(Topic ID: 253893)

My First Restoration: 1977 Bally Black Jack SS

By Mathazar

5 months ago

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#1 5 months ago

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.
01 - Head unit in the back of the cab (resized).JPG02 - Fits in the bed under the Tonneau cover (resized).JPG03 - Ready for assessment (resized).JPG04 - Cabinet is ROUGH (resized).JPG05 - Cabinet is ROUGH (resized).JPG

#2 5 months ago

There was a full board set inside the cabinet which was a big relief. If I got the board set working, I could probably more than triple my investment if I screwed everything else up and just resold the PCBs and power supply.

The cabinet served as a home for various types of wasps, but those cleaned out easily. After cleaning out the dirt, I powered up to see what I was up against. The MPU LED didn't blink and a few GI lights came on. A few test points on the transformer PCB showed no voltages, so that's where I started.

After replacing the bridge rectifiers and some caps from the Big Daddy Pinball Rectifier Rebuild Kit, the transformer then showed all the correct voltages but I still had no LED activity on the MPU. Next step was the SDB.

Like the transformer, the SDB had one test point showing +1V (supposed to be around +5V). Somewhere down the line an operator put in a Stern SDB in place of the original Bally but they both are supposed to operate the same. I replaced the caps on the SDB and put in the recommended ground mods - suddenly there was life at power on.

The MPU blinked all the way to 6, but not the seventh (missing +43V check). All the voltages on the transformer PCB and the SDB looked ok, so this was probably wiring. The PCB repair took me into May 2019 and now it was time to repin all of the connectors....not only did I think this might fix the MPU boot issue, it would likely preemptively address other gremlins that I haven't even discovered yet.

It took another three or so weeks (couple hours a week here and there), but I got the tedious repinning done.

We're now into June, and the next power on after repinning was extremely satisfying. It booted all the way up and I heard the chimes for the first time!! Starting a game worked! Going into Self Test worked! Next challenges:

1 - lots of lights out, both GI and control, tho some worked
2 - two coils not working
3 - a few stuck switches

I sorted out #2 and #3 above in about an hour. Replacing bulbs for the non-working lights fixed more than half of them, but some still did not work. Tracing the particular lamps back through the wires, I found three pins that I crimped badly. After re-pinning my previous bad crimp jobs, those lamps then worked. That left two more non-working lamps with known good connectors and bulbs. After replacing the respective SCRs for those lamps on the Lamp Driver Board, they then worked.

The displays were, surprisingly, PERFECT. No ghosting, no missing segments, no dim segments, I was totally surprised. I was pleased enough with the displays that I actually took them out and put them in my EBD. My EBD displays were ok but tired - I'll decide what to do with them later. If I wind up keeping Black Jack, maybe I'll convert the displays to LED (and get to disable the HV circuitry in the process). I put LED displays in my Mata Hari and you can't tell at all...they look totally original.

The flippers worked but the linkage for both were in bad shape with lots of play and dragging on the playfield. I'll save the flipper rebuilds for when I'm putting things back together. Now that all lamps, switches, and coils work and score properly, it's time to take everything apart!
06 - Full Board Set (resized).JPG07 - Mud Dauber Nest on Player 3 Display Board (resized).JPG

#3 5 months ago

Here are some more "before" photos of the cabinet - the cabinet sides show a lot of de-lamination and the floor shows evidence of water damage. The floor isn't salvageable - I'll be replacing the sagging, water-stained, warped 1/4" MDF with brand new 1/2" plywood.
08 - Right Side (Original) (resized).JPG09 - Inside (Original) (resized).JPG10 - Inside (Original) (resized).JPG11 - Bottom Removed (resized).JPG12 - Bottom Removed (warped) (resized).JPG13 - Left Side (resized).JPG

#4 5 months ago

After a few weeks of no activity, repairs begin - re-gluing some cross members in the cabinet and some delamination on the front. I kind of went overboard with the wood epoxy filling in cracks and holes, but it's a learning process! It sanded down quite easily.

14 - Fixing cross member (resized).JPG15 - Fixing Front Delamination (resized).JPG
#5 5 months ago

Started repairing the cabinet sides with wood epoxy first. After a while, it become apparent that there was just too much to fix and I decided to try Bondo. It was really messy, but it provided much better coverage and sanded down just as easily as the wood epoxy.

16 - Wood Epoxy for Left Side (resized).JPG16a - Wood Epoxy for Front (resized).JPG17 - Bondo for Right Side (resized).JPG
#6 5 months ago

After a few weeks of no activity, I primed with Kilz in September to get a good first base coat.

18 - Primed (resized).JPG
#7 5 months ago

White for the first base color. I also painted the inside of the cabinet white - I figured as long as it was disassembled, it would be nice to see a uniform color on the cabinet insides vs. overspray and bare plywood. The white could be interesting as it collects black coil dust after use, but I'm thinking of putting a rattle-can clear coat on it so that it'll wipe and clean up easier.
19 - White Base (resized).JPG

#8 5 months ago

We're now into October and the neck gets painted black....

20 - Neck Gets Painted (resized).JPG21 - Neck Gets Painted (resized).JPG
#9 5 months ago

Front gets painted and a view of the new bottom....

22 - Front Painted (resized).JPG
#10 5 months ago

This week it's time to paint the right side - here's the photo progression. Pretty pleased with how it turned out. There's a blemish in the upper right (blue) that occurred when I peeled off the stencil. It slipped out of my fingers and the adhesive back touched the wet blue paint....arggh! When the stainless steel rails go back on, it'll cover part of it. I'll touch it up (along with a couple other spots) after the main painting is done.

I was also pleased with how I was able to match up the red and blue stripes from the front to the side for that "wraparound" look. I hope I get the same results when I do the left side.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get to the left side this weekend like I wanted. The Colorado weather dipped into the 40's today and it's going to stay that way for several days. It should be in the low 60's for the weekend, so I'll hopefully complete the lower cabinet then. I need to keep the pressure on myself to get the backbox stripped/repaired/painted before there's no more 60F weather until spring.
23 - Right Side Stencil (Red) (resized).JPG24 - Right Side Red (resized).JPG25 - Right Side Red (resized).JPG26 - Right Side Red Joined with Front (resized).JPG27 - Ride Side Stencil (Blue) (resized).JPG28 - Right Side Blue (resized).JPG29 - Right Side Done (resized).JPG

#14 5 months ago

Thanx, Jeff - and thanx for the quick response when I reached out to you with stencil questions. My fingers are crossed that I can finish the painting this weekend....we've been in the 30's and 40's all week this week in CO and there's a chance Saturday we'll be in the 60's briefly before we're hit with snow again Sunday night.

#15 5 months ago

Finished the left side this afternoon. It didn't quite go as smoothly as the right side, but overall I'm pleased. The issue today.....I ran out of paint while in the middle of the blue stencil. No problem - I had bought a few cans of each color and I had a brand new blue on the workbench. SAME brand/style/color (Rust-oleum 2X Ultra Cover Deep Blue). The issue? As I was applying the second can, the color looked slightly off from the first can (a tad lighter blue). I let it flash dry a bit and it still didn't match up to the first can, so I wound up re-doing areas with the new can so that the color looked even. So, I think I had too much paint on the template as when I started to remove it after letting it sit for a few minutes, a few edges didn't come out quite as sharp as the others and those less-sharp edges were in the areas that got "extra" paint. It'll likely bother only me - the wife and son say it looks great. It's my first time doing this and it looks 1000% better than when I got it, so live, learn, and enjoy.

There is still some touch up work to do in a few areas and then the lower cab is done. I'll tackle that tomorrow.
30 - Lower Cab Done (resized).jpg31 - Lower Cab Done (resized).jpg32 - Lower Cab Done (resized).jpg

#16 5 months ago

Not looking good in getting ALL of the painting done this weekend. There's still a ton of prep work to be done on the head and we've got snow in the forecast for Sunday and Monday and at least a couple of weeks of <40F temperatures. I really want to start putting this thing back together! I may set up some space heaters in the garage with floor fans and open windows and try to knock out the head that way over the next couple of weeks.

Fortunately, the head is in good shape structurally and just needs some wood epoxy here and there, a good sanding/stripping, and fresh paint. I want to paint the inside as well so I'll be needing to mask off the grounding shield areas and try to sand down/smooth out the funky inside corners and hard to reach areas.
33 - Head Tear Down (resized).jpg

#17 5 months ago

With temperatures in the teens this week and the foreseeable future (2 snowstorms before Halloween!), I'm not going to get to the back box painting anytime soon. Soooo....I turned my attention to getting ready to reassemble the lower cabinet. I've started the process for tumbling the smaller metal bits back to life - the sequence I'm using:

- 8 minutes in the Ultrasonic cleaner (70/30 mix of Mean Green and water, heated) to get the dirt and gunk off
- 24 hours in the left tumbler with walnut media for abrasive scrubbing
- 24 hours in the right tumbler with corn cob media and some metal polish for, well, polishing

The first batch came out great - the steel shooter shroud with "Bally" on it was all surface-rusted and tarnished. Came out nice and shiny! I've got about 6 or 7 more batches to do along with hand polishing the side rails and coin door frame.

34a - Ultrasonic (resized).jpg34b - Tumbling (resized).jpg35a - Batch 1 Before (resized).jpg35b - Batch 1 After (resized).jpg
#18 5 months ago

mrm_4 - question for you (or anybody reading this): I removed the side rails for cabinet painting and just finished polishing them up. They've got some scratches but otherwise look 100% better so I'm going to reuse these and not buy new ones. I got some new finishing nails from Pinball Life but it didn't occur to me until I tried installing the rails back on tonight that the finishing nails aren't going to stay secure in the original holes. How did you do your siderails when you repainted your Mata Hari? Did you get larger finishing nails, use screws instead, or maybe you actually filled in the cabinet nail holes during your cabinet refinishing and just re-nailed over it? Thanx....

#20 5 months ago

Good call on the pan head stainless steel sheet metal screws, mrm_4. I picked up some on the way home from work and spent a few hours tonight getting started on the lower cabinet reassembly while waiting for warm enough weather to paint the back box. The stainless screws look just as nice as the finishing nails and even better the rails are a snap to get off now if I decide to replace them or do some more detailed polishing on them.

Along with getting the side rails installed tonight I also ran a new ground braid. I was able grind out the rust and tarnish off the side rails and they looked decent enough to keep. The rusted out original legs were a lost cause - I'll try some Evapo-Rust at some point but for this project, I'm using some "free" new legs I got by accident. I think the original legs were silver/stainless but these Charcoal ones look nice. I ordered a set of gray legs for a Mata Hari project last year and the company I ordered from sent me the wrong color. They wound up sending me the correct ones and told me to keep the mistake legs. Woohoo! I knew they'd come in handy some day.
36 - Lower Cabinet Reassembly Started (resized).jpg37 - Lower Cabinet Reassembly Started (resized).jpg38 - Lower Cabinet Reassembly Started (resized).jpg39 - Lower Cabinet Reassembly Started (resized).jpg

#21 5 months ago

I took lots of pictures before and during the Black Jack disassembly, but it's sure handy having the same configuration in Mata Hari form sitting next to Black Jack for assembly reference. Nothing like having a 3D model to copy from .

40 - Copy Layout from Mata Hari (resized).jpg
#23 5 months ago

Spent some time this evening working on Black Jack. Tonight's accomplishments:

- Installed the coin door frame
- Installed the lock bar receiver
- Completed the ground runs in the lower cabinet
- Installed the plunger

I noticed something tonight that really bugged me that I didn't notice it earlier. There are two holes on the front of the cabinet on either side of the coin door. I didn't think anything of it when I tore the system down or repaired the cabinet and then I forgot about it. It didn't occur to me until tonight while putting in the coin door frame that those holes are not factory and were probably for a coin door lock bar that an operator put in himself. If I had noticed those during the cabinet repair phase, I would have filled them in before painting. Too late now. I went to Home Depot and picked up a couple stainless steel bolts and washers to fill the holes. They're useless, but at least it looks ok.

Lots of other work/family stuff going on for the next several days, so I may not get back to BJ until next week.

41 - Grounding in lower cab finished (resized).jpg42 - Coin door frame and lock bar receiver in (resized).JPG
#25 4 months ago
Quoted from Skidave:

You're missing the rubber bumper on the glass receiver. Mouser part # 836-G2021.
Some people do not replace them. I do. If you get them, they are just a bit too long. I cut about an 1/8 inch off with a razor blade.
https://www.mouser.com/datasheet/2/184/7_40_hb-462019.pdf[quoted image]

Thanx - I've got the missing one in my box-o-disassembled-parts still and I'll put it in before the glass goes on. Having said that - they are pretty brittle and I do appreciate the Mouser link for fresh new replacements. Now I've got to think up some other parts I could use from Mouser to justify the $8 shipping charge they quoted for a few rubber bumpers at $0.20/ea!

#28 4 months ago

I disassembled the Tilt Board and have a bunch of metal parts tumbling this weekend. I replaced the horribly-spliced-fire-hazard-of-a-power-cable and got a chime rebuild kit to replace all of the rubber grommets. Meanwhile, I put Titan Pinball's Lockdown Bar Receiver Assembly sticker on tonight - I kinda like it, it might stay.

45 - Tilt Board Before (resized).jpg46 - Tilt Board In Progress (resized).jpg43 - Receiver HW Before Label (resized).jpg44 - Receiver HW After Label (resized).jpg
#32 4 months ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

Are you going to paint that tilt panel blue?
Do it!

I did do it yesterday.....except I went red. And I thought it would poetic to use the old, warped and water damaged original floor from the pin as my painting table.
48 - Tilt Board Painted (resized).jpg

#33 4 months ago

The first batch of tilt board hardware is done - the chime bars came out great! But this is wracking my brain....somewhere along the line, I managed to lose a coil mounting bracket. I had 8 after the tilt board tear down, and somewhere between there, the ultrasonic cleaner, tumbler #1 and tumbler #2 one disappeared. I've sifted through all the used tumbler media and everything used to transport the parts from one station to the next. Can't find it. At least it's a common part if I have to go buy a replacement....

Last metal tilt board bits being cleaned are the cages that hold the coils, chime bars, and plastic resonator boxes - those will be ready tomorrow. Later this week I'm going to try a home recipe method of restoring those white, plastic chime resonator boxes that have yellowed over time. A pinsider in another thread recommended this method to me: http://www.retrofixes.com/2013/10/how-to-clean-whiten-yellowed-plastics.html?m=1

47a - Chime Bars before cleaning (resized).jpg47b - first cleaned batch of HW from Tilt Board (resized).jpg
#34 4 months ago

More incremental progress this morning. I stripped and put some fresh, black paint on the neck vent cage and reinstalled it this morning. It's the little things....

49 - Neck, Neck Vent, and Ground Braid Before (resized).JPG50 - Neck, Neck Vent, and Ground Braid Before (resized).jpg
#37 4 months ago

Got the Tilt Panel finished - pretty pleased with how it came out.

- All metal bits tumbled/polished
- Chime Rebuild Kit
- New Power Cable

51 - Tilt Panel Before (resized).JPG52 - Tilt Panel After (resized).jpg53 - Tilt Panel After (resized).jpg
#38 4 months ago

I actually wasn't going to do anything with the coin door but it's going to look like crap against the rest of the cabinet if I leave it like it is. Going to start tearing it down this weekend while taking lots and lots of pictures....this looks a little daunting to reassemble. Contemplating whether or not to polish up the existing skin or get a replacement - I'm not too keen with the Atari button mod for loading credits. They drilled right thru the coin door skin!

Need to start working on the backbox, too.
54 - Coin Door Inside (resized).jpg55 - Coin Door Outside (resized).jpg

#40 4 months ago

50F this afternoon in Colorado so I took advantage and got started on the backbox. I managed to get the outside of it stripped/sanded and will try to finish the sanding with the interior this weekend.

The PCB mounting brackets, screws, and knocker kick plate are running through the tumblers now. The plastic wire clips cleaned up nicely in the ultrasonic cleaner. With some Mean Green, I cleaned 40 years of dirt, grime, smoke stains out of the backbox ground shielding, which I think is aluminium. Despite that shielding being much cleaner, there are lots of marks, scratches, and what-not.

mrm_4 - when you did your Mata Hari, what did you do with the backbox shielding? Did you mask it off for painting and re-use it? Or did you take it out and replace it with new aluminum that you cut down? If you did the latter, where did you get the materials and was it difficult to do?

IMG_7313 (resized).jpgIMG_7318 (resized).jpgIMG_7319 (resized).jpgIMG_7321 (resized).jpg
#42 4 months ago

OK...I pulled out the ground shields. I kinda struck out at Home Depot and Lowes...the widest roll they have is 20" and the back shield is just under 22" wide. I'd rather do the back in one piece vs. multiple, so I went online and found a 24" x 10' roll for $20 on Amazon. It'll take a week or so to get here but I'm in no hurry - lots more sanding to do, some corners and nicks to fix with wood epoxy, and I've got to get it all painted before putting the shields in anyway.

hoakypoaky - when you put your new shields in, how did you handle the mounting holes for the PCB brackets, etc.? Did you use the old shields as a template and mark the holes in the new shields, or did you just install the new shields and then measure where everything should go?

IMG_7348 (resized).JPG
1 week later
#43 4 months ago

18" of snow over the last two days and weeks of sub-30F temps are ahead....not going to be able to paint the back box anytime soon. In the meantime, the wood repairs and sanding are completed. I also got the aluminium flashing rolls in and cut out the replacement pieces last night. Hoping to start on the coin door this weekend.

56 - Back Box Shielding (resized).jpg57 - Back Box Shielding (resized).jpg58 - Back Box Shielding (resized).jpg59 - Back Box Shielding (resized).jpg60 - Back Box Shielding (resized).jpg61 - Back Box Shielding (resized).jpg
#45 4 months ago

Finally got some time this afternoon to tear down the coin door - wow....lot's a pieces. Took a few dozen photos along the way so hopefully it'll go back together easily. It'll be a few weeks or so....even with two tumblers running 24/7, it'll take 10-12 days to move all of the parts (that fit) thru them. The bigger pieces that don't fit I'll have to clean and polish by hand/dremel/buffer wheel.

Bonus: found another 7 quarters stuck between the door skin and back panel!

62 - Coin Door Parts BEFORE (resized).jpg63 - Coin Door Harness (resized).jpg
#47 4 months ago

Got 40 years of dirt and grime off of the pieces that fit in the ultrasonic cleaner - came out better than I thought it would on a first pass. The first batch of parts are tumbling now....

I'm going to have to put the hinges in a bucket of Evapo-Rust. Never done that before, but it looks pretty easy.

64 - Coin Door Parts FRIST CLEAN (resized).jpg65 - Coin Door Parts FRIST CLEAN.jpg (resized).jpg
#48 4 months ago
Quoted from cgdexpx:

Man I wish I had any skill set at all to tackle restore work. heck , I would settle to have someone in my area who did quality restorations. I would work overtime to pay for them
Good Luck. Enjoy. I am envious.

Other than an electronics background, I had no experience before starting this project but I really wanted some. This Black Jack was a perfect project to learn from....for less than $100, I got a complete machine (albeit a basket case). If I screw something up along the way, I'm not out very much money!

#52 4 months ago

I'm an Evapo-Rust believer now. Holy Crap. This is the inside of the coin door skin after just sitting in it for overnight....I haven't even buffed or polished it yet. Rusty door hinge is soaking in it tonight.

66 - Coin Door Inner Before (resized).jpg67 - Coin Door Inner After (resized).jpg
#54 4 months ago
Quoted from Robotworkshop:

Nice to see another one of these games being restored. I have some new code I wrote for it that added a couple new tunes and change the rules so you can lose points.

Yep - and I'll probably be hitting you up after I get this thing fully running again within the next couple of months, weather permitting (still need to paint the backbox).

#55 4 months ago

After an overnight soak in Evapo-Rust the hinges didn't come out as shiny as the door skins, but mission accomplished - all the rust is gone! Will hit them with the buffing wheel and polish this weekend to see if that can shine them up a bit. Even if they don't, I'm happy with the improvement.

68 - Coin Door Hinges (resized).jpg
2 weeks later
#56 3 months ago

We've had 3 days in a row of 54F-60F weather in CO this week so I took the opportunity to finish painting the backbox. I'm almost happy with it. The left side came out ok but when laying down the first stencil (red) for the right side, the damn anchor markers moved when they separated from the stencil upon peeling back. I had to line up the second stencil (blue) by sight since I could not rely on the anchor markers anymore, and after painting the blue stencil it appears to be about 1/16 of an inch off. Not that noticeable at a glance, but it pops out if you stare at it. Of course, I'm staring at it. My family thinks I'm nuts to let it bother me, but that's just the way I am.

I should be wrapping up the coin door this week - starting reassembly tonight. Target for the weekend: re-assemble the back box, starting with putting the new shields in and getting the PCB mounting brackets properly aligned and installed.

69 - Backbox Prepped (resized).JPG70 - Backbox Prepped (resized).JPG71 - Backbox Prepped (resized).JPG72 - Backbox Prepped (resized).JPG73 - Backbox Painted (resized).JPG74 - Backbox Painted.JPG (resized).JPG75 - Backbox Painted.JPG (resized).JPG76 - Backbox Painted.JPG (resized).JPG77 - Backbox Painted.JPG (resized).JPG
#58 3 months ago

I was in a backbox mood today with the painting finished, so I went ahead and started working on the shields tonight. I'll finish the coin door later this week.

The shields went in easier than I thought. I was worried about aligning all of the holes with the backbox but after thinking about it, I came up with this:

- work on a scrap piece of plywood to protect the ping pong tabletop on my pool table
- place the newly cut shield pieces under their original counterparts, line up edges and corners
- using a sheet metal screw, screw down thru the original and new shields creating the holes
- now all the new shield pieces have the holes to align with the backbox holes

Took about 90 minutes to put in the shields, PCB mounting brackets, new ground braid, and a few bits of hardware. New backbox lock on the way from Marco's. All ready to put in the PCBs and power supply!

78a - Backback Interior Before (resized).jpg78b - Backback Interior After (resized).jpg
#59 3 months ago

Had a free hour this morning and decided to start putting the boards in.....

79a - Backbox Boards Before (resized).jpg79b - Backbox Boards In (resized).jpg
#61 3 months ago
Quoted from play_pinball:

Did you have scans of the cards in the head? Mine looks like this (which is how it was when I rescued it from becoming a virtual pin cab). Working on the repaint and will need to redo the ground shields too. Unfortunately don’t have the originals to use a template though.

I'm working on the backbox cards now. I started with the templates posted at http://www.pinballrebel.com/pinball/cards/Backbox_cards.htm and am fixing a few that aren't quite right in font size, text location, and few that don't quite match (technically) the originals that I pulled out during tear down.

#62 3 months ago

Coin door is 99% finished - took a few hours and a bit of trial and error, but I think I've got all the bits in the right places. Not everything shined up like a bright new penny, but everything is CLEAN (I even took off all the bits from the wire harness and put it through the ultrasonic cleaner for a few minutes...looks brand new).

The outer coin door skin is missing (I think) the coin return metal flap. There's one on my Mata Hari so I'm assuming there's supposed to be one on Black Jack. I'll have to search the internet....

Still not crazy about the "Atari" credit button that someone installed by drilling right thru the coin door, but I went ahead and wired it up to be functional as opposed to buying a brand new skin.

I'm stumped on one thing, tho - just like working on my car, I have one part left over. Can't figure out where this goes (fourth picture)....maybe between the inner and outer door skins around the coin lock? I'm trying to convince myself to take apart my Mata Hari coin door to check there, but I thought I'd ask here first.

80a - Coin Door Open (resized).JPG80b - Coin Door Front (resized).jpg80d - Coin Door Closed From Inside (resized).JPG80c - Coin Door Extra Part (resized).JPG
#63 3 months ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

I’m looking for the missed registration and don’t see it. Looks good!!!

Thanx, mrm_4, and as much as I hate to highlight mistakes....here's the right side of the backbox where you can see the mis-alignment I had to do by sight after the registration anchors slipped during the stencil peel-back. It's been a few days and I think I'm over it now.
81a - Backbox Left (ok) (resized).jpg81b - Backbox Right (slightly off).jpg (resized).jpg

#65 3 months ago
Quoted from Quench:

See the first picture at the link below - it's the item marked "door lock bracket" that prevents the door skin from warping when tightening the coin door lock.
It screws onto the back plate and sits between the back plate and the front skin.

Thanx, quench - I quickly favorited that topic. Wish I had the forethought to search for it before I reassembled my door. Live and learn....next time will be oh-so-smoother.

#67 3 months ago

I'm starting to print out backbox reproduction cards. I'm using 67lb cardstock and have regular white and an off-white that kinda resembles the aging original cards. Which way would you guys go? I'm leaning toward the off-white.

82a - Backbox Card Repro (resized).jpg
#68 3 months ago

Went ahead and did a batch with off-white (with the Varistor card in regular white) - here they are next to their original counterparts.

82b - Backbox Card Repros (resized).jpg
#70 3 months ago
Quoted from Quench:

Heh, gotta hate that the door has to be disassembled just to get that bracket back in!

I put it back in tonight - took less than 20 minutes now that I've been thru it already. Plus I had to only undo about a quarter of the assembly to squeeze it in there and screw it down.

Quoted from Quench:

If you've got any blue paint left over you should be able to touch up those small missing spots.

I thought about that, but even with a teeny tiny brush I'm afraid I might make it worse/more noticeable. I'm thinking of leaving it as-is....when I have friends over, if they notice it on their own, I'll be more motivated to try to touch it up.

#71 3 months ago

I also want to include the backbox inspection tag, but it was damaged during removal. Here's my attempt at a repro - since it includes a signature and a funky font for the serial number, I decided to scan it in, photoshop repair the damaged bits where the original staples were, and print it out on heavy card stock. I'm pretty happy with the results.

82c - Backbox Inspection Tag - Compare (resized).jpg
#72 3 months ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

Replacing all the labels is one of my favorite parts. Glad you did the off white. Looks great

Thanx, mrm_4 - I think this has become my favorite part so far as well. Just installed the cards this afternoon and wow they really make it look complete/original. Glad I went with the off-white.

83a - Backbox with Cards installed (resized).jpg83b - Backbox with wire harness.jpg (resized).jpg
#73 3 months ago

Spent some time with the playfield today and it cleaned up ok. It was caked with dirt and debris...a lot of it came out. I didn't want to scrub too hard and lose any the (faded) paint, so it was somewhat of a compromise.

I didn't plan on doing any touch-ups and I'm still not going to. I think it'll look fine as a player's machine, and there will be a nice reflective sheen (and a smooth, evened out surface) after I put on the playfield protector I picked up for it. The bumper bodies and skirts have no cracks or chips and they cleaned up nicely, so I won't be replacing those. The stand-up targets are in good shape so those can stay as well. I did get a new plastic set from CPR as the original set is faded badly and a few pieces are cracked/crumbling.

I was going to try to get rid of the ball trail up the shooter lane and across the arch, and maybe even put down some poly like I did when I did the Mata Hari hardtop install. But I'm re-thinking that now - not sure if it's worth the effort and potential risk of it not coming out well (and the ball trail does look a little better after some light sanding and Novus 2).
84 - Playfield clean-up (resized).jpg

#74 3 months ago

It's supposed to hit 55F in Colorado on Saturday so I'm going to squeeze one more paint session in and freshen up the front of the backbox door (the back part of the door isn't bad enough for me to strip and re-do all of the stables/wires/grounds/sockets/etc.). I've got the hinge, mounting hardware, and display trays soaking in Evapo-Rust tonight.

85a - Backbox Door Before (Front) (resized).jpg
#75 3 months ago

mrm_4 / quench - I'm starting to work on the original backglass while waiting for weather to paint the door and while more metal bits are tumbling. The glass is in nice shape, but with 40 years of dirt/grime. What would you recommend to clean it? Damp cloth and light pressure? Thanx....

86 - Backglass Front Before (resized).jpg87 - Backglass Back Before (resized).jpg
#77 3 months ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

Maybe spinning Qtips soaked in Naphtha and yes light pressure. That’s a good looking glass I would baby it for sure. You’ll know when you start if you’re gonna cause damage. Is it flaking anywhere?

No flaking at all - I'm going to give the QTip/Naphtha/light pressure test tonight. Thanx!

#78 3 months ago

It sorta/kinda worked, but not well enough with light pressure. The backbox had several wasp nests in it when I acquired the pin and I think the brown streaks on the backside of the glass is residue/something from the insects. I could probably use more pressure to clean it off, but I don't want to chance lifting any paint...I'm going to leave the back as-is. I don't think it will be noticeable when it's all lit...we'll see. If it's noticeable, I'll try to come up with Plan B.

Meanwhile, the front part of the backglass cleaned up nicely.

#79 3 months ago

Started cleaning up the display PCBs tonight as well. A little isopropyl alcohol and a soft bristle toothbrush and it cleaned up ok.

88 - Display Before (resized).jpg89 - Display After (resized).jpg
#81 3 months ago

Thanx, quench . No paint came up with the Naphtha/Q-Tips with light pressure. In my test spots, the darker brown dirt/residue turned to light tan in a few areas and had no effect on others. I'm too hesitant to try harder pressure....the risk/reward isn't there for me to chance it. It'll probably look just fine from the front...my recollection when getting the machine running 100% before tearing down to clean/repaint was that it looked pretty good. The only battle I'm having is with my own OCD and leaving the brown streaks on the backside of the backglass which no one will see unless the backglass is removed.

Painting the backbox door this afternoon. Just the front, tho.

#82 3 months ago

Got the backbox door painting finished today with a little sanding, some Kilz primer, and a couple of light coats of white - here's a before and after. It's not going to win any beauty prizes, but it looks a lot better.
85a - Backbox Door Before (Front) (resized).jpg85b - Backbox Door After (Front) (resized).JPG

#83 3 months ago

Testing the displays after cleaning them up with isopropyl alcohol and a soft bristle toothbrush....making sure they still work before going thru the trouble of mounting and wiring them in the newly painted backbox door!

#84 3 months ago

The last display going into the Black Jack is actually from my parts bone pile - here's a boring video of me getting it working today.

1 week later
#87 83 days ago

Spent the afternoon today with football on in the background and working on Black Jack. It's ALMOST ready to fire up and see what gremlins there are after being totally torn down, cleaned/repainted/refurbished, and re-assembled.

Got the playfield protector in and started to populate the topside. New posts and rubbers. I did not repaint the rails - still too cold in Colorado and I figure if sometime in the future I decide to throw more money into this to have the playfield touched up by a pro (i.e. not me), I'll take care of the rails then. They were stapled in when it was manufactured but I reinstalled them with screws - easy future removal/reinstallation.

90 - Playfield Reassembly (resized).jpg
#88 83 days ago

As I was starting to put the Ball Kicker assembly back on to the playfield, I noticed I neglected to clean it when I did all of the other topside metal bits. It was FILTHY - I had to wash my hands each time I touched it.

5 minutes to tear it down, x2 8 minute cycles in the ultrasonic cleaner, 5 minutes to reassemble (with a new coil sleeve), and it's all spic 'n span with smooth action again.
91a - Top Mounted Ball Kicker Before (resized).jpg91b - Top Mounted Ball Kicker Before (resized).jpg91c - Top Mounted Ball Kicker After (resized).jpg91d - Top Mounted Ball Kicker After (resized).jpg

#89 83 days ago

I also just completed rebuilds on both flippers. The base mounting bracket got nice and clean in the ultrasonic cleaner and in went all new plungers, coil stops, switches, springs, coil sleeves, nylon bearings, set screws, prawls, and flipper/shaft assemblies.

93a - Left Flipper Original (resized).jpg93b - Left Flipper Rebuilt (resized).jpg
#90 83 days ago

And a significant milestone to end the day - I put the backbox on the lower cab. So cool to see the newly painted cabinet all put back together.

Next up during the week this week - clean and put the apron hardware back together, put the playfield in the cab, fire it up, and see what happens. Assuming it boots ok, and after making sure all the switches and lamps are ok and everything scores correctly, put in the new plastics and away we go.

92a - Backbox Mounted (resized).jpg92b - Backbox Mounted (resized).jpg92c - Backbox Mounted (resized).jpg
#92 79 days ago

Yesterday was the big day - I put the playfield back in and powered up! I was hoping everything would just work great, but I think I would have been happy if there was just no smoke or fire given the lengths I went to for tearing everything down, cleaning/repairing, and reassembling. Happy to say that there was no smoke or fire - in fact, it booted up right into attract mode! However, I've got a bunch of gremlins to fix:

1 - first thing that stood out was the bizarre tune it played at power up and start of game. All the chime notes were hit, just in the wrong order. Triage concluded that the 10 point chime was ringing for 100 point scores, the 1K chime was ringing for 500 point scores, and the 100 point chime was ringing for 10 point scores. I confirmed the connector was wired correctly on the SDB and turned my attention to disassembling the chime box. Yep, my dyslexia kicked in during the restoration and I had wired up the chime box coils in the opposite order. Rewired in the correct order, and now I've got proper tunes and proper scoring chimes.

2 - won't go into Self Test pushing the button on the coin door. This one was easy....poor soldering job on my part when reassembling the coin door wiring harness. Reflowed the solder, button now works.

3 - several lights out. This was a mix of things mostly resolved by reseating bulbs and in two cases, replacing the lamp socket. But there are a few stubborn lights refusing to work properly leading to....

4 - old, decrepit connectors on the Lamp Driver board. Moving/wiggling connectors and individual wires are making lights go on and off. These connectors are in serious need of re-pinning, and frankly I thought I did the Lamp driver board already. I must've been confusing my progress with a Mata Hari I was working on several months ago (I was repinning both machines around the same time) because it sure looks and behaves like there are 40 year old connectors/pins on the lamp board. I'll be starting that re-pinning effort this weekend, and I'm kicking myself for not noticing before when I had the backbox wiring harness out of the cabinet and on my bench for easy access to 2 of the 4 lamp board connectors. Trying to decide if I'm going to repin with the harness still in the cabinet with me hunched over the glass or go thru the effort to remove the harness and do it on my bench. At least with the other two lamp board connectors I can pull the playfield out and have it next to my bench while I repin those connectors. Arrrgh.

5 - one playfield light stuck on (Dealer's 20). This was my own undoing at some point of my light triage because it worked before tear down and during initial power-up. Somehow I must've blown an SCR on the lamp board trying to work thru the new light issues. Looks like I'll be changing a transistor or two this weekend as well.

6 - a couple of stubborn rollover switches intermittently score. Need to tweak those this weekend.

7 - not happy with the pop bumpers. They're not activating when the ball touches the skirt lightly-to-moderately hard. If the ball hits the skirt with force, it pops great. Since the bodies and skirts are clean and not cracked, I had chosen not to rebuild them. Now I'm going to rebuild them....need to order some parts from Marco's today.

8 - sometimes on the slings with light ball touches, the switch activates the coil and slings the ball out as expected but there is no chime and no score recorded. Like the pop bumpers above, if the ball goes into the slings fast enough the chimes ring and the score is recorded as the coil fires. Not sure where to start with that triage, but I'll worry about it after numbers 1-7 are completed above.

#94 79 days ago
Quoted from slochar:

Did you replace or add switch caps to the slings and pops? The standups should have had them stock, but the slings and pops might not have.
The symptom of the sling firing but not scoring/chiming indicates that the fast react solenoid code detected the closure, but the regular routines are responsible for the scoring, so the cap is needed to give it the extra switch read closed.

Thanx for that lead - I hadn't thought of that. Indeed, there are caps on the standups but the slings and pops don't have any. What value caps should I use?

#96 78 days ago
Quoted from slochar:

50 or 100 volt 0.047 microfarad non-polarized, see this post for a pic of how they get wired in:
You only need one per sling since the switches are in parallel.

Many thanx - I'll need to add those caps to my shopping list.

#97 78 days ago
Quoted from Mathazar:

3 - several lights out. This was a mix of things mostly resolved by reseating bulbs and in two cases, replacing the lamp socket. But there are a few stubborn lights refusing to work properly leading to....
4 - old, decrepit connectors on the Lamp Driver board. Moving/wiggling connectors and individual wires are making lights go on and off. These connectors are in serious need of re-pinning, and frankly I thought I did the Lamp driver board already. I must've been confusing my progress with a Mata Hari I was working on several months ago (I was repinning both machines around the same time) because it sure looks and behaves like there are 40 year old connectors/pins on the lamp board. I'll be starting that re-pinning effort this weekend, and I'm kicking myself for not noticing before when I had the backbox wiring harness out of the cabinet and on my bench for easy access to 2 of the 4 lamp board connectors. Trying to decide if I'm going to repin with the harness still in the cabinet with me hunched over the glass or go thru the effort to remove the harness and do it on my bench. At least with the other two lamp board connectors I can pull the playfield out and have it next to my bench while I repin those connectors. Arrrgh.
5 - one playfield light stuck on (Dealer's 21). This was my own undoing at some point of my light triage because it worked before tear down and during initial power-up. Somehow I must've blown an SCR on the lamp board trying to work thru the new light issues. Looks like I'll be changing a transistor or two this weekend as well.

Took care of these tonight. Repinned all connectors on the Lamp Driver board and replaced the Q14 SCR to fix the Dealer's 21 light that was stuck on. All lights now work!

Pop bumper parts ordered as well as a bag of 50v 0.047uf ceramic disk caps. I took a look at my Mata Hari and EBD machines and now that I'm looking for them, I noticed caps missing from pop bumpers and slings on those pins as well. That'll be next week's activity after the parts come in....I'll spend some time this weekend dialing in rollover switches, getting the new plastic frame and chrome lift bar on the backglass, and seeing how the backglass looks installed.

Also contemplating LEDs. I put (tasteful) LEDs on my Mata Hari and EBD last year and I really like the look. The incans in Black Jack are functional after tonight's rework but some are weaker than others even after repinning, new bulbs, new lamp sockets, and good power. I've got a spare Bally LED Flicker Eliminator PCB kit and a bunch of spare LEDs - I may experiment with that this weekend as well. I know I'll like it, and I could take it out and revert it back to incans if/when I resell the pin.

#98 76 days ago

File these one under "trust but verify".

#1 - I had two stubborn control lights (50K in outlane and 1K bonus) that would light only intermittently. They didn't work at all before repinning the four connectors on the Lamp driver board and after repinning they would come on but only after wiggling each wire at the connector. I was sure I crimped those pins well, but nonetheless I redid those two. Two more times each. And still they'd light intermittently and are affected by wiggling each of the their wires in the repinned connector plug. I pulled out the Lamp board and reflowed the solder on all of the header pins. Both lights (all lights) now work as they should. I don't know why I didn't think to reflow the 40 year old solder on the header pins when I had the board on my bench replacing bad SCRs.

#2 - In preparation for putting in some LEDs, I put on the LED Flicker Eliminator PCB kit. It consists of 3 PCBs that plug into the J1, J2, and J3 header pins and then you plug the cables onto them. There's also a two wire cable, for power, that daisychains to each of the PCBs and then alligator-clips to the 5V control line on the backbox door. I hooked all this up, and everything continued to work except for the 50K light in the outlane (same one above that I had an issue with that got resolved by reflowing the Jx headers on the Lamp board). Only this time, wiggling the cable didn't get it to light. I went back and forth 3 times using the Lamp board and using the Flicker Eliminator PCB, and each time the 50K light worked great from the Lamp board but wouldn't light if the Flicker Eliminator PCB was used. I decided to take a closer look at the Flicker Eliminator PCB, and sure enough there's solder MISSING on the pin that controls the 50K outlane light! And ironically it's the same light that gave me fits and got fixed earlier which had me believing for a while that maybe I didn't really fix it! And what's more....this Flicker Eliminator kit is new/never been used. It's been sitting on my shelf for about 6 months waiting to be used for something, and this is the first time I plugged it into anything. Arrrgh!! I added solder to the pin, and sure enough it worked like a champ.

Anyway, after all that, I'm going to stick with the incans in this machine. The control lamps are actually plenty bright during gameplay...it's only during the self test when they're ALL blinking off and on at the same time that they're dim. I can live with that.

I put the new plastics and bumper caps in tonight along with the backglass (and a shiny new lift bar on the backglass). Looks pretty good - I'll post pictures of the machine all put together later. Capacitors for the slings and pop bumpers should arrive tomorrow and the pop bumper rebuild parts should be here Thursday. I made some new Scoring and Instructions cards tonight for the apron. Almost done.....

94 - LED Anti-Flicker PCB (resized).jpg
#100 76 days ago
Quoted from Quench:

Bally didn't put capacitors on the slingshot switches. You might find they become susceptible to machine gunning if you do.
Check the playfield schematics for reference.

Hmmm...is there a way to address the occasional situations where the ball hits the sling lightly, the coil fires, but there is no chime sounded or score incremented? Replace the diodes (tho I had always thought diodes are an all-or-nothing failure, not intermittent)?

#103 75 days ago

Near-final pix. The playfield still looks reflective even with the playfield glass removed because of the playfield protector. With the playfield protector, ball motion is fast and smooth, and it's a quick and easy way to level out the cupped inserts.

95a - Nearly Done (resized).jpg95b - Nearly Done (resized).jpg95c - Nearly Done (resized).jpg95d - Nearly Done (resized).jpg95e - Nearly Done (resized).jpg95f - Nearly Done (resized).jpg
#107 74 days ago

I still need to rebuild the pop bumpers and experiment with putting caps on some switches, but since the wife was complaining about tripping over the pin (it's sitting in the middle of the room while I work on it) I went ahead and moved it to the "Classic Bally Row" section of our rec room. My original intent was to teach myself restoration techniques on a basket case pin and if it came out ok resell it, but after a few dozen test games the simplicity of this game is really starting to grow on me. I might just keep it!

robotworkshop - I'll PM you soon on how to get your updated code.

IMG_7625 (resized).jpg
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