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Author Topic: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...  (Read 2788 times)

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bleargh

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FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« on: July 05, 2011, 11:59:59 pm »
Been trying to get my hands on one of these for a few years now, but any time one has come up anywhere within a half a days drive I've missed it.

This one popped up just over an hours drive from here on the weekend, and I called right away lest I miss this one too.  Was asking $750, but wouldn't agree to hold it until I could get down to see it.  Sucked... my wife is out of town with the kids on a road trip, so she's got the truck.  Sucked even more that I'm flying out to catch up with them mid-trip on Thursday, and if I didn't jump on this now it'd definitely be gone by the time I got back.  Made a few calls, no hits, then managed to convince my mother to get in her car, pick me up, and drive me down to see it right away (I've never had a drivers license, so just borrowing her car wouldn't work; I needed a driver too!)

Machine was in reasonable shape.  Wear on the playfield, but nowhere near as bad as I've seen on some.  Cabinet has a few dings, but hey, its 30+yrs old.  Backglass, however, was in incredible condition; only the tiniest bit of flaking on the very top, right above the Williams logo, but that's it.  A few cracked plastics, and the rest are warped, but I'm not that concerned; I'll either flatten them out or pick up a repro set of plastics (although that'll then feel odd w/new plastics on an obviously worn playfield).

But best of all?  NO battery corrosion.  Although the boards are dusty, they all look like they're in immaculate shape; no burnt pins/connectors, no obvious signs of overheating.  Hurray!

Kept coming up in audit mode, so we weren't able to fire it up and see how well it played, even after putting new batteries in.  Diagnostics come back as "9" repeatedly (even with door open), so I'm thinking I've got put a new 5101 CMOS RAM in it before I can test much further.  Under the hood, though, its in good shape; clean, not smoky, not grimy or dirty, and the coils all look good (no obvious burnt coils).

Offered $600 cash.  He said he'd have to talk to his step-son as it was really his machine, and couldn't do that until he got home from work that night.  I didn't want to ask why he was selling it for him, but did wonder.  Also cringed at the thought of someone else swooping in on this, but I didn't think it was worth the full $750.  But he agreed to not take another offer on it until he'd spoken to his stepson; I was first to call and first to see it, so I got first crack at it.

And, to give him credit, he stood true to that.  I got a call back that night with a counter-offer of $650.  Told him it was a done deal; I'll be there mid-day to pick it up, cash in hand.  Called my mother back, told her I needed her car again, along with the guy doing work on her house, so he could drive down w/me and load this into the car.

Turns out, they've had it in the family since 1987.  It was given to his step-son by his father back in '87, and they've had it in the rec room or downstairs bar ever since.  Any time they'd move, it came along for the ride.  Suprisingly, though, they never took it apart when they moved it... they just had "four really big guys" load it into the back of the truck.

Me, though?  I took it apart, loaded it into the back of my mother's Honda Element, and brought it home.   ;D

I know it'll need some work to get cleaned up and working properly, but I think I did pretty good here... any other time they've come up on the island here they're ~$1200 and always "not working, but I'm told its a really quick fix" (and we know how that goes).

Happy happy!

smartbomb2084

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2011, 09:19:43 am »
CONGRATULATIONS!    :applaud:
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 05:24:29 pm by smartbomb2084 »

bleargh

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2011, 06:34:03 pm »
With the coin door open, turn the game on, turn it off with the cabinet switch,
Wait two seconds, turn it back on.  That'll bypass a bad 5101 for now.

Tried that, still get the same results... "04 00" on the display, and "9" on the diagnostics internally.     :(

MaineEvent

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2011, 07:45:02 pm »
Great price!
Way to go, I love this game too.
Also, get a damn license!
 :cheers:
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bleargh

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2011, 07:56:14 pm »
Never worked for me on Black Knight either.

Doh! (and you're telling me to try this out on mine because... it didn't work on yours?)    :P

Put in a socket, solder on both sides, and try a new 5101.

Also make sure you've got batteries in there and you've hit reset on the mpu.

That's the plan.  It'll have to wait until I get back from vacation with the family, though; I fly out tomorrow to meet up w/them in Calgary and we're then camping our way home at a leisurely pace.

In the mean time, I ordered some parts from Marco Specialties, and spoke to the local SS pinball repair guy; he'll come out and have a look at it a day or two after we get back.  Hoping to get it working for my sons birthday party that following weekend; he's been all anxious to try a pinball out since I brought home my Space Odyssey project machine last Christmas (which is almost done; after doing major restoration to the playfield I put the last coat of Varathane on it last night, so it can sit and cure while I'm off on vacation).

I'm outta here, though; catch up w/you guys when I get back.

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 10:24:29 am »

Worked consistently on my Laser Cue and Jungle Lord... worked maybe a third of the time on Black Knight.

ChadTower

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 05:24:57 pm »
Never, ever, EVER put a Williams classic SS machine on a deadline.
 ;)


Heh.  Last time I did that it was a Stern but same idea.  Kid's birthday coming up, want the game running, so I went nuts working on it.  The day before I pull on a rubber and the post holding it snaps off at the screw.  I end up having to drill it from underneath, which of course made the hole too big, so I had to bondo that and redrill.  Then I have to repaint the stupid hole, did a rush job, and never went back to fix it. 

The six kids put maybe four games total on it during the party.  They were all gathered around Revenge From Mars for a while and then filtered upstairs to the Wii before I moved the party to the backyard.  Two lessons, I guess.  The kids won't notice any flaws in a game so long as the flippers flip and the lights blink and don't put a classic SS game repair on a timetable.   ;D

smartbomb2084

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2011, 08:57:26 am »
Before you start hacking up your clean CPU board, with power OFF and batteries installed, check for battery voltage at Pin 22 of your 5101 CMOS RAM.


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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2011, 06:50:25 pm »
Congrats on the score, one of my favorite machines
"George Bush doesn't care about arcade people"

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2011, 09:13:53 am »
Awesome!! Love the look of that machine.

Also, I need a driver too....even though I do have a license ;D

bleargh

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2011, 01:11:43 pm »
Should put an update in my own every now and then, shouldn't I....  :o

Charles (the local tech) came out and had a look at the machine ~2wks back.  Power supply kicked out a solid 5v when boards were disconnected, but it dropped to ~4.25v when the MPU board was hooked up.  Checked the fuses, they were good.  Checked for overheating chips, none of those.  Checked for loose chips/connectors, and he was surprised to see that they were all rock solid... IIRC his words were, "I've never seen a Black Knight with connectors this tight" (and he was a tech at the biggest arcade within a 4hr drive for ~15yrs).

I didn't have schematics for the machine, so we've pulled the MPU boards for him to take back to his place and put it up on his test bed, while he goes through it and looks for something.  Once pulled we had a look at the back side of the boards and they too looked like they were in awesome shape; no burn marks, overheating marks, no obvious cracked solder joints.  We know somethings up, just haven't figured out what.

In the mean time, while he's been working on the boards, I took to flattening out the warped playfield plastics.  It finally warmed up enough to get into the low 80s here (like sheesh... its mid-August, and we haven't broken 80 yet?), so I cleaned the plastics and set them out to bake in the sun, sandwiched between two panes of glass.  Set it all out on the picnic table on the deck, with our black bbq cover underneath it to help capture heat.  Two afternoons sitting in the sun, and they're almost completely flat.  Anything that was only minorly warped is flat, and the stuff that was completely bent out of shape now just has minor warps in it.

Kids are getting antsy, though... I've now got two pinball machines in the basement in pieces (this BK and a Space Odyssey I'm restoring), and they're dying to be able to (finally) turn one of them on and try it out.  Current plan is to get one of them working enough to be playable, and then focus on the other one and getting it finished off.  Once that one's all done, go back to the first and finish what I started.  So, I'm hoping the BK boards come back soon, so I can focus on the Space Odyssey restoration (which is a whole other story, and one day will warrant a thread of its own).   ;D

bleargh

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2012, 01:14:34 am »
PBJ, if I ever end up in the same pub as you, I owe you a beer.  You said...

Never, ever, EVER put a Williams classic SS machine on a deadline.

... and you were ... 100% absolutely correct.

Getting this baby fixed up has been no end of grief, with one thing after another uncovering itself as we worked through the issues... troubles getting parts from regular suppliers, multiple shipments of incompatible 5101s (or at least, multiple shipments of ones that didn't work in this BK), and that whole domino affect of "fix one thing, now you can see the next item down the line and its not working either".

Although the boards looked really good, multiple chips were toast and needed replacing.  5101 was bad and needed to be replaced.  MPU, toast.  Power supply needed repair before it would put out a solid voltage.  And then the myriad selection of resistors/transistors that although visually looked fine were in need of replacement.

But today, I got "the call".  Its done, its working, and he's had people playing it in the shop for three days without a hiccup.

5:30p sharp, he backs-in across the front lawn (its grass, it'll grow back) and we unload it out of the back of his truck.  Carry her downstairs, plug her in, fire her up... and it works beautifully.  I'm so happy to finally have this machine home and sitting next to the Space Odyssey behind my desk (which other than for one or two switches that seem to be out of alignment, has been fully restored).

Finally.  Hurray!!!

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2012, 10:04:58 am »
Anyone want to start a betting pool on how long before it craps out again?  I put the over/under at 3 weeks if it's played regularly.



Aw, why you gotta go there? He just offered you a beer!
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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2012, 10:19:24 am »
 :cheers:
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Rando

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 10:34:03 am »
Finally.  Hurray!!!
So original cost was $650,
What's it work out to after 6 months of repair costs?
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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2012, 11:11:18 am »
Cause pinballjim's gotta pinballjim, sugartits.



Can't tell if it is weirder seeing your name as a verb, or the fact that I know exactly what it means as a verb.

bleargh

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2012, 11:23:55 am »
So original cost was $650,
What's it work out to after 6 months of repair costs?

Not as bad as I'd feared.  $500 for parts and repairs, putting me at just over a thousand bucks for the machine.

Which, although I know is high for this game, is also the cheapest I've seen it on the island in the last seven years.  Referencing my own comment from back at start of thread:

... any other time they've come up on the island here they're ~$1200 and always "not working, but I'm told its a really quick fix" (and we know how that goes)

For those who don't live in BC..... although Vancouver is "close", that's only "close" in the sense of "a ~4-5hr trip one-way, plus you have to spend the night cuz there's no way you're going to get there, load the truck, and get back in a single day."  Having to head into Vancouver for anything also instantly adds another $250-300 to the price of it just for gas and ferry there and back.  Fine if I had enough money to burn and was buying a lot, but for one machine its not worth it.

So in that sense, while its still a big bite into my pocketbook, it also turned out to be right in the ballpark of what it would've cost me to pick up this machine from anywhere else (and it would still need some repair work).  My wife shakes her head and facepalms, but I don't feel hard done by here; total price is about what I expected to end up paying for the machine (so I'm happy). 

bleargh

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Re: FINALLY got me a Black Knight...
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2012, 11:52:39 am »
$1,200 for a Black Knight in good cosmetic shape and reliable working condition is definitely ball park for this title.  It's a great game and always in demand.

"Reliable working condition" was my big thing.  Well, and the backglass being in great shape.

Playfield touch-ups and warped plastics I can deal with.  After having done a full-on restore of Space Odyssey over the last year, I don't feel like the playfield cosmetic issues are beyond my abilities.

That said, though, the playfield issues on this machine aren't that bad; I've see far worse machines at that $1,200 price point, with huge patches where its been worn down to the wood, and then it'd still require additional repair.

So yeah, I feel like I did Ok on this one.