I thought I'd document the process of bringing a basket-case 1977 Bally Black Jack SS back to life. Go easy on me with the comments - I'm very new at this! I have an electronics background so the board repair, soldering, wiring, etc. doesn't really faze me but the last time I did any wood working and painting was shop class in high school (about 35 years ago).
I've been playing pinball for 40+ years and my family even had a brand new Gottlieb Neptune in our basement while I was growing up in the 70's. I bought my first pin 18 months ago (Eight Ball Deluxe) and I was immediately hooked on ownership and doing my own maintenance. That lead to buying a 1980 Black Knight, a SS Mata Hari, and a NIB Star Trek Pro Vault. The older machines EBD, BK, and MH now all run soundly. And I took the first major repair plunge on MH earlier this year when I stripped the playfield down and installed a hardtop - it totally transformed the game and it now plays like new. I'll be doing the same thing to my EBD later this year when Outside Edge releases the hardtop for it (slated for December).
Before I do anything restorative on the older machine cabinets, I wanted to practice, pick up the necessary skills, and see what I'd be getting into by doing that kind of work first on a less valuable machine, or at least one that I didn't have a lot of money invested. If I picked something up cheap enough and I wind up screwing it up, no harm/no foul. Enter the Black Jack project.
I found this Black Jack at a local estate sale in April 2019. The cabinet was, in a word, ROUGH. It powered on with a few GI lights lit but did not start. The estate sellers did not have the keys so I couldn't see inside to see what was there, what was missing, and what kind of damage any rodents might have caused. And they wouldn't let me drill out the locks onsite without buying it. The cabinet looked weather damaged, so it had to have spent some time outside. They wanted $300. I offered $100. The next day, with no other takers, they took my $100 and I took it home.
I drilled open the locks to check it out from the inside. Much to my surprise, I found a complete, intact board set. What's more, with the original battery still installed, the MPU had no acid damage. I also found a couple of quarters in the coin mechs and a few more in the bottom of the cabinet. So I actually got the machine for $98.75.
Along with the quarters and a lot of dirt, I found evidence of previous inhabitants - several honeycomb nests (hornets or wasps) and a couple mud nests (mud daubers). There were nests on one of the display boards, on the SDB, and in the bottom of the cabinet.
Here was the high level plan:
#1 - Clean out the dirt, debris, and nests
#2 - Get the board set working and fully power up/start game
#3 - Fix switches and coils so that everything scores correctly
#4 - Totally strip the pin to repair the cabinet
#5 - With the playfield in fairly decent shape, go thru a deep cleaning to get up as much dirt as possible
#6 - Repair shooter-lane and arch ball trail, potentially clear or poly
#7 - Install a playfield protector to cover the cupped inserts and protect the original paint/refreshed shooter lane
#8 - Install new plastics and rubber kit
#9 - Tumble/clean/polish/re-use as many metal parts as possible
#10 - Repaint the cabinet with Pinball Pimp stencils
Hopefully the machine will look and play well enough that the wife will let me keep it in our basement rec room lineup for a while.