Atari Battlezone Restoration 6 FINAL


It’s always good to complete a restoration. This Atari Battlezone cabaret is no exception. This cabinet was part of the Pete Davies collection, that I picked up last year. As one of 60-odd cabinets rescued from his house in Scotland, it has been very satisfying to get the machine up and running again in his memory.

You may recall in part 5, the cab was now in the house, had some scuffs touched up and I was making a start in rebuilding the hardware. So here we go then, into the final stretch.

There was one final job to do in the garage – detailing the coin door flaps, screws and control panel carriage bolts. They had rusted quite badly, so I gave the heads a rub with sandpaper and got to work with the Hammerite spray:

This might seem rather over the top, but the small flaws would really stand out as the rest of the cab is now like new

I left that lot to dry overnight and they look like new. Back into the house, and here’s all the bits that need to go back into the cab:

Here’s what an arcade cabinet looks like in bits! Lots to do…

There’s a few hours work here, so here goes:

Screw the coin door frame back onto the front of the cab
Repopulate the wiring loom. Thankfully, I took lots of pictures when I removed everything. So getting the loom back in the right place was plain sailing
These are new cable ties and holders to secure the wiring loom in place

Then back downstairs for a couple of jobs:

Gave the coin door a soak. That sticker was a bitch to get off! Then polished with baby oil, and rebuilt
Got a new back door schematic sheet printed off and staple gunned onto the inside of the back door

Artwork next. So the story behind this is pretty involved. I wanted to get the original side art on this cab. It’s been available for some time, as the original screens from Atari turned up a while back. You can buy this original stuff from the USA, but at well over $100 plus shipping, plus customs charges to get it here, it comes at a heavy price.

I was lucky and managed to find someone who made a good approximation of it for me. I got it over to a specialist printers, who did a great job. This is printed on thick 3M vinyl, then diamond lacquered to protect it, and prevent fading over time:

There’s a single picture on the web of a Battlezone cabaret with the original artwork. Using that as a guide, I was able to accurately position the vinyl
Once I was happy, it was time to apply it
it went on really nicely with no issues. Great quality this stuff
Big improvement!

I got the monitor ready, and applied the relevant red and green gels. Then went through a flight check, before switching things on:

This was a problem I discovered. My loom was built in Ireland, but the power supply I bought from the US after realising the cab was missing the original, and guess what? The plugs didn’t match! I found the correct socket on eBay and swapped the pins over. Delayed things by a day!
Measuring voltages at the power brick. Everything checked out perfectly

So here you go. The finished result:

The artwork really does make a difference to these wood grain Atari cabarets
The new control panel pops with colour and detail now
Here’s the back. That’s a new back door made by my buddy Victor (thanks again Vic!)
And of course, the final touch of the Pete Davies sticker on the back (I’ve since touched up the top of the door there with black paint)

Here’s a couple of before/after pics:

Control panel before
Control Panel after
Left hand side before
Left hand side after
Battlezone cabaret as found
Battlezone cabaret after restoration

So there you go. I reckon that’s about 20 hours work all in. Everything is documented from start to finish, so if you missed the earlier work, click here. I’m very pleased with the result. And even better, I managed to squeeze it into the arcade room quite nicely.

The PCBs are currently with James at Retro Games Party for repair. I would imagine by the time I post this, the boards will be back and I can show you a picture or two of the game in action. I’ll update this article once they’re back in and working.

Thanks for reading – do share this article using the social media buttons below. If you like what you see, check out my other restorations using the menu at the top of this page.

It has been an honour to work on Pete’s rusty old Battlezone cabinet, and getting back into working shape. It’s going to get plenty of play for years to come.

Keep your eyes peeled for more arcade restorations here on the blog. Remember to check out the archives above to read more.

See you next week.


In memory of Pete “Invadar” Davies: 1938-2015.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Nice work – this cab’s brother (my Battlezone, which came from the same place) is still non restored. However, I received some transistors which should help the ailing monitor on a bit. I also have my non working pcb with another vector genius awaiting repair. Hopefully someone will release a FPGA repro of this game board one day?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ringadingding says:

    beautiful. being into X-Y vector games, this has long been one of my favorites, and on my Desert Island wish list of games to own. you did a great job on it! i’m super interested in how you reproduced the side panel vinyls, they look amazing.


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