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Bringing an old Stargate console to life - after cleaning

wiretoptrvl

Jul 13, 2016
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Hello again all... It's been a very long time, but I have a new question for anyone who would be kind enough to help.

I have an old (circa 1981) "Williams Defender Stargate" video machine. It used to work well, then over the years I discovered that the game would not always start correctly. I think the problem was simply a bad wire because if I moved the rear cabinet door to a certain position, I could get the game to start correctly. But anyway, that was years and years ago.

The game has been sitting for the past 10+ years untouched and unplayed because I was seldom home. Now, I would like to sell the game, but before doing so, I wanted to clean the cabinet out - there was a tons of dirt back there as the cabinet sat in a room that doubled as a wood workshop. I have a couple questions:

I did take a whisk broom along the wooden insides - avoiding the actual electronics, but I would like to clean that too. I tried using my shop vac on reverse to blow out the dust, but mothing really moved...

I am assuming that because the machine has not been plugged in in the past ten years that the entire circuit board and the CRT tube and all the other components should be well deenergized? And that it would be safe for me to touch any of the components. Is this correct? I would hate to kill myself right before I am scheduled to marry.

I thought about using a feather duster, but thought it might be too gentile.

I also thought about getting a can (or 5) of dust off to see if a concentrated blast would clean it well. But before I do anything that can harm the machine, I thought I'd check here first. Any suggestions?

And lastly, since the game worked before, what are the chances it would work again now with no maintenance done? Would capacitors be the only question mark for old electronics? The batteries used to hold scores in memory were removed long ago so they were not there to leak or rupture. I have decided NOT to plug it back in until it has been cleaned, I see no point in reenergizing any components at this time to do a test.

Thanks.
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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You can quite easily disconnect each board with the connectors and remove each board for cleaning.
I would use a soft (ish) brush to remove cob webs and debris then use IPA (isopropyl) to thoroughly clean the boards.
Pay attention to the wires and connectors too.
The CRT can also be wiped down with IPA.
If the unit hasn’t been powered for 10 years, it will be safe.
Replace all electrolytic capacitors as a matter of age related maintenance.
Check all solder joints for cracked/dry joints and add solder if necessary.
Double check all connections on and around the opening door including wires/cables that constantly move with the door.
Reinstall everything you removed for cleaning and checking.
Hopefully you now have a good clean working unit!

Martin
 

wiretoptrvl

Jul 13, 2016
8
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Jul 13, 2016
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Thanks to both of you for the advice. I will give it a go. My main concern was that I not kill myself - even though I was pretty sure it had no energy after all this time.

But on that note. If I were to clean down the boards, and then plug it in to see if it works and discover that it doesn't. What precautions can I use to be safe?

Thanks again.
 

bertus

Moderator
Nov 8, 2019
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wiretoptrvl

Jul 13, 2016
8
Joined
Jul 13, 2016
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Hello,

Keep in mind that the CRT has high voltage.
Dust and moisture can cause arcing in the HV area of the CRT tube.
Also the HV can stay quite some time on the CRT tube.
Have a look at the safety guidelines:
http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/safety.htm
Here are also some guidelines for reparing tv sets, wich is basicaly your monitor for the set:
http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/tvfaq.htm
And some monitor guidelines:
http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/monfaq.htm

Bertus
This is much appreciated!
 
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