Atari Battlezone Restoration 3

We’re making good progress with this Battlezone cabaret. Do check out parts 1 and 2 here if you haven’t done so already.

So I thought it time to make a start on the grubby control panel. You’ll recall the state this was in when I acquired the cab:


Not pretty at all. Luckily, I managed to secure a reproduction panel, which was made using the same silk-screening process as the original above. This was made by arcade enthusiast Troy, from who I sourced a replacement control panel for my Missile Command – his work is always excellent. Once that had arrived from the USA, I got to work removing the hardware from my old panel ready for a clean:


I’ve not worked on a Battlezone before, so it was really a case of diving in armed with a screwdriver, and keeping a note of what went where. Work logically, and keep screws together as sets, and take lots of pictures. Removing both sticks involved eight screws which held everything together:


Here’s one of the sticks stripped down:


Pretty simple things these. The long metal piece there houses a large rubber bellow, and the bottom acts as a rocker that activates wired switches, for up and down movements on each stick. Loads of muck came out as you can see. I dropped everything into hot soapy water and gave it all a good scrub:


Repeated for the other stick, and laid everything out to dry:


Here’s our screws. I’m going to give those a clean up, and I’ll give the heads of the black ones resprayed with Hammerite metal paint, as they’ve rusted quite badly – these are used to hold the stick plastics together, so I don’t want any rust to show up when we rebuild them onto our new panel:


Here are the two panels side by side:


Out with the old and in with the new! The good news is I offered up the old one for free on a forum here in the UK, and it was snapped up within 20 minutes. Always good to have nothing going to waste. I’m glad someone is able make use of the original panel.

The wiring loom was very dirty, so I dropped that into a bowl of soapy water for a soak:


Then popped back out to the garage for a bit of rust removal. Screws first:


Couple of minutes later:


I’ll give those heads a lick of paint when they’re back in. Then onto the stick shafts. The chrome was pretty rusty on the exposed sections as you can see below, and I didn’t want this rust to show when the grips were put back on. I found using my Dremel tool with a wire brush attachment made quick work of removing it completely.





So, everything controls related was put back in the linen cupboard to dry out, ready for rebuilding:


Back to the monitor. I did say that I had this fixed back in part 1, or so I thought. But for some reason it went screwy again when I went to test it in the Asteroids cab when I was working on a problem there one night, and I had this collapse on the picture once more:


After some digging around on the web, I decided the likely culprits were these bottle cap transistors at the base of the monitor frame:


So after sourcing replacements on eBay, I got to work getting them swapped out. This involves spreading the base of the new ones with thermal paste, and installing them with a custom plastic plate to eliminate any potential conductivity with the monitor chassis. Mucky job, but simple enough:


Why I did it on the carpet, I have no idea; thankfully I was done and cleaned up before the lady of the house spotted what I was doing. Chances were only one of these was faulty, but I thought it best to replace the lot given the minor costs involved. Anyway, everything went fine, and here’s the last replacement being bolted back in place:


Hooked back up to the Asteroids cab and bingo:


We have a full screen picture and everything is nice and bright and stable. Sure enough, one or more of the old bottle caps had a short. Touch wood that’s it for the monitor now.

Back out to the garage. You’ll recall in part 2 that I resprayed the front laminate sheet from this cab, and got a good result. Time to get it back onto the front of the cab. So after masking off the marquee and speaker grille, I applied a good coat of Gorilla Glue:


Carefully placed the laminate back on top, then weighed everything down to ensure a good fix:


That’s a heavy tent, toolbox, paint can and several clamps. It wasn’t elegant, but got the job done. Left that for a couple of hours for the glue to fully dry out.

OK that’s your lot for now. Part 4 is now well under way and will be coming up soon – stay tuned!

Thanks for reading this week.


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One Comment Add yours

  1. Neil McEwan says:

    Coming along nicely. If only the lady of the house knew what you were using her prized Joseph Joseph kitchenware for really…..


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