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(Update 24. May 2018)

Star Wars Cockpit - A Restauration in Progress
Current status as of 5. October 2009

11. July 2004 -
First Notes

In late 2003 I was lucky enough to get this nice machine in Germany on EBAY relatively cheap. The operator advertised it as a "Driving Simmulator" (note the two "m"). The wrong spelling, combined with a distorted picture in EBAY and not using any of the magic keywords like "Atari" or "Star Wars" or even "Vector". Well I was not eager to ask the seller questions in advance so I simply bid and hoped to get a complete machine.

What the actual price was? It was well below what I was prepared to pay - for ~US$260 I've won the auction.

When I arrived after a 300 miles drive to pick it up, it showed up in a bad shape. The machine was probably for many years in an area where they produced french fries as I found a lot of them inside plus some other dirt and "untouchable" stuff. The cab was damaged from moving it around and has severe scratches on the sideart. Later at home I noticed that the bottom was loose as well.

As I anticipated, the 25" Amplifone Monitor had been replaced by a WG 6100, but what made me really happy is that a second PCB set from ESB (Empire Strikes Back) was lying inside in addition the the Star Wars PCB set..

Then I started the dissassembly without even trying to switch it on. At first I removed the Monitor and set it aside. The next step was the removal of the Power Supply, the Card Cage and the Coin Door Assy. Afterwards the Yoke Assy, Cabling, Marquee, Lighting .. . . . Then we had a big cleaning session of all parts before I was access granted to our house ;-) . Do you know WAF - Womans Acceptance Factor.

The monitor was then cleaned, recapped and tested with my Tempest. So far it is ready, although convergence is not perfect, a little more work. Looking after the Flight Yoke was the next step. I found a rebuild kit with the buttons and spring at Arcadeshop.com and those microswitches at a local electronics supplier. The gears are still in great shape. The yoke still needs to be cleaned, paint/rust removed and freshly painted.

After that I dissassembled the Cab itself, as it is in such a bad shape that I will rebuild many of the particle board parts. Also I have made contact with someone who wants to reproduce the sideart soon.

So the current status of my "Star Wars" is more or less "dissassembled".

30. January 2005 - No progress

Time goes by...nothing done :-(

1. December 2008 - All PCB's rebuilt

Let's have a look at the progress...

Monitor - The WG6100 19" monitor has been sold to Marco, a friend in Italy, to restore his Tempest. The reason for letting a 19" Vector Monitor go, is that I really wanted to have this Cockpit run with the original 25" Amplifone and as I've got from Marco also a WG6100 deflection yoke back as a trade-in, I can rebuild the Amplifone.

Getting the parts for the Amplifone has not been found so difficult so far. From EBAY I've bought a Deflection PCB and a HV PCB. Both PCB's have been re-capped, all semiconductors have been checked/replaced, the connectors have been checked, all solder joints reflowed after removing old solder and then finally the PCB was cleaned. For the infamous "red is dead" HV transformer there is replacement available now, so this caused no headaches any longer, like back in 2004. The yoke, as said above, I've got already.

Still missing is the 25" Tube, designated as A63AAX00X (discussions in the newsgroups say, a A63ABZ26X will also work). I contacted  Scotty from www.hawkeyepicturetube.com and he is able to supply a tube, although shipping will cost a premium to Europe... so I will try to arrange that with the family budget :-) in December 2008.

Finally, the degauss coil is a missing piece. With a limited effort, I think this can be built. A friend measured the resistance of the degauss coil on an original unit and I have bought already the required isolated wire.

PCB Set - While repairing a Starwars PCB set for another collector, I took the opportunity to check my SW and my ESB set. The SW boardset showed up with no issues at all (positive surprise) and I was able to repair my ESB boardset. It had a defective AVG, a defective sound RAM plus two defective 74LS244 for the switch inputs. Still need to order an AVG chip replacement. Have no spare for that one. The AR2 board has also been verified.

Wiring Harness - Has been cleaned and checked.

Cabinet - No progress on that. Originally I wanted to get Archer McLean's SW Cockpit Sideart. But then this delayed more and more and finally I think it won't get done any more. Unfortunately, while waiting for Archer's, I've missed the point in time when there was still Cockpit artwork available from www.mamemarquees.com. Lucas Arts, so it was said, asked for stopping the SW Cockpit artwork production. So there I stood, w/o any artwork and with a Cockpit in pieces. The current plan is to re-use the Cockpit parts inc. the artwork and rebuild the cab during next summer (2009).

Summary - All electronics are checked. I need a picture tube & some time to rebuild the cockpit.

5. December 2008 - There is hope for Artwork

It's really unbelievable, a story almost too good to be true and that I just became aware of : The original Atari artwork films for the Star Wars Cockpit have shown up. Scott Evans (www.atarigames.com) lend the films to Rich from thisoldgame.com and Rich is planning to reproduce the artwork as time allows. If you want to dig into this story, take a look at the article on www.rotheblog.com. With the artwork eventually being produced (and even if it takes a year or so), one major hurdle is removed. Initial guesses are around $250 for a complete set of artwork....

21. December 2008 - New 25" picture tube arrived

Arrival of picture tube A63AAX00XI was close to give it up, but now, after having the sideart being reproduced and after shuffling around the budget, I was ordering a picture tube! Thanks to Scotty from www.hawkeyepicturetube.com, I was able to order and receive a new A63AAX00X 25inch/63cm picture tube.  Price for the tube was only $165 ( but don't ask for shipping to Europe :-) ). On top of shipping there was customs and carrier bill for just storing the package aside for 5 days, horrible fees! But all things are complete and we're going to re-build the Cab in next summer.

14. April 2009 - Yoke Rebuild Kit (produced by RAMCONTROLS)

Really things are moving now in terms of reproductions for the Star Wars Cockpit.

RAMCONTROLS is producing spares for all major ATARI controllers, one of them being the Star Wars Yoke. David Adams, the owner of RAMCONTROLS is dedicated to only the highest quality standards when designing & rebuilding stuff.

Have a look at his site to read his Project Blogs. During the introduction of Yoke spares David offered a dumping price on a 'wear parts' kit (deluxe version!) with all the gears, springs, switches, bumpers etc to overhaul the Yoke (see picture).

Btw there is an excellent tutorial about rebuilding the yoke with the super deluxe kit from RAMCONTROLS <here> .


5. October 2009 - Cabinet Rebuilding - Base Assy

The last couple of weeks I have put together my shopping list of black covered particle board and plywood mainly, wood glue and particle board screws. Having the original cab as a reference made things pretty easy. I have first build the bottom frame from 3/4" (19mm) plywood, only challenging thing was to cut the various angles, as I don't have a circular hand saw Smiley so I used a setup/tool where I can cut the angles with my router. The original rollers (including screws and nuts) have been cleaned, greased and reused. The bottom part of the base assy will just be screwed, the upper part with the connecting side strips are glued together. The large holes for the rollers/wheels were also cut with a router.

Trusting in the reproduction of the sideart by Thisoldgame, I have decided to rebuild the sides and apply the new sideart when it becomes available. There are two identical pieces for each side (total 4) plus the arches that I want to re-use. The arches are in a very good shape and not so easy to reproduce... The arches are used to connect the large front side with the small rear side ( front means : in flight direction ). The position of the sides versus base and arches is guaranteed by additional wood plugs, stability maintained by screws/glue. The old sides are being kept, just in case.

6. October 2009 - Cabinet Rebuilding - Assembling Base and Sides

It's time to leave the garage, there's simply not enough space. The cab will be assembled, lying on its side. Some wood strips between ground and sides avoid scratches. Starting with the right side, the three pieces making up one side are positioned and wood plugs are fitted to be able to take it apart for transportation (just in case...). Same positioning and woodplugs for the other side. Then everything is screwed together. The first board that was screwed in (foot room) gave sufficient stabilty that the cab can now be rolled around. Looks already like a SW Cockpit, doesn't it?

.... to be continued

» Star Wars Cockpit - Local Links
Star Wars Cockpit - Pictures of Disassembly

» Star Wars Cockpit - Web Links
This Star Wars Cockpit Restoration story on BYOAC (english)
This Star Wars Cockpit Restoration story on ArcadeInfo.De (german)

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 © Andreas Kraemer 2004-2018