Swapping Matsushita Chassis on Millipede (and a few more bavacade updates)

Millipede Opened up from the Back

The big win for the bavacade this week was swapping out the existing Matsushita 19″ chassis in Millipede with a like-new replacement I got from Mike of East Coast Arcade Repair while in Virginia recently. It was kind of a fluke I should find another Matsushita chassis in such good working order given many folks consider this the worst chassis of the era. In various repair videos I have heard folks recommend just tossing the chassis and starting over, but as Mike was noting, this stuff is rare enough to begin with that throwing out anything seems like a total waste. I agree. Additionally, each tube is fit for a specific chassis, so swapping chassis often means reconfiguring the tube fitting, which is definitely not trivial.

The Matsushita often came shipped with Atari cabinets like Millipede as the service manual suggests, and I’m pretty sure the one I took out was original. The issue began when I moved it out of my basement in preparation for it going to the studio, the game powered on, board worked, but the screen was showing black. The monitor was getting power, so it had to be something on the chassis board(s), and given the sense that it’s extremely difficult to repair, I balked at the cap kit.

Millipede in bavacade

So, as luck would have it, Mike had a working chassis and I got that to swap it out, but when I did the screen was once again black…WTF! I dug in around the monitor adjustments, and it turns out the brightness was all the way down;* I also had to dial in the various red, green, and blue colors to get the game looking good—I am almost there, but not yet perfect.

Millipede Horizontal Position Hack

The other bit was that the horizontal position pot on the deflector board was not really adjusting the position all that much, and as a result, half of the high score and player 1 and player 2 scores where being cut off at the top of the screen. I have a hunch the horizontal position pot is bad, so it might need to be replaced, but I opted for the quick fix of simply pushing the black, cardboard monitor shield that surrounds the CRT up about a 1/2″ to solve the issue. A bit of a hack, and in the image above you can still see the player two score to the right gets clipped a bit, but much better than taking the soldering gun to the deflector shield.

So, with that fix, the first in the new studio, I only have Centuri Challenger down, and that is definitely a K4600 chassis issue, but no rush there.

It’s worth noting as well that I grabbed a backup Phoenix PCB board from Reclaim Arcade while in Virginia (so that game is back online), given mine was still with Mike before I left. Mike also fixed a few other boards for me, namely a Stargate backup board set I got online, two Crush Roller boards, a Williams FPGA board, and a Moon Cresta board. I’ll pick all these up the next time I’m in Virginia save the Moon Cresta board which was shipped to Portland, Oregon, and by all accounts is working beautifully with the newly installed high score save kit. YEAH! So, the bavacade maintenance continues, but at this point I’m definitely feeling ahead of the game.


*This does beg the question of whether or not the brightness was all the way down on the original chassis to begin with? If not that, perhaps some related soldering joint was broken during the move—a common issue. Not sure, but for right now I have a working chassis, and another that I can test out my theories if anything happens to the working one. It’s  my opinion that having backup chassis is never a bad thing.

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