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The two most common problems with solid state pinball machines are blown fuses and bad connectors. A third common problem is leaking batteries that eat away the copper traces on the motherboard. I assume that you have checked all of the fuses. You can try to unplug and replug each cable connection in the backbox. This can sometimes clear intermittent contact problems. In other cases metal fatigue within the connector make for poor contact and the connector may need to be repinned. Also stress on a male connector pin can sometimes cause cold solder joints. Many solid state machines had rechargable battery packs that were soldered onto the motherboard. Over time these would leak acid onto the motherboard and cause issues. If none of these suggestions seems to help then I suggest that you pose your question on an active pinball forum like www.pinside.com. There are many people there that can help you debug the problem.
Growing up my dad was a pinball machine collector, so we always had machines in the house and at a young age playing pinball was one of my favorite pass times. After spending many long hours playing and flipping those little flippers like a manic I realized that there was an art to using the flippers.
When it seems that the ball was going to go straight down the center of the playfield I would use both flippers to try and stop the ball from draining, but it was an action that never worked. I discovered that using only one flipper helped me to catch the ball more often. And this also helped me to discover that you don't need to flip the flippers as often as you might think.
The game of pinball is all about timing and aim, there was one time that I discovered that if I raised the flipper at just the right moment I could bring the ball to a dead stop. This gives you the ability to better control the ball or even take a short break so long as you don't take your finger off that button. You will learn after the first few times playing pinball that it is not a game of random chance that the ball hits places on the playfield and win points but that there is an element of aim involved. With practice you learn the playfield well and the power that you need to hit the ball with to hit the targets. You will find that using a certain part of the flipper will cause the ball to go exactly where you need it to.
Pinball is a very fast paced game, in some instances the ball can be moving at speeds of 20mph! With this in mind when you successfully hit the ball you should immediately let the flipper fall. Holding the flippers up when you don't need them leaves a gaping hole in the center of the playfield and makes it harder to hit the ball if it comes down fast.
With time and practice you too can master the art of being a pinball wiz and amaze your friends with your unbelievable high scores.
This machine is based on the Williams System 7 MPU. There are schematics available online as well as debug guides. I don't know how comfortable you are with debugging electronics. If you can't do this on your own you can try to post a request for help on an active pinball forum like www.pinside.com or look for a local pinball repair person. You can either ask for a reference on the pinball forum or search for one on Craig's list.
Gottlieb still protects the rights to all their manuals and schematics so you have to buy them from a liciensed distributor. I believe Steve Young at Pinball Resorce is the only US distributor and In Canada John Roberts from John's Jukes in B.C. is a distributor. You can try either one of them or you could try the pinball newsgroups to see if anyone has a copy they will sell you. Try rec.games.pinball that a good news group with very helpful people.
The reason for this behavior (constantly running but not starting the game) is that the machine is trying to reset to score reels to zero. They may actually go to zero but the switch that tells the machine that they are in the zero position is either dirty or out of adjustment.
It is a very common problem with electromechanical pinball machines. The switches are located on the score reels in the backbox.