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Late 80’s Lowboy Lustre up!


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Hope everyone’s well! It’s been awhile….

Since the Candy’s have been pretty much complete for a good time now, I’ve been itching to get some description of vertical orientated cabinet since I can’t particularly be bothered rotating 29” monitors. 

Usual Saturday morning routine I drag the poor little bloke around to garage sales hunting for CRT’s 😀. A prime father son bonding experience!

I’d nearly given up finding something local until this mid/late 80’s beast I found under a cover at believe it or not, an original owner of a pizza restaurant my family used to frequent. Safe to say I played this exact machine when I was 9-10 years old.

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Unfortunately not our Aussie icon LAI but still definitely a rare gem to find locally after all this time looking.

Owner was pretty attached and he needed a few weeks to think about it, in the end to get this thing working again it was going to be too much for him.

This era of cabinet was prevalent in the coastal town here growing up, so I thought I’d try do it some justice.

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Surprisingly reasonable inside which I was glad. 1942 boot in there.

Afternoon/evening of the pickup the cabinet was stripped, and I prepared myself to asses the damage….

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Edited by tnone
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The drama’s…..

I thought the monitor was burn free, but I was deceived by the tinted glass!!! I’m hoping this won’t be too noticeable. Guess the burn! ❄️❄️

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Next little issue here with the chassis 😅. Just a bit of a meltdown at some stage there.  
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Little bit of previous arcing and a bit of a questionable repair solder side around this inductor coil area here…Bit of a worry …😅

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And finally a bulging filter capacitor to round it all off. 

 

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Other than the above the chassis didn’t look too bad, apparently a Kortek! Being more Japanese oriented with my choice of cabinets, I had no idea what it was!

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Hunt for a flyback begins…..

 

Edited by tnone
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I felt a bit disgruntled at this point, but in the back of my mind I knew this thing would have a few dramas… I swore I’d never do a restoration again after the candy’s , I’m the type that turns these things into an all consuming mission… and here I am again 😂.

 

I reached out to everyone in this fabulous Australian community’s good friend…The man himself @Jomac!(thanks as always mate) and he provided me a lead on some Kortek flyback’s from the US.

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The little issue was, that pretty much the only place in the world that had these didn’t ship to Australia!

Enter yet another pillar of our community @mR_CaESaR (on ya brother!) with an introduction to a kind fellow enthusiast in the US who was willing to act as a Proxy to get these flybacks to AUS (thanks lee if your reading mate! 🙏)

With the flybacks on route I was content to continue with the spruce up. 

Edited by tnone
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Prep for paint.

Thankfully not a whole lot to do but it still took a good few hours of mucking around. Pretty much just focused on sanding back some of the bare black painted wood parts of the cabinet for a quick recoat (orbital sander with 80 grit pad).

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My little helper above always interested 😀

Bit of tradies bog here and there just to get a reasonably uniformed surface.

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And the paint I chose( Rustoleum flat black and clear coat)  I quite like this Rustoleum stuff it went on nicely. For a quick sand and recoat it does the job.

Pretty much onto bare wood aswell. No primer just three or so coats of black/clear coat got the desired effect.

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Edited by tnone
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Embracing the wood grain, the ode to LAI.

I mulled over this quite a bit previous to getting the cabinet, how to make it era appropriate in its looks. The answer you say?! Wood grain vinyl!😀

I noticed from a few close friends and their own LAI lowboys there were around three shades.

A very light wood grain 

A darker more red wood grain 

And a middle ground. 
I decided to go with the middle ground to play it safe and began searching eBay for a cheapish option -

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https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/153186680241?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=705-154756-20017-0&ssspo=pPVKr3MRQ7i&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=MVTdOGxVTCy&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY
 

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With the support from my fellow brethren on the Game The System discord (a few of you are here 👍🙏) I embarked on the harrowing journey of vinyl wood grain application 😬

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In the end here , the whole process wasn’t so bad after all! Just some logical thinking here in the end made it all go smoothly.

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Here was the process I used cabinet on its side , surface prepped with wax and grease remover and then isopropyl alcohol.

*NOTE* The above eBay vinyl is a dry application, there was no need to mist the surface with soapy water

-As above I lined the vinyl sheet up on the side of the cabinet, making certain here you have at least 1cm overhang on all sides.

-Using a ruler , by eye I roughly made sure the bottom edge was somewhat straight and triple checked all sides for at least 1cm overhang.

This sets the sheet “Pretty much straight” and from here the sides are clamped to hold in place.B6A02EE8-6641-453D-B0CA-EE2D637E48D3.thumb.jpeg.258f20a3ecef6473350a2b5e6426db7c.jpeg

Starting from the bottom folding the backing of the sheet under itself to expose the adhesive and “tacking” in place along your bottom edge. 
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With the underside of the sheet holding the adhesive up off the surface as you progress, slowly but surely I worked my way up with the flat tool. Moving the clamps up as you advance. And pulling the backing 1cm at a time evenly under itself.

Once you’re about 1/4 of the way the clamps can be removed, and you can continue with the entire panel.

It’s actually quite therapeutic once you get to this stage. 😀 Just need to take your time

Really all there is to it. Finished up the other side with the same process and then just trimming the sides. 
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A small bump here from an exposed screw which I forgot to deal with before application. Won’t be noticeable really. 
 

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Ended up being not as harrowing as I thought. 
Pretty much where we stand now 😀. It’s been a big week. More vinyl application within the next few days.

Thanks for looking so far everyone 

 

Tom

Edited by tnone
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Thanks guys 🙏 she’s getting there.

@Crafty just the 1.2x2m so far mate was just enough wide to do both sides. Little bit left to possibly do the front door. Got some more coming for the rest.

@redferatu definitely very nostalgic, end of the day it’s what we grew up with which makes it a bit special mate 😀

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Continuing with wood grain last night. The fiddly parts.

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A crude template was the only way I could get my head around how to do this. A bit of mucking around here.Thankfully the opposite side is the same but reversed.

In the end only 4 sides needed to be reasonably accurate as seen from the template above with the rest as overhang.

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Tacked on in the rightmost corner as you can see (sorry for the dark picture it was around 12am) with, like the side application the backing peeled back onto itself.

From there on out it was just taking my time making sure everything stayed in line as I went, occasionally using the flat tool to make sure of no bubbles.

Gotta give it to this vinyl, it goes on very smoothly.

 

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A decent result 😀. The top most edge running horizontal to the top curve of the cabinet had a little gap. That will be hidden by the marquee section anyway.

Pretty happy so far. Still to wood grain is the rear and front parts of the cabinet.

 

The saga continues 

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Wood grain frenzy! 😀 

Not afraid to admit my mistakes here. Came time to do the entire rear of the cabinet.

Plan was to put the back door back on and use an entire continuous length of vinyl to maintain the wood grain pattern across all rear panels.

Getting the very top section sorted here. Bit of a muck around did a crude template up again for the very top, then the rest going down the rear with overhang on the sides.

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Got a bit tricky up the top there trying not to crease the vinyl (as you can see on the bottom right there, luckily this was an area to be trimmed away) with the gravity of the entire sheet hanging down the back.

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Once past there was smooth sailing though

 

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And the entire panel covered with the back door held in place there by the vinyl .Things were going swimmingly up until the trimming part…

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When it came time to trim the back door out , I honestly rushed, had a lapse in concentration, thought I was following the line of the bottom of the door and went off course…. Disaster..😅

 

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Was kicking myself here. Had to rip the vinyl off and start again on the door.

Rectified, unfortunately the pattern of the wood grain isn’t quite consistent down the whole rear of the cabinet with the door in place but 🤷‍♂️ done my best here considering.

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And the final trimmed result. Can’t complain 

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Few more little wood grain fiddly bits to go, and the front section and can finally finish up with the wood grain. It’s been an experience so far 😀

 

 

 

 

 

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The last of the wood grain and prep for dual mono and cleaning up the coin mechs

Did a bit of reading on cleaning up old mechs. Brasso was mentioned, it did a very nice job. Was satisfying getting these back to a reasonable condition.

Quite a bit of rust/corrosion inside and the faces came up nice too. Just spent around an hour with the brasso and microfibre on em.

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Coming together now front section done last of the wood grain.

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Preparing for dual mono was next. The top wedge here was very strangely constructed in the first place, very homemade at some stage in the cabinets lifetime. This is one part of the cabinet I’m not entirely happy with. 

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Had to modify/adjust it further to get it lined up after removing the other section above it, in able to fit the speakers and LED.

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Wired the 2x 4ohm speakers in series here

 

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And some good information from the man @Jomac here.

Game boards don't like a load less than 4 Ohms , but 8 ohms is normal and less load on arcade PCB amps , so LAI  did a couple of different variations of speakers in Lowboys , some had 4 ohm speakers wired in series to give 8 ohms, others used 8 ohms speakers wired in parallel to give 4 ohms.
Basically if you have 4 ohm speakers wire in series as per your picture  ( never in parallel because that is only 2 ohms and will kill most amps ) , if you have 8 ohms speakers wire in parallel which will give you 4 ohms ( series gives you 16 ohms and low sound volume )

Thanks for the clarification mate 👍

 

 

Everything mounted and wiring fed down. This was honestly the only way I could route this wiring bar running it outside down the back panel of the cabinet. That would be unacceptable.Would have loved a neater solution , hopefully once the glass is back in it won’t be noticeable. Another little thing I’m not entirely happy with but should be worth it to have the setup in the marquee area there.

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Gettin there slowly… 😀

Edited by tnone
Correction with speaker in series wiring
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Sandblasting and Powdercoating the CP 😀

Progress slowing here now while waiting on a few things and wiring the AC of the cabinet. 
Thought I’d get the CP prepared here.

Just a before picture here, quite rusty used and abused over its time.

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Friendly local sandblasting was first. Being in the small coastal town here there isn’t particularly a workshop you go to get this done. Local powder coater gave me the lads number and I dropped the CP off to him on his work site about 3km up a bush track 😂. The lengths we go to. He did a nice job and sent a picture 

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Onto powdercoating. Honestly you can’t fault the finish of a nice powdercoat. The CP will be covered eventually, but a nice fresh base here for the future, free of all the previous rust.

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Pretty cheap too locally here and they did a good job. 
Sandblast $30
Powdercoat $60
Pretty happy with that 😀

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3 hours ago, Davefjedi said:

If you are not happy with the cable running up for the light put a bit of conduit in there the  stuff that has the lid on it and paint it black

https://www.bunnings.com.au/d-line-30-x-15mm-2m-white-adhesive-cable-management-cover_p4430324

 

 

Appreciate that Dave, this could be the solution depending on how close the glass is going to fit in there never thought of something like that. Great idea mate 👍

 

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Looks good 

Depending on what game board you put in a external volume control is a good idea

Wired between the jamma board and speakers and can be put anywhere within hands reach (on the top behind marquee is a good place - reachable and not seen)

I have done it on a lot of my cabs - volume down for sneaky games or up with your mates!

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17 hours ago, Autosteve said:

Isn't that a stuff up in design, no way to get wires to the header. How was it done originally?.

Hi, looking great @tnone !

 

Hi @Autosteve, these cabinets didn't have an illuminated marquee originally and the speaker on the ones I've seen was mounted to the inside of the front door so no wiring went up there in the original 'no frills' machines.

I've got two similar ones in the workshop at the moment and have no idea who manufactured these cabinets but assume they were locally made - anyone know?

They're similar looking to the LAI lowboy in profile but the front edge has a slight curve to it. One has been modified to a driving cab but looks like it started out the same.

chasezb.jpg.a024005e88c3cf693fd7610283bf69a4.jpg lowboy.jpg.c10762bd70946f51b2029638aa9f602a.jpg

 

On 28/10/2022 at 11:54 PM, tnone said:

Preparing for dual mono was next. The top wedge here was very strangely constructed in the first place, very homemade at some stage in the cabinets lifetime. This is one part of the cabinet I’m not entirely happy with. 

- The marquee area on these was originally only about 150mm, 6" high making it really difficult to find a header graphic which fit well so yours appears to have been extended with that wedge section - actually a pretty good solution by the previous owner at some point.

The second coin box on the left looks like another custom addition, presumably to take $1 coins - where had they put the speaker?

Look forward to seeing the machine come together, already shaping up to be better than new!

Regards, John.

Edited by jbtech
typo
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Arr that would explain why no prevision for cables to the head. Need to get creative then. You could cut a slot partially into the inside wall and cover it with sheet metal?. Probably better doing one slot each side of the cabinet solely to keep the mains for the fluro away from the audio wires.

If you don't like the sheet metal idea, 4 slots cut into the inner wall with a circular saw to allow each wire to be buried in the wood. Fill the slot with filler and sand back flush painting to match afterwards?.

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20 hours ago, Ponty said:

Looks good 

Depending on what game board you put in a external volume control is a good idea

Wired between the jamma board and speakers and can be put anywhere within hands reach (on the top behind marquee is a good place - reachable and not seen)

I have done it on a lot of my cabs - volume down for sneaky games or up with your mates!

Having a think about this mate. I take it any kind of “volume control type” of dial will suffice? 4 posts I assume with + and - in/out? 
Or is some reasearch required here on a certain ohm rated volume adjuster?

Thanks for your input mate

Tom

Edited by tnone
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5 hours ago, jbtech said:

Hi, looking great @tnone !

 

Hi @Autosteve, these cabinets didn't have an illuminated marquee originally and the speaker on the ones I've seen was mounted to the inside of the front door so no wiring went up there in the original 'no frills' machines.

I've got two similar ones in the workshop at the moment and have no idea who manufactured these cabinets but assume they were locally made - anyone know?

They're similar looking to the LAI lowboy in profile but the front edge has a slight curve to it. One has been modified to a driving cab but looks like it started out the same.

chasezb.jpg.a024005e88c3cf693fd7610283bf69a4.jpg lowboy.jpg.c10762bd70946f51b2029638aa9f602a.jpg

 

- The marquee area on these was originally only about 150mm, 6" high making it really difficult to find a header graphic which fit well so yours appears to have been extended with that wedge section - actually a pretty good solution by the previous owner at some point.

The second coin box on the left looks like another custom addition, presumably to take $1 coins - where had they put the speaker?

Look forward to seeing the machine come together, already shaping up to be better than new!

Regards, John.

John! Hope your well mate!

Thanks for the history lesson here. You wealth of information you! 😀

This is the bit of background I needed mate and I found it quite interesting, that SF2 lowboy looks pretty much identical doesn’t it? the difference being it’s Woodgrain and the speaker there in the top left as opposed to this one which was plonked in the middle of the front door between the coin mechs.

This one and the SF2 one you pictured there would definitely have been made in the same factory. Possibly they made the horizontal cabinets Woodgrain and the vertical ones just black like this one was. My mind is wondering now! 😅 Definitely no frills cabinets these, with a few very specific challenges. As mentioned running those top cables down !

On ya mate

Tom

 

 

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2 hours ago, Autosteve said:

Arr that would explain why no prevision for cables to the head. Need to get creative then. You could cut a slot partially into the inside wall and cover it with sheet metal?. Probably better doing one slot each side of the cabinet solely to keep the mains for the fluro away from the audio wires.

If you don't like the sheet metal idea, 4 slots cut into the inner wall with a circular saw to allow each wire to be buried in the wood. Fill the slot with filler and sand back flush painting to match afterwards?.

Thanks for your reply Steve

I definitely mulled over this little drama for quite awhile mate. I just couldn’t get my head around what to do here! A very tricky spot just in that corner as well , apart from doing what you mentioned there and burying the cables in there and bogging over -or- somehow drilling on a diagonal from the top of the marquee area , and then from underneath on a diagonal trying to meet both drill holes there , drilling into the back of the cabinet.

This could of worked but I was stressing about piercing through to the back section and then you know bogging and repairing etc.

I ended up just doing this and hoping for the best,

1B93626E-F8B5-40EC-93A9-8EFAE1163707.thumb.jpeg.d740a3c77ba602c2a9c153ca160b07cf.jpeg

I’m a little apprehensive here as I’m not sure if the glass is going to come right up to the back here…. We’ll soon see 😅 I’m hoping it will be ok and I have a few mm of leeway there. 
And this is how we are looking currently 

CD3DBBD4-81FC-4D77-A6FE-C679AC977F20.thumb.jpeg.e59364a1deaf99f4c51f9df6ca2388a8.jpeg
 

Despite what it looks like, the wiring definitely isn’t “squashed “ per se , there’s room with them pushed gently in there. Still though definitely a tricky situation here. 
 

Sorry for the long winded reply here and I still might have to fall back on those suggestions of yours if we have a drama here. 
Thanks mate

 

Tom

 

Edited by tnone
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6 hours ago, Autosteve said:

If you don't like the sheet metal idea, 4 slots cut into the inner wall with a circular saw to allow each wire to be buried in the wood. Fill the slot with filler and sand back flush painting to match afterwards?.

Ha, chasing wiring into a wall like that was common practice with older masonry houses, it was always worth taking a bit of extra care if hanging pictures near a light fitting in case you struck a wire!

My thinking with the two cabs here is to add a couple of timber strips to the back, both sides as these are often seen on the back of machines and useful if the cab is laid on its back for transport etc. - but routed out inside to make a channel for wiring to run up to the marquee area for 12VDC LED strips and probably a centre mounted speaker - which would have to be better than the speaker in the door! So, not invisible but the wiring concealed at least.

Maybe those cabinets were made with a choice of woodgrain or black - or maybe earlier ones were woodgrain and later ones were black as fashions changed. Does anyone remember when TVs and stereos etc. were referred to as 'browngoods' and sold alongside 'whitegoods' being household appliances, that term is still used today but 'browngoods' are long gone...

If that machine had a 1942 PCB in it, surprising it wasn't fitted with two player controls - one of the few vertical games of the day which had two player simultaneous mode.

Regards, John

Edited by jbtech
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