Ms. Pacman

Ms Pac-Man Progress

It’s nice when a full row of games is complete enough to power on and everything is playable..


This project Ms Pac cabaret came to me complete but not working.


So far, I’ve recapped the monitor, changed the top CPO, added a marquee light and new T-Molding. New Buttons, rebuilt the joystick and tumbled some of the metal.

Still, plenty of rust on the door hinge and the game counter that I need to address.

The game came with a full not-really-working Ms Pac boardset and original power supply.

I cleaned the original harness, boards and power supply and wrapped and stored them for future purist endeavors. To get the game going, I decided to go FPGA instead - Bitkit to the rescue.


Storing the original harness, PCBS and power brick in the bottom wrapped in plastic and brown-paper. I built up a power-block with a new 8-liner and isolation transformer and switched the game to a JAMMA wiring harness. I installed Ms Pac on the Bitkit and set it to directly boot to the game instead of a game selection menu.

The BitKit in action:

I still need to address rusty spots, the side laminate and the game could use a new monitor overlay.

All said though, it is running great with the Bitkit with only one caveat.

There are sync frequency differences between the Bitkit menu and the MsPac Rom.

I can get the monitor dialed in for one or the other but not both, so at this point it has little value as a multi-game, it is strictly a dedicated Ms Pac. The bitkit offers some choices for this, including reversing the polarity of the Sync through a jumper. I’m more inclined to blame this on the monitor than Bitkit, though. I’ll spend some time to determine the sync polarity and attack that problem more surgically in the near future. My guess is that I may be able to solve it with some combination of tweaks between V-Sync, h-Sync or sync-ground tweaks on the harness.

UPDATE 3/20/2019: Aaron (from Bitkit) saw this post and proactively reached out to me (because he is that kind of awesome). He confirmed that (paraphrasing him here) the Bitkit’s origins in Nibbler (Fantasy, Pioneer Balloon, Vanguard, Zarzon) so that the original menu was built with the Nibbler hardware in mind. There are some sync differences between the Nibbler hardware and the Pac hardware. He said he intends to release a future update (early May) to port the Bitkit menu system to the Pac hardware.

That said, in my case I haven’t spent a ton of time (aside from pot adjustments) experimenting with the the sync and grounds to see if I can get both the MsPac and the Bitkit menu dialed in equally. As I alluded to above the best I can do, today with the adjustment pots is to get the Bitkit menu w/ MsPac having a large g07-like curl on the right or I can get MsPac dialed in perfectly at the expense of the Bitkit sync.

I’m more inclined to believe this is an out-of-variance condition on this monitor than any real fault or weakness in Bitkit. Don’t take my report here as a strike against Bitkit - I’m extremely happy with the Bitkit board. It plays perfectly, boots fast and was super-simple to get running.

One of those situations where I triaged this to: “okay it plays great overall situation is good enough for now” and I moved on down the line to the next dark marquee in the lineup.. :)

I’m not sure about my long-term intentions having (effectively) three cabinets that will play Ms Pacman in some capacity but I’m sure this could be excellent trade bait for something else down the line, if it comes to that..

Namco 20yr Reunion


I saw this Namco 20 year come across the As Found / For Sale Arcade Group on Facebook

..and decided to take the plunge. Bob Cunningham is awesome and knows how to handle and grade game condition. Lots of pictures, arrived exactly as described.


The FryBack

Unfortunately in this hobby, stuff happens. After leaving the game on for a couple hours one night a friend looked at me quizzically : “What’s that smell?”


The Flyback became a FryBack. What was odd was it was a brand new Flyback (clear date code on it) but it certainly melted down.

I mentioned on a different Facebook group when asked how it was going that “the monitor needs a little love but it’ll be fine” and Bob reached out to the person that had recently rebuilt the chassis. They were both super cool about it and replaced the flyback, I was only out shipping and a little time. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything - this stuff happens. But there you go, solid people people solid. :)

Other Clean-up Items

While the chassis was away I took the opportunity to correct some other things w/ the monitor and other parts of the game. There was a ground issue coming into the chassis from primary A/C and some floppiness in the purity / convergence rings.

The rings were just floating on the neck and not really locked in place. I believe some plastic likely got brittle and cracked that was used to create circular tension around the neck glass. Hot Glue & High Temp Silicon to the rescue..

I also took the mail-off time to redo the control panel with a new CPO from Rich @ This Old Game. It turned out awesome as his stuff always does..


Also went back with a Pac-Pro 4-Way Leaf from Groovy Game Gear.

..Putting it back together..


Rebuilt chassis, re-adhered and adjusted purity / convergence rings and fixed chassis ground..


With the help of a little Wifi Endoscope and a cellphone, I got tack-sharp focus out of the monitor.
(Thanks to Nathan for useful tools as gifts!)


Done for now..


Just have to install the coin lock, replace the mech bulb and adjust out the controller some and we’ll call this one done, for now. :)

Micro Machines.. well... kinda.

With a few games leaving and after making some room in the game room, I started looking for the next titles to occupy the arcade for awhile. Going…. big on.. going.. small…

Finally ran across two Cabarets that I’ve been seeking for over a year. The first, is a project Ms. Pacman. It is “all there but not working”.

Ms Pac Cabaret (Project)


From the photos, I’m expecting to have to do some cabinet work, new laminate and new control panel overlay. Depending on the condition of the PCBs I may end up using a Bitkit. We will see what happens as I get into it…

Centipede Cabaret

50309857_807733676225310_1693757994270982144_n (1).jpg

One thing I haven’t actually owned in 5 years of arcading - is a trackball. Seriously. Kinda weird right? I’ve come super close to buying full-size Centipedes that come up nearby but the timing has always been off. This cabinet is working just needs to be cleaned up a little.

It is pretty cool that these cabarets use a 19” arcade monitor.

Excited to get to know this classic better.