Archive | January, 2014

PCB Repair 101 – How To Clean and Reseat Roms

It’s a feeling that every arcade operator hates. You go to turn on your game and all of a sudden the screen boots up garbage or randomly starts resetting on you. Sometimes the game might play but there are glitches that distract from the arcade game. Every PCB board is a little bit different, so there’s no magic bullet on how to fix them, but one of the very first steps in PCB troubleshooting is to try and reseat the rams and hope you get lucky.

PCB repair can be intimidating, but this is actually a pretty easy fix to try. You’re going to need a wire brush, a flat head screwdriver and some electrical contact cleaner. You may also need your soldering iron and some solder if you aren’t careful.

contact cleaner

brush screwdriver

The goal of reseatting chips is to try and reenforce the contact that the metal makes to the socket. Over time corrosion and dirt can accumulate making it harder for the electrical current to pass through. The key to successfully reseatting a board is to go slowly and be careful. If you take a look at your board, you’ll see a number of chips that are nestled snuggly into sockets. Gently place one end or your flat head screwdriver underneath the chip and try and nudge it up off the board very gently.

pry chip

Once you’ve managed to pry the chip up a little bit, you want to stop or else you’ll bend the legs on the other side of the chip.

pried chip

Now that one end has been loosened, go to the other side of the chip and loosen the other end as well.

pried chip other end

At this point, you should be able to grab both ends of the chip between your fingers and lift it off cleaning without bending the legs on the chip. As you can tell from the photo, this particular guy is looking a bit grungy.

dirty chip

Spray a little bit of the contact cleaner on the legs and then use your metal brush to gently scrap away all of the dirt and rust. You want to be careful not to be too rough or one of the legs can fall off. If that happens, you’ll need to solder it back or a piece of metal. With any luck you should be able to clean it without a problem. If one of the legs do fall off, that very well could have been your issue to begin with. You can see how much cleaner our ram looks after it’s scrub down.

clean chip

Now that you have a cleaned chip, gently put it back into it’s socket. Make sure that all of the legs line up cleaning with the slots and then press it down firmly until it clicks back in. It’s really important that you put the chips back in the same direction that you took them out or else you’ll fry your board when you send power to places where it doesn’t belong. If you get confused, look for a notch at the top of the chip or writing. Generally, all of the chips on a board will be installed in the same direction.

Now that you’ve cleaned and reseatted your first RAM, you’ll need to go through and repeat the process on the rest. You may still need to make additional repairs, but in our experience this tends to solve the problem about one out of four tries. Best of luck with your arcade repairs. Let us know if you have questions in the comments or you can share your own tips and tricks there as well.

Friday Funday – Guess The Game – Artwork Edition

Happy Friday gamers! To celebrate the end of the week, we’re going to have an artwork edition for this Friday Funday. Try to guess which classic arcade game this is, from the close up shots that we post of it’s artwork. If you don’t know the answer, check back throughout the day and we’ll keep posting clues if no one guesses it. Happy Gaming!

Clue1

Clue #2

Clue2

Clue #3

clue 3

Clue #4

clue 4

Marcus at San Juan Sports Massage was this week’s winner with the correct guess of Operation Wolf

The History Behind Ms. Pacman

ms pacman

They say that truth can be stranger than fiction and when it comes to the history of arcade games, you can’t make some of this stuff up. Ms Pacman may have been one of the top selling games of all time, but if it weren’t for some bold copyright infringement, it wouldn’t have even come about.

At the end of last year, ArcadeSushi.com published a great retrospective on the orgins of Ms. Pacman. The piece is an informative trip down memory lane documenting the orgins behind the game. The story seems almost unbelievable when you look back, but Namco almost nuked the game. You can read the entire article on their web site, but here is an excerpt how the team behind Ms. Pacman, went about funding the development of the game.

“Doug Macrae was a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA, when he began operating his first coin amusement game on campus. The game was “Pioneer,” a pinball machine manufactured by D. Gottlieb and Company in 1976. The pinball machine had been his brother’s, who had placed it in his own fraternity house to much success. When Doug was given the game by his brother and put it on location in his dorm to start earning MIT students’ quarters, the profits were enough to quickly convince him to place even more games on location. Before long, Pioneer was joined by another pinball machine, Paragon, along with several new video arcade machines: Star Castle, Rip Off, Fire One, and three Missile Command games.

The money the games earned would eventually be enough to pay off his entire tuition at one of the country’s top educational institutions. The games were immensely popular explained Doug when he spoke at CAX in 2010:

“We decided the best way to keep the quarters circulating was to change the economics. We got known on campus that if anybody ever needed change we’d give out five quarters for a dollar. We knew they were all coming back to us anyway.”

I’m not sure if you could finance your college degree off of arcade games today, but Macrae would later use his education to create the infamous Crazy Otto game that would serve as the backbone for Ms. Pacman. It was his experience with diminishing returns that ultimately drove the innovation to adapt and create new games for people to play and while it may have involved some messy legal entanglements, in the end consumers ended up with a hit game.

It’s Good To Have Fans

We’re used to getting packages at All You Can Arcade HQ, but today we got some fan mail courtesy of Overstock.com. It’s always nice to find supplies at a killer price. In retrospect though, we’d recommend going with the larger 120x25mm size for your arcade cooling needs. Keep gaming, stay cool.

Fan Mail

The WG 19V1001 Black and White Monitor

WG19V1001 (1 of 1)

One of the benefits of working with so many games is that we come across a lot of rare parts. This post is dedicated to helping to provide more information on the Wells Gardner 19V1001 black and white monitor. Good luck with your monitor repairs Space Invader fans! Thanks for helping to keep these old spaceships flying high.

Copy of the 19V1001 Monitor Manual

The WG19V1001 Cap Kit

C201 – 47UF 50V
C202 – 47UF 50V
C204 – 470UF 16V
C206 – 100UF 50V
C211 – 1UF 50V
C219 – 150UF 10V
C221 – 47UF 50V
C230 – 1UF 50V (Axial)
C232 – 22UF 100V
C234 – 250UF 100V (250UF capacitors are nearly obsolete at this point. We used a 330UF/100V Cap as a replacement and have had no problems)

Troubleshooting

The picture on my monitor is upside down? In order to flip the image so that it displays properly you’ll need to swap your Yoke wires. Unplug the Red Horizontal Wire and the Black Horizontal wire from the Yoke and change positions. Presto, it should now display properly.

8 Bit Pulp Fiction

Cinefix has produced a fun video of what Pulp Fiction would have been like if they made an arcade game based on the movie. Normally video games based on movies tend to actually be quite lame, but this one looks fun. It has classic side scrolling shooter elements with a dash of button mashing and even a little Dance Dance Revolution.

H/T to Polygon