39 and holding... Black Knight

September 8, 2019

Picked up a Black Knight (1980) as a new project, and I am increasing my troubleshooting skills. I picked this up for my father's apartment. He worked as a bartender at Gala West (both Naperville and Carol Stream Illinois,) home of the Galaxy World arcade around 1981-1983 range. He wanted a machine loud enough to piss off his neighbor that was also period correct for his time at Galaxy World. I am too scared to own a "Black Hole" machine.

 

Black Knight is a 39 year old pinball machine, and works in some ways that aren't intuitive to me. I have already learned some things about the game, like getting the tests to run. Early games used some leftover System 6 components, but this example does not have any system 6 remnants. It has loads of patina, with signs of being moved a lot in its day. Let's take a look at some of its age spots. 

The goal of this project is to get a playing machine in my father's home. I am conflicted, because I want to bring it back to its glory days. I also don't want the world's most expensive Black Knight, because the market tops at about $2,200 for a top notch example. It would be easy to go over that with a new playfield and a restored cabinet. Let's get it working first.

 

So, it's a bit of a mix at the moment. First, it needed a new power supply, so it got this one from Xpin, because Gulf Pin didn't have any power supplies listed. So, now, it powers up and I could sort of play a game.

 

There is also a mystery board hack that a previous owner had to do. This is not uncommon on Black Knight machines. Converting it to LED reduces the power load from what I understand. But, This project has to work first.

But, part of working is getting some basic hygiene back in place. This machine was in storage for a while, and time and low humidity isn't a friend of rubber rings. Also, these balls are quite rusty and need to be replaced. 

So, I have new rubber rings from Titan coming soon. I made a kit here with some red and black rings. I also ordered new bulbs for the backglass, because the newer shorter bulbs aren't as likely to scratch the backglass. 

 

The current problems are:

  • The lower left target bank is dead. 

  • There is no sound (which is important on a Steve Ritchie machine)

  • The power hack works, but needs to be corrected.

  • Some off level inserts affect gameplay.

  • The cabinet condition is driving me nuts. (I am not a patina fan.)

I have ordered this Playfield Protector to put over the playfield to alleviate the insert issue, and stick to the goal. Ideally, I would like a new Hard Top to replace the playfield with new art, but those are not available. 

 

I also ordered target stickers form Marco Specialties, new legs and accessories from Pinball Life and some bulbs form Comet Pinball.

 

The sound board is out for repair, and some great local resources (Shoutout to Dave and Tom) are helping me with the sound and drop targets. I am learning a lot about using the multimeter and reading schematics. I found a fried diode on the lower left target bank, so that might be the problem (or the symptom of a totally different problem.)

 

I will try to get this into my father's apartment before the Chicago Pinball Expo 2019. My shopping list for Expo is growing!   

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