Black Knight


Black Knight is Steve Ritchie's fine creation from 1980, and at the same time the first two-level playfield by Williams. Additionally, it is the one of the first solid state multiballs, so I did not have to think twice before buying!

This year, the summer pinballs came from Denmark. A reasonably nice Black Knight, and a little more projectlike Vector were for sale. Pekka from Vihti took the Vector, and the Black Knight was then left for me and Mikko's collection. After the deal was agreed, the transport from Denmark was incredibly fast. The games were picked up from seller on Tuesday afternoon, and already on Thursday the transport company called me to tell that the games were here. The seller was Lars Pihl, and he often has other games for sale as well, check out

The Black Knight was supposed to be in playing condition but unshopped. So it was, well actually it was in playing condition only after installing new ROMs, one of them had somehow lost its data during transport. Playfield was dirty and the rubbers were best before... a long ago!

OK, no problem. Quickly remove the plastics from playfield, do the cleaning and waxing, install handful of light bulbs and new rubbers, and the game starts to look very nice. Black Knight is one of the most popular Williams 80's games, and that shows on the playfield. The wear proves that the game plays well.

There are extra pair of buttons behind flipper buttons, that activate magnets at the outlanes, so called "Magna-Save" - if earned in game. The magnet may rescue the draining ball. This feature was used in a few games at the beginning of the 80's.

The drop targets have been replaced, or then the original stickers have just fallen off from all of them. They must be replaced someday.

This is what it now looks like, waxed and with new rubbers. Not bad.

Backglass is already flaking. The sun at the background is starting to look like supernova. This must be coated as soon as possible, and then it is time to try some fixups on top of the coating. Fortunately the colors are easy to do.


Oops! The ramp between lower and upper playfields is supposed to have a gate and MYSTERY-switch. Looking under playfield reveals the switch is there, but the gate and switch actuating wire are missing. So I have a piano wire twisting exercise ahead... fortunately it is pretty easy to do.


It took a while before I got to the wire twisting because I did not have suitable piano wire at hand. Any hardware store sells it however, and today finally I remembered to get it.

The original gate looks a bit complicated.

Do it yourself -model can be a little simpler.

The gate works fine! Now on to collect some MYSTERY points... I guess the high scores are getting more easier from now on!


Mikko made stickers for the drop targets. The game looks much better at once!


Black Knight notified me of some fault by sending out smoke signals! The solenoid that releases ball to shooter was turned on continuously and after a while overheated and shorted. At this time, also its driver transistor let the smoke out. Only after that did the fuse blow. :) OK, a new coil and transistor in place, and it should work? Wrong. The coil still pulls as soon game is turned on. A little driverboard probing with a multimeter verified both the coils driver transistors were OK, but the 7408 IC driving them was faulty. Remove the chip, install a socket on board and put in a new chip. Works fine! Fortunately the 6821 PIA was not bad, it is not socketed in this board either.


Even though the game has been in our dry gameroom for 8 months, there is still a distinctive mouldy smell around it. The cabinet has been in damp place sometime. I painted the cabinet inside with white paint, hoping the paint will prevent the mould growing. Now it smells only fresh paint, the results will be seen and smelled after one or two weeks.


Cabinet inside painting was successful. No more mouldy smell! But now there is a new problem - or actually an old problem is back. The ball release coil again locked on, fortunately I was near the game when it happened and managed to notice it in time to turn power off before coil damage. Maybe the 7408 I replaced before was not bad after all, but the real problem is a faulty PIA chip. I guess that must be replaced too.


Yep, the solenoid PIA was indeed faulty and needed to be replaced. Of course it was not socketed so I installed a socket for it also. At the same time, I put a battery holder to CPU board, it was missing and the batteries were nicely soldered in place. Now they are a bit easier to change.