This post is going to be one part tutorial, and one part photo gallery. If you have a problem with that, you can bite my furry orange nose.
Warning! This post is a bit long, but it is SOOOO worth it.
The fabric looks like crap in some of the pictures, due to the flash. For some reason, it looks almost reflective when the flash hits it. It looks much nicer in person. You’ll have to trust me on that.
What’s this, an arcade related post? Wow! Pretty crazy, I know….
I’ve been trying to get my games in working order for our Christmas party. For GTI Club, I’ve been struggling with a Wells Gardner U5000 (AKA steaming pile of horse crap) for awhile now and *think* I have that fixed.
The sound on my Q*Bert has been wrong for awhile now. I tried fixing this before and didn’t get anywhere with it. I didn’t think it was that bad, so I gave up for awhile.
I decided to take another crack at it. I thought that only one sound was wrong, the noise made when coily jumps off the board. I now realize that mine sounds pretty craptastic compared to how it should sound so I need to get this fixed even more now.
I figured this out by doing the sound test on Q*Bert in MAME. Here is how it should sound:
When I last worked on this, I did quite a few things:
Replaced the sockets for all socketed chips on the sound board, except for the SC01 speech chip at U14 (I didn’t have the right size socket for that)
Replaced all the electrolytic capacitors on the sound board
Fixed some issues with the header pins on the filter board
Replaced A10 on the main board
Replaced U16 on the sound board
For this new attempt at fixing it, I started by changing the socket for the speech chip at U14.
I didn’t have the right size socket, so I cut one in half:
That didn’t fix it, but at least I got to play with my soldering iron for awhile.
If I go by the flow chart, it looks like I should try replacing U15 next. However, I’ve read that U17 is also a common failure so I’m going to try changing that next. I don’t have any 74LS30 chips around so I just ordered a few. Maybe I’ll get lucky and that will take care of it. If not, maybe Santa’s elves will make me a new working sound board.
I am now a supreme noser. To recap, here’s the last graphics issue I was trying to fix:
Notice the Q*Bert logo in the top left, and the screwed up sprites. Here it is working:
There seems to be a sound issue that only occurs when you make Coily jump off the board after you. You can here it twice in the video above. If anyone knows what would cause that, please let me know.
The graphics problem ended up being a bad jumper on the main board, JP13:
Before finding this, I figured I should go through all the boards in the game to make sure there were no issues. I started with the filter board, which had some major issues. One of the header pins burned up, and left a crater in the board:
Both pins on the right were affected, and consequently some rocket scientist soldered the two wires that connect to those pins right to the back of the board:
I removed that set of header pins:
and replaced them with a new set:
Around back, you can see the remnants of the wires they soldered directly to the board:
The pin to the right of the fried one actually still had its solder pad and trace in tact, so I only needed to solder in one jumper directly to the header pin:
I resoldered all the other header pins on the board. I then pulled the main PCB, and changed all the sockets. I did the same for the sound board, and replaced all the caps on it. That’s where I’m at now. I just got a replacement coil for the knocker. With any luck, maybe I’ll get that going tonight.
When I got this Q*Bert, it was missing a power supply PCB. I ordered one online. While waiting for it, I figured I should clean up the power block in the bottom of the cabinet, and test the components on it:
It was pretty corroded. My goal here was not to make it spotless, but just make it presentable and ensure everything was working. I cleaned it up with some wire brushes and steel wool, and checked all the fuses to make sure they were the right values and that they were working. I also tested the 2 bridge rectifiers. Everything tested fine. Here it is cleaned up:
I hooked this back up in the bottom of the cabinet and waited. I received the power supply PCB earlier today, and hooked it up. It shows some signs of life now:
As you can see, some of the wrong sprites are being pulled up. Where the spinning round discs should be, there are those green guys. Where the “Q*Bert” logo should be is a bunch of garbage. When Q*Bert moves up the board, his sprite changes to coily. Here’s a video of it in action:
It’s been a long day, so I think I’ll call it quits for now. When I get back at it, I’m going to go over the other boards to make sure everything is OK. I also need to work on the knocker, as it’s not firing.
Hey! Just got a load of old beat up joysticks on eBay:
I got a good deal on them. Most of them are pretty beat, but I figured I could use them for spare parts. I also figured maybe one of the black ones on that top step might be a good enough match for my Q*Bert.
My Q*Bert was covered with loads of grime. While I plan on sanding it down and restoring it, that won’t be for awhile. Seeing as it will be in the house, I scrubbed it down. I used a combination of Fantastick, Mr. Clean magic erasers, and Scoth Brite pads. It is now slightlty less digusting:
I’ve been getting lots of help and advice on this one from various sources – thanks to all of you. I managed to find a power supply PCB, which will be on its way tomorrow. I also found a bottom control panel overlay. I’m on the lookout for an original joystick and an upper control panel overlay.
I have yet to clean up the inside. I’ll probably get to that tomorrow night after work.
I had no keys, and the lower coin door was locked. I drilled it out, and found $.75. Maybe I can go get a Gordita with it or something. I better wash my hands first though!
Hey there! I just got home from picking up a free Q*Bert! Check him out:
Overall, its in decent shape. It doesn’t have any water damage, but has the usual wear and tear. This is definitely a candidate for restoration. I’d love to see if I can get it going, but here’s the main problem:
I missing the power supply board. If you have one for sale, please let me know by posting a comment here.
I’m off to clean it up a bit and look for a power supply PCB.