Category Archives: 1. Coin Door

Coin Door $0.25 Labels

The coin door had two little squares inserts to indicate the cost of a game is $0.25. All Midway coin doors from the USA seem to have these. I believe the originals are made of Lexan and the label itself is silk screened on the reverse side.

One of the originals was in fine shape but the other had some sort of adhesive on it. Here’s a picture:

Adhesive on the insert label.

I went to great lengths to clean it off without damaging the original. I researched adhesive removers that were known to be safe on polycarbonates, bought a few of them, bought a small sheet of Lexan to verify it wouldn’t cause damage and went to work. Unfortunately, I had no luck dissolving the adhesive. I actually had a product sitting around from another project called Novus Plastic Polish and the next step would have been polishing off the adhesive. Novus Plastic Polish is touted for use on motorcycle windshields, so it probably would have achieved a reasonably clear, scratch-free finish. However, around the same time, I stumbled across the only place that sells reproductions and decided I’d rather pony up $5 on a new set at this point.

They’re not 100% perfect reproductions, but they’re pretty darn good. Here’s how they look installed:

Reproduction insert.

Reproduction inserts.

Coin Chutes: Before & After

I continued reassembling the coin door and noticed the coin chutes were a bit rusty and dirty. I figured I should clean them too. The under side of the chute was fine, so I just removed the outer cover. I then used a Dremel wire brush attachment to knock off the minor surface rust and then some Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish to shine them up. Here’s what a clean one looks like next to a non-cleaned one:

One side down, one to go...

…and here’s how they ended up:

Much better!

When the covers were off, the inside of the chutes were exposed so I also cleaned them with the Dremel wire brush. There are also two small rectangular plastic inserts that sit inside the chute and mate up with the outer plastic piece of the door. I cleaned those by removing them and dropping them in a small cup of Simple Green. The inner side of the plastic rectangle is just slightly wider and taller than a quarter so this seemed like the best way to clean it. It worked pretty well because the green cleaning solution had turned nearly black when I checked on it a couple hours later.

Now, I just have to do something about the coin counter.

Retr0Bright

With all of the parts removed from the coin door, I thought it would be wise to give them a thorough cleaning before reassembly. The coin acceptors on this machine are gray plastic and looked somewhat brown-ish. Because hands touch this area when inserting a coin, I figured it was simply accumulated grime I could scrub off. Scrubbing them in soapy water did remove some of it, but there was still a distinctive brown hue left on the plastic. This reminded me of something I read about recently…

If you’ve ever seen beige or gray plastic age over a number of years, it does sometimes develop a brownish hue. Some chemistry geniuses at the English Amiga Board figured out this is caused by a breakdown of atomic bonds in the plastic. Bromine is added to plastic during the manufacturing process to act as a flame retardant and it eventually finds its way to the surface. UV light tends to accelerate the process. I’m no chemist, so that’s the best explanation I can provide. You can read the real theory behind it here. I found it fascinating.

The same geniuses who figured out what was causing this problem also figured out how to reverse the process without damaging the part. Simply coat the part in a solution they developed and expose it to UV light for a number of hours. I’d never tried it before, but I’ve been curious to see how well it would work. The solution itself is easy to make and the developers have given out the recipe for free on their wiki.

I mixed up a small cup of the solution and dropped in one of the coin acceptors. I then put it under a black light to provide some UV exposure per the instructions. Here are the treated and untreated coin acceptors side-by-side after 12 hours: (I adjusted the contrast and brightness to make the difference stand out more)

Front side

Back side

So, Retr0Bright does work. Awesome. 🙂

Door Plate

The coin doors on Midway/Bally machines of this era have a front-facing metal plate with the company logo. The majority I have seen are pretty scratched and dented. This one wasn’t too bad, but because I needed to strip the door to powder coat it, I had to remove it. I found that ArcadeShop.com sells a reproduction for $15, so I picked one up. Here’s how it looks next to the old one:

Old & new.

And, of course, I had to put it in place to see how it would look on the door. 🙂

On the door.

Powder Coating

Probably the most frustrating aspect of this project is getting certain cosmetic items how I want them. One of the major hurdles that caused me to put the project on hold was the coin door. It had some rust underneath the original finish so I completely disassembled the door and stripped it. This left me with a bare metal door. Now… how do I refinish the door and make it look original?

Well, I started with a primer coat and then some black paint. I quickly noticed my new paint job on the door was not going to hold up to actual use. It scratched easily and didn’t have the original textured look I was after. Maybe I should have finished it with clear top-coat, but I wasn’t really thinking about it. I stripped it again and tried some textured paint, but I still didn’t get the look I wanted. I then realized that I should just have the door powder coated. But where…? I shopped around for price quotes from a few shops and didn’t get much response. Shortly thereafter, I lost interest and put it aside.

Well, just last week, I found a place to powder coat the door and it’s finally done. Only cost me $35 and looks just how I wanted it to. The only minor issue is the hinge… powder coating tends to freeze it in place and breaking it free means damaging the powder coat finish. Fortunately, it just resulted in some small pits along the hinge so I’m going to touch them up with some black paint.

The frame.

The door.

New Coin Mechs Installed

A good local distributor of new machines and parts is a place called Cleveland Coin Machine Exchange. It’s kind of funny buying parts for Super Pacman there because I got the game from the Cleveland area. Oh, and did I mention they have a showroom full of the latest games set to Free Play for “testing”? Yep, it’s pretty sweet.

So I stop in the place at lunch today and ask for a set of coin mechs at the parts counter. The parts guy asks what I need them for so I give a really brief explanation about working on a Super Pacman machine and needing some replacements. He gets this funny look and tells me that I’m not going to be able to buy something like that for under $300! I asked him if he was joking because I can buy these things online for $12 each. Then, he snaps out of it and tells me that he has them for $16.95. Ooooookay… I guess he was just confused about what I wanted.

Anyway, I picked up a nice pair of Imonex V9 mechs for a total of $33.90. I like them because they’re mostly plastic (so they won’t rust) and this particular model has no moving parts. I’m not sure how that must work from a mechanical standpoint, but they both operate flawlessly. Here’s what they look like:

Installation was almost too easy. Mechs are typically mounted with pegs on the sides so all I had to do was snap them into place. It literally took less than a minute. Here’s what they look like in the coin door:

Pretty, huh?

Missing Coin Mechs

I was looking at the coin door this evening and it suddenly occured to me that the original coin mechs are missing. I don’t know why I didn’t notice this sooner, but no matter. I would have found out quick if I had inserted a coin.

The coin mech is the chamber a coin enters after falling into the coin slot. It weighs the coin and either sends it through a slot that triggers the coin switch or kicks it back to the coin return. Here’s a marked up photo of the inside coin door.

The mechs attach to the middle of the door below the coin slot. I’ll probably go buy some tomorrow at a local distributor.

I’m not very surprised these were missing from the machine. Operators typically remove them before selling these games to private owners because they can reuse them on other games that still need to earn money. This gives me an excuse to buy some new ones anyway. Although it’s not terribly difficult, I wasn’t looking forward to disassembling and cleaning two old mechs from 1982. They probably would have been seized and required a lot of work.