Well, I couldn’t wait to see some results, so I went for something visible. The one thing I KNEW I could fix was the marquee. I grabbed the old bulb and the old starter and headed to the hardware store. I paid way too much for replacements and popped them in and flipped on the power. Nothing.
Well, so much for the quick-fix.
In my research on the interwebs, I found some good tips. It seems that the biggest culprit in this cabinet is “Big Blue”. Big Blue is a large, 27 farad, electrolytic capacitor on the power supply. (The one in the photo is black because I forgot to take a photo before I replaced it.) Electrolytic capacitors have a shelf life, and a usable life, because the fluid inside breaks down over time.
The second-most common cause of failure for this machine is the electrolytic capacitors on the “A/R”, or “Audio/Regulator” board.
A common thread in many of these repair write-ups was mentions of obtaining parts from “The Real Bob Roberts”, who was portrayed as one of the gods of arcade machines. I found his site and, while he may not be a god, he is certainly a saint. Bob has pretty much any part you might need, and at very reasonable prices. Bob is pretty old-school; no online store, no PayPal, no credit cards. His site is basically a listing of parts he has to offer and their prices, all in one table. It’s a bit hard to find a particular part, but it’s well worth looking through the whole list. Bob has links from many of the part listings to photos to help identify the right replacement, or to very helpful tips pages. To order, you send Bob an email, listing out the parts you want. Bob responds almost immediately with a quote including shipping and his physical address. You send him a check, he sends you your parts; old-school. I would recommend him to anyone ten times out of ten.
My first parts order included a “Big Blue” capacitor, an A/R board “kit” (high-failure part replacements), a G07 monitor “deluxe kit” (more on this in another post), and a ballast for the marquee light. When the parts arrived, I started replacing things.
First, Big Blue; a simple replacement. Unplug power supply connections, remove power supply, unscrew capacitor terminal connections and mount, reverse to replace. I tested the outputs, but they seemed pretty far off-spec (more on this in another post). No joy there.
Next, I pulled the marquee/speaker board, and replaced the fluorescent light ballast. I put that all back together and finally had my first sign of life!
Hey, you gotta take the small wins when you can.