Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Bosconian Arcade Restoration & Repair - Part III

Ended having to pull the monitor again to fix the sync issue. When I went to do that, the bent metal rod that encloses the flyback transformer fell out.. completely rusted in the middle. I followed this https://forums.arcade-museum.com/threads/u-bolt-on-my-k4600-flyback-broken.462981/ to get an idea of how to fabricate my own rod. The proper material, a vice, die tool and cutting oil got the job done.  


With that catastrophe out of the way, I replaced 2 caps that did not come in the original kit (filter cap for c621 and the big filter cap)  to hopefully make the k4600 monitor image quit randomly scrolling while ticking. 

Alright! Then, I put everything together and fire it up. Within 5 minutes I see the ship sprites turn into blocks. Oh, no! 




PCB issue of some sort? At this point, I remove the PCB again and hook it up to a workbench set up with a JAMMA adapter. Removed and set aside the outdated "filter board" (Whups, what was that still doing there?) and ensured again the edge of the board itself was clean with a fiberglass pencil and alcohol. Replaced/Rewired/re-pinned the edge connector that goes to the PCB edge. 

Also, I was given advice over Twitter on that weird F 00003 error and apparently it was simply an odd dip switch setting! Always check for these things before wanting to start PCB surgery. 

After being very busy with other things, Christmas Eve snuck up on me. I wanted to show the game my nephew after dinner. He played this game a lot on one of those cheap 4-1 arcade things you could buy from Dollar General and plug up to a TV via A/V cables when he was a little kid. Walked into the arcade room with with him and PCB, said "Here goes nothing" and plugged everything up after checking to ensuring 5.10v at power supply and PCB input.

Machine fired right up and finally played completely proper for half an hour. Got another hour or so on it since without any glitching. After a final cleaning and spinning the cabinet back around to line up with the other cabinets, I'm calling this one as done aside from getting a new lock for the back door and other minor aesthetics like re-gluing the t-molding in a couple of places.




Thursday, July 9, 2020

Bosconian Arcade Cabinet Restoration & Repair - Part II


After the third layer of Bondo was applied and hardened, I did one final sanding job. Then I used 6 new, longer screws to re-attach the metal feet plates for the front corners. It is finally time for the fun stuff; the electronics!

The original power cord was 2-prong and had to be replaced. I had a spare 18 AWG cable that I hacked the end off so that I could tie it into the AC filter. Matching the wire colors from the cable to the AC filter of a Bosconian may be confusing to someone that has worked on a Galaga cocktail cabinet at first glance. Bosconian upright is GND/Neutral/Hot. I have included a picture of the proper wiring. Note the insulated connectors I have used on the ends of the spliced power cord wires. They are not hard to find online or more preferable to me; your local small hardware store business. Always ensure an insulated connection from the wall to the AC filter!

Wall to AC wiring

Then, the monitor was removed for repairs. Wells Gardner k4600. I have only successfully worked on the k7000 model before this which has a more simplistic design. I gathered these are harder to work on, but very dependable once they are fixed.



After discharging and removing anode cup, then removing from cabinet.


Yes, harder to work on indeed. I have 2 daughter cards to deal with here. This requires me to not only replace caps on these boards but also the solder joints to the connectors on the end must be re-flowed. Of course, I also re-flow the neck-board connection joints and other worn-out or "cold"-looking joints.

Slowly pulling in each direction after removing the factory goo, the neck-board comes loose.

Also have to de-solder this width coil on both ends before removal.


k-4600 main chassis, 2 daughter boards, and external transformer.
Lots of things to replace. I used up every bit of the k4600 capkit with exception to a pot that came with it that I could not envision fitting to the board. Hard to stick something in that has 3 legs into a spot for only 2.

After putting it all back together and installing the power supply kit, everything powered up and the game plays. Now I have a a benign PCB issue and a horizontal hold issue with the monitor left as the only things bothering me.. to be continued!

Part I - https://jizaboz.blogspot.com/2020/04/bosconian-arcade-cabinet-restoration.html






Thursday, April 16, 2020

Bosconian Arcade Cabinet Restoration & Repair - Part I




This is how it looked when I first brought it home. Years of cigarette smoke and general filth. A few layers of this must be removed before I even want to get near it. However, considering this machine was made in 1981, it is in great shape!





Just a few hits with magic erasers, 409 and papers towels has it looking more approachable the next day.


Now that most of the mildew smell is gone, it is time to start removing all the major internal components to do some repair to the cabinet structure itself. The slightly swelling walls towards the bottom are not much of a concern because the original material itself is there and should not deteriorate further unless for some terrible reason it becomes water damaged again in the future. I would rather not make it look worse trying to remove swollen MDF. 30 year old things should show a few battle scars anyway. However, the damage to the actual floor of the machine must be repaired. A whole corner was broken off and thrown inside the cabinet, and the other front corner bottom is pretty rough.


Time to open it up! Everything is all original inside. I was relieved to see it was the original Wells Gardner monitor instead of some hack or Kortek crap.




So far so good right? No keys were given to me, but luckily some of the spare standard keys in the Neo Geo MVS-2 next to it opened the coin door. Then, something scary happens. I begin to remove the metal piece underneath the marquee to pull it out and stop myself. A friend came over to help me with his ratchet set to remove some of the bolts holding the monitor frame in that are rather deep in the cab.  Figured it was better to remove the bezel glass underneath first just in case I dropped the piece holding in the marquee. I begin to remove the bezel..




It may be a little hard to tell what is going on here, but the upper picture is the top of the glass where I notice some sort of bubble going on. The lower picture is the underneath of the glass where I can tell the bubble is being caused by the old paint flaking off of the glass. This is could get really bad if not handled correctly to prevent further damage and flaking. I sure as hell did not want to have to replace this painted glass. I carefully remove it and consult pinball forums on how to preserve this as I figure it is probably also an issue with old pinball machine back-glass.


After carefully removing the glass, I set it down on a drop cloth to tape off the transparent area of the glass, getting as close to the round corners I can with bits of masking tape. No dust should accumulate on the backside, so there should be no need to try to clean before painting.  I sprayed a tad of this glaze onto a paper plate and dabbed a model brush in it and applied it to the flake shown in the previous picture. I spray 3 coats of Krylon Clear Glaze on. That effectively re-glued it to the glass before it was sealed.






See that in the corner? That is duct tape I added while the machine was still on the back of my truck. As I mentioned, the corner that was broken off here was found inside the machine. I thank the thoughtful person that did that so that I do not have to deal with carving out a new floor; instead I will repair the existing one. I begin removing piece of wood with transformers attached and everything else from the floor, while taking pictures of every wire harness I disconnect. The nastiest mold spot is under the PCB cage. I clean that out well while holding my breath.




Time to glue. Locktite III does the job well. Used a 24 inch "bar grip" in reverse to push one end up against the bottom of that metal coin box holder shown above with the broken piece underneath. I put enough pressure on it to hear a slight crunch after applying the glue and left it for 24 hours.



Now that the glue is hard and the clamp is removed, it is time to add some "body filler". I chose Bondo. One thing I always gathered from auto body guys back when I delivered paint was "Fill the holes, but spread thin." so I tried to do that, as well as using the spreading technique to mix a small bead of hardener into the filler rather than stirring it.



Letting this cure overnight. Also applied some inside the other side of the glued part. Tomorrow I will sand it, apply another coat, and repeat until these 2 corners are level with the rest of the floor. At that point I can spray both sides of the bottom and inside the bottom to about 12 inches up with clear coat.

I am really looking forward to working on the monitor and wiring up a new power supply to boot this thing! 


Part II is here http://jizaboz.blogspot.com/2020/07/bosconian-arcade-cabinet-restoration.html

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Quake II - Jolt Country Jailbreak

I've played a lot of Quake II in my life with many mods. However, I don't recall playing one called "Jailbreak" longer than about 5-10 minutes back in the early 2000's. It seemed sort of like a football mod I had played once. Mods like this are cool concepts, but they usually only worked if you had enough friends to play it who had interest in both Quake 2 and a sport or whatever, a setup to play the game (not really an issue these days), and patience to put up with old ways of getting your game client properly configured. All of that is assuming the server admin has things configured properly on his end.

My friend Robb requested I load up his favorite mod on my Linux Quake 2 server. That mod was Jailbreak. Unfortunately, the developers of that mod only released a Windows library file for their mod. A Linux server requires a mod library to be a .so file rather than a .dll file. In order to make this happen on an EC2 instance in Amazon Web Services, I had to launch a Windows 2009 base server instance. Getting the initial server going was easy. After downloading all of the Quake2 base files and quake2/jail files to the Windows server, I then opened port 27910 (default Quake2 port) in the Windows Firewall with a new rule. Also, I of course had to have the associated AWS security group allow all public traffic on port 29710

I needed a modern server binary to handle traffic, and that's where Yamagi helps. I downloaded the binary to that as well to the Windows server and copied it to the Quake2 directory. During our test of this server I found I had accidentally set my Windows shortcut to the server binary to the original one. This results in people randomly getting disconnected despite the server staying online, so I strongly recommend using a modern server binary rather than the original if you want to run your own server.

This is an example of how "target" should look on the shortcut tab in the properties of your Windows shortcut assuming you are using Yamagi binary:

C:\QUAKE2\yquake2.exe +set dedicated 1 +set game jail +map jb25map1 +set maxclients 16 +exec server.cfg

I wanted map voting and to report to a living "Master Server" (A public hub for finding servers), so I added the follwing to quake2/jail/server.cfg:

//MapVote
set allow_vote 1

//VoteTime
set sv_votetime 15


// Master Server
setmaster master.q2servers.com


I will be keeping the server up for a couple more weeks to make sure all is running smoothly, then the plan is to transfer ownership over to Robb.

At this point this is the only other jailbreak mod server running with exception to the TastySpleen server which requires an anti-cheat be present in your cleint. We do not use this requirement as server population is usually low on most Quake 2 servers and in my opinion you can always just kick/ban cheaters if you are paying attention to your own server (No offense to TastySpleen. They run many, many Q2 servers).



Anyone is welcome to join! The server address is jail.jizaboz.com:27910 and will remain so unless Robb wants to use his own domain.

Here's how to get started if you need help..

- Download a modern Q2 client if you aren't already using one. A very good one is Q2Pro

- Download the Jailbreak mod
After extraction, you should end up with a quake2/jail folder with a pak.0 inside of it and other stuff.

- Start Q2Pro or whatever client you are using. Hit the ~ (tilde) key and type "connect jail.jizaboz.com" (You can also find it in the MP server list)

Note: If for some reason you connect and do not see red or blue skinned character models (this is a team game after all!) then you do not have the jail mod files in the right place. To dummy-proof this and just download those files from the server if you must; hit ESC to open the main menu, choose
Options / Download Options / and enable Download player models and skins

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

July 2019

Realized how long it’s been since I updated this blog that feeds my website main page.

My current project status..

On-going server stuff:
- Quake II running in Amazon Linux
- Trying to get a good Amazon server solution for Tron 2.0 ready

Still working on:
- DPRK game in the Hugo interactive fiction programming language.
- A new game for the Vectrex system

Cancelled Projects (for now)
- A horror game prototype in Unity
- A Django-driven CYOA creation system prototype

Hope to do one day:
A first person shooter simulation of the original Photon laser arena game experience


Thursday, November 15, 2018

IFComp 2018 - Five Short Reviews


 ** ORIGIN OF MADAME TIME - BRIAN RUSHTON **

I don’t recall trying the story that this is the sequel to but I recognize this veteran authors name and it’s a parser-based game, so I wanted to give it a shot. In this game you play a female with the super power to stop time. Now that time has stopped, you have to sort through scenarios frozen in time to get the superheroes out of the theme park. “TAKE”ing everyone as if they were static objects did feel a little awkward but I’m not sure would verb would have even been better.

There are ways to trap yourself and meet other bad endings, and I had to use the walkthrough to get to the proper ending. Had I not resorted to that, this line probably would have really nagged me:

“You have the worrying feeling that you’re forgetting something. But it might just be nerves.“ (Argh! Now I feel really insecure about this!)

This isn’t a bad game, but I feel it would have really frustrated me without a walkthrough. There’s some good humor, scenery descriptions, and the story isn’t long-winded or hard to follow.


** PEGASUS - MICHAEL KIELSTRA **

In this one you are basically playing some sort of futuristic future agent. After a brief intro screen you are sent into a training mission only carrying a rifle and wearing body armor. There is a simplified choice-based conversation system here which is always welcome to me. The story shifts from different periods in the characters past like flashbacks. It’s quick with not a lot of description, but effective.

A bit more story and ending text would have been cool here but the way it is helps reflect the bleakness of the future portrayed.


** TERMINAL INTERFACE FOR MODELS RCM301-303  - VIGIMECH CORPORATION **

This is an interesting one that I did have a lot of fun with. It’s not very traditional in respect to commands, movement, etc. However, I think this is one of the strong points because you are controlling a mechanized industrial vehicle while getting pointers from a fellow in some amusing dialogue. There is no walkthrough present, but if you are patient you should be able to complete the story fine without one.

Without spoiling anything for someone who has never played this one.. all is not what it seems here. This is made even more effective due to the fact that in the beginning it’s a bit hard to grasp what’s even going on to begin with.


** THE FORGOTTEN TAVERN  - PETER M.J. GROSS **

As you may have gathered from my previous reviews I’m generally not a fan of “choice-based” games, but there have been some exceptions.The premise of this one in the entry preview sounded a bit interesting and mysterious. It definitely got mysterious. You have been taken in by two peculiar NPCs with unknown motives. The combat can get a bit repetitive but overall OKnot a bad game. I wish I was given a bit more background on the NPCs and the strange happenings of things on the other side of a particular door, but I suppose too much explanation would be a bad thing in this story.


** NIGHTMARE ADVENTURE - LAURENCE EMMS, VIBHA LAIJANI **

This is a text parser game but seems to have been made from scratch rather than using a popular language like TADS, Inform, Hugo, etc. This parser took some getting used to. For instance, you can not use the command “SOUTH”, rather you must use “GO SOUTH” or “GO OUT FRONT DOOR”.

While I enjoyed the introduction of a new parser that was compatible with most OS terminals, I found the experience a bit frustrating.. the “USE” command is a bit ambiguous as well as other commands, but I can’t really say this is a bad game either. If anything, this game gets a point due to not being yet another choice-based game (heh-heh).