Repairing/Restoring An Atari Star Wars Arcade

This is an ongoing series of videos showing my progress on rebuilding all the electrical components of a vintage Atari Star Wars arcade game. This includes rebuilding the power supply, the audio power board, the audio board, the MPU board, the display controller, the deflector board, the high power CRT board and other items.

NOTE: This is an ongoing series and more videos will be added to the playlist so be sure to subscribe and turn on notifications to receive updates of more progress.

Arcade Walkthru: Vortex Classic Arcade in Sherwood, Arkansas

This is a place that’s been on my list for awhile to visit. Here’s a short walk-thru, where I run into the owner. Very nice place and very friendly people, and the place is lovingly and meticulously maintained and decorated. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Location: 4027 E Kiehl Ave, Sherwood, AR 72120

Additional pictures:

Repairing and Retro-Modding a Vintage Ms Pac Man Arcade Game

Lately I’ve been doing some arcade repair work and here’s another project I’m messing with.

Today in the club I’ve got a beat up, original Ms Pac arcade game from a local bar. The owner of the bar wants it fixed and back online for people to play. So this is not a “restoration” as much as it’s a basic “repair”. I go over what the client wants and what we’re going to do. There are also a few surprises as you’ll seeā€¦ in the next part, I end up retro-modding the game to make it even cooler.

One correction: on the Bitkit2, you do need to separately connect the power supply to the converter board. That converter board does not pull voltage from the Ms Pac harness to the Jamma side – it gets power from the molex .156″ connectors instead.


And here is Part 2:

A great upgrade for lighting arcades & pinballs

As work continues repairing this Frogger video arcade, I was planning to do a video on retrofitting the 18″ T8 fluorescent bulb that lights the marquee with an LED (and removing the ballast wiring) which is also used on some pinball machines from the 2000s, I discovered an even better lighting option you can probably find at your local Lowes. Check it out.

Here is the bulb in question:

Link: https://www.lowes.com/pd/GE-Color-Correct-Technology-15-Watt-EQ-18-in-Daylight-Linear-LED-Tube-Light-Bulb/5000762911

Repairing a broken Frogger arcade game

I was asked by a friend to help get his Frogger arcade game back in shape. This may be a controversial video series for some because what I was asked to do a lot of “arcade purists” might not agree with, but this is the best way to take an old vintage game and bulletproof it. This game goes back out on location in a bar in New Orleans’ french quarter.

Bally Theater of Magic: Fixing a broken trunk and bulletproofing

I’m finally getting around to fixing my Bally Theater of Magic pinball. In this case, as is typical, the trunk stopped working. The trunk is not working at all, so let’s find out what’s wrong and I’ll also go into replacing the trunk opto board with a new and improved, German-made board. Will this fix all the problems? Watch and see….

Part 2: Work continues on the Bally Theater of Magic pinball – in this case, we’ve figured out why the trucnk wasn’t working even after installing a brand new, improved, aftermarket trunk board. The motor driver controller was shot! Now, while we’re bulletproofing the game, this is a good time to install the special Cliffy Protectors around the trunk to make sure there’s no damage to the plafield. In this video I go over how to lift the trunk out to be able to do this, among other things.

We finally got everything working on the Theater of Magic pinball – here’s a summary of everything that’s been done, along with an odd problem I had with an aftermarket proximity sensor.

Diagnosing Coil Problems (and more) On a Simpson’s Pinball Party

An odd assortment of things are wrong on this TSPP pinball machine. Are they related? Let’s look into what’s wrong and where we should look to fix things?

This has now turned into a multi-part series where I also discover some other issues:

So here’s the take-away from the first 5 parts of this series.

Everything was basically inter-related (except I believe the slingshot and pop bumper coils were separate failures). The trouble with the ball trough opto led to the failure of the shooter lane coil. When the ball trough opto started failing, it signaled false switch closings, tricking the game into thinking balls were moving through the trough and causing the VUK to try to clear a problem, which caused multiple balls to go into the shooter lane. This happened faster than the auto-plunger could handle and once X number of balls went in there, the plunger could not clear them, and eventually the MPU sent too many “fire-the-coil” signals and blew the driver transistor — interesting that it blew the driver transistor before it melted the coil — I suspect either (or both) can happen in this circumstance.

What’s interesting about this, is that this problem could be compensated for by software. It’s also possible the other coil failures are the result of a similar characteristic: Not having a certain timeout or duty-cycle enforced on coils. Meaning… the software could check to make sure that if a coil is firing too much (say x amount of times in y time), that it knows there’s some kind or problem and then put the game into some sort of error state rather than blow the coil or the drivers. I know in some later games this happens… when errors are encountered, the game just stops trying to fire coils rather than blow them.

This obviously isn’t the case in some of these 2000-era Stern games. I’ve noticed this on several titles including WPT and NBA as well.

Unfortunately, there’s not likely to be a software fix available, so what is important is to keep an eye on game behavior and try to catch switch malfunctions before they blow things. Had I been told about the shooter lane situation earlier, I could have fixed the opto before it blew the driver transistor on the SDB.