Sega Aero City! Great cabinets.

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    • Sega Aero City! Great cabinets.

      I recently picked up a couple Sega Aero City's for a great price. One of them I'm going to keep, the other is going to our great member @RandomRetro.
      Both cabinets are in decent condition, have working monitors, but are missing some of the stock parts that Sega released these cabinets with. For example, the CP's were converted to north american controls so they're missing the original Control Panels and the surround housing. Both cabs also came with non-original marquees, as well as height risers to get these to be standing cabinets.
      One of the cabinets has a working Moon Patrol board, while the other has a Centipede that seems to not want to boot-up. This thread will concentrate on the plans for my cab -- the Centipede one.



      First, I love this cabinet. I think it's one of the most perfect cabs for shmup's and vertical games. The lines of the design being angular, the size being smaller than your average candy, and simplicity and ability to separate all the components and internals make for a wonderful cab to own. It's got a cool 80's vibe to it, and I really love that the entire cabinet is made out of metal. This cab is a workhorse.

      It's about 2 inches less in width, about a couple in height than my New Astro City. It also hosts a 26" Nanao CRT, compared to 29" in the NAC.
      I will be dedicating this cab to mainly tate orientation.

      The cabinet I'm keeping already has the monitor vertically mounted, but was also adapter to play Centipede, via a Sega->Atari Adapter, and a trackball North American panel was installed. I've got a replacement CP and surround housing on the way to me, as well as various small parts to get this bad boy back to stock.



      At first powering it up, the monitor works, but the colors and brightness was very dim. After playing with the pots I was able to get it to show up a bit brighter, but I'm pushing it to the limit here. So a cap-kit and B+ filter cap are in order to start.

      My plan is to restore this cabinet in Two Tiers:


      Tier 1
      Since the holidays is right around the corner, my money has got to be more strategic right now, so I'm considering the first Tier as a parts gathering, cleaning, paint touch-ups, and functionality. That is, it's got to be cheap, but I wanted to make sure I got all the right parts installed as well as getting it bulletproof in function.

      To break it down into goal pillars:
      - Aero must have the necessary parts to be returned as close to stock as possible
      - thoroughly cleaned cabinet and parts for in-house worthiness
      - rustless
      - paint and art must be touched-up and presentable
      - Bright and beautiful vertical "tate" orientation monitor, suitable for shmups and classic games


      Tier 2
      In the new year, my plan is to fully strip this cabinet by means of sandblasting, then getting the entire cabinet powder-coated for a brand new finish. New reproduction side-art and stickers will be applied to it, and the wiring will be converted from the early Sega wiring to dedicated JAMMA.

      This of course is a bigger financial investment than Tier 1, so that I'll save for when I don't have to buy a billion presents for friends and family. ;)


      Pics and Details

      In case you were wondering, 2 Aero City's fit inside of a Honda Odyssey minivan:


      How they looked when I picked them up. Just sitting outside in the dirt and dust:


      The seller had these stored under an awning outside of his home, for lord knows how long, so they accumulated a lot of Californian dirt and grime over that time:




      You can see in the above picture the Moon Patrol harness was adapted to the Sega wiring. Here's the Centipede. All said, fairly tidy conversions -- no hack jobs:


      Overall decent condition, considering where it was stored. There are a bunch of scuffs around the cab, and scratches on the side-art. For now I'm going to razorblade the artwork to get the flappy tears flush, then fill in the blemishes with blue enamel paint to touch it up. Same goes for the glossy white.
      Also you can see a bunch of scuffs along the bottom at the base. That's gotta be sorted out to get those clean lines along the edges:


      Hardware-wise there are a lot of missing torx screws around the cabinet, some panels are being held by 2/4 they should be secured with. But also, the monitor glass is also missing the thicker torx screws, and one of them was stripped. I had to use pliers to unscrew and completely compromising it. I'm going to have to find replacements:


      Got all the original legs:


      Inside the cabinet the monitor has a model sheet, and from all that I've seen on PCB comparisons it looks like this monitor is a MS8-26SG. I will need to further confirm this though:





      This is going to be a great cabinet when I'm done with it. For a $400 candy cabinet purchase, who could resist? But if you've followed my restorations before you know I go all the way, and I try to do it quickly.
      My goal is to have this up and running in 2 weeks time, at least that's what I'm shooting for. The main thing that's holding me up on this cabinet is waiting for parts to ship. As long as I keep making progress every day, I should be able to get Tier 1 completed in a good sprint.

      Let's get started. :thumbsup:
    • First order of business: Gut it.

      I gotta remove everything from the shell and take it apart so that I can give it a thorough cleaning.

      Remove the CP and Monitor. I love how the monitor bezel just lifts up like a Delorean :D


      I pulled RandomRetro's monitor to take a look at his chassis as well. Man I do have a lot of monitors, only 4 are in the background but there's another 4 hiding off camera:


      Here's a look at the inside. Not too terrible, but still really dirty and grimy. Also, lots of spider webs and nests. So maybe yeah, kinda terrible LOL:


      Removed all the hardware inside, here's what nastiness I was left with:



      Second order of business: Clean it.

      After a good shop-vac I sprayed the cabinet down with a hose and simple green, and began scrubbing it from top to bottom, in and out.

      Here's a look at what the insides look like now:


      The cabinet cleaned up really nicely, and I was able to get rid of a bunch of scuffs and marks on the sides:








      There was a bunch of rust building up along the bottom edges, and lot around the cash box door. So I removed the base of the cabinet, and took some sandpaper and scraped off the rust and made the paint smooth around that area so that I can apply the touch-up paint later:





      Overall I'm very happy with the condition and cleanliness of the cab. Since it got dark outside, and I couldn't start applying the touch-up paint (would rather do that during the day), I re-focused my efforts to the monitor.

      Before I service any monitor chassis, I like to give it a good cleaning. Time for a bath!


      Scrub-a-dub-dub, dirty chassis in the tub:


      My method for cleaning monitor chassis' is to spray it down with warm water and simple green, then take a medium soft paint brush and use it to scrub the grime out. The long bristles help in reaching under caps, or in tight spots, but also is flexible enough that you can't apply too much pressure to damage anything.

      After a rinse, I pat it down with a cloth, drying up as much of the main moisture as I can.


      Once that's done to satisfactory, I blast it with some canned-air, especially in the small holes and connector ports that might keep the water inside.

      Next, it sits in front of a fan overnight to dry-out even more:


      This is where we're at right now. In the morning I will then put the chassis in the oven at 170F and let it sit for 30-40 mins drying out any moisture that is hiding under components or inside sockets. This has been my tried and true method for years.

      During the day my plan is to apply the touch-up paint to the glossy white parts, as well as the blues in the side-art. Stay tuned :thumbup:
    • Love it. Surprised you didn't take them up on the offer to get it even cheaper without the Moon Patrol board though. :P

      Aero Cities are one of the last cabs I don't own that I'd still like to, I just can't justify any more cabs right now. Maybe at some point in the future if the right deal comes along I'll swap out my Neo Candy 29 for one or two, I have a weakness for Sega cabs over SNK.

      Right now space and budget in the garage are going down a non-arcade rabbit hole, got bit by the sim racing bug. Always something!

      Looking forward to seeing the end result on this. A clean Aero is one of the sexiest cabs to me.
    • Aurich wrote:

      Love it. Surprised you didn't take them up on the offer to get it even cheaper without the Moon Patrol board though.
      Yeah I contemplated it, but in the end the math won. $50 discount without a board that is worth over $200. ?( Made more sense to get it and resell if I wanted to. Though, I do like Moon Patrol. :thumbsup:

      But, saying I got an Aero City for $350 would also have been impressive.
    • If you do find out the torx and other screw sizes, document them here. I am still missing one screw on those arms that hold the control panel box, the bronze looking ones.

      Your picture shows 6 feet, but 2 cabs? If in your searches you find either speakers or feet for these cabs, hit me up.

      My monitor is the SG variant I believe, think I have pictures of my chassis on my thread with the model number, etc. If that is so, a recap and a particular resistor change is in your future. I do recall one capacitor having many different values listed next to said resistor that many forums suggested different values for. In the end I went with the highest voltage rating suggested. If it's not in my thread I can find out for you. Also while your at the recap, the psu wasn't that difficult to change the caps in and is well documented.

      You have all your locks and keys? Count your lucky stars if so! Those fuckers were expensive!

      Be careful with the black monitor shroud. That shit is more brittle than a 30 year old rice cracker.

      Very much following this thread.
    • Kavas wrote:

      If you do find out the torx and other screw sizes, document them here. I am still missing one screw on those arms that hold the control panel box, the bronze looking ones.
      For sure, I will do. Between RandomRetro and my cabinets, we're missing quite a few of the small black ones for the back panels, and we need the thick ones for the monitor glass. Random has already ordered us the rubber grommets you linked in your thread.


      Kavas wrote:



      Your picture shows 6 feet, but 2 cabs? If in your searches you find either speakers or feet for these cabs, hit me up.
      Yeah, both our cabinets came with the riser boxes, and they had all but 2 original feet. The cabinet themselves have all their feet, but the risers had these mixed with the oldschool woodie feet you see on North American cabinets.

      As for speakers, i'll send you a discord message. ;)


      Kavas wrote:



      My monitor is the SG variant I believe, think I have pictures of my chassis on my thread with the model number, etc. If that is so, a recap and a particular resistor change is in your future. I do recall one capacitor having many different values listed next to said resistor that many forums suggested different values for. In the end I went with the highest voltage rating suggested. If it's not in my thread I can find out for you. Also while your at the recap, the psu wasn't that difficult to change the caps in and is well documented.
      Thanks for the heads-up. Once I start doing the monitor re-cap (tonight hopefully), I'll verify what cap values I have for the particular spots.

      Also, good idea on the PSU re-cap. I added that to my trello list:


      Kavas wrote:



      You have all your locks and keys? Count your lucky stars if so! Those fuckers were expensive!
      Yeah they are ! I bought a bunch a few years ago when I was restoring my New Astro City, and have 2 locks and a bunch of tangs left over. This cabinet's main PCB door came with a keyless turn lock that I'll keep on it for now. The Coin Door and Cash Box door will get the original Sega locks installed.
      I'll leave the 2 panel locks vacant for now.

      Thanks for the heads-up on the shroud. It's just like any of the cabinets I've restored recently, these 20-30 y/o plastics don't hold up that well now. I'll be careful.
    • - Cool west coast restore thread - check :thumbup:
      - Mandatory image of Simple Green - check :thumbup:

      Congrats - looks like a great pickup :)

      (ps. Bases were definitely not too bad there! Some of mine were so layered in crud I found a screwdriver submerged in one of 'em!)
      [astrocity] Wanted: - Rolling Thunder PCB, PGM Cave conversions, Outrun / Outrun DLX Cabinet, Dino King / Mushiking / Love n Berry cabinet parts. Time machine.
    • Flinnster wrote:

      - Cool west coast restore thread - check :thumbup:
      - Mandatory image of Simple Green - check :thumbup:

      Congrats - looks like a great pickup :)

      (ps. Bases were definitely not too bad there! Some of mine were so layered in crud I found a screwdriver submerged in one of 'em!)
      Thank you sir!

      A screwdriver submerged in one of them?! LOL that's wild.

      Yeah my base isn't too bad. There is a bit of denting to the bottom edge that I'll try to straighten with a soft mallet. But with the rust gone, I should be able to repaint over it and get it looking crisp. I'll tackle that later today.

      Updates are comin' in hot!
    • Let’s keep the momentum going!

      I hit the sides with some gloss white krylon, mostly on the blemishes and bottom edges. Also bent the bottom edge to get it more straight.





      And of course, the coin box frame looks a hellava lot better:

      Didn’t bother painting the footrest area because that gets covered by a bracket and rubber mat.

      I popped out the coin door hardware and threw it in my drill chuck, spun it up and pressed it on some 120 grit sandpaper to shine them up.


      I think it turned out well! It’s not a perfect match, the krylon is a slight shade brighter, but you can’t really tell unless you’re up really close.
      Also, the krylon is not as glossy as the original surface so I plan on hitting this thing with some Novus polish and see if I can get it to look more consistent.

      All’s done, I’m happy with this.
      The monitor bezel needs the same treatment, that should be tomorrow.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by opt2not ().

    • Kavas wrote:

      I am still missing one screw on those arms that hold the control panel box, the bronze looking ones.

      I think you'll problems finding a perfect match. I've never found any screws locally that have the washer on them. Plus the head is JIS.

      If you're OK with a close match, the thread is M5, length of thread 8mm, PH2 button head, with flange.
    • nem wrote:

      Kavas wrote:

      I am still missing one screw on those arms that hold the control panel box, the bronze looking ones.
      I think you'll problems finding a perfect match. I've never found any screws locally that have the washer on them. Plus the head is JIS.

      If you're OK with a close match, the thread is M5, length of thread 8mm, PH2 button head, with flange.
      Perfectly ok with close enough. Thanks !