacts
on the search disc and the
search relays would wear away.
The rubber disk mounted at the top left of the
playfield that the ball bounces off if you shoot
the ball hard enough.
A simple mechanism in the game which stepped up when
credits were won and stepped down when credits/coins were
As it stepped up/down, electrical circuits in the game were
broken/made. The circuits were used when playing for
increasing the scores/features or extra balls.
Bally marketing speak referred to
the reflex unit as "proportioning the game".
What that really
mean is that as credits are awarded,
the game is less likely to give you extra balls or increase
As credits are played off/coins deposited, the game
gets more generous.
The reflex unit does not reset
between games, so if you win big, leave the game and
let someone else loosen it up with their money!
See reflex unit
A mechanical unit inside the machine that keeps track of how
many credits the player has been awarded for various wins.
In early games, there is one of these units. If, for
example, you win 12 credits for a 3-in-line, the counter
will step up as the credits are added to the
replay register. When the counter
reaches the 12-level, payout stops. If you then pot
another ball to give you a 4-in-line, the counter
starts stepping up from where it left off until you
reach the 4-in-line level.
Later games have multiple replay counters, so they can
pay wins independently. For example, games with
triple deck advancing odds/scores have three replay
counters, one each for the red/yellow/green winners.
see also: score disc/replay counter
The three or four digit unit that shows the player the number
of credits they have. Not to be confused (much) with a
The score disc is a stepper unit that lights
the odds lamps, determines payout amounts, and
adjusts the odds of getting features.
As the scores advance, the chances of lighting
additional features reduces.
see also: score disc/replay counter
A large unit inside the game that is used to detect winning
It works by controlling a set of five or
more search relays.
As the unit
operates, it closes the search relays when balls are in the
particular holes it is looking at. If the correct number of
search relays are closed, the search stops and payout
circuits are activated.
After payout completes, the search continues for more
paying combinations. Higher payouts can actually get broken
into two pieces - payout for a 3-in-line, a pause, then
the remainder of the payout for a 4-in-line or higher.
see also: search disc techno details.
The search index assembly is mounted underneath the
contrul unit cams just to the left of the search disk.
It consists of a coil, some switches, and an arm.
In it's inactive state, the arm is lowered away from the
search ratchet, and the search wipers are free to
turn (unless held by something else).
When a winner is detected and payout is needed, the
search index coin is activated and the arm engages
a tooth on the search ratchet, thus causing the search
wipers to stop on the winning contacts until the payout
A gear connected to the search wipers which the
search index can engage to stop the search
wiper fingers from spinning.
The search relays are used in conjunction with the
search disc to detect winning
combinations of lit numbers.
It's the search relays that
make all the clicking noises heard on the early bingo's.
The amount of clicks increase as more balls are in playfield holes.
see also: search disc
see ball runway.
A thin wooden board mounted to the bottom of the
playfield. When slid away from the player,
holes in the board would allow the balls to drop
beneath the playfield onto another sloping board, which
would direct the balls into the ball trough.
The shutter panel normally closes when the first ball
opens the ball gate switch on a completely reset machine.
Complete reset of the machine requires all balls to
be in the ball trough, so if you power off a game with a
ball in the ball runway, then power on and
start a game, shooting the first ball will not close
the shutter. Once all the balls are beneath the
playfield, reset is complete and shooting the next
ball will close the shutter.
see panel switches.
slip rings / slip ring wipers
Some of the wiper/contact plate assemblies like on the spotting and search units have wipers that spin in one direction only. Since they don't step up a limited number of times and reset like the wiper/contact plate assemblies on stepper units, it's not possible to connect wires to the wipers themselves - they'd twist up and tear off.
The solution is to use rigid wire wipers riding on the edge of copper discs in grooves on the unit wiper hub. This creates a little confusion in the terminology:
- wipers / unit wipers - e.g. search wipers - these are the ones that are running around the contact plate connecting to rivets.
- slip rings - the grooved channels on the above wiper hub assembly
- slip ring wipers - the rigid wires connecting the hub to wiring. These wipers should have a slight flex to apply pressure to the slip rings, but excessive pressure will wear the cupped section off the slip ring wiper a lot faster.
A coil of wire wound around a spool and a metal
plunger partway inserted in it. Apply power to the coil
and the plunger is sucked into the spool, pulling whatever
is attached to it.
the metal wiper fingers rotate and make
contact with the rivets on the spotting disc. The rivets that
the wipers stop on are the first hurdle to overcome
to get odds advancement, features lighting, or
extra balls awarded. The mixers and feature/score units decide whether to
ignore the spotting disc or not.
The spotting index assembly is mounted on the back door
just to the right of the spotting disk. It consists
of a coil, some switches, and an arm. In it's
inactive state, the arm is engaged on a tooth on the
spotting ratchet, and it stops the spotting
wipers from turning. When the coil is activated, the
arm moves away and releases the spotting wipers so they can spin.
A gear connected to the spotting wipers which the
spotting index can engage to stop the spotting
wiper unit from turning.
lots of these in a machine. A contact plate with wiper fingers on
one side that rotate when a coil causes a ratchet to move one tooth.
see stepping units