I always like hearing about arcade restoration projects. With all the dedicated cabinets that got turned into Golden Tees, and basement floods taking the lives of countless other games it’s awesome to hear about others coming back from the grave. Below is John’s story about putting back together a Star Wars Vector (with a marquee from yours truly):
“I started off buying the empty SW arcade cabinet shell from a guy on craigslist (luckily, the side art was still intact and in good shape), I figured it would be a nice restoration project. I started on the actual cabinet esthetics. I bought new T-molding and then started buying the more expensive original parts (yoke, bezel and the control panel) from eBay. I would’ve bought reproductions to keep costs down, but unfortunately nobody seems to make exact replicas of those parts. I did, however, purchase reproduction overlays for the control panel, yoke and marquee. I knew even with the larger purchases, I could still keep the total cost around $500 (maybe a little bit more, but still way under the ~$3,000 for a working arcade cabinet).
I didn’t use any original parts for the electronics, I used a 19” LCD monitor, leftover computer speakers, laptop with the game emulator on it and built an adapter to connect the yoke to the laptop via USB (that was the hardest part). My friend gave me one of his old coin doors from a different cabinet, but I had to purchase replacement locks and coin reject slot/buttons. I installed the computer speakers using pipe straps to hold them into place (pointed down to through the holes), and used a black grate screen to cover the speaker holes. I sandwiched the marquee between two pieces of plexiglass to make it sturdy and to protect it, and installed it using brackets I made out of “L” channels used for drop ceilings. I used a couple of old fish tank fluorescent reflectors behind the marquee and coin slots and put a surge strip in the cabinet to power everything (the marquee is beautiful, much better than I thought it would turn out, especially for the low price). Finally, some flat and satin black touch up paint on the scratches and any other areas where the raw wood was showing and it was complete!
I use the bottom coin door to access the laptop and “deposit coins” through the laptop and once the credits are inserted, the coin door is closed and anyone can press the yoke trigger to start playing. I usually put a bunch of credits in, so I don’t have to keep opening the coin door and reaching inside to deposit coins.”