Tag Archives: BAS

BAS Arcade Cabinet Restoration – Part 2

Arcade cabinet restoration – the fun stuff

With the major repair work completed on the woodwork, monitor and control panel (covered in part 1) it was time to focus on the cosmetic aspects of the restoration of this BAS Arcade Cabinet.

The cabinet itself was not in really bad shape, but the coin doors and metal trim had suffered from rust which was showing through the paint, and the lighting behind the marquee and coin slot was not working. There was also a very scruffy piece of rubber on the footrest of the cabinet which would need to be replaced. Finally I would need to replace the rubber t-molding which was removed when the cabinet was stripped for repair.

Stripping, Sanding and Painting

Starting with the metalwork, a lot of arcade restorers rely on the services of powder coating companies that will shot blast the old rust and paint away before apply a new powder coat. I decided on the DIY approach as I was interested in the quality of finish I could achieve myself, and if I was not satisfied there was nothing lost. I could always send off to the powder coaters to fix.

So I began the process of removing the metalwork, which was all conveniently bolted on. Off came the coin doors, metal edge trim and marquee retainers as well as all the various nuts and bolts which would also need to be treated.

Testing paint stripper
Testing the paint stripper on the rusted doors

My plan was to use a paint stripper to remove the worst of the paint chemically before sanding off the residue and using a rust converter if necessary before priming and painting. As you can see from this picture the stripper paste was very effective on the coin doors, albeit after some experimentation with thicknesses of paste and time left on the paintwork.

Pain stripper on the coin doors
Using paint stripper on the rusted coin doors
Coin doors stripped
Coin doors stripped and ready for sanding and primer

The metal trim pieces were a lot easier to treat than the coin doors as the paint was thinner and the surface nice and flat.

After a bit of sanding by hand to remove the rust I applied some rust converter fluid to make sure it wouldn’t bubble up again before preparing for primer. I decided to use PlastiCote as I had heard good things about this paint, and to use standard rattle cans for the best finish without special spray equipment.

I took my time and applied the grey primer as per the instructions in light coats with a short drying period in between. After 24 hours I then sanded to remove any imperfections and give the paint a key for the black topcoat. I selected a satin paint that resembled the original, although some people prefer the crackle type finish you get with Hammerite.

Coin doors primed
Coin doors primed ready for top coat
Primed metalwork
Metalwork is primed ready for top coat

The paint went on smoothly and again I took my time with light coats, and a short drying period in between. At this point I could tell how the doors were going to come out and I was really pleased with the result. It’s not going to be as perfect or hard wearing as a powder coat but it was very satisfying, being my first attempt at metal finishing.

Coin doors painted
The coin doors finished in satin black
Metal satin black
Metal components with several coats of satin black

Fitting an LED Marquee Light

I set the freshly painted metalwork to one side to harden off a bit more while I focused on other jobs, the next fix being a new light for the marquee. The original marquee had a fluorescent tube, as did all arcade machines of the era, but I decided I wanted to use LEDs, as they are cheaper, last longer and generate less heat than an old tube. As they are not really visible anyway there is no argument to keep them, even for the purposes of authenticity, as an LED array can generate a similar lighting effect. I chose a pre-made 12V unit built for use as a caravan light, as it would be easy to hook up to a spare output from the existing transformer.

The LED unit fit nicely in the space vacated by the fluorescent tube, attached to an angle bracket with some vecro in case it needed adjustment to get the best marquee lighting effect. I need’nt have worried as the light looked great behind the marquee, which I reattached with the freshly painted retainers. I even treated myself to new black screws as they would be visible under the marquee. I kept the marquee original as it is such a great design, and I plan to use this cabinet as a multi-game unit so want to keep it generic.

LED marquee
The new LED marquee light fitted
testing marquee
Testing the new LED marquee light



Restoring the base of the cabinet

With the marquee in place I turned my attention to the base of the machine, and removed the tatty old rubber matting. I filled all the old screw holes and painted the edges with matt black paint in case any showed through the new matting and metal edge protectors. I then cut some new rubber matting (a bargain at £7 for a 2 meter roll including delivery) and fit it around the base. With the metal edge protectors fitted and new black screws the bottom of the machine looked as good as new.

The base of the BAS cabinet
The base of the cabinet stripped of old rubber mat

With the rubber mat replaced and coin doors test fitted the base of the cabinet looks as good as new.

Cabinet base complete
The cabinet base fitted with new matting and freshly painted metalworkOne of the easiest ways to cheaply and easily smarten up a tired arcade cabinet is to replace the t-molding which costs around a £1 per foot, and takes around 30 minutes a side to fit. Once the old t-Molding is removed with the help of a screwdriver blade, the new t-molding is just hammered gently in with a rubber mallet. For any corners, you just need to cut or nick the plastic to allow it to bend properly and for a tight fit.



T molding
Applying T Molding to the tricky corners
New t molding
Applying new t-molding to the BAS Cabinet

Finishing Touches

The final step was to fit the coin doors, which bolted back on easily and some new locks added, cheap as chips on eBay but make a huge difference to the look of the doors. As you can see the result is an “as new” set of coin doors for the cost of a couple of cans of paint and some elbow grease.

Finished coin door
The finished coin door reassembled with new locks

The final touch, which only came to light after I reattached the coin doors, was the lack of lighting behind the coin slot. A trip to Halfords later and I had a new bulb, a common item which is also used for car indicators so easy to source.

Coin door bulb
Coin door with indicator bulb from Halfords

So that’s about it for this project, the BAS JAMMA cabinet is complete and ready for another 30 years of arcade gaming. This will be my “vertical” games cabinet, with a 60-in-1 board for now, while I develop a MAME based solution with access to more classic arcade games.

Now I’ve completed this restoration I much more confident I can tackle a dedicated arcade cabinet, and not make huge mess of an irreplaceable piece of gaming history.

Finished BAS cabinet
The finished BAS cabinet

BAS Arcade Cabinet Restoration

After I built my arcade shed, I went on a bit of a buying spree, snapping up knackered old cabinets on eBay without much thought as to what I would do with them. I just knew that I had a space that needed filling with cabinets, and that I needed to learn how to restore them. I didn’t want to be just a player of old arcade games, I wanted to learn what made them tick and how to bring them back to life.  The BAS arcade cabinet was my first.

My initial purchase was a semi-working machine with a bootleg Mortal Kombat installed, this lovely old BAS branded cabinet, manufactured in the UK. I had seen a few of these knocking about on the UK forums, so I figured there would be enough people around that knew how they worked. Plus there might even be some spares available if I needed them. I managed to pick up this particular example for less than £100, a real bargain for an largely unmolested machine with what appeared to be a working monitor and PCB.

Martin the Van Man (UK king of arcade removals) delivered my BAS Arcade Cabinet along with a couple of others that I had managed to buy within a 2 week period. My first challenge was how to get them out of my hallway and down the garden before my wife came home.

Original eBay listing, and delivery day

Cunningly I managed to buy 2 virtually identical BAS cabinets, thinking that I might be able to make one perfect machine from parts salvaged from both, should it come to it. I also managed to acquire another Electrocoin Midi, a great little cabinet that may or may not include my favourite game, Phoenix. But that’s another story.

The 2 BAS cabs and the Electrocoin Midi make it down the garden to the arcade shed

Safely installed in the shed, my first job was to survey both the BAS cabinets and work out which one I was going to tackle first, and the problems I would need to address. I decided that I liked the look of my donor cabinet the best, as it was actually in better physical condition than the Mortal Kombat cabinet, albeit with an untested monitor and a botched control panel.

So my to-do list became:

  • Install a multi-game PCB
  • Test and fix the monitor
  • Repair or replace the control panel, joystick and buttons
  • Fix the damaged wood on the base
  • Remove all the metalwork and respray
  • Replace the rubber matting on the footrest
  • Replace the coin door locks (missing keys)
  • Find a replacement marquee light

This was going to take some time, but I was looking forward to a project that would give me experience of every aspect of restoration, not just the cosmetics but the electronics that power these old games.

BAS Arcade Cabinet Awaiting Restore
The BAS donor cab awaiting restore

Fixing the BAS Arcade Monitor

The cathode ray tube is the heart of these old machines, something that can’t be replicated with modern flat screens, and I was determined to keep this original monitor in place.  The other BAS machine had a working monitor but I wanted to find out what it would take to bring one back to life.

First job was to test the power supply, which was producing healthy voltages to both the JAMMA connector for the game PCB, coin door and control panel (5V) and to the marquee light (12V) according to my multimeter.  I had a working 60-in-1 game plugged in with flashing LEDs so I knew there was nothing wrong with the video signal being produced to the monitor.   The monitor was however showing no signs of life, and no “glow” in the neck, so I decided that the chassis would need to be removed and repaired.

This provided me with an opportunity to test out my new HV Probe, as the tube needed to be discharged before safely handling the monitor chassis due to the high voltages that can be retained by old CRTs. After donning my wellies and pink Marigolds (not joking), and with one hand behind my back to prevent my body becoming part of a circuit, I gently placed the probe under the anode cap.  Nothing.  No spark, no crackle of discharge, nothing.

Comfortable that I wasn’t going to kill myself, I removed the chassis from the monitor, making sure I took pictures of all the connections so I would be able to reverse the procedure later.

Hantarex monitor chassis
The poorly monitor chassis looking a bit worse for wear

I didn’t really know where to start with the repair of the chassis, so I cleaned it up with some cotton buds and some isopropyl alcohol, and sent it off to a contact on the UKVAC forum. Repairs to my Star Wars arcade machine have susbsequently taught me a lot about monitors, but at this stage I didn’t have the equipment or know-how. So I figured while the monitor chassis was being repaired I could focus on the cabinet itself.

Control Panel Repairs

The control panel on both BAS cabinets were less than ideal, one with a standard but weird vertical button arrangement, the other with extra buttons hacked on, presumably to play Mortal Kombat. Asking around the forums I found someone with a spare BAS panel, one with a button configuration that I was happy with.

BAS Control panel
Original BAS Control Panel with strange button layout

The control panel overlay had seen better days, so I decided that I would need to repair or replace it. Back to the forums, and although there was no off-the-shelf replacement available in the original design, I found a chap who was prepared to make a copy.

The wiring harness in the control panel was however complete and had a molex connector for easy replacement, so I documented the wiring layout taking lots of pictures, and set about carefully removing the old buttons and joysticks. The joysticks were mismatched and a bit worn, so I planned to replace with some stock 8-way items that had left over from a previous MAME cabinet project along with some shiny new buttons. The blanking plate that covered the extra joystick hole would be salvaged and cleaned up with some Brasso in leiu of specialist plastic polish.

BAs Control Panel Wiring
The wiring of the existing control panel before removing buttons and joysticks

A few weeks later and my replacement panel overlay arrived (thanks Olly from the Arcade Art Shop) looking fantastic. I treated the replacement control panel with some rust converter to tidy up any corrosion on the bare metal, and gave it a good wipe down with white spirit to remove any remaining adhesive residue and dirt that would prevent the new overlay from sticking. I then carefully applied the overlay, making sure I smoothed it down as I went and lining it up with the visible area of the control panel. Once applied, I then cut out the joystick and button holes with a craft knife, leaving some overlapping triangular sections to tuck into the hole.

BAS Control Panel
Applying the repro control panel overlay

Then the most satisfying part, pushing the buttons and the joysticks through the newly covered panel and securing with plastic nuts and shiny new chrome bolts. I was really pleased with the result, basically a good as new finish with every visible surface and component replaced, while keeping all the original internals. Now the control panel was perfect, I needed to address some of the problems with the cabinet itself.

Completed BAS Control Panel
The replacement control panel with repro overlay, new joysticks and buttons

Repairing the BAS Arcade Cabinet Woodwork

I had noticed when moving the cabinet around that there was some bulging in the cabinet edges, mainly in the bottom part of the cabin where the wood had possibly got damp and the glue holding the fibreboard together had decayed. So I tipped the cabinet onto its back (making sure the monitor and glass was secured correctly) to survey the damage.

BAS Cabinet with damaged wood base
The base of the cabinet before the damaged wood is repaired

Looking at the bottom it was fairly sound, but would need some work to stabilise the spread in the board and prevent further damage, as well as improving the looks. I removed the loose material with a file and then applied a wood hardener to the remaining surfaces to “glue” what was left together, with the help of some clamps to push the spread wood back into place. After drying, I sanded away any remaining protruding wood, and then filled with a high performance wood filler to level the surfaces and fill any holes. After a couple of rounds of filling and sanding I was happy enough with the base to prime and paint Matt black. As most of the base is hidden with rubber mat or metal plate, it didn’t have to be perfect, just tidy.

Repaired base of BAS arcade cabinet
Based hardened, filled and sanded ready for painting

While I had the cabinet on its back I took the opportunity to remove the t-molding and all the remaining metalwork including the coin doors so they could be treated for rust and cosmetic damage. There was a lot of visible rust and bubbling of paint so I decided to take back to bare metal rather just touching up. This is a job that many arcade restorers like to outsource, by sending the components off to a sandblaster and powder-coater for treatment, but I wanted to get my hands dirty on this first project. Which will be the subject of my next update, as this one is getting a bit long!

But before I finish this update, I thought I would share the most exciting part of the build, as at this stage in the restoration I received an important package.  The monitor chassis was back from repair, and after careful reinstallation, sprang back to life on the first power up without needing any adjustment.

BAS Cabinet with monitor
The BAS Cabinet with newly repaired monitor chassis installed

Up Next in Part 2

So next up in part 2 of this restoration blog will be the coin doors and other metalwork, the t-molding and bringing the marquee light back to life.  I’ll then assemble all the refurbished parts of this lovely old BAS arcade cabinet ready to play some classic games.

Huge thanks to gunblade from the UKVAC forum and Olly from arcadeartshop.com for their help with the restoration.