Introduction: So I HAD to get a Centipede, I mean... REALLY, What kind of arcade from the 80s would be without one? This is one I picked up on ebay for about $300. It was kinda working and really dirty (but the price was right).

The Cabinet: This game had been sitting in a garage on a farm. If you look at the pictures you can see the spider webs behind the glass.There was dirt all over the outside. Bird droppings were on the coin door and bug dropping were all over the cardboard shroud that surrounded the monitor. (A damp *NOT WET* paper towel got the droppings off without damage to the cardboard.) This was one of the boxes that you wanted to shower in bleach after touching.

The control panel had a broken button (no big deal they run about $0.99 each on Ebay). The grime was so thick you could scrape it off with a putty knife. As a good rule of thumb, I always replace all the buttons, joysticks, trackballs, and the control panel overlay on every game I fix up. I do this for two reasons. First, if I am eating (pizza, hot dogs, etc.) while I am playing games I donít want to catch some horrible disease like ebola. Second, if you replace all the controls you eliminate one possible source of problems that might prevent you from maxing your score! This game had a bent control panel, but it was a "rounded" dent so I worked it out with my hand and it worked fine. I picked up a new trackball on ebay (Trackballs are expensive - no matter where you get them). I also removed the old overlay and cleaned all the old glue off. NOTE: If you don't clean off all the glue, the new overlay will be bumpy and look like junk even with a new overlay. New overlays are easily found. A google (or ebay) search will bring up a lot of companies that make great reproductions.

You may click on an image to see a higher resolution version of the image

Outside Cleaning: A cood cleaning can go a LONG way to making your box seem new again. This is an example of what a bottle of cleaning solution and a roll of paper towels can do. I had to repeat the process for all the sides. Please note the bird poop that was all over the outside of the box.

Inside Cleaning: Don't forget the insides; you never know what you are going to find in the depths of hell. In this case Dante would have been proud! I started with the marquee; I cleaned the glass inside and out, replaced the tube starter, and replaced the bulb (so you get that perfect arcade glow of electric sex). This marquee held a little surprise, a ratís nets. I donít mean the term used by electricians to describe poor wiring, I mean a small place where a rat lives and makes its home. He chewed some of the wires so I did have to cut and splice some new wire. These wires carry AC (from your wall) to the light bulb so no bare wires allowed! I donít like fires. (Note the gloves on my hands.)

I thought the worst was over, Ohhhhh how wrong I was. I moved inside the cabinet and started to clean the guts out. The death toll was high in this box. I found a birdís wing, a skull, and a few bodies. I assume 3 dead mice but I am not sure. Again, bleach and rubber gloves are your friends. Always invite them to a party like this. A few booster shots from your family doctor would not hurt either.

Electronics: You can see that when I turned this on, it was not working 100%, but that does not scare me. The fact that it ran this much was a great sign. It told me that:
  • The power supply worked
  • The monitor worked
  • The control panel and coin door worked
Actually, I assumed the main game board had only one minor problem and I was correct. I donít try and troubleshoot these if I can avoid it. I farm out board repair for a few reasons. First, I usually donít have schematics for the boards. Secondly, I never have the parts even if I knew what was bad. Third, for about $100 - $200 bucks I can push it off on someone else. I have plenty of other work to do without spinning my wheels on trying to find a schematic, trouble shooting, hunting down 30 year old electronic parts, and the rest of the headaches. There are plenty of places to send your boards like MyArcadeRepair.com and MikesArcade.com. This game had a bad rom chip (the programmable chips that hold the game). The repair house burned a new one and installed it. It has worked perfectly ever since.

Finished Product: Here is the final game. It cost about $350 + $200 in new parts. But where else are you going to get a Centipede for under $600? You can see some little kid who was visiting the house started to peel the side art off. That made me rather annoyed, but it is expected. These games are for playing not for just looking at. They will take a hit now and again.

Copyright 2011 - Daniel K. Wedding Last updated: 08/27/2019