Sunday, 28 April 2019

Arcade Operator PCB Rescue Raid

A long running Op in North Wales recently sent me some pictures of approximately twenty boards.  “Let me know if they’re of interest,” he said.  “Or they’re off to the tip.”  Needless to say a date was promptly made for a visit!

The Op is located in a small town close to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the longest aqueduct in Great Britain and the highest aqueduct in the world. 

Anyone for Bara Brith?  I had to Google it and apparently it’s a tea-flavoured fruit bread.

The Op is a family run business, and the operation has changed over the years, more towards fruit machines and pool tables.

I remember playing these down the local pub not so long ago.

Back in the day, the Op had a lot of arcade machines in pubs.  He mentioned that as large dedicated machines became more common, it was increasingly difficult to move them through pub doorways, resulting in video games becoming a smaller part of the business.

The only machine the Op had left in the workshop was a modern cocktail cab, due to go back out on site.  I often hear stories of Ops smashing up machines.  I can see why they would have done this once machines stopped taking coin or required expensive repairs, especially with limited space and resale value.  I think I have become desensitised to it, instead focusing on the positives of what’s being saved, but it did hurt a little when he mentioned OutRun as one of the cabs which got the hammer.

Here is the list of titles in the haul.

1. 1942 – Capcom – 1984
2. Arkanoid – Taito - 1986
3. Cabal – TAD Corporation - 1988
4. Choplifter – Sega - 1985
5. Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone – Technōs Japan – 1990
6. Dynamite Düx – Sega AM2 - 1988

7. Football Champ –Taito / Team Dogyan - 1990
8. Ghosts ‘n Goblins – Capcom – 1985
9. Golfing Greats – Konami - 1991
10. King of Boxer – Wood Place Inc. – 1985
11. Pit Fighter – Konami / Atari Games - 1990
12. Punk Shot – Konami - 1990
13. Rastan Saga – Taito – 1987
14. Splatterhouse – Namco – 1988
15. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – Atari, Inc. – 1984

16. Tecmo World Cup ’90 – Tecmo – 1989
17. X-Multiply – Irem – 1989
Interestingly the board has a Legend of Hero Tonma original license seal and X-Multiply ROMs. This is most likely a factory conversion.

18. Unknown – Possible Capcom bootleg?
19. Unknown, possibly Pollux? – Dooyong

Splatterhouse is the highlight for me, absolutely awesome game and one you don’t see very often.  I used to play it in a local Chinese takeaway of all places.  I’ve been playing this a lot in MAME recently and plan on making a Splatterhouse themed cab.

I’m also really excited to play Dynamite Düx, a pretty obscure cute side scrolling beat-em-up, developed by Sega AM2.  The main protagonists are pet ducks named Bin and Pin, who are trying to save their owner Lucy from the evil Sorcerer Achacha.  This is the first time I’ve come across this board and was a real surprise as I thought it was Shinobi!

I also picked up these Konami guns.  Hopefully they will be useful to someone.

The PCB stash loaded up.  Mission complete!

After the Raid we went for a walk along the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and enjoyed the views.  Just don’t look down if you’re not a fan of heights!

The surrounding scenery was outstanding

I have started going through the boards and testing them.  To my surprise, Dynamite Düx, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Splatterhouse and X-Multiply are fully working.  The boards must have been well looked after.  The Ghosts ‘n Goblins board is immaculate.  It even has the original cellophane on the dip switches!

The Return of the Jedi was working, minus the speech.  A new TMS5220 speech chip has been fitted, rectifying the fault.

Further testing revealed that the up / down control wasn’t working.  This was due to a bad capacitor.

The board cleaned up well and is in very good cosmetic condition, although it has slight signs of burns on the edge connector.  Apparently Atari power boards measure voltage and jack up the power if it’s too low, so if there is a poor contact edge connector arcing can result.  However the game plays perfectly and was left running for a couple of hours without issue. 

Here is a short video of the game up and running.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

The Ones That Got Away

Whilst preparing After Burner for the journey to its new home, it occurred to me that I’d acquired a few arcade cabinets over the years and passed them on before featuring them on the blog.  Most of these cabs were sold on to fellow arcade collectors due to space issues, the need to raise some funds for yet another ‘must have’ cab coming along, or a combination of the two!  Here is a rundown of machines I’ve parted with since getting into the hobby, in roughly the order in which I sold them. 

Namco Cyber Lead

The Cyber Lead was my first arcade cab, which I picked up back in 2010.  It’s Namco, purple and has an awesome LED marquee display!  I didn’t do much to the cab other than cleaning and fitting a new speaker.  I really like how the speakers are mounted at the side of the monitor.  The cab also features the odd combination of JVS wiring and a 15 / 24KHz monitor.  The control panel is slightly higher than the Astro / Naomi / Egret II CP, and I found it very comfortable to play on.  Sadly it was also my first cab to go.  I sold it mainly due to space issues and the fact that the monitor can’t be rotated.  However it’s an awesome cab and one I would love to own again.

Electrocoin Chase H.Q.2
This cab had been bought by the previous owner from an Operator Raid and was missing the PSU and the Taito Type X hardware.  A few months later a fully working cab appeared on Ebay, and I decided to buy that one and sell this on as a project.

Capcom Mini Cute – Yellow Edition
Back in 2012 I picked up a Project Cute.  The cab was very tired and needed a lot of work to bring it back to its former glory.  The monitor had some serious burn, a home made custom panel had been fitted, and the paint work had a lot of scratches and was in generally poor condition. 

To top it off some punk had poured coffee into the control panel!

The cab was cleaned and resprayed, a new control panel, joysticks, buttons and looms were fitted, new side art and manufacturers stickers were applied, and the knackered, non-stock monitor was replaced with a NOS 17” monitor.  I picked up another Yellow Cute shortly after buying this and sold the project Cute once it was complete.  This has been my biggest project to date, and I was really pleased with how it turned out. 

Here are some before and after pictures.

Electrocoin Midi
These are fantastic cabs with a small footprint.  I later picked up a Midi which has always been a Pac-land cab, complete with Pac-Land marquee and cool art on the monitor glass.  I would have liked to keep both, but unfortunately didn’t have the space.  I gave it a good clean inside and out, fitted a new marquee bulb and starter, added a repro ‘Unigame’ marquee, replaced two buttons and then sold it on.

A fantastic Japanese metal bodied cab.  The monitor on this was awesome.  Unfortunately I couldn’t keep both this and the SNK Super Neo 29 Type II, so this one went.

Electrocoin Chase H.Q.
I bought this as a project.  Cosmetically the cab was very good, but it had a monitor fault, PCB fault, messy wiring where the power supply had been replaced, and the steering wheel turned endlessly.  I sold this machine when one in better condition came up for sale, and I’m happy to report that it’s been fully restored.

Atari Tempest Cabaret

I love the look of vector games, especially in a darkened room, and I thought it would add something a bit different to my collection.  Also the small size of the cab was quite appealing.  The cab had featured at various PLAY Expo and NERG events.  In fact I remember playing this very cab in Blackpool.  Unfortunately when it arrived the monitor had developed a fault and the game played blind.   These things happen with old electronics.  I never managed to fix it, and due to a lack of nostalgia for the game I decided to sell it on.   

Sega Dinosaur King Jamma conversion – Shinobi

This awesome little Dino King cab conversion had been completely rewired with a new Jamma loom and switcher, and featured a new 1L4B control panel and custom artwork.  Shinobi is one of my all time favourites, but I could play it on my other Jamma cabs, and I eventually sold this on to make room for another dedicated cab.

Sega Super Hang-On

Well we’ve all been there.  Martin the Delivery Man turns up with a cab which you ‘forgot’ to tell the wife about, and then you realise it’s actually too wide to pass through the house door.  Fortunately the weather was fine, and after removing the shroud, speaker and control panel we were able to get it indoors.  The cab was in great condition, and the game played well, except for a sound fault.  Interestingly the cab was made by Atari Ireland.  I managed to pick up some NOS parts and stickers for the cab, but unfortunately had to pass it on before I could work on it due to space issues.

Sega New Astro City
My very first arcade restoration project!  I gave the cab a deep clean, resprayed the yellowed speaker surround, fitted a NOS 1L6B panel and replaced the monitor with a nice zero burn MS9 tube.  It’s a really nice cab, and I was sad to see it go.  On reflection, the only part I wasn’t completely happy with was the coin door frame respray as the appliance gloss white wasn’t a very good match with the coin door.

Before and after pictures.

Sega After Burner

Another eighties classic which needs no introduction!  An awesome machine, sadly I had to sell this on to free up some space.  It was sold to Arcade Club, and I’m looking forward to playing it in its new home.

A video of the cab up and running.

The Getaway: High Speed II

I picked up this pinball table from a former Bed and Breakfast in Great Yarmouth, along with some arcade cabs and a fruit machine.  You can read all about that here:

My initial plan was to keep the machine, and I sent it off to Pinball Heaven to be fully refurbished.  I gave it a lot of thought, but couldn’t see a way I could get it in my games room without selling three cabs.  My new plan was to get it back, play it for a while, and then sell it on.  The work was completed and Martin was all set to deliver it.  However the evening before delivery I just so happened to see a wanted post on an arcade forum for this very machine.  I contacted him, a deal was made and delivery was redirected.  I’m a bit sad that I never got to play it after all the hard work of getting it out of the building, but I needed some cash after some big Raids recently, and I’m pleased it went to someone who really wanted it.  Also I was pleased to see The Getaway at the recent Play Expo in Blackpool and enjoyed a couple of credits.

The Getaway looks stunning in its new home!