updated: January 18, 2001 3:00PM EST - Added a LOT of info from my
trip to visit the game!
Discs of Tron (Bally
1983) (Page 2)
Cleaning and Repair
what a job!)
Restoring this game is
going to be a labor of love. The good news: The game plays. The
news: it needs a great deal of cosmetic surgery, and a few new parts to
get it looking great again. The easiest way to show what I am doing,
what needs to be done, will be to include pictures on this page as well
as on the next page, with each picture a link to a larger,
image. Hit BACK on your browser to return to this page.
First off, this game has
not had a thorough cleaning since it was built! Being in a warehouse or
wherever it was stored, plus SILT from a water leak or flood has not
it's general condition, either. Fortunately, my friend Ed agreed to
me out with the work here, and even at the height of our frustration he
only took a sledge to the back of the game a couple of times. Here are
some "before" pictures to give you an idea of what we were up against:
a short list of things that needed doing, cleaning-wise:
items are ones that have been completed thus far.
Clean the dust off the
front glass, mirror, behind-the-mirror artwork, cabinet sides and some
- Remove and
the control panel and buttons
- Disassemble the
remove the accumulated crud from the handle
- Take a Shop-Vac to
of the cabinet to remove the thick build-up of dust within
- Clean the portion of
you stand on
that we needed to accomplish our goal:
"Goof-off" - seems to
name for paint thinner. Fumes are extremely strong. Used to remove gunk
from glass that even telephone booth glass cleaner couldn't handle!
- 409 brand cleaner.
works GREAT for removing dirt from control panels, buttons, joysticks,
side-art, and other surfaces. Preferred method: Spray a generous amount
onto the surface to be cleaned. Let sit for a few minutes, then wipe
with a bathroom tile-scrubbing brush. The abrasive foam of the tile
is just enough to work the 409 in to get that hard-to-remove crud off,
but won't damage the artwork on a control panel.
- Glass cleaner. We
had a supply
of telephone booth cleaner, which will clean just about any glass or
surface. Unfortunately, it was too strong to use safely on the plastic
backdrop art, and began taking the art off along with the dirt. No
damage was done, but you should always test a small area of the item to
be cleaned to be sure the cleaner will not damage it!
not shown here, we did work on a PCB and wanted to get the gunk off of
it. Radio Shack stocks a cleaner but it's EXPENSIVE. Use sparingly and
in a well-ventilated location. In the past, I've made do with
de-greaser, but choose carefully! If it is not chemically similar to
electronics degreaser, ie it uses acid or another corrosive chemical,
will melt your boards. Exercise extreme caution if you decide to use an
alternative method of cleaning your PCBs! I've seen posts on rgvac
the use of a dishwasher to clean boards. This is not a preferred method
of cleaning, but if you want to soak the capacitors and ROMs on your
I, Robot board in water, you go right ahead.
- TARNEX. Again, not
but we bought some in case we had to do some cleaning of chips. Many
of that time used silver leads, which corrode over time and cause
problems. Advanced corrosion can cause flaky connections, excess heat
power draw increases, and eventually will make the chip unuseable. You
can replace some chips with new ones, but for proprietary chips the
solution is to clean off the corrosion by giving them a good soak in
Let them soak a couple of minutes, then place them in an alcohol bath.
Clean the leads with a cotton swab, taking care to not bend the leads
managing to get between the leads. Let dry, then replace (preferably in
a new socket).
- Socks, t-shirts,
whatever is handy. What else are you going to use to clean off 18 years
of dirt? Paper towels?
- Tools. A 1/4" socket
(note to self, buy one before game arrives), Phillips-head screwdriver,
security wrench (like an Allen but the wrench end has a hole to
the security screws used on the marquee on Bally/Midway games, for
hammer, and a flashlight.
Now that we have our supplies, we're ready to begin! First, we went
the artwork on both pieces of the cabinet to remove the excess dirt. A
little 409 later, we tackled the worst job of all - glass-work! The
Discs of Tron (and possibly the UR, but I haven't seen an UR in a very
long time) has several different pieces which together, help simulate
feel of being in Tron's world. First is the glass directly behind the
panel. Next is the mirror which reflects the image of the monitor,
is mounted facing up. The mirror reflects the artwork on either side of
the area between the front glass and the mirror, giving the illusion of
there being a larger area shown. Since the mirror may be seen through,
there is art behind THAT, a red trapezoid with lines that connect with
the mirrored artwork. Behind the red art is a blue art piece, that
of some lines that coincide with the reflected game playfield. Behind
is a large blue piece of plastic that has a futuristic city-scape drawn
on it. When all these pieces are in place, and all the lights (normal
black) work, it gives a VERY cool 3-D effect. Here's some
(run your cursor over each picture to get more detail about it. Click
link to get a larger picture):
just a few problems as you saw above :) First, we didn't put the red
glass back in correctly, so it did not match up with the reflected red
artwork on the inside sides of the cabinet. Next, we failed to place
blue plastic backdrop with the black rectangle facing in towards the
After fixing that, we turned the game on... and discovered it WAS
to put the mirror in backwards! Word of advice, make some sort of mark
on the glass in a part that cannot be seen once you re-install it, so
know which way to put things back. A photographic record of the removal
of pieces can be helpful, as well.
the dust was removed, the screen burn on the monitor was quite evident.
It wasn't too bad during gameplay, but when the machine was off it was
definitely an eyesore. Here is a final pair of pictures, showing the
visually between having the dirty screen and art, and having them
We cheated a LITTLE by
a work light on the back of the game with the access panel open, to
the missing fluorescent light that would normally illuminate the
But, you get the idea! The "trails" on the right image are from me
while Ed takes the picture - it's limitation of the digital camera, not
a problem with the game.
joystick, control panel, and blacklight cover were much easier to work
on by comparison. All that was needed to clean those was some 409 and a
little elbow grease, and time. I think they turned out quite well,
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