LAI Cocktail Machine Restoration

Diary of a LAI arcade cocktail machine restoration.

A long time ago, back in about 2008 I got hold of 3 LAI arcade cocktail machines. They all needed some TLC, some more than others.

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This is the first one I restored. See above the top chipboard panel is very flakey and will need to be replaced. The control panels have LAI artwork for Moon Patrol (very basic).

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Inside the cab from the front. I have noticed that both the Neutral and Earth wires use the same type and colour wires. Don’t want to get those mixed up, will change this as part of the restore.

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Side view, with vinyl lifting.

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Bootleg time pilot PCB.

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Solder on the edge connector, sigh

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PCB has some corrosion on it.

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The power supply is not working, and has been bashed around. Will go in the bin.

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The tube is good quality Mitsubishi A Grade.

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No screen burn on the tube.

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The inside of the control panels. Not too bad but will replace joysticks & buttons.

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After setting up a quick Jamma harness within the cabinet and putting a PCB in, the monitor works!

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View of the chassis. Although it is working, this type of chassis is known to go at this age. Will replace with a new Jomac chassis.

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Another view of the chassis.

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Fired up the Time Pilot PCB in the cab. I was very surprised to see it work, only problem is the player and enemy sprites have been replaced with small circles. Probably won’t try to fix this, as I will put a different PCB/ multiboard in.

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Starting to remove bits and pieces.


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Top panel removed. These will need to be replaced.

 

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Clean up really starting now.

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Front door panel needs to be replaced due to water damage.

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The fan just fell apart. See the grill – packed solid with probably a combination of Fish & Chip shop greasy fumes, cigarette smoke, dirt and BO.

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I will give the grill a cleanup with a wire brush on angle grinder.

 

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By my calculations this machine may have raked in about $18k during its life.

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Cabinet almost gutted.

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The black vinyl needs to be removed & replaced as it is peeling off. This needs some help from a heat gun.

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After removing the vinyl, there was heaps of glue left on the chipboard. This needs to be removed for better adhesion of the new vinyl. You can see the glue in the pic. To remove the glue the following technique works:

– Applying general thinners with a rag to the glue, rubbing until the glue was removed.
– Cleaning up left over stickiness with methylated spirits.
– Giving the side a wash with warm soapy water to finish off.

Be aware you should do this outside, as the fumes and smell from the thinners is very strong.

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The chipboard underneath is nice, clean and smooth now.

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In the previous picture where the glue was removed from the side, there are 4 screw holes on the bottom. These are not standard. There has been some type of repair to hold the side to the base. One of the screws put in ran into another screw as pictured. I removed this screw as it was not really needed. To assist putting on vinyl later, I will fill the holes.

 

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I used Sellys Knead It to fill the holes. This was my first go with this stuff, it is really good. It dries rock hard. Next time I won’t overfill the holes like I did, it took a lot of effort to sand them down!

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The finish is now really smooth.

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A replacement chassis has arrived! Will install later.

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Time to put some vinyl on the side. The closest match to the original vinyl I found was chalkboard vinyl. This is generally available from signwriting suppliers.Firstly I wiped the area over with a tack cloth to remove any dust & residue. I cut a square of vinyl that was a bit bigger for the area to apply then trim. I then scored the back of the paper, to expose about 8cm of vinyl sticker.

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I chose to apply the vinyl dry. I started out putting the top piece about 1cm over the top. Then used a squidgee to methodically push the vinyl onto the side, slowly edging further to avoid air bubbles.

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As I sqidgeed down further, I pulled the backing off the vinyl a bit further each time.

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Now all vinyl attached. Time to trim back.

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When using a sharp knife to trim back the vinyl along a wooden edge it is easy to dig the knife into the wooden edge just a little along the way, meaning things may not be completely even.

To ensure a straight cut, I got a metal straight edge and clipped along the edge but had it slightly over by a mm or so. I then used a metal ruler to run along the edge, pushing firmly to push the straight edge to exact alignment. Using the sharp knife, I cut the vinyl against the metal straight edge, ending up with a perfectly straight exactly where needs to be. For the rounded corners, I carefully cut around them free hand.

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The finished application. I will need to sort out some holes for the leg bolts, that will be easy with a sharp blade.

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I will change the existing harness to JAMMA. There was a LAI to Jamma Harness available from in2amusements.com.au for $20 – at that price not worth the effort of making your own!

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Have removed the isolation transformer as the new chassis does not need it. I have put a metal plate down to attach various earth loop connections to that were previously attached to the transformer.

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IA few things have been moved around to make room for a new power supply

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A package of goodies has arrived!

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Made an AC distribution block with a terminal panel, 90 degree & 45 degree 6.4mm lugs from Jaycar.

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Secured the AC distributor in the cab, will use a plastic jiffy box to cover it up.

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Have put holes as required in the plastic cover for the AC distributor. Still need to put the monitor AC in through the top.

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Found the right size plastic caps for cocktail legs which I have had powdercoated. These came from Bunnings.

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Powdercoated legs up on cabinet now. I used my favourite trick with the leg screws. Removed rust with wire bruch, then spraypaint with gloss enamel black. Leave for one week to dry before using, to ensure the paint hardens up nicely.

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With a bit of help from my Dad the new top has been made, along with the new front panel. Unfortunately these cabs were made out of chipboard. As these are often stored in places like outdoor sheds, it doesn’t take much for water damage to set in, hence the need to rebuild damaged panels.

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Bought a new hinge for the front panel. I have discovered these are called a “Desk Stay”. It’s amazing how long it sometimes takes to find something so simple.

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Received some woodgrain adhesive vinyl for the new sides. I got this stuff from http://www.crockerspaint.com/. Great quick service. I have other projects, so I bought a 15m roll, and it took me long enough to find a place in Australia that sells this style. Cost $89 + postage. The colour style is Walnut.

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Have lined the inside of the new front panel with the woodgrain vinyl.

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New black vinyl for the front.

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Put things back together now.

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Put new cam lock on, looking good.

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Drilled all the bolt holes in the new top frame, also put a few screw holes for things in as well.

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Applied vinyl to the inside of the frame.

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Progress shot of applying vinyl to the outside of the frame. The trick is to be careful, and continually use a squeegy to make sure there are no air bubbles etc.

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Finished product with vinyl applied to inside & out of top frame.

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Have mounted the top frame now. Between the top and bottom frames, there is a 4mm. There are some L shape brackets that attach to both, the 4mm is necessary for everything to fit together neatly.

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Started putting more bits and pieces on the cab. Speakers, coin mechs, control panels attached. The control panels are from a batch I had powder coated previously. Note I now have fitted 2 button panels.

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Side view

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I have put the coin box in now. I need to decide how to mount the chassis. The old Kaga Denshi chassis had a frame mounted to the side of the coin box. The new chassis is only one piece, so it is a different shape and the flyback is not a separate unit, so I’ll need to do some adjusting. First, here is the chassis frame with the old chassis removed. Note, if you do this keep the old screws when you take the old chassis off.

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To have enough room to fit the tube in with the new chassis mounted on the side, I have to mount it lengthways along the bottom of the frame, with the flyback on the P2 side. To enable a secure mount to the frame, I drilled out the rivets from the middle brackets. It just so happens that the frame is the exact correct length for the new chassis. I drilled some new holes in the bracket piece that was in the middle to line up with existing holes in the remainder of the frame. I attached these pieces together with the old screws.

 

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Next, I lined up the chassis on the frame. Marked out new holes to drill in the frame in line with the chassis holes. Used the old screws again to attach.

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Tube fitted now.

 

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Wired up the monitor chassis to AC, Jamma harness & tube

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Fitted a multiboard, can still use arcade PCBs if desired.

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Looks like it has almost just rolled off the assembly line now!

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