From 2017 to early 2020, I was repairing a Joust cabinet that we had acquired from a rural area. The person who sold it to us claimed that it had been in a hotel lobby for years. They also claimed that it had been “working like a champ” up until we came to see it. Regardless, it was a good price even if it was not running, so we gladly picked it up.
This repair has been in the works for about two and a half years. It was stopped variously by lack of knowledge, lack of proper tools, and lack of time, but eventually repairs were completed and the game is fully functional.
When I started working on it, of course the first thing I had to do was replace the original AC plug end with one that hadn’t had its ground pin removed. Old arcade ops seem to have been very bad about removing them. After that, I also had to switch out the fuse block because the original was so corroded and soft, I’m sure it wouldn’t have done its job much longer.
I have been working on a Wizard of Wor machine that wouldn’t start. The only thing I got was a vaguely green screen and a buzzing speaker. I began by removing the socketed chips one at a time and cleaning them with a high quality plastic eraser and a Dremel wire brush when the tarnish was too heavy. After this I sprayed Deoxit into all of the sockets and reseated the chips several times each.
I’ve been doing a lot of work recently getting a Mario Bros. arcade machine back into working shape. Pretty much everything that commonly goes wrong with this game had happened. The monitor’s capacitors were dying, the sound didn’t work, the internals were covered in a thick layer of black dust, the list goes on. Here is a rundown of my efforts.
The most noticeable problem was the washed-out picture, with bars of light across the screen whenever something was drawn. I picked up a capacitor kit from Ian Kellogg to replace them with. The monitor that comes standard on pretty much every Nintendo cab is a Sanyo 20-EZ. It has quite a few caps to replace. It’s probably not strictly necessary to replace them all, but with 30+ year old caps that have rubber seals, it’s definitely a good idea. The cap kit also comes with those necessary to rebuild the sound amplifier.
Something that happens a lot is that people either accidentally or ignorantly remove the grounding pin from their AC plugs. Since a lot of arcades in the 80s probably didn’t have wiring that was up to code, a lot of outlets just had 2 prongs. I’m sure many people didn’t understand the importance of grounding to keep from being shocked or overheating your equipment. I went and got a replacement plug for about $2.