Guide to Restorations - Section 3 Last Updated on: 8/24/2013
Time to break out the tools. Maybe. The only reason you need to dismantle a game is if you plan on repainting it, cleaning it (Next Section), or need to repair/replace parts inside. If you're not going to do any of those things, then either your game is in mint condition, or you don't care that its beat up, or you're not restoring a game.

Cleaning and Painting are going to be the hard parts so by dismantling the game, it will make it easier to do both. My rule of thumb is this: If I don't want to get paint on it, I remove it from the game before I paint. A lot of the cabinets that you get are going to be dusty and dirty inside so be prepared to get dirty. Before you start ripping things apart you should have a few things to help you stay organized, not loose anything and help in the dismantling of the game.

Zip-Lock bags - Use these to keep screws, bolts, and other small objects in. Use a different bag for different sets of screws, bolts, etc... For example, I would put the bolts that hold the control panel in one bag, and the bolts that hold the joystick on in another bag.  Use a Sharpie to label what it is, and keep all the bags in one location.  I use the Coin box for the game if I have one, if not I find a box, and put them in there, then put the box inside the game when you are not working on it.

Painters Tape - I use it to mask off areas that I don't want painted over.
Big Trash Can - You would be amazed at how much junk is inside a game that has been around for 30 years. Everything from Rodents to Condoms (Google it for more info on this).

Mostly what you will find is paper, tokens/quarters, broken wood, screws, washers, bolts, and lots of dust.

WD-40 - Used for stubborn bolts that are rusted or just wont budge. Don't forget to wear your safety goggles. Getting this stuff in your eyes would really suck.

When you start dismantling the game, you need to decide on what you really want to keep and what is going into the trash. Don't plan on saving much of the Plastic stuff as its probably very brittle by now and will break. If you are going to take the monitor out BE VERY CAREFUL! The monitor can kill you or make you have a VERY BAD DAY.

If you are not comfortable removing the monitor, you may want to have someone else do it for you. You should use caution when removing the power supply as well as it may still contain a charge if it had been plugged in recently. Also make sure the game is unplugged please. You can't restore a game if you're dead.

For the boards, depending on their size, I usually store them in a Fed Ex (Med or Large) or USPS Priority Mail box (Large) wrapped in Anti-Static Bubble wrap.

BEFORE YOU START: Take lots and lots of pictures of the inside of the game, or spend some time drawing a diagram that shows where all the wires go,and where everything is mounted, etc... It would really suck if you didn't know where everything went when it was time to put this thing back together :-)
Here is how I dismantle a game: 
  • Remove Control Panel 
  • Remove Marquee (Wrap in Paper, and put in safe place) 
  • Disconnect All MOLEX connectors and other wires. (may require cutting some wires) 
  • Remove the PCB, wrap and put in box.   Put box in a safe place. 
  • Remove Power Supply 
  • Remove Wiring Harness 
  • Remove Monitor - CAREFULLY! 
  • Remove Light Fixture 
  • Remove Coin-Door 
  • Remove anything else that needs to be removed.
At this point you should have several bags full of stuff and piles of other things.

Some things you should take into consideration: What shape are the screws and bolts in? If they are rusted you may want to take a trip to the hardware store and hope they have the same size and style. You might be able to remove the rust from them and paint them (or just leave them). Shinny or freshly painted bolts/screws make a world of difference.

Are there parts missing? If during your dismantling, you only removed 3 bolts, but there was a spot for a 4th, you should see if you can locate a replacement for the 4th. You might want to get 4 new parts so that everything looks the same. It would look kind of funny if you had 3 bolts that were dull and scratched and 1 new shinny one.

Did you strip anything? Sometimes when you take a machine apart you may strip or partially strip a screw or bolt. Don't use these again, Replace them.

Security Torx Screws?

YUCK! Get rid of them, put normal screws in their place.

Wiring Harness in good shape?
If the wiring harness is in pretty bad shape, you should plan on buying (or making) a new one.The wiring harness may not even work with the original game, if that's the case and its in good shape, put it in a box or a big plastic bag for use later.
Ok, now that everything is all over the floor, its time to clean it, repair it, and then paint it....

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All Articles in this category
Article Date 
3/23/2000 Guide to Restorations - Section 1
Getting started!
3/23/2000 Guide to Restorations - Section 2
3/23/2000 Guide to Restorations - Section 3
3/23/2000 Guide to Restorations - Section 4
3/23/2000 Guide to Restorations - Section 5
3/23/2000 Guide to Restorations - Section 6
3/23/2000 Guide to Restorations - Section 7
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