How do I fix an old Ms. Pacman machine?
June 23, 2006 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Ms. Pacmanfilter: Help me repair a 1980's cocktail arcade game.

My 1980's cocktail version of Ms. Pacman was working just fine, then the screen went blank and now all it does when I turn it on is make a hideous noise like an electronic elephant dying (I imagine). I have a pdf of the original manual with tips and troubleshooting, but it doesn't cover a malfunction of this magnitude. Thanks.
posted by Ohdemah to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like an issue with the picture tube & associated drive electronics.
posted by Good Brain at 9:50 AM on June 23, 2006

Get yourself over to
They'll be able to answer your questions in detail and with years of expertise backing their answers.

That being said, it does sound like a picture tube issue. One way to test this: open the cabinet, disconnect the edge connect on the logic board, and power up the game. Note that it won't power up with the top open unless you pull out on the white interlock switch. this is a safety measure to keep noobs from killing themselves. If you still get that elephant squeal, it's a safe bet your monitor chassis is borked.

In the meantime, here are several things you should know.
  1. Arcade monitors can shock the living shit out of you. Don't go sticking your hands in there until you know what the parts of the monitor are and which are dangerous.
  2. If you're at all handy with electronics, you can fix this.
  3. If you're not handy with electronics, try to find a hobbiest on the arcade newsgroup local to you who will help for cash or beer. The sites selling "pacman parts" on the internet are a ripoff.

posted by cosmicbandito at 10:05 AM on June 23, 2006

also, my email is in my profile if you have more questions.
posted by cosmicbandito at 10:31 AM on June 23, 2006

TNT Amusements may be able to help.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:43 AM on June 23, 2006

this isn't relevant to the thread but when I was a kid I had two birthday parties (age 9 and 10) at TNT and they were the most bad ass birthday parties ever. We had some epic Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II tournaments there. Also, if you lived in the area they had a hilarious infomercial that my friends and I used to watch over and over again.
posted by SteveFlamingo at 11:04 AM on June 23, 2006

I suggest getting parts at Quarter Arcade, once you find out what the deal is, yo.
posted by sciurus at 11:53 AM on June 23, 2006

If it does turn out to be the monitor, I have a couple of suggestions:

If you're planning to hang on to this game for the long term, I would suggest dropping $150 on a new monitor. It will give you peace of mind and improved picture quality. Just fixing the old one is appealing, but the tube probably has some burn in on it, and the elecronics are now 30 years old. Just make sure you get one that can be mounted correctly in the cocktail cabinet. Ask in the newsgroup what monitors will fit in the Midway cocktail tables. Chances are several people will have done this and have advice and brand reccomendations.

I would also suggest looking into a "multigame" kit. There are several ingenious hardware kits that allow you to play multiple variations of Pac man, Ms Pacman, and several other games in the same cabinet. Lots of fun, and usually pretty reasonably priced.
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:25 PM on June 23, 2006

Thanks for all the great advice!
posted by Ohdemah at 12:27 PM on June 23, 2006

The Arcade Controls forum is another good place for advice.
posted by cwhitfcd at 2:24 AM on June 24, 2006

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