Sunday, January 5, 2014

Astro Invaders Arcade Restoration - Locks & Lights

In Part I I got my Astro Invaders arcade working again.  Now I want to fix the lights and locks.  The lights don't affect the function of the game, but they sure do make it look better.  And while the locks don't sound too important, it is a real pain having the coin door flopping around and the back constantly falling off.  Also, there are safety switches on the back and coin door that shut off the game if they are open.  So without the locks, they must be taped down.

The locks were an easy fix.  I ran down to Home Depot and picked up a 5/8" cam lock for the coin door and a 7/8" cam lock for the back.  Both screwed right in and the included hardware fit without any trouble.  I tried to find matching keys but didn't have any luck.  Eventually I may re-pin one of the locks so one key will fit both.  But this will do for now.

coin door lock
back lock

Next up were the coin door lights.  There are two #44 bulbs on the coin door.  I purchased replacement bulbs at Radio Shack.  Once installed, I bent the metal mounting tabs a bit to center the bulbs.

new bulbs

all lit up

Lastly, but most importantly was the marquee light.  Astro Invaders has some great artwork and I really want it to stand out.  So I opened up the marquee and checked the light.  The F14T12 fluorescent bulb was clearly burned out, so I purchased a new one.  While I was at it, I purchased a pack of new starters too. The light sockets were not attached to the brackets so I screwed them back on with some 4-40 screws.  Then I installed the new bulb and starter, flipped the power switch, and...  The light flickered for a split second and went out. Oh well.  I should have known something would give me trouble.

original light fixture

Time to troubleshoot.  I checked the fuse; that was good.  I checked the AC voltage in; that was fine.  I figured the ballast must be bad.  Back to Home Depot for a replacement.  I could have purchased this direct replacement for less money.  But I miscounted the wires on the original ballast and thought it wouldn't work. So instead I picked up a GE GEM120TC120/2-DIY ballast.  It is basically the same thing, but it eliminates the starter. One less thing to go wrong in the future.  Wiring it in was relatively easy.  See the picture for details.  I left the original fuse in place.  I used wire nuts in case the ballast needs to be replaced in the future. Finally I dated the ballast and light so I (or some future tech) will know when they were last replaced.

new ballast wired in

wiring diagram for new ballast

Just for reference, here is how the old ballast was wired in.

original wiring

With the new ballast in place it was time to see if my hard work had paid off.  I flipped the switch and the light came on.  Hurray!  It's starting to look like an arcade again.  In the next installment, I think I will start cleaning all of the circuits, switches, and connectors.   Check back.

gotta love that artwork!

I don't usually do this (because I don't want to know) but I think I'll keep a running total on what I spent on this project.  Here's what this part cost.

Starter                   1.97
5/8" cam lock        4.59
7/8" cam lock        4.92
Ballast                 11.99
Fluorescent bulb  10.72
#44 Lamps           0.99
Tax                      2.46
Total                $37.64

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