Mr. Pinball Tip:

How to open a pinball machine--This is important if you've never seen it done.

Opening the Backbox or Head
If you have an electromechanical, the back door opens with a lock. If you don't have the key then drill out the lock. You may have a key to the lock on the back door key hook on the inside of the coin door, or just inside the door. I hate drilling out a lock if I don't have to.

On a solid state the front of the head opens, sometimes with a hinged frame, or sometimes turning the key on the top or side will release the glass so it can be lifted up and then out. Behind the glass is usually a door which hides all the brains of the machine.

Opening the Main Cabinet or Body
First you must open the coin door. If you don't have the key, just drill out the lock. Prying the door just damages the cabinet and door. At this point some machines are different. Most manufacturers including Gottlieb and Williams have a latch close to the center or upper right over the coin door. Move this latch to the left and it will release the playfield glass lockdown bar, which then can be removed by lifting straight up. The playfield glass will then slide out the front of the machine. On most Ballys the latch is on the right side of the coin door opening. Lift that latch to the left. On Ballys from the mid-70s on, the latch will release the playfield glass lockdown bar and the glass can be removed like Gottlieb and Williams. On earlier Ballys the latch releases the playfield glass/lockdown bar/frame assembly which will lift up and hinge at the back. You can either lift the frame towards the front of the machine and away, or just tilt it up and use the underlaying prop sticks to hold the glass frame up.

At this point most playfields can be lifted up by grabbing at the outhole area and pulling up. Some 60s Gottliebs have a release bar under the playfield that must be pulled while the playfield is being lifted. Many woodrail, pre-60s, machines will have to have long screws on each side of the playfield removed before the playfield can be lifted. A few machines in the early 1960s had other clamps or devices to secure the playfield down.
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