The first thing I had to
troubleshoot the electronics. When initially powered up, it
up in Audit mode (Test 4). I transferred the board to my
continue troubleshooting. I checked D17 (it was good), and
tell the 5101 CMOS RAM was bad. After that was replaced, the
displays powered up dark. From what I could tell, the CPU
the CMOS RAM check, but hung up on the check of the driver board PIA
chips. With the help of Keith Apgar, I decided to replace
and after that, the CPU booted up successfully.
The playfield solenoids were checked out with a separate power supply,
and found to be all good. This gave me confidence that all
solenoid drivers would also be fine on the driver board. With
this out of the way, I just hooked up the backbox to the main cabinet,
and was able to play a few games to check out the machine.
solenoids and switches worked fine. I just needed to do a
thorough renovation on the playfield and its parts.
An overall picture of the
before the renovation.
I will be doing a complete renovation of this playfield,
including stripping all the parts above the playfield, cleaning, touch
up painting, clearcoating, polishing all the parts, applying NOS target
decals, and restoring the
parts. Finally a new rubber kit will be installed.
was included with the purchase of the machine.
The original condition of the center of the open area in the lower
It is in the
worst shape, and is also the closest to the player.
The same center area after many passes of the Magic Eraser and touchup
All the inserts were repainted including the area in the red circle in
front of the left slingshot.
The middle main insert is cloudy because I started to apply clearcoat
In the original
playfield was rather dirty, and had lots of ball swirls.
cleaned up well with the Magic Eraser and alcohol. Then came
touchups. These were in some
small areas. For example, the area in front of the left sling
some paint missing. I mixed some acrylics and
good match. The touchups were applied with the end of a
for the large areas, and a sewing needle for the really fine
work. For example, the "20" insert was touched up, but I
looks very original.
In the initial set of
games that we
played, we noticed that the ball would rumble audibly across the
playfield. We compared this to the Space
which I had also clearcoated, where you cannot hear the ball at
all. On that machine, the ball seems to float over the
playfield. It became apparent to me that I had to clearcoat
Flash playfield also. Another problem was that some inserts
bowed downwards over the years. When the ball rolls slowly,
could sometimes get stuck in one. One common way to repair
is to fill them in with water-thin
, but I decided to use clearcoat instead.
The poly I used for the clearcoating. Like the proven
product (Varathane) this is water based.
For this project, I
decided to try
brushing on the clear instead of spraying it. I went to the
Lowe's and found that they sold Varathane in one gallon containers only
($46). They also had another product that was similar to
Varathane. It is the Olympic
in half pint cans ($6). This product
following in common with Varathane:
- Available in gloss finish.
- Water based.
- Does not yellow over time.
- In liquid form, the product is milky white.
- Alcohol disolves this product.
Center of lower playfield after clearcoating. Not much change
visible from this angle in
my opinion. The clear on the center insert has not fully
and is still slightly white.
The procedure I found
worked the best
- Use a cool area to slow down the drying as much as
possible. This allows the clear more time to flow.
- Plug all the holes in the playfield with foam
sure they do not stick up above the playfield. If they do,
amounts will be dispersed when you use sandpaper.
- Use a new foam brush for each layer of clear.
- Brush a large portion of the playfield with quick strokes
- Pour the clearcoat on the wet area to form a thick film,
brush to push the clear around. Try and achieve a consistent
amount of milky whiteness over the playfield to have a consistent layer
of clear. You only have a few minutes to do this.
that, the clear will start to solidfy, so do not touch at that point.
- After several hours drying, and a film has formed, a fan
used to increase air circulation to speed up drying (I did).
- Once completely dry, use 400 grit paper between clearcoat
to smooth out imperfections. It will take about 24 hours to
- When done, buff with an random orbit buffer and rubbing
then finish with Novus 2 and carnauba wax.
Before clearcoat (top) and after (bottom).
Although the finish does
and enhances the contrast of the colors (black is blacker, colors are
brighter), the result is not as flat as the Space Shuttle's
finish. Spraying directs material at the playfield in a large
diffuse pattern, which prevents local high spots. Locations
the clear is not thick enough can be reapplied with a quick burst of
spray. In the case of brushing, one can only pour a small
mound of clear on places
that need more.
So in the end, I thought it was a worthwhile experiment, but I will
probably spray the next time.
A glancing angle of the clearcoat shows the remaining ripple on the
finish. Although it is very shiny and reasonably flat, there
remaining ripple compared to the Space
One area that was
challenging were the rollover insert switches. I decided to
remove the star-shaped portion, tape over the hole, and then clearcoat
them by hand using a small brush. After a few coats, I
the star with alcohol and a toothbrush and reinserted it into the
Right: taped closed and clearcoated
Left: After clearcoating and taping
clearcoated, star insert
Photos after final assembly. I also have tear down
pictures. If you need assistance with where a part goes on
playfield, let me know
Back to the Electronics
Although the CPU and associated electronics were working, there were
still reliability problems. After about half an hour of play
use, the CPU would lock up. To get it to work again, I simply
to press down on the ROMs in their sockets. Clay recommends upgrading
System 4 to System 6 ROMs. This required the replacement of
flipper ROMs (U17 and U20 also). Since a different socket is
for the main code, I did not have to use the problematic
sockets. After installation of the new ROMs, there were no
after several hours of
game play and letting the machine run in attract mode.
touching up the
Close inspection of the back of the glass shows that the missing paint
was mainly due to the scraping of the score glasses. Thus the
paint was not flaking due to age. This meant I could safely
the back with a paper towel dampened with alcohol. I took off
lots of dirt, but no detectable paint. Afterwards, I masked
score windows with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, and sealed the backglass
with Krylon's Triple Thick, per Clay's
I started with thin coats initially, and then heavier coats later as I
was afraid the solvent in the Triple Thick would affect the
backglass. After it was dry, I cleaned up the score window,
was pleased with the results.
The next step was to touch up the backglass with acrylic
Mixing this paint can be difficult, and after several hours, settled on
the color. The dark blue could have been matched better, but
light blue was very good match.
Left: before, Right: after touching up with acrylics.
Another example of touchup.
To prevent future damage
type, I covered the sharp corners of the score glass with a few layers
of black electrical tape. I then removed a few lamps behind
backglass to reduce the overall temperature for less thermal stress on
Note that the above touchup method with acrylics will only work for
opaque areas of the backglass. Acrylic paint is too thick to
translucent. I realized that a thinner and darker (more
saturated) ink was needed. I decided to experiment with
out the acrylic with water, and achieved good results. The
process is to find the darkest and brightest version of the color that
you can obtain. Then thin the acrylic with five parts
first to some transparent plastic to get the feel for the thickness
needed. Beware that the paint will be very watery and
runny. After it dries, hold it up to the lit backglass to see
much light transmits through. Reduce the puddle of paint if
too dark. By doing this, I was also able to touchup the
translucent areas. Since the paint is so dark, it reflects
right amount of light when the machine is off. When the
are on, the paint is thin enough to pass about the right amount of
light and color.
Area of the backglass that is translucent and missing paint.
the blurry image. The white parts of the dress have missing
revealing the lamp socket in the backbox.
Picture afterwards. Since the paint is so watery, I have
over it. At least it has the approximately correct color, and
bulb socket is no longer visible. In any case, I can remove
touchup with one swipe of alcohol and try again in the future.
More touchups. Since I do not have a 'before' picture, the
touchup areas are circled.
I had to reconstruct the '3' by freehand, and it turned out quite
well. The red is translucent, and looks correct when back lit.
The final result. After all the touchups.