Got my Space Invaders arcade machine working. - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Got my Space Invaders arcade machine working.

My other hobbies other than old cars and motorbikes are electronics and old video games. This little project combines both of them.

A number of years ago I purchased a 1970's Taito tabletop Space Invaders arcade machine that was looking a little worse for wear. It was missing its CRT screen and PCB and the main PCB's to run the game. Other than that, it was a nice condition cabinet and had all the original not butchered wiring loom and power supply.

So the other week I decided to pull my finger out and do something with it. Getting an original Taito CRT and PCB would be like trying to find hens teeth and would cost a small fortune if I could find one. So the hunt was on for a suitable screen that would do the job. And it has to be black and white. So after digging around on eBay, I found a used CCTV monitor that has the same size CRT I needed, was black and white and was only £10 ( $12.70 ).

I also needed the Taito Space Invaders PCB set and this cost £150 ( $191 ). There are 3 PCB's to make a set. One for the main CPU ( Intel 8080 ) and RAM, one for the ROM's and one for the sound. It took a while to find this, but a set turned up on eBay.

And I know all about how a CRT monitor has voltages that can ruin your day and even store them after it has been turned off. There is a procedure to discharge the CRT and capacitors to make it safe to handle.

The Space Invaders PCB's were sold untested and they did not work. I poked around them with my oscilloscope and found some faults and fixed them. After that, they burst into life.





This is the CCTV monitor running the game before I took it apart.



Here is the cabinet with the missing CRT and all PCB's.



Here is the CCTV monitor coming apart and then the CRT and PCB on their own.





Testing the monitor on the carpet before installing it into the cabinet.




The monitor PCB is fitted into the bottom of the cabinet.



And finally with the screen all installed and working.




It is totally awesome having it working and having such a thing in my house that was all mine. I used to play these in the late 1970's when they first came out and I have been hooked on classic video games since.

The coin slot uses an old coin that is no longer in circulation, but luckily it came with 4 that I can use. There is also a credit button inside you can press.

There is further work I want to do to this. I would like to take it all apart and fix the metal base as someone has tried to lever the coin box out and it has messed it up. And then repaint the metal base afterwards. Also the legs have broken their welds as people have sat on it in the past and now the machine rocks a bit. I need to re-weld the legs and maybe get them chrome plated as well.

I would love to collect more of these ( Scramble, Galaxians, Phoenix, Pac Man, etc ), but I do not have the room and also prices are going through the roof now for good condition early machines that work. But if I can justify the space, maybe I can buy another dead one and fix it up.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 03:57 PM
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That is pretty cool. Even more cool, is how awesome is it that the entire makeup of the pictures you have shown would probably fit on 1/10000 of the size of one chip.

Regards,
Patrick
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 03:58 PM
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I can hear that "uomp ump uomp ump uomp ump" and "pew pew pew" noise in my head now like an acid flashback.
Help, its getting faster and faster. MAKE IT STOP!
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 03:59 PM
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We have a bar in downtown Huntsville called Pints and Pixels. They only have pinball and all the popular video games from the early 80ís.

Regards,
Patrick
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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That is pretty cool. Even more cool, is how awesome is it that the entire makeup of the pictures you have shown would probably fit on 1/10000 of the size of one chip.
It is amazing how technology marches on.

The 3 main PCB's are 12" x 9". The CPU runs at 2MHz. And there is 8K of RAM and 8K of ROM. Back then this was cutting edge. Now it is just a relic from the past.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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When I had a holiday in Florida in the late 1990's with 2 friends, we stumbled across by chance an arcade that only had old machines. And you just paid an entrance fee and all the machines were on free play. We were in there for hours and got our moneys worth. The bloke practically had to kick us out :-)

In the UK, arcades with old machines are getting few and far between. A real shame. The seaside towns used to be full of them, and now they just have fruit machines ( one armed bandits I think you call them ) and other silly games. A few have some retro machines, but not many.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 04:10 PM
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I used to spend many hours, and many more quarters in the arcades in my youth. I always thought having one of the table top PacMan units would make for an interesting "coffee table" in the living room. Last year I did pick up one of the Arcade1Up machines. They are 1/2 to 3/4 size of the originals and are said to play the original games. My box is a 4 in 1 unit with Asteroids, Major Havoc, Lunar Lander and Tempest for just under $200. There are many mods available to use the case and replaced the innards with a raspberry-pi with over 500 pirated (copyright protected?) games.


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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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I used to spend many hours, and many more quarters in the arcades in my youth. I always thought having one of the table top PacMan units would make for an interesting "coffee table" in the living room. Last year I did pick up one of the Arcade1Up machines. They are 1/2 to 3/4 size of the originals and are said to play the original games. My box is a 4 in 1 unit with Asteroids, Major Havoc, Lunar Lander and Tempest for just under $200. There are many mods available to use the case and replaced the innards with a raspberry-pi with over 500 pirated (copyright protected?) games.

I have seen these advertised and if I had the room, then I would get some. Those games you have are all vector games with wireframe type graphics. I really like those and Atari made quite a few.

I have also made a homemade upright arcade machine from wooden sheets. And this is running a 22" LCD screen and has a PC inside. And it runs emulation software ( MAME, etc ) with many 100's of games. It is really good and was fun to make.

I would also like to have a pinball machine or two, but they take up even more space :-(
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 04:22 PM
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This last March, my daughter and I attended the all Ford car show in Tucson on 4th Avenue. There was an arcade about a 1 minute walk from where we parked and it was full on nothing but old pinball machines . Some of them I recognized from my teen years. We ended spending about an hour in there stuffing quarters into the coin slots. We had fun 😃



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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 04:28 PM
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There are some amazing upgrades to these 1Up cabinets, and you can simply download the games from the internet, but is it all legal? Most of not all of the games are copyrighted.


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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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There are some amazing upgrades to these 1Up cabinets, and you can simply download the games from the internet, but is it all legal? Most of not all of the games are copyrighted.

https://youtu.be/wbTKtfcXX3Q
My DIY upright arcade machine I mentioned above running emulation software, the ROM's that you download I imagine are totally not legal to distribute. I think the companies that own the rights to these old games keep trying to shut the websites down, but new ones just spring up.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 05:46 PM
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Nice!! I'd love to have an old upright Galaga, Centipede, Donkey Kong, or maybe a cocktail table machine. I've got way, way too many projects to seriously consider taking one on, but I love seeing the old machines brought back to life.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 06:21 PM
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We have a bar in downtown Huntsville called Pints and Pixels. They only have pinball and all the popular video games from the early 80ís.
Never thought I'd have a reason to visit Alabama. Now I do!

My eldest is always buying retro games for whatever the game system under the Flat screen is when he visits thinking I'll like them. He doesn't get the atmosphere and period correct part of the equation.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 08:13 PM
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Very cool . I was born in 1965 and loved playing pinball at the ice cream shop when I was in elementary school . After baseball games we played Pong when it came out .

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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 09:47 PM
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Loved all those games. Hate to think how many quarters went in.....
My favorite was Defender...

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