A couple of weeks ago I took some time out from OERxDomains21 prep to pickup an arcade game here in Italy, Stern’s venerable 1981 Scramble. I think it’s an absolutely gorgeous cabinet, and I am thrilled to finally have it.
As Tommy noted in the video above, Scramble is a game I’ve been continually playing through MAME for years, and this cabinet stays in the personal collection—so I knew I would be doing some work on it. The most obvious work is dealing with some water damage to the bottom of the cabinet, the left-side in particular is pretty bad and the sheets in the plywood are fraying.
I’ve seem some forum posts on bondo and other things, but this water damage is too far gone for that. Everything above the 4 or 5″ inches of these two legs looks like new, so I have considered cutting them down 4″ or so and just making the cabinet a wee-bit smaller, but the purist in me wants another way. Maybe cut 12″ or so up the left-side, and find a matching piece to cover it? If I make the seam as perfect as possible then paint it yellow. The original height will be in tact, and the water damage gone, but I am wondering if that side/leg will be as strong. I’m still on the fence, and will take the next logical step and posts some pictures on the KLOV forums and see how the professionals would handle this, I’ve had some good luck there.
The other bit of work needed is what they call a cap kit, or replacing the capacitors on the monitor chassis boards. This moves into so pretty intense electronics which is giving me some joy these days. I’m not gonna lie, I’m totally out of my element and loving it. I have tagged along with Tim on a few of these projects now, and I am not not really going to internalize how these machines work until I do it myself. So, I completely disassembled the Wells Gardner 4600 of this Scramble, and it was a bit of a bear. I used this amazing video to help me along the way, and it is the most thorough step-by-step guide for disassembling the Wells Gardner 4600 you’re gonna find online.
The Wells Gardner 4600 chassis (the electronics that interface the game graphics with the CRT monitor) has a few boards vertically placed along the main board. So my first chassis disassembly was a tricky one, and there was a casualty or two. Below you can see the neck board that attaches directly to the tube (to the left), and the other two boards are the video interface board and the vertical and horizontal controls board. This TNT Amusements video about the Wells Gardner 4600 is useful for getting a sense of how to make adjustments and the like.
The vertical/horizontal and video interface board are connected to the main chassis board which is the reddish/orange one below.
And the final board, I think, is this power board that is attached to the metal housing that holds the chassis together and attaches to the CRT tube.
All these boards have capacitors that need to be replaced (there are roughly 30 in all) so I will be desoldering and soldering these on the boards, and then putting it all back together in hopes it works 🙂 The one casualty was the width coil that is extremely fragile and broke while I was taking it apart 🙁 I’m told if the width of the image on the monitor was fine there’s no real loss to breaking that width coil, but we’ll soon see. Luckily I have some excellent connections back in the USA should things go awry with my cap kit attempt, which may very well be the case. I’m still waiting on the cap kit to arrive—it should be here this week—so I will definitely have an update before long.
It was odd to see this cabinet without the monitor and bezel, it seems so naked. And depending on the work I do on the cabinet, I may have to soon remove the power brick and the power board at the bottom of the board along with the PCB attached to the side. It looks like this will be the first game I entirely dismantle and put back together, which means I am falling ever deeper into the arcade game vortex, and I love it!