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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Spy Hunter Lives!

I've had this sitdown Spy Hunter cab since 1999, when IBM closed down the Taligent offices in Cupertino. The cab was apparently DOA for several months before I rescued it. After opening it up, I found one of the beer-can-sized electrolytic capacitors in the power supply block had blown-up, spewing sticky brown acid into the bottom of the supply. The failure sent a jolt which fried the Power Supply board, main CPU board, and toasted the monitor. It must have been quite a sight to whomever was playing the game at the time, probably a loud bang, and then plume of smoke.

I've been working on restoring it on and off (mostly off) for the last 7 years. I rebuilt the power supply with a switching PS and new harness, replaced the monitor flyback, horizontal transitor, and then recapped the monitor PCB. I aquired a used/working CPU board-set from another collector in San Francisco. But for the longest time, I just could not get the sound or controls to work.

So I decided enough is enough, and dedicated the last two weekends to finishing this project! I bought a new MCR Switching PS from wizzesworkshop and threw out my homemade harness, and sure enough I now had sound with battery backup as a bonus to save scores and analog calibration settings. There were still issues with half the sound effects being distored, and the analog board being dead. I must have swapped out every chip on the SSIO board before realizing the boards were from a standup Spy Hunter model, which has only 2 speakers, so the sound connector is different than my sitdown 4-speaker wiring. After rewiring the connector, sound was solved, although there is still a sizable hum coming from the switching power supply. I don't know why, but the analog controls magically started working after I realized the star-grounding cables were not hooked up to the dual amp boards. Unfortunally this did not fix the loud humming. Last thing was to replace 3 flurecent tubes and starters.

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Anothing thing I discovered, is that the cabinet was made from parts of other cool arcade games at the time (apparently this is pretty common). Under the main flooring you can see graphics for a Star Wars upright. And inside the bottom of the seat, Discs of Tron. Both awsome games in their own right.
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