Welcome back readers. Do I have an update for you. That’s not a question, I really do, and it’s a good one. So, get settled in and read on. As always, if you missed the start of this restoration story, then you can catch up HERE, before reading on.
For those that are up to speed, you may recall, my phone was ringing…
Bob told me that he had fixed one problem, to then find another, to fix that, to find another and, well, this continued for some moments, as Bob, recalled all manner of faults he had repaired on my pcb. Not only had he replaced and repaired the faulty chips, he had socketed these and many others, as well as fitting newer more reliable chips, where common failures are expected to occur. Bob had also tidied up the edge connector which showed evidence of some previous repair or direct soldering.
Most important, was that my pcb was now fully working and hopefully good to go for some time to come. Not wanting to risk any courier with my precious pcb, and really wanting to meet Bob in person and shake his expert hand, I decided a trip Southwards was in order.
It was great to meet Bob and thank him in person, and I watched with great excitement as he plugged my pcb into his bench set-up and those all too familiar pointy rocks drifted across his monitor. Confirmation indeed, that Bob had worked wonders and breathed new life into the old circuits. We were good to go.
Back home, and with the possibility of a duff pcb ruled out, I could now test the monitor and see if the work already carried out had, in fact, actually fixed it, or if there were still issues either with the monitor, or elsewhere within the cab.
To avoid delaying the result, or ekeing out the suspense, I’ll simply post this here.
This really re-invigorated me to not only get on with the rest of this restoration, but also to really appreciate what I had here. As a massive Atari fan, it struck home, that I now owned a true piece of Atari’s arcade history. I mean I always had it, but now, with it working, I no longer just had some wood and metal with an Atari sticker on it, I had the real deal.
And it didn’t escape me, how fortunate I was to have been asked to help out a friend, which led me to finding the cabinet, and the community help from Bob, to get it going again. And as it turned out, the community had a bit more to offer yet.
But for now, let us polish up some more bits.
The coin up area was in good overall condition, but as with a lot of the other parts, in need of a clean up, also the bulb wasn’t illuminating the coin slot button. Fairly easy to remove, and once out of the cabinet, it is much easier to see what we have got.
At least it was easy to see why the bulb didn’t work.
I simply chopped this off, tidied up the wiring and soldered on a new bulb holder, fitting it back onto the coin mech. To polish up the front plate, I removed all the component parts and mechanism, leaving just the flat face plate.
Then using a soft mesh pad, some extra virgin oil and a bit of elbow grease, we go from this;
Of course I couldn’t put this back on using the filthy rusty bolts, that had held it on, and had no intention of replacing perfectly good, original bolts with B&Q’s finest, so, out with the dremel, and the rust, sanded off.
All cleaned up and a simple job of re-fixing all the component parts back to the face plate and fitting it back onto the cabinet, wiring up the bulb and coin mech and…
Let’s keep the momentum going. The top of the cabinet was not only missing it’s glass top, but the groove that ran around the outside of the top was also bereft of it’s original decorative edging.
I wasn’t really sure what had originally been in this groove, and on asking other owners of the same cab, found theirs, also to be missing. So my best guess, would be some kind of felt/material, put there possibly to catch any spilled liquids, before they could get to the sensitive electronics.
With that in mind I first sealed the bare wood with some basic PVA glue, purely to provide a better, keyed, surface for the next part to adhere to.
I then ‘borrowed’ some items from MrsM’s craft room, namely some black woollen felt and her rotary cutter, and cut myself some snug fitting strips of felt. The felt is easily malleable enough to bend around the corners and allows you to bind the fibres together when joining pieces together, effectively hiding any joins.
PVA glue used again to secure teh felt strips into the groove. Then it was just a case of going around, adding in strip after strip, glueing each on into place.
Once finished, a good polish of the table top and things are really starting to take shape.
In that photo, I have removed the cardboard monitor bezel, which sits around the outside edge of the monitor. Again this has seen better days, but it is original and, in my opinion, should be kept, and made as good as can be, rather than binned and reproduced.
The worst parts were around the edges, which were rubbed, and the white card showing through. Out with the Sharpie and Posca pens, which quickly covered this up and a quick press with a low heat iron, through a towel, to flatten out the folded edges. Done.
Which leaves us with the legs, which do, on cocktail cabs, tend to take a bit of a battering, and these were no exception. The paint had rusted and peeled, again cosmetically poor, whilst structurally sound.
Lacking any kind of professional painting booth, I made my own, allowing me to hang the legs and spray all the surfaces without having to touch or hold the metalwork.
I used Hammerite Satin Black, which is for direct application to metal, without the need for a primer. As with all spray painting, multiple thin coats will produce a much better result than one thick coat, and prevent any unwanted paint runs.
And for the underside I used an upturned stool to support the legs whilst I finished the spraying.
Finished and looking much better than where we started.
Each leg has two metal feet attached to the base, which I polished up with the trusted dremel.
The legs are attached to the wooden cabinet using fairly standard hex bolts, which had completely rusted over, but again, no point in not re-using, so after a quick sand and paint, the original bolts are ready to go.
The last thing to do was to replace the plastic leg stoppers, 3 per leg. Now these I did have to replace, I was missing one, two were cracked right through the middle and another had a deep gouge through it. Some things can’t be saved, so some new ones ordered online and fitted.
And with that finished, you are now pretty much up to speed with where we are at. I still have a few lines on the ‘to do’ list, left to cross out, but nothing major, mostly cosmetic and final touches, which I promise to try and wrap up, whilst we still have the momentum going.
Of course, with the game now fully playable, I don’t have to look far for a new distraction…..
Please let me know what you think; any thoughts you have on how far to go with restoration projects; and the game itself, Asteroids, surely a stone cold classic, right?
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Thank you for taking the time to read through, see you all next time for the final installment.