Donkey Mother F#?@*&% Kong

If you've spent any time collecting, buying or selling arcade games, you are probably going to relate to this.   

Sometimes, things just don't work and the problems stack up.

It usually starts when you buy a game from someone.   7 out of 10 of them are having some sort of issue - usually monitor issues. 

This happened to me recently when I picked up a Donkey Kong cabinet.    It was a remade cabinet (but a decent one) but had original 2-board, board-sets and a newish 19" crt monitor.  It was having monitor issues.    The monitor would collapse until a certain warm up period and eventually start working after 30 minutes or so. 

It starts out a little like Jumpman himself.   There you are with your trusty tools, just knocking out problems. 

So, you negotiate the purchase of a machine with monitor issues.  If you are like me you rationalize it with, 'meh, it probably just needs a cap kit, easy peezy.'  


So left with the choice of 'send it off' to the pros or try to do it in-house, I opt for in-house.   Not trying to save a buck but trying to get the game up and running as quickly as possible.

As the movie quote goes, "You chose, poorly.."

In my case, working through the issues went like this..

I get a cap kit from Twisted Quarter.   It arrives, it is very wrong. (missing tons of caps)
I get a flyback from eBay. It arrives and is 25% too large but does work but doesn't fix the issue.

Some guy on KLOV suggests it must be a cold solder.   I touch up the solder endpoints that look discolored and in the process i make it worse!

So, disgusted and defeated, I buy a rebuilt chassis from a guy on eBay.  It comes, I install it, boom, my cabinet fries it.   The chassis needs an Isolation Transformer.  My cabinet has one but the wiring leads one to believe it isn't properly isolated from the power supply. (Isolation transformer coming off a 110 service auxiliary on the power supply.)

On a bright note, the eBay guy fixed the board and shipped it back for, free.  I mean: I offered to pay him several times but he wouldn't have it.  Great seller!

Eventually we get the monitor going, send off the original chassis to a pro to have it repaired so that we have a spare.

Now, we find the game board has problem too.

At this point, I'm feeling a little cynical about the whole thing.

All this work and expense, for a game that will only get played a couple weekends each month... grumble grumble grumble, not having fun.. .   In my cynicism I feel like Jumpman, jumping through all of these hurdles for a sub-adequate pixelated kiss, at best. 

Fast forward to this evening.... SUCCESS.   Game board repaired, arcade monitor installed.. Isolation Transformer... re-isolated... ?

I'm not going to say I'm sorry to have bought the game because I'm really glad to add one of these to my collection.    But DANG!   Sometimes it is really frustrated when the crap piles on ya.

So what are the positive take-a-aways?

This cat can fix damn near anything with a K7000 series chassis:

This eBayer is an awesome and stand-up dude and a very good source for monitor chassis and parts:

For harder to repair monitors or rarer models, this guy is the way to go:

This guy knows everything there is to know about Donkey Kong game boards (and other classics as well) and can burn fresh Roms and do board repair and is super-nice and reasonably priced: