Weekend Pickup! Robotron Cabaret


Well “Weekend Pickup” is maybe stretching things a little in this case, but still.

I’ve been on the lookout for one of these cabinets for years. I regarded it as one of my “grail” arcade cabinets, but the potential cost has always been a hindrance to my acquiring one. Not to mention, the cabinet was never released over here on UK shores – so actually tracking one down at a good price, then factoring in shipping costs made getting one placed in Arcade Blogger towers a distant dream.

Williams released three different cabinet styles in the USA: The upright, the cabaret (rare) and cocktail (uber-rare!) versions.

But as luck would have it, back in July this year, I came across one being advertised on Facebook and struck a deal with the seller! Arranging shipping was nerve wracking – I’ve never imported a cabinet from America before. The cost can be eye watering, and with the global logistics situation in turmoil at the moment, it took a good 3 months to finally arrive. But arrive it did!

I paid for a door to door service to save hassle of renting a van to pick up from the port. This was the most cost effective way of getting it in

The seller did a great job of securing and wrapping the cabinet to a pallet as required by the shipping company:

Time to unwrap!

Took my time to remove the cardboard from top to bottom
The big reveal
The cabinet is in great shape!

Although it survived its journey across the Atlantic well, the Robotron didn’t escape some minor damage to the top of the cabinet:

In the grand scheme of things, I can’t complain too much about the knock. This is a striking cabinet!

As you’ll know with my previous acquisitions, actually getting the cabinet is the easy part. It was now time to sweet talk Mrs Arcade Blogger to help carry the thing up the stairs to the loft arcade:

As it was lighter than most of the other cabinets I’ve asked her to help out with, the complaints from the bottom end of the Robotron were brief and not too severe!

So once indoors, I was able to take a closer look at the internals and figure out what needed doing before switching things on.

Things are looking good at first glance. Monitor looks NOS to me, boards are complete. No damage or issues here!
The main thing of note is that the cabinet is running a switching power supply. Other than not being original, there are a number of advantages to this – mainly reliability. I think I’ll keep it as-is for this reason

After checking all the connections, and reading up on the specs of the 13″ D7700 Wells Gardner monitor, I figured that converting the cabinet to 230V was going to be super easy. For starters, the monitor will take a range of voltages up to 240V without any conversion required. A real bonus.

As for the switcher, it too will take 120 or 230V by simply flicking this switch underneath the unit

After a final check that the switcher was pumping out the correct voltages, we were good to switch on:

By way of size comparison, here’s the cabaret next to my bigger European upright cousin:

Cabaret vs Upright

Delighted to finally own one of these great cabinets – time to set some scores!

The cabinet plays great. A smaller screen takes some getting used to, but I prefer the playing position and looking down at the action.

So a few jobs to do – fix the damage around the marquee area, and I’d like to get the start buttons and marquee instructions lit up with LED lamps. I’ll update here when I do!

Thanks for reading – see you next time.


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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrew says:

    I’ve been following you for years by far Robotron is my favourite game of all time we manufacture pinball machines right now and our third game I’m going to implement the unique sounds of the 80s arcade games into our programming. Great job on your blog keep it up love reading


  2. Mark says:

    Great article, must say great game to have all to yourself. I honestly keep thinking about giving something like this a go. One thing that I do not have is the board repair knowledge everything else I’m OK with I feel.
    Do you do your own board repairs or use someone pls?

    Keep up the good work 😉



  3. Robert David Swan says:

    A thing of beauty (to add to your other things of beauty!), and a cracking acquisition to be sure… shame about the transit damage, but looking forward to seeing it fully fixed up and LED lit!


  4. neil1637 says:

    Having followed this elsewhere, I neglected to comment here. Sorry my friend, but this deserves talking about, so here we go.

    It’s an amazing find, and although a little damage, at the time, you have done very well to get this from shore to shore.

    It is a phenomenal game, and I also agree that this is the best monitor iteration/angle for playing.

    I too had decided I would never own one of these, but we know the second best alternative outcome.

    If you can’t buy one, build one…

    Now, where did I put those stencils……

    Liked by 1 person

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