(Topic ID: 273754)

NIB Robotron Arcade - advice for unboxing/initial boot?

By wdbthree

1 year ago


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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by wdbthree
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There are 74 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
29
#1 1 year ago

Hello all. I'm also going to post this on Klov (whose servers seem to be down). But: thought the Pinside community might have some good advice. I'm the proud new owner of potentially one of the last NIB Robotron cocktails from the "Time Travel" warehouse find in Canada several years ago - where it's been sitting since 1983.

Realize it would be worth (much) more if I left it minty fresh, but: Robotron is my all-time favorite arcade. This is going to sit in my office for another 37 years before it sees another owner (hopefully one of my kids...).

Here are some things I'm thinking about as I look to give it its maiden voyage; would love any thoughts on do's, don'ts, things to check, etc.
-Goal is to preserve the box. Complication will be: it's a heavy SOB. Luring a few friends "in our quarantine bubble" over this weekend to lift it out. Thinking one person under each control panel, and at least one person lifting under as soon as there is clearance. NO lifting from the cocktail top/glass.
-Paperwork is still sealed in its original envelope. As I'm not planning to resell, thinking to just cleanly open (instead of hassling with trying to steam it open...and maybe damaging the inserts/manual/etc.)
-Put in fresh batteries (I hope! Supposedly the "Time Travel" people checked and removed when they first arrived at their warehouse)
-Check seating of the boards and wiring on the control panels

What am I missing? I'm mostly a pin collector (plus Ice Cold Beer and Golden Tee); have never owned early 80's Williams of any variety (upright or cocktail).

Thanks all. Really appreciate any insight. All the best...
b

ps: I'm planning on taking pics/videos of the unboxing for anyone interested. Will likely post on Klov under the original "for sale" thread, but: will post a link here.

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#2 1 year ago

very cool to see this. should post the video here too. Sounds like you have it covered as long as they pulled the batteries. You could unplug the cpu and test the voltages coming from the power supply board. you could also pull the boards and check for cold solder joints but with it not being powered on ever, I don't think you will have that issue. Congrats on the find!!!!

#3 1 year ago

I would not power this on without doing at least a cap kit on the monitor first

#4 1 year ago

I would reset all connectors on all the boards. Hopefully the AA batteries on the CPU board was removed a long time ago. I would not worry about re-capping the monitor yet.

#5 1 year ago

I would be playing it

This is pretty awesome congrats on the game.

#6 1 year ago

Agreed on the batteries. Really hope they were removed. This is an awesome machine.!!

#7 1 year ago

So cool to these types of things pop up. Congrats and ENJOY

#8 1 year ago

1000%. It's going to be played, not displayed.

Thanks for the congrats. I'm beyond excited. It's a like a relic from a time machine. Have been looking for one in good condition for years. Couldn't pass up the chance to own a piece of history.

For the record, this is how I imagine where it's been for the last few decades.

Quoted from timtim:

I would be playing it
This is pretty awesome congrats on the game.

b

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#9 1 year ago

Hopefully the rubber grommets for the joysticks have survived, but it is possible they have dry rotted over the years. If so, they are available at arcadeshop.com. Congrats, that's a purdy game.

#10 1 year ago

Williams games can be finicky with the voltages (especially +5v). The caps on the Power Supply board may have dried out over the last 37 years and will need to be replaced. Check a few things out and then fire that bad boy up!

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from RC_like_the_cola:

Hopefully the rubber grommets for the joysticks have survived, but it is possible they have dry rotted over the years. If so, they are available at arcadeshop.com. Congrats, that's a purdy game.

The grommets should be ok. I had a friend who bought one of these CT Robotrons a few years ago from some operator in Canada (for $2500) and right out of the box it worked. Even the factory installed batteries did not leak (they were dead but no acid damage). His grommets were fine. The problem with the Arcade Shops ones are that they are too stiff. The original Wico grommets are better. ENJOY YOUR NEW GAME !!!

#12 1 year ago

Wow cocktail table; cool!

#13 1 year ago

Wow. This is amazing.

#14 1 year ago

Makes you wonder and gives hope for what might still be hidden away in some warehouse out there waiting for someone to find it, maybe near you!

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from wdbthree:

Hello all. I'm also going to post this on Klov (whose servers seem to be down). But: thought the Pinside community might have some good advice. I'm the proud new owner of potentially one of the last NIB Robotron cocktails from the "Time Travel" warehouse find in Canada several years ago - where it's been sitting since 1983.
Realize it would be worth (much) more if I left it minty fresh, but: Robotron is my all-time favorite arcade. This is going to sit in my office for another 37 years before it sees another owner (hopefully one of my kids...).
Here are some things I'm thinking about as I look to give it its maiden voyage; would love any thoughts on do's, don'ts, things to check, etc.
-Goal is to preserve the box. Complication will be: it's a heavy SOB. Luring a few friends "in our quarantine bubble" over this weekend to lift it out. Thinking one person under each control panel, and at least one person lifting under as soon as there is clearance. NO lifting from the cocktail top/glass.
-Paperwork is still sealed in its original envelope. As I'm not planning to resell, thinking to just cleanly open (instead of hassling with trying to steam it open...and maybe damaging the inserts/manual/etc.)
-Put in fresh batteries (I hope! Supposedly the "Time Travel" people checked and removed when they first arrived at their warehouse)
-Check seating of the boards and wiring on the control panels
What am I missing? I'm mostly a pin collector (plus Ice Cold Beer and Golden Tee); have never owned early 80's Williams of any variety (upright or cocktail).
Thanks all. Really appreciate any insight. All the best...
b
ps: I'm planning on taking pics/videos of the unboxing for anyone interested. Will likely post on Klov under the original "for sale" thread, but: will post a link here.
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Congratulations!
That is so cool.
Did you trade something uncommon for it ?
I’m very curious what the purchase price was if you don’t mind sharing.
I have Defender and Galaga cocktails.

#16 1 year ago

Please video it if at all possible. What a gorgeous game.

#17 1 year ago
Quoted from ultimategameroom:

I’m very curious what the purchase price was if you don’t mind sharing.

Between a NIB Stern Pro and Premium

#18 1 year ago
Quoted from ultimategameroom:

... what the purchase price was if you don’t mind sharing.

I don't know if it came from the same Canadian operator (his name was Dale) but I remember him having several NIB Robotron's and Black Knight pinball machines. The Robotrons were about $2500 a few years ago. I believe the BK pins were around the same price. Most likely this Robotron came from the same warehouse. I have pictures of that Canada ops warehouse somewhere on my hard drive.

#19 1 year ago

If you want to minimize damage to the box, I suggest laying it on its' side and gently slide the game out or turn it upside down and lift off the box.

#20 1 year ago
Quoted from BoJo:

Between a NIB Stern Pro and Premium

I can't see that going for that much. It is a videogame not a pinball machine.

#21 1 year ago
Quoted from Tommy-dog:

I can't see that going for that much. It is a videogame not a pinball machine.

Why would I spread false information? You of all people should know what rare games are worth considering your collection. While Robotron might not be a rare title and yes there was others in the past that sold for $2500 this is likely one of the last few left NIB which makes it worth a lot to the right collector.

#22 1 year ago

BoJo is correct on the price. KLOV is down for upgrades the next day or two.

#23 1 year ago

Can’t you just cut the strap and be able to left the box off? Has to be some better way than lifting it out.

#24 1 year ago

I would strip it down put an LCD screen and a PC

Joking !

That is quite a marvel you have gound, it's beyond actually truly a piece of history in the most incredible condition ever.

Congratulations that's a score !

#25 1 year ago

I've seen several of these rare gem finds over the years. The batteries ruined the board/s. I forget who made the Williams multi board but I'd put one it anyway. I built a Robotron multi Williams. Wish I had never sold it.
Also, caps dry out as previously mentioned. Don't be surprised if you hear a loud pop or bang come out of it when you apply power.
Fingers crossed for you! Enjoy!

#26 1 year ago

My my bet is on it fires right up and plays fine.
I’ve had a few NIB arcade games and they never seem to have issues unless they got exposed to water or something like that.
Also, I would be less worried about the original batteries leaking as much as I would if they had been replaced at some time.
Also doubt it needs a cap kit. Yes the caps are old, but my experience has been if the game wasn’t being used they are probably still good for now.
Guess the OP will find out soon enough.

#27 1 year ago

Original arrangement was trade for my TNA (I’m in the mid 300’s for Rick & Morty; hated to part with TNA, but eventually will need an open spot). Bidding got heated and switched to cash and local pickup. I won with offer of what I believe a beautiful TNA is worth + shipping; $6k. As several posters pointed out, I knew these were selling for $2500 from the original warehouse/distributor. But that was 10 years ago. And: not sure if any more of these exist. I’m sure some people will think I got fleeced, and some will think it was a steal. I slept on it and decided I would regret letting this go for a long time.

Bonus: Total Nuclear Annihilation is still in pole position in the game room. Eventually will have to open up a slot, but: unless Spooky finds turbo boost on production, think I have until December/early 2021 to figure something out.

Quoted from ultimategameroom:

Congratulations!
That is so cool.
Did you trade something uncommon for it ?
I’m very curious what the purchase price was if you don’t mind sharing.
I have Defender and Galaga cocktails.

#28 1 year ago

I bought one of the Black Knights about 15 years ago out of that warehouse through John (John’s Jukes). It had some acid damage on the cpu, but fired right up and had not spread past the holder. Had to put some rubbers on it as they had dry-rotted.

#29 1 year ago

You totally win.

Big money? Sure!

But Robotron is the greatest arcade game of all time and you’ve got yourself one hell of an heirloom there! If anybody else has a NIB Robotron cocktail laying around for 6k please reach out

#30 1 year ago

I was actively watching that thread on KLOV... good for you. Cannot wait to see the video... I’m jealous of purchase... I’ve got the upright version after waiting patiently for 2 years of actively searching.

Robotron!!!

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#31 1 year ago

Great find and game! Robotron is my favorite arcade game of all time. Mine will still be here even after the pins are gone! I do hope that you don’t have battery damage.

#32 1 year ago

I had never even heard of this game, but now I am curious if my multicade has it. (and I know, not the same with graphics and sounds, but I just want to learn more about games I never knew about).

#33 1 year ago
Quoted from wdbthree:

Realize it would be worth (much) more if I left it minty fresh, but: Robotron is my all-time favorite arcade.

Yes sir. Robotron is the king of video games. Congrats on an amazing pickup.

#34 1 year ago
Quoted from Tommy-dog:

I can't see that going for that much. It is a videogame not a pinball machine.

Its a classic Williams and Williams is King.

#35 1 year ago

Well - unfortunately the batteries didn’t get pulled. Battery holder corroded off. I don’t have experience with damaged arcade boards, but assuming this is in pretty rough shape.

Thoughts?

Not going to lie: would’ve been sweet to reseat connectors, insert new AA’s, and fire her up today. But: I’m not scared of bringing her back to life. This is a relic; will be fun to work on it.

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#36 1 year ago

I’m not a board tech, but I’ve seen some pretty nasty boards brought back to life. Don’t lose hope.

#37 1 year ago

That’s a bummer dude.

I bought one of these in the UK back in 2011 and it fired straight up. I’ve only replaced a ram chip in the meantime.

The metalwork inside mine was, and still is, immaculate. I’d say you need to have a good look around for corrosion as the metal around the coin box is showing acid damage all over.

If you don’t know your way around Williams games I’d be tempted to pull all the boards and to send them for repair : evaluation. You need to neutralise what’s already there for sure.

It WILL be worth it when you get it running. It’s the best game of all time in my humble opinion. It gets my heart racing every time and I come away feeling like I’ve just done a marathon. It’s the epitome of man v machine twitch gaming.

#38 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing the photos, it’s cool there was still a NIB out there. I wonder if this was the last one?

I kept the box too

#39 1 year ago

Ugh! JROK Williams board is great if you can’t get it fixed.

#40 1 year ago
Quoted from wayinla:

Ugh! JROK Williams board is great if you can’t get it fixed.

Yes! Thank you that is the name of the board I used. The JROK is OUTSTANDING.
Sorry OP. Yours is another that is a sad story of a historical find ruined by batteries.
The good news is Defender (Williams not Taito), Joust, Stargate, Sinistar, Bubbles and "I think" Blaster all used the same main board as Robotron. Finding a used one should be fairly easy to do and then just swap the ROMS over.

#41 1 year ago

It’s a museum piece. It’s worth getting the original hardware running.

The OP has sunk some wedge into it, so it’s worth getting it minty.

#42 1 year ago

Seller has been awesome and has a spare CPU; sending it via FedEx and helping arrange to get the original board repaired. Inspected everything else; looks like the coin door is the only other casualty. Guessing the detached batteries either were touching the coin box, or alkaline found it’s way over through the bottom of the cabinet. Will find out re: monitor and power capacitors once the new board is in place. But they look good to the eye.

In the meantime (and on a more positive note), here are a few bits of awesomeness:
-In the coin box was the original signed manufacturer check list (and spare fuses! Nice touch)
-Serial numbers physically embossed in the wood in several spots. With matching stickers on board set. Probably common knowledge, but pretty sweet
-Smell inside the cabinet was like an old book. In a good way.

Appreciate all of the well wishes, suggestions, and condolences.

Will post the unboxing and cabinet opening videos (complete with my naive voiceover saying that it looks pretty good, and then the sinking realization that the CPU was anything but).

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#43 1 year ago

Oh that is a thing of beauty. Too bad about the battery damage but you're this deep already might as well get the original hardware going. I think you got better value than me still... I couldn't find one for the longest time and ended up paying 2.2k (CDN mind you) to have John's Jukes ship me an upright one province over. It's never leaving my possession... Robotron is the best video game in my opinion. Thanks for sharing I'm super jealous!

#44 1 year ago

That’s great news! Wishing the best for getting this up and running.

About a year ago someone on KLOV had a used one for sale that I almost jumped on. Wish I did.

Your game looks fantastic. Looks like they used shorter Wico joysticks for the cocktail table version?

#45 1 year ago
Quoted from wayinla:

Looks like they used shorter Wico joysticks for the cocktail table version?

Ah, you beat me to the punch... My photo of the Robotron upright photo shows the original 4" Wico joysticks....

Does anyone know the story/reason of shorter sticks? Without seeing this cocktail in person... I wonder when a 4" stick was installed perhaps it was taller than the location of the glass on the game giving an odd aesthetics?

Awesome the seller is working with you and replacing the CPU board. If you plant to keep the game in the original hardware configuration... You should consider seeking spare parts.

I have a complete backup for my Robotron. Just a thought as it is known Williams Robotron/Stargate/Defender/etc.. are known for hardware failure (unless you "bulletproof" it by updating the RAM, regulating the 5V PS issue, etc..)

#46 1 year ago

What is this warehouse find where this machine came from? Any links about this in general and other games found?

#47 1 year ago
Quoted from jackd104:

What is this warehouse find where this machine came from? Any links about this in general and other games found?

Several good threads on this on KLOV, though forum is down right now. In the interim:

https://www.flippers.com/TimeTravelWarehouse.html

https://arcadeblogger.com/2016/02/11/robotron-enter-the-time-machine/

(Hilariously(?) the one in the link above DID have the batteries removed or never installed.)

#48 1 year ago

Congrats! Robotron is my favorite vid and gameplay is unmatched. Ive traded this Robo mini with a friend of mine several times over 13 years and its finally back in the collection. Never leaving again.
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#49 1 year ago

Robotron mini or cabaret is also kind of rare! Nice.

#50 1 year ago

I had a Robo cocktail. Robotron is my favorite game (duh, look at my Pinside handle). Not to dampen your enthusiasm, but I got rid of my cocktail because the control panel is so restrictive compared to the upright or mini. The game looks awesome though, but as a player I just couldn't turn the scores on it I would on the upright. Great braggin' piece to have, though.

BTW - those boards are pretty much toast and it would be more cost effective just to get replacement boards. You can lift the stickers if you are REALLY careful on the old main to keep the serial numbers consistent and just switch out the socketed chips. BTW - the engineer who designed them was clearly not thinking. The batteries are at the top, so a leak will always travel down the board and eat away traces, etc. If the batteries were at the bottom, there would be virtually no chance of board damage from a leaking board.

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