Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

Restoration/upgrades/fixes/fabrication of pins and vids
User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Shop Log: 1980 Bally Skateball

Post by tinyrodent »

Craig dropped off another cool project, a 1980 Bally Skateball. The story starts with a BANG shortly after I brought the game into the house: :shock:
bang.jpg
Lesson learned: Make double-damned sure a folded head is secure before putting a game upright! :FP: I should have done this before it came off the truck:
head secure.jpg
The head was only held on by the plastic film, which quickly wore through after sliding in and out of the truck bed. Fortunately there was no apparent damage. Could have been much worse if it fell while on the dolly... :oops:

The cabinet looks pretty nice from 6 feet away. It has been repainted, a bit thin, unfortunately no clear coat to protect it, so already wearing through in places.
Last edited by tinyrodent on Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Setting the game up by myself, thanks to pandemic, was a bit awkward. I tried get the legs on with head attached, but didn't feel I could safely lift the back end of the cabinet. It's just a bit too heavy. So I took the head off, after a battle with stubborn locking Molex connectors, put the legs on, and then put the head back on. But I hadn't anticipated this problem:
neck.jpg
The neck of the game has a support right through the middle which makes the hole too small to fit my hand/arm. So now I could not reach the cables which moments ago I just put through there! Now I see why there is a string tied to one of the cable bundles... repurposed coat hanger to the rescue.
hanger.jpg
A quick look in the head reveals no battery corrosion, a nice surprise. I'm not a fan of the dangling battery pack however. It somehow seems to be working despite having only two batteries in it.
mpu.jpg
The rectifier board doesn't look so good, I don't like these soldered-on connectors at all.
soldered connectors.jpg
Inside the head will get more attention later. For now I just want to make sure the game survived the trip and is still basically working.
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tombiosis
MAACA QuarterPounder
Posts: 395
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:44 am
Location: Ottawa ON

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tombiosis »

Cool! Following.
Pins: 8BDlx, Frontier, The Walking Dead Pro,Fish Tales, Iron Maiden Pro, Deadpool Pro
Gone but not forgotten: 6M$M, Sorcerer, WPT, Elvis, Centaur II, Sure Shot, Firepower, Big Buck Hunter Pro.

WTB: Fathom, TSPP, BSD, GOT.


Quit talking and start chalking!

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

After cleaning, the playfield looks pretty nice from 6 feet away. :)
playfield.jpg
It appears to be a lightly used NOS replacement playfield in an otherwise well used cabinet. Up close there are some areas of concern. But overall the condition is very nice, check out this great art with bare wood used for the skin tones and skateboard decks:
girl skater.jpg
guy skater.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

You might have noticed already in the last photos but more obvious up close, most of the inserts have crazing and visible edges. They seem pretty flat though. And look how there is no wear at all around the switches!
lanes.jpg
More examples:
extra ball.jpg
The biggest disappointment is wear in the pop bumper area.
pops.jpg
At this point I feel the playfield is too nice to just play. The artwork is very delicate and already showing signs of wear. It must be preserved. It seems like a good candidate for a playfield protector.
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

There seemed to be no damage to the power cord, and the ground continuous to rails etc, so I rolled the dice and powered it on. Attract mode! :D
power on.jpg
Backglass is very nice. The lamps are looking a bit weird though. One press of the test button shows a lot of them intermittent, strobing, or not working at all. I suspect some LEDs have been placed in feature lamp sockets, which doesn't work in this era Bally game.

Ok, I admit, I did plunge the ball and flip for a minute or two. :oops: But it wasn't much fun. Besides the paranoia of putting more wear on the playfield, intermittent lamps, intermittent switches, weak and misaligned flippers, and a spinner that doesn't spin, the worst problem is this:
cradle.jpg
You might think that's from the flipper alignment, but the real problem is the lane guide, totally worn out:
lane guide.jpg
A home made replacement for this is feasible. But there are many other broken or beat plastics in the game, so a new set is on the way. Craig wants to make the game nice so new drop targets will have to be ordered as well. The existing ones, though fairly new, are plain white with decals that peel readily.
target decal.jpg
The spinner is not terrible but hopefully we can find someone local to repaint the yellow and clearcoat it.
spinner.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Ok, let's open it up and take a look inside the cabinet. Nice apron. Not so nice lockdown receiver.
apron.jpg
Common problem, coin door lock is not proper, in this case it can spin around 360 degrees striking switch lugs and the coin lockout coil mechanism. Will have to be repaired or replaced.
door lock.jpg
The coin box has an envelope filled with printed materials. Much more comprehensive than I'm used to seeing included with an older game. Having an original game manual with full size printed schematics is really great. Somehow a set of schematics for Mata Hari got included in the package as well...
manuals.jpg
Time to raise the playfield and see what's lurking underneath. Only there is a giant gap in the right side rail!
rail gap.jpg
This is actually a factory design due to mechs being placed close to the right hand side of the playfield. But it leaves no possibility to raise the playfield to a vertical position! This is intolerable! I have to find a solution. Any suggestions?
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

I snapped a couple of photos while holding the playfield up with one arm, just to see what's going on. But all further work on the underside will have to wait until a solution is found for propping it up vertically.

First look - missing bulb, broken wire, some LEDs installed as suspected.
underside.jpg
Flipper mechs are filthy, with sad looking switches. Otherwise, most of the underside looks ok. I'm sure most of the coils need cleaning and sleeve replacement.
flipper1.jpg
flipper2.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
Chris Silver
MAACA Wacko
Posts: 3096
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:41 pm
Location: Hawkesbury, Nowhere Ontario
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by Chris Silver »

I love that game. Great project. Good luck and have fun. Let me know when you’re ready to trade. ;)
Pins: Spirit, Centaur II, Af-Tor, Embryon, Black Hole, Elektra, Timeline, Silverball Mania, Panthera, Baby Pac Man, Blackout, Alien Poker
Gone: Space Station, Top Score, Flash Gordon, Solar Fire, Haunted House, Fire (x2), Vector, Bally Playboy, Tropic Isle, Beat the Clock, Blue-Chip, Disco, Punk!, Lightning, Time Fantasy, 8 Ball Deluxe LE, Double Dragon, Stellar Wars
WTB: Black Knight, Fathom, Split Second, Nine Ball
Its better to have played and lost than never to have played at all.

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Since I haven't figured out how to work on the underside yet, I decided to tear down the topside. Need to evaluate all the parts prior to ordering new stuff anyway. But before starting that I couldn't stand the messed up lock any longer, so replaced it with one of the proper barrel length, restricted to quarter-turn.
new lock.jpg
The original plastic set is complete but in poor condition - yellowed, warped, cracked...
plastics.jpg
First layer removed.
first layer.jpg
Is this insulator custom or factory? There is a bulb and a switch in the same opening, bit of a hazard. No insulator on the other side.
insulator.jpg
Halfway done.
half done.jpg
Strip almost complete. Can't remove one of the posts thanks to a busted t-nut.
stripped.jpg
Parts collection. Lots of dirty/corroded metal, faded/brittle/grungy plastic, etc.
bowls.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Finally figured out a way to support the playfield vertically. A couple of small bar clamps prevent it from sliding. It's super awkward but better than nothing.
clamps.jpg
Now with the underside exposed, I can see a few more problem areas. Coil stops not secured properly:
stop1.jpg
stop2.jpg
Some missing screws:
sling.jpg
pop.jpg
cage.jpg
And I really don't like to see any of these in a pinball game: :evil:
robertson.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

First priority after inspection is to remove all of the bulbs. But some of them are difficult to reach. Eventually I gave up and took apart this drop target cage just to get at the bulbs in front of it.
empty cage.jpg
All of the drop target assemblies will have to be stripped and cleaned, there is a lot of work to be done. Touching any part of them instantly turns fingers black.
cage bottoms.jpg
Underneath the lamp inserts, more dirt.
dirty inserts.jpg
At last all of the bulbs have been removed. There is a mixture of LED, and dirty old incandescent bulbs. I will replace all of the controlled lamps with brand new #47, not quite as bright as #44 but runs cooler. And with everything clean they should be plenty bright.
bulbs.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Fifty Q-tips later all inserts are clean.
clean inserts.jpg
Fifty bulbs later we have lights! Two are not working; the broken wire noted earlier, and one other nearby to be diagnosed later. Some of the sockets are a bit loose. But overall this is a pretty good result.
lit.jpg
Had to disembowel all three drop target banks to get the bulbs in there. Not looking forward to cleaning that mess.
drop guts.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Underside teardown is about half finished. Lots more filthy parts to clean. Drop target cages:
cages.jpg
Slings and kicker:
slings.jpg
Still to do: flippers and pop bumpers.
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Underside teardown complete. Flipper and pop bumper mechs ready for cleaning and rebuild. Some of these parts look like they were shaken in a bag of charcoal prior to installation.
flipper parts.jpg
pop parts.jpg
I will have to get out the disc cutter in order to remove a post seized in a t-nut. I was afraid it would be needed for a couple of the flippers as well, but eventually I managed to wiggle the shaft free. There's also a sheared-off machine screw in one of the flipper base plates, and a broken fin shank screw.
sheared.jpg
fin shank.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Seized post cut free. The smell of melted plastic was awful.
cut free.jpg
Quadruple fail. All three of the t-nut teeth smashed flat, and then the post cross threaded.
quadruple fail.jpg
Wooden rails removed.
rails.jpg
Last of the topside parts removed, mostly from under the apron.
trough parts.jpg
The playfield is nearly ready for a proper clean and wax prior to protector installation. The kickout mech will be removed and put on a connector plug for easy servicing. However I won't be removing the screw posts or the wire guides.
topside.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Playfield cleaned and waxed.
waxed.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

New plastic set arrived today.
new plastics.jpg
I peeled one of them to compare.
compare front.jpg
compare back.jpg
It would be a real nuisance to transfer these standoffs. :evil: Considering other options. Suggestions?
standoffs.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tombiosis
MAACA QuarterPounder
Posts: 395
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:44 am
Location: Ottawa ON

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tombiosis »

Brett
There is a procedure for doing the stand offs in the ebd thread on pinside... look up Gatecrasher, he has restored several ebd pins, and he shows how with pics etc... I don’t have a link right now but check out gatecrasher... i think he uses heat to remove them.
Pins: 8BDlx, Frontier, The Walking Dead Pro,Fish Tales, Iron Maiden Pro, Deadpool Pro
Gone but not forgotten: 6M$M, Sorcerer, WPT, Elvis, Centaur II, Sure Shot, Firepower, Big Buck Hunter Pro.

WTB: Fathom, TSPP, BSD, GOT.


Quit talking and start chalking!

User avatar
eh97ac
MAACA Half-ling
Posts: 527
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:41 am
Location: Mississauga

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by eh97ac »

You can use a soldering iron to remove them and then attach to the new set. Alternatively Chnillapoil can print them viewtopic.php?p=221205#p221205

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

eh97ac wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 6:14 am
Chnillapoil can print them viewtopic.php?p=221205#p221205
Cool, thanks! :D
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

the loafer
MAACA Motormouth
Posts: 2095
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:37 pm
Location: Near Ottawa, ON

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by the loafer »

Looks like a cool project, congrats and good job and excellent log so far. So much to do!

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

the loafer wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 12:14 pm
Looks like a cool project, congrats and good job and excellent log so far. So much to do!
Thanks Rob! Indeed it's a big job, weeks if not months before it will be playable.

Not a lot of progress today. I cleaned and polished the wooden rails plus their associated metal guides. One of them wouldn't stay attached, the spiral nails were all crooked. I filled the holes with toothpicks & glue, will drill pilot holes tomorrow and hope for a better result. Metal guide has a nicer finish than it appears in this photo.
fill rail.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

Rails reassembled and reinstalled.
rails installed.jpg
Next up, all of the rollover switches and their actuators. When this stuff is dirty, it transfers to the ball, to the playfield, to the rubbers, pretty soon everything is black. Plus dirty switch contacts don't work as reliably.
dirty switch.jpg
dirty actuator.jpg
A little bit of Novus on a clean rag, and a bunch of elbow grease, make a clean switch (plus a dirty rag and fingers).
clean switch.jpg
Installed.
switch installed.jpg
There are seven of these. Then a similar number of standup switches. It's time consuming, but not difficult or frustrating. Kind of meditative.
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

User avatar
tinyrodent
MAACA Chatterbox
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am
Location: West of Ottawa
Has liked: 22 times

Re: Skateball Shop Log

Post by tinyrodent »

After cleaning a couple of switches it quickly became obvious that the wire harness needed attention as well. My fingers were getting dirtier from the wires than the switches! :) So I went over the whole thing with a rag and alcohol, making some small improvements with cable ties along the way.
harness cleanup.jpg
There are over 100 different wire color combinations used in this game, with cleaner wires it's much easier to tell them apart!
harness.jpg
After that I was looking to mix it up a bit, and chose the saucer kicker mechanism for rebuild. It started out dirty like all of the other playfield parts.
kicker dirty.jpg
Disassembled.
kicker parts dirty.jpg
This is the top side of the mechanism, which is secured under the saucer hole in the playfield. The round area is where crud fell through the hole. The two "blades" are where the ball rests while it is waiting to be kicked out. It doesn't show well in this photo, but they are like knife edges, with a heavy burr, and had to be sanded down.
kicker blades.jpg
Cleaning all of the parts by hand takes an hour or more, the final reward:
kicker parts clean.jpg
Assembled:
kicker assembled.jpg
And installed. The coil wrapper looks nasty, but I don't know any way to clean those.
kicker installed.jpg
Playing: Stern Metallica, Bally Harlem Globetrotters
Fixing: Bally Fathom, Stern Big Game, Williams Space Shuttle
http://www.pinballowners.com/tinyrodent

Post Reply

Return to “Projects”