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First Project Pin

Written by SealClubber, published April 22nd, 2010. 1 comment(s).

I saw this pin on Craigslist and decided to go take a look. The first thing I noticed was the awesome retro backglass. I mean, what guy wouldn't want to look at that backglass while playing. It was in almost perfect shape which surprised me to no end. Makes it difficult to keep both eyes on the ball. It really was what sold me on the pin. The playfield was in pretty good shape too. All wasn't peaches and creme as the cabinet was severely faded on one side and the power supply board was hacked so bad I wasn't sure if I could repair it. You have to give props to the guy for trying. His selling point was all the extra rubber and bulbs it came with. lol, they were all the old worn out rubber from the last time it was serviced a decade or so ago. I was able to talk him down to $225 which I felt was fair. So I loaded it into my truck and drove it home. Man this thing was huge. I had to flip it on it's side to get it thru my doorway.

The wife just shook her head when she saw the backglass. She has no appreciation for fine art. So I started going thru my new acquisition during Xmas break. For the most part, the playfield just needed a good clean ing and waxing. I replaced the ball, rubber and the 4 drop targets as they were the wrong ones. I also changed all the bulbs to #47s since the previous owner put a lot of#55s in there which were way too hot. Those were causing a lot of soot buildup on the underside of the plastics. and some discoloration. Thankfully none melted and I was able to clean off the soot and most of the browning.

This was the first circuit board I repaired and I have to admit it was both easier than I expected and a lot of fun. I purchased a couple of kits from Big Daddy and two displays from Steve Young. Both great people to deal with. Since the PCB was cut out I connected it to the transformer with new wires and Molex connectors to facilitate installation and future removal. The PCB needed new Bridge Rectifiers, fuse clamps and pins at the J1 connector as at these caught fire at one point in the past. I believe the too high fuse I found was the culprit. After fixing the PCB it fired right up with only minimal problems on the other boards. I replaced the battery with a memory capacitor, replaced the few bad TIP102s on the SDB and did the grounding mods. My biggest headache was trying to get the Aux lamp board to work properly. Turns out I just had to unsolder and reinstall the chip.

So now I got it working and could finally play it. I will sum this up in one word. Boring. There was a lot to shoot at for an old machine but man, I just couldn't get into this one. I like the older machines because they are usually pretty fast but the play on this was slow, bouncy and kinda lame. This was Bally's first game with continuous background noise and the best thing about it is the option to turn it off. It sounds like the flying saucer warble on Asteroids. Very annoying. The target noises aren't much better, just blips and bloops. Stern's Meteor came out at the same time and the sounds on that pin are leaps and bounds better IMHO. Anyway, I almost immediately put it up for sale on Craigslist.

I wanted to paint the cabinet but couldn't find a stencil kit and I'm not good enough of an artist to make one. I should have just painted over it with a simple set of stripes on the side as the original artwork is horrible and has absolutely nothing to do with a spa. A chick in a bikini like on Playboy would have been awesome, or just the word BALLY in big block letters would have been better than clouds and Saturn like planets. Anyway, I left it as is in case a collector wanted it original. I did clearcoat the almost perfect backglass for protection and it turned out real well.

I ended up selling it for $400 to some lady who was buying it for her husband's birthday. Too cool! I hope my wife buys me a surprise pin some day. All in all it was a positive experience. I made a few dollars, learned a whole lot about electronics, and got to rescue a rare pin.


13 years ago

Good story and nice job on fixing it up. Too bad the gameplay isn't what you wanted in the end though.

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