The game didn't look so bad once I figured out how to put the backglass in.
I have a neglected Black Hole and am working on fixing
its issues. It has been neglected by others, and neglected
by me for about 2.5 years. It powers up and plays and at
this point all of the critical playfield features are
working. There's a lot left to do (see my maintenance
Newer pictures are on Flickr,
but there aren't many of them.
At this point, fold-down heads and the Williams playfield
pull-out-and-pivot mechanisms seem like absolute miracles.
Think it's not challenging enough to work on Williams
games? Is it too easy to check transistors on the driver
board? Get a Gottlieb System 80 game. 16 transistors and
wires driving 64 lamps? Bah! My Black Hole has 50
transistors and wires for its 50+ lamps! Plus some of
those are secretly coil pre-drivers. Sick of silly
auxilary boards for those extra drivers? Luxury! System
80 games just have big metal-case transistors under the
playfield. Find it too simple to have diagnostics that
test all the coils at once? No problem. Black Hole tests
six of the coils (numbers 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, and 9, of course)
in the solenoid test, then repeatedly fires the rest in
the lamp test because secretly the lower playfield
upkicker is a LAMP.
| front view on a bad day
Actually, to be fair, a big part of the problem is the
advances in software between High
Speed and Black Hole. I am very spoiled by things like
Williams' notification of switches that haven't triggered,
| head serial number
What I find inexcusable about the electronics on this game
is that Gottlieb went from 5 actual solenoids on their
System 1 games (like Cleopatra)
to 6 on their System 80 games. (System 1 games technically
have 8, but three of those have to be used for sound; System
80 games technically have 9, but three are usually reserved
for never-installed coin counters.) In both systems, some
lamp transistors are usually drafted into coil service by
adding a transistor under the playfield. They should have
just gone to 12 or so transistors on the boards.
It appears in both systems that lamp-driving-coil
transistors are pulsed as part of the "lamp" self-test. I
find it surprising that the programmers on Gottlieb games
couldn't have time to do this correctly. But, then,
I haven't actually worked on Williams games of similar vintage,
so I'm not entirely sure that I'm right.