Robotron Restore Part 2

Now that I had a working Robotron, it was time to take it all apart and risk breaking it along the way. As with my first two restores, I took lots of reference photos, especially of the wiring on the 5-board set. Mike had done a nice job getting the game stable and I really didn’t want to mess that up. All the little parts, screws and bolts got bagged and labelled, stripping the cabinet down entirely except for the monitor. It’s actually a fairly light game, so even with the K4900 still in place it was easy to maneuver.

The first issue needing addressed was the bottom. I put my new jig saw to work cutting wood blocks and then drilling bolts into metal plates that held the legs. What could have been simple ended up taking me several hours, having very little experience with stuff like this. When all four were in place I stood the cabinet back up, already excited to see it looking proud.

The control panel on Robotron is wood, so I thought the work would go quicker, but it ended up taking even more time than stripping the overlay off a metal panel. Big chunks peeled off by hand, but the majority still required a lot of heat gun action and several coats of CitriStrip to get absolutely all of it. As always, a huge mess. I kept calling it done, sitting it aside, and then realizing it was still too gooey, another round of CitriStrip, and finally sanding. After several days of drying, I put the freshly painted metal joystick plates back in over the dust washers. Actually before that I used the plate’s holes as a guide to cut out holes in the repro overlay. All went well until I threw staples into the plastic guard at the top at a bad angle, causing the overlay to bubble up in a couple places. Some new old stock brackets, leafs and joysticks came together, new buttons, and then wiring it all back up, with fresh ground run to everything.

With one component entirely finished, I figured it was time to vacuum and deep clean the insides of the cab. Unlike that spooktastic Galaga, really only the bottom required attention — I yanked the wood plank out that holds the AC input, fuse block and transformer, thoroughly cleaned and soldered in a new grounded cord, and screwed it all back down.

Next I focussed on the top and bottom coin doors — the top only needed a little bending back in shape, but the bottom had about 13 holes likely from a security bracket that needed filling with JB Weld. Use too little and it caves in, too much and you’re sanding it back down for 15 minutes. This went on and on until it seemed the surface could eventually be painted. Lots of other metal parts got hit with Rustoleum Black, with most of the bolts first requiring some sanding in the hand drill.

So much left to do, and I couldn’t wait to get it back together to play it!

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