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.