Asteroids Power Brick and Playing Blind

In Asteroids


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Cleaned up power brick. Gave it a naval jelly bath, then hit it with a wire brush on the angle grinder, followed by several passes of sand paper grits on the variable sander. Polished it with Brasso. These things are enjoyable to restore. This gallery contains a lot of close up before photos I used as reference when putting it back together, maybe someone will find them useful!

asteroids power brick comparison

Some initial trouble shooting events took place during my first flight-check before powering the game up:

  • Pull all fuses to check for proper voltage/amps in each slot. After checking the main fuse, I went full retard and used a pair of needle-nose to pull out the first fuse in the bank. Inspected. Placed fuse back in needle nose, went to push fuse into fuse holder and glass exploded all over the place. Derp. Placed order for new fuses all around.
  • Went to connect the power switch up to the connectors and the fucking power switch casing crumbles apart as I’m trying to push the connectors on the pins. Order placed for new one, meanwhile I took the power switch out of Asteroids Deluxe to continue.
  • Nothing happened on first power-up of the block. A pin on the 6-pin molex connector for the power on/off plug got pushed out when I connected it up. You can even see it on the photo of the underneath, it’s the blue wire that should be on the bottom middle hole. I didn’t notice it originally because the blue wire buried itself. Double checked all molex and pins after that.
  • Finally powered up, all voltages check out great. But there’s a loud hum from the transformer, and it vibrates through the cabinet making it louder. This transformer doesn’t have the brackets that Bob Robert’s transformer noise article has. For shits and giggles I unbolted the transformer and re-seated it and that seems to have reduced the vibration considerably.

Now that the brick is working fine, hooked up the A/R I and checked voltages on there and it too was rock solid. So, time to connect the PCB and the chassis!

And we got quick blinking player 1 & 2 buttons, no video. Neck glow, no spot killer. I knew the PCB worked when I got it back from being repaired as I tested it in Asteroids Deluxe. So what the hell. After double checking voltages and looking over more molex pins, cleaning the edge adapter again for the PCB, I decided to throw the board back into Asteroids Deluxe to see if it was working. Nope. More pulsing player 1/2 buttons.

Apparently, the Asteroids board got bored sitting on a shelf for a month and wanted attention. I pulled all the IC’s, hitting the sockets & pins with DeOxit, and not really doing much sanding on the pins since that work was already done. This brought the board back to life and booted up fine in the Deluxe cabinet.

So back to the Asteroids cabinet with the Asteroids board and now the game boots up just fine, however it is playing blind. So what I now have is probably the more annoying scenario to diagnose: Game plays blind, neck glow, spot killer is off, no display chatter from the tube or static buildup on the front. Alright, I narrowed down the next set of things to check:

  • Ordered a new PCB edge connector from the arcade shop as well as a double-head pin removal tool from FrozenCPU
  • Pull the board from the chassis to possibly reflow the edge connectors
  • Shake fist in air and swear a lot

After 2 weeks of troubleshooting, reading over schematics (I have at least a revision 5 game according to the schematic packs), determining which revision deflection board I had, and countless hours of voltage testing… the culprit turned out to be the coin door I connected from Asteroids Deluxe.

With the door connected to put the game in test mode, the voltage for the heater off the block at pins 8 & 9 read a health 7 volts. Up at the molex connector at pins 9 & 12 had .2 volts. It took a good while to narrow it down to this. I was going off the wrong version of my board and reading the wrong pins.

So what’s sucking up the power? Oh, there’s also a couple blue wires off pins 8 & 9 running to the coin door. Alright, let’s disconnect that… again. Because this isn’t the first time I tested the game without a coin door. Or another door, I have 3 now. I’m assuming from all the testing and minor fixes I did along this long process of troubleshooting, I fixed something that made a difference.

Oh well, I won’t complain, it’s working pretty damn nice. No controls in place outside of player 1 & 2 buttons, I need to clean the leafs and fix a broken connection there. But hell, this is what I needed to have accomplished to start on the wrap up process to have this game completed.

And we have game!