Walk Like An Egyptian – Takasago “Egyptian Madness” slot machine

Grabbed a slice of Las Vegas’ past today. One Takasago, AKA TDC, model PSL-005 stepper driven computerised slot machine. I’ve read these were common in the airport and certain casinos at one time before the rise of IGT and Bally/Williams in the market. It showed up on Craigslist, described as non-working, and cheap enough to be worth the gamble to me…

The seller saw a lot of interest, but was honest enough to run their sale first come first served without striking up a bidding war, and I happened to have been the first person to respond the night the ad went up. I picked it up the next day (paid a bit more than asking since I appreciate a straight shooter on Craigslist…). After wrangling the beast out of the van and onto a cart (I forgot how big these things are… They look pretty small in their normal casino context, but they’re actually pretty big, use a lot of metal parts, and weigh a few hundred pounds) I set to work diagnosing what was going on.

Applying power, I saw cabinet fluorescent lamps come on, but no sign of life from any of the computer controlled modules. The reel assembly was loose and the main board was floating on its mounting rails, so someone had opened this thing up before. I reseated everything and tried again, with the same result…

Unfortunately, there is precious little information on these machines on the Internet, so I started digging in. Pulling out the module with the credit meters and and reset switches presented me with a tray with a switching power supply and some bridge rectifiers attached. Tracing out the outputs from the switcher let me know which of the front panel connections provided logic power to the rest of the machine, and gave me points to test with a multimeter to verify voltages. When I put the probes to the logic power pins, I got a big zero… So, that was the first issue uncovered.

The power supply installed in the machine is similar to what’s used in a lot of arcade games, but provides -12V which is a bit unusual. The only new power supply I had on hand only output +5V, -5V, and +12V, but I traced things out and to me it looked like the -12V output was only used by the electromechanical counting units. So I installed my new power supply, left the -12V lead off, and powered things up… And the machine came up and worked just fine!

The sound track is pretty minimal, just some beeps and boops typical of the era. The onboard diagnostics are pretty robust, with a lot of self test routines and audit value recording that are very reminiscent of the arcade stuff of the same vintage. There are some notes about networking machines for progressive jackpot payouts in the manuals I’ve found, and I believe I have the extra board installed required for this but I haven’t investigated yet.

After getting the new power supply installed I messed around with it for a while and it promptly stopped being able to count coin hopper output, so I’m not out of the woods yet! Need to order some new locks, too, but even after spending a little money on parts it’ll end up being a solid deal on a rather rare machine.

Great Guns!

Posting mostly just to get these pictures up before I forget… This is a piece I picked up several weeks ago and haven’t really had a chance to go through yet.

It’s a 1983 Stern Seeburg Great Guns. I hadn’t heard of it either, but figured I’d check it out when I saw it offered up free for the first taker.

It’s a carnival style shooter with a variety of themed levels to blast through. From warlocks, to dinosaurs, to creepy, creepy clowns, you can shoot it all.

The hefty rifles are fixed to cast iron ball joint bases. Underneath, a set of attached gears turn large potentiometers to determine where the player is aiming. A kicker solenoid mounted under each rifle provides ‘recoil’.

Originally the game also had a feature to return the player’s quarter if they performed well enough. This was unpopular enough with operators that most games had the mechanism removed, including mine.

The formidable rack of PCBs is intact, but I don’t have any idea if it’s working or not. I’m told it was when it was initially put into storage years ago, but time is rarely kind.

Days Of Future Passed

A few weeks ago I found a copy of a June 1989 report from the Portland Development Commission titled Moving Into The Fourth Decade. It’s a brief document, but full of glossy full page photos and renderings of various parts of Portland. One of the renderings was particularly interesting; a vision for redevelopment of the slice of inner NE that includes the Oregon Convention Center, Memorial Coliseum, and Rose Garden Arena.

Neat, huh? The caption says this is a vision for what the area will look like by 2005. Lets have a look at the current satellite imagery from this angle.

Not quite as impressive. Most of the blocks apparently pegged for high density development were never realized, and the many pedestrian paths and plazas envisioned between the gleaming towers remain ordinary surface streets.

One item called out in the caption, “…to attract a headquarters hotel…” (more info on this project is on the PDC web site), may be coming to fruition as the project appears to be clearing legal hurdles.

The hotel would occupy the block immediately east of the Convention Center. In the 1989 rendering a blocky cream colored tower topped with a clay tile roofed penthouse occupies this spot.

The modern concept for the development eschews the 80s look for the sort of sharp-angled edifice of metal, wood, and glass currently en vogue.