When I was a teenager my father bought a couple of pinball machines. I'll have to find out which ones they were (I don't think any pictures of them exist) but they were old EM machines from the 60's. In March 2016 I was told that a friend of a friend had an old pin that he wanted to get rid of and asked if I wanted it. "Hell yeah" I told him. A couple of weeks later I took the two hour drive to pick it up.



Before picking it up I needed to make a space for the new pin. I had just started turning my workshop into an arcade so I hadn't really moved out all the old stuff yet. It seemed like the back corner was the best location but it would take a lot of cleaning to get it in there:



After spending a couple of hours cleaning up I started thinking about it and noticed that if I moved my existing seven machines a little closer together I would have just enough room for the pin. Of course, this left no room for my future 360 Degree MAME machine (I have not started building it yet but it will be done at some point) but for now it would work:



I got the new pin home and started the initial inspection. The 1979 Bally Future Spa widebody was not in horrible shape for being 37 years old. Yes, it had many issues but I think it will fit in nicely with the other "original shape" games that I have. So, I plugged it in and turned on the power. The playfield would light up but the digital display was not working at all and the game would not fire up. What do you expect for $ZERO? Seeing as how my Galaga machine was FREE but has cost me several hundred dollars and months of work (this is just to get it "barely working" not counting any future cabinet repairs) I was not expecting anything different here:



The playfield actually doesn't look half bad. I found a very old rubber ring set (O-ring bumpers, ball shooter tip, etc) when I opened the coin door. It had yellowed over the years since it was purchased (I'm guessing it was 15 years old - hints to the age later) but hopefully I can clean the yellowing and install it:



Hmmm, the backglass looked absolutely great from a few feet away but there were horrible issues upon closer inspection. It is really hard to take pictures of this stuff but a huge chunk of the paint in the lower middle of the screen is coming up. I'll attempt a repair on this in the future but for now I am going to leave it alone. If I screw up this repair it will completely ruin the looks of the machine unless I spend hundreds to get it back to snuf:



The paint on the body of the cabinet will pass the 10 foot test but up close it is pretty bad. Will I do anything to fix it? I'm not sure at this point:



Here is an example of the damage that has been done to the wood / paint. I think the backbox must have been removed for some time and perhaps sat on a concrete floor where it absorbed moisture. I am not an expert on these things but that is my gut feeling:



Here is where my ignorance and really rears its ugly head. Before picking up the machine I logged onto KLOV to see what was the best way to transport a pinball machine. Everyone told me it was important that I remove the backbox before throwing it in my pickup and taking the long drive home. When I got to the location I found that there was no key for the backbox and someone in the distant past had been using a screwdrive (from the looks of the lock) to open the back. I tried for five minutes to jimmy the lock but was unable to open it. So, with no other option I transported the cabinet home without removing the top. When I got home I spent 30 minutes drilling out the lock cylinder and still the back wouldn't open. I beat it with a hammer and still I could not get it open. My wife came out to the shop and saw what I was doing and said "Hey, shouldn't there be hinges on the other side of the backbox if it that was the way it opened up?". WOW, I am really dumb! The lock does not allow the front to swing open, instead it allows the backglass to lift up (and out):



A few minutes after realizing how dumb I was, I removed the backglass (I was EXTREMELY careful when doing this due to the paint damage) to explose the electronics:



Finally, I get to open a door! I swung the score stuff to the side and got access to the PCB's. Note the PCB in the upper left hand side - this is the MPU (MicroProcessor Unit). This circuit board will cause me tons of trouble:



Since I did not have power to the digital display and the game would not boot up I started with the fuses. I did notice that the holder F1 (fuse #1) was a different color than the other fuses and, to me, it looked like it had been changed out. I figured that it had been replaced during the 2001 rebuild (I told you this would come up again) but later I found out that this is just what a fuse holder looks like after it had been hit with heat from high resistance:



Another thing I noticed was the battery pack. I did find a new battery pack when I opened up the coin door and I thought that this was just a replacement for the original battery pack. Since then I found out that this was a replacment for the replacement. I do not know when the initial replacement was made (my guess was during the work that the mystery tech did in 2001) but there is a HUGE problem concering the battery in the orignal game. It looks like in between the years 1977 and 1985, Bally put a NiCad battery on their boards for bookkeeping and high scores. Decades later this battery leaks acid onto the MPU and pretty much ruins everything. Since I did not care about high scores on a pin that did not work I cut the battery pack off:



I pulled the old nasty batteries and found out that the holder was damaged. I cut it out and will use the "replacement for the replacement" that I found in the coin door:



After doing a little research on the "original battery died and the acid killed my MCU" I noticed the paint pen markings on the MCU that said "RC June 2001". I think in 2001 whoever owned the game paid a tech to come out and get it working again. I can see that they did several things:



The first was to replace some of the original IC sockets with machine sockets. A quick look at U8 and U11 (machine sockets) vs the original U7 shows some of the work that the mystery tech did:



Another thing the tech did was try to clean up the damage that the acid did. After all, why would you not do this. Well, after 15 years it is very easy to see that he did not do a good job. Sorry RC (if that was your initials), you did a shitty job fixing the pin (at least for long term use):



When I say that he did a shitty job, I am mainly pointing out that he did not remove all the acid from the pcb. There is a ground trace that goes along the entire bottom and right hand side of the board and it is in pretty bad shape. You can see below where I have put a jumper (aligator clips with wire connecting them) to fix the lack of continuity between ground and C13:



Here is a good example of what happens if you do not neutralize the acid from the battery:



You can see in this section that an attempt was made to do a half-assed repair on the ground:



So, is my solution for the ground repair going to be any better? I probably should have researched it a bit but it seemed to me that running a ground cable that could act as a bus would be one way to get a nice ground. I stripped a long section of stranded wire, put one end in my vice and chocked the other end in my drill and spun it tight. I then soldered this bundle across the bottom front of the pcb. I'll use this as my grounding point and solder wires to individual sections and components that were missing ground:



Before working on the ground issue I did actually do some troubleshooting on the game. I found that when I tried to boot up (turn on) the machine, the mechanical stuff worked but the computer stuff did not. There is a green LED on the MPU that blinks error codes. What code was my pin throwing? Well, none - It did not blink at all. I found that this (and the fact that pin #40 on U9 never went high) indicated that the reset circuit was damaged. This is probably caused by the acid/ground problems. After doing my ground fix, pin #40 started going high (+5V). Even though I did not get any LED blink this was still a step forward. After pulling the MPU in and out of the machine 100 times during testing I decided that I needed a better way to power it up. I used a piece of MDF from the old isolation transformer mount in my Daytona USA machine and the switching power supply I found thrown into the bottom of that same machine to construct a testing station. Now that I had +5V, +12V, and GND I could use my meter and logic probe to find out what was going on with the pcb:



After a couple of days trying to figure out what was wrong with the MPU I broke down and ordered a "battery acid repair kit". This replaced the components that were commonly damaged from the battery:



Well, that didn't fix it either. I finally said "Screw it!" and bought another MPU board. This one was rebuilt by someone who sells them on Ebay:



Yes, the MPU finally allowed the pin to boot. It almost immediately blew the main solenoid fuse (the one that is hidden under the playfied). I pulled out my meter and found that one of the solenoids was burnt up:



I did some other work on the pin but in the end I just couldn't get into the restoration. I loved the idea of owning an old widebody but it didn't really fit in with the theme of my gameroom or with the projects I wanted to work on. I decided that I was going to sell her. So long "titty sprinkles" and "bathtub fart":



I posted an ad on Craigslist (for what I thought was a really cheap price) and it was almost immediately jumped on. The buyers were heading up from FL on their way to the northeast and gave me a call one night saying they could drop by the look at it if I would show it at 5AM. Yes, 5AM. Well, as strange as that sounded I thought it was a fitting end to my project (and beginning for their project) so I took a few hours off work to meet them. They were some really nice guys and it was a pleasure to meet them. Here you can see Dave (yes, he is wearing his pajamas - what do you wear at 5AM?) and Eric posing with their new toy:



A few months later, they wrote me to say that the Future Spa had been restored and made it all the way to MAGfest 2017. Hopefully they will send me some pics of it being played: