So we’re in the home straight here with the Gravitar. Not much left to do, but I wanted to document these last bits here on the blog.
So I know what you’re thinking. The featured image is of a Space Duel, not a Gravitar right? You are correct. But there are reasons for that – read on to find out!
So in Part 2 of the restoration the cab was in the house and we were making good progress on rebuilding the Gravitar. Here’s the final stages for you:
Next up was reinstalling the cleaned up wiring loom, coin box, power supply, coin door, PCBs and monitor:
A good hour was spent doing this – it is worth being methodical about this, it’s very easy to forget to connect something. Take one job at a time – I tend to work from the base of the cabinet upwards. After a final flight check and a double-check that everything was as it should be, it was time for the big switch on:
There was a small issue though – I had half the sounds on the game missing for some reason. So the PCB needed to go off for repair.
But here’s the twist – I had a Space Duel kit. Space Duel shares much of the power schematic and harness of Gravitar, so in theory it’s a simple case of swapping out the marquee, control panel and PCB. So I figured I’d do that – at least I’d have something to play while the PCB was at the repair shop.
You’ll also notice that there was no marquee light. The reason for this is the incompatibility of the ballast in my US cab, with UK electrics. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say, dropping a native UK fluorescent bulb into a US setup will result in an instantly blown bulb! There’s couple of ways of solving this problem, one of which of course would be to swap out the ballast with a UK one. They aren’t particularly cheap, and I wanted to experiment a little with an LED solution, which would be handy for future reference:
So here we are – the finished article. One Atari Gravitar, with a Space Duel kit installed inside:
So there you have it. I’m trying to work out how best to mount a credit switch, as Space Duel‘s “freeplay” mode doesn’t show some of the attract sequences, and just sits on a static screen waiting for the player to start, which I find super annoying. I might also revisit the t-molding. The standard size doesn’t quite fit, as the cab has swollen with age – nothing bad. It is still solid as you can see, but I suspect the particle board has drawn in moisture over the years – probably down to being stored somewhere cold. Slightly wider t-molding is available which would sort that, so I may order some and replace what I have on there.
And finally, since I wrote this piece, the Gravitar board is back all fixed. I’ve reinstalled the kit, and here she is:
Right, I’m off to play some vector games! If you want to look back at the complete restoration of this cabinet, go here.
Thanks as always for reading this week.