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.

Invaders Must Die

Found something I’ve been after for a lonnnnnnng time today…

It was rather serendipitous and I’m really excited about it! My parents had one of these Space Invaders cocktail table machines in their living room when I was a little kid and I was always sad they got rid of it. It’s been something I’ve been hunting off and on even before I leapt back into the hobby for real.

Seems likely that it’s been in the area since new, and probably not swapped between locations too much. The cabinet is immaculate and doesn’t have any water damage, smashed corners, or other signs of hard use. A tag on the coin door identifies it as having been operated at some point by the still existent company Amusement Unlimited out of Eugene.

It’s my first black and white game, definitely a bit different than what I’m used to working on. Right now the monitor works perfectly, and it doesn’t look too daunting to keep that way. Not a lot going on compared to the chassis for a color raster monitor.

Sadly the board has issues. Right now all I get is this little cluster of partial characters.

Again though, this thing looks dead simple compared to the newer stuff. Parts are nice and spread out on the PCBs too, so should be easy to work on. Based on my research so far I’m thinking there may be an issue with some of the RAM chips on the boards.

You don’t get to die yet…

Picked up some ragged projects with good bones over the weekend, both Bally Midway cabs. The first is an upright, an old black and white game called Gun Fight. Released in 1975 it has the dubious distinction of being the first video game in which you killed human avatars.

It’s in very nice shape, though it’s been a long time since any of the original electronics were inside. I grabbed it for $40, mostly for the coin door parts.

Despite outward appearances it was very thoroughly stripped on the inside, even the switches were removed from the underside of the controls. Finding the parts to restore this one would be both difficult and expensive.

The art is outstanding and the cab is solid though. A normal color raster monitor won’t clear the back of the case when installed, so I’m going to end up using an LCD. I’d rather compromise on the type of display than have to hack up the wood any more. It’ll likely end up a multi-game, but at least it will stay in circulation instead of being chopped up. I don’t intend on destroying any of the art or drilling the original control panel overlay.

My other pickup was this sad looking little Midway cocktail table, a freebie (mostly, the price tag was taking away the necked Electrohome G07 tube that was mounted in it).

Came home in a few pieces, I spent the afternoon putting it back together again.

Hmmm…

Gorf. That explains why it was converted!

Glued the side back to the table top, and added a few brackets to brace it. Also installed a less messed up G07 I had handy.

Repopulated the coin door with parts from the Gun Fight cabinet.

Cleaned up the Tournament Arkanoid control panel a bit too. New overlay from Twisted Quarter makes it way easier on the eyes. I need to get a piece of plexi to put over it since the metal panel is swiss cheese underneath due to multiple conversions over the years.

Things are a little off center since I wanted to use as many of the existing holes as possible. Not totally sure what I want this cabinet to stay as and modifying it permanently for a game that may only be in there a few months would be sorta dumb.