Red Donkey Kong to Radarscope: Part 1

This is a big one for me. Ever since I started collecting Nintendo arcades I have been “obsessed” with the history of the games and how each new game came about. The big story of how Donkey Kong came about (covered in one of my previous posts) always intrigued me and ever since I’ve always wanted to add a Radarscope to my collection.

Now I’m very conscious that I have a number of projects on the go (as can be seen by the growing number of incomplete blogs on here…), but after talking to a number of collectors this is a common “problem”. A nice “problem” to have mind you (ain’t that right Paul!). So on to the cab.

I picked this up from a fellow collector the other weekend during a long roadtrip. The cab was originally a UK release Radarscope that had been converted to Donkey Kong at some point in it’s life. This is the cabinet on the day I picked it up:

The games is running as Donkey Kong, with only a small issue with the monitor not properly displaying the blue signal. All colours are present, but there’s a small issue with the signal coming from the game board. I’ve done a bit of research and think this may be down to a transistor on the chassis.

It may not be very clear in the picture above as the green colour contributes to the ladders, but you’ll notice that the barrel is missing all of its blue and the level number that sits above the bonus score is barely visible.

It’s very important that I get this monitor running properly as the monitor included in this games is one of the very early Sanyo “in a box”:

These monitors were installed in the very early uprights games and were quickly replaced with the Sanyo monitors we all know and love.

The only other issue that I came across was an intermittent failure to power up. This I believe is down to some questionable wiring from the plug to the power supply. As I would be restoring this cab completely I started the process of stripping everything out, starting with the power supply (I removed the DK board earlier):

As you can see, a switcher had been added at some point in it’s life and crudely wired in:

First out was the power cable and on/off switch:

I believe this is where the issues around not starting were coming from, going by all the joins (and the fact that the non-starting could be rectified by “re-adjusting” these sections).

Next out was the power supply (or supplies) which wasn’t even bolted down. These are normally held down via four bolts through the bottom of the cab and then wing nuts screwed down from above, securing the base plate in place. Now, two of these bolts appear to be missing and all four wing nuts are. This meant for an easy lift out of the cab:

As with the monitor, this power supply was included in the very early cabinets. These can be identified by the bigger step down block. Also, these power supplies are the PP-7A model which includes the connection for the ESS boards:

As this was a UK released cabinet, the main connection block also includes all possible voltage inputs:

This was clearly an early part that was designed for all regions. The US released cabs only included the US voltages:

With the power supply out, I could inspect the bottom of the cab and take a look at the damage to the lower rear panel:

You can see the inner panel is completely out of line with the back of the cab. I believe this was removed to allow the initial removal of the power switch and cable. This was stapled in place at the factory so I’ll probably have to remove all of the staples and re-attach using wood glue and headless nails.

You can see above the one bolt for the rear of power supply base plate and where the missing bolt should be. Upon closer inspection, I believe this bolt has been snapped off as there appears to be something remaining in the hole.

As the original games fitted to this cab (either the Radarscope or the original Donkey Kong) were 4 board stacks, the cab had longer and lower fitted PCB mounts. There was one in the cab towards the front of the cab:

But the one at the back was unfortunately missing:

When I picked up the cabinet, I was also given a shoe box full of parts that had been removed from this cab (and the HeliFire cocktail I picked up at the same time). As luck would have it, the box contained the missing bracket:

This part (like the other) is going to have to be stripped and sealed to remove the rust, but in order to ensure all parts were present I put this part in the cab:

That was as much as I got removed in this session. Before I finished up for the evening, I decided to have a look around the cab to see what work may be required. I did want to keep the original paint, but I can’t decide if it’s gone too far:

These are some of the worst bits, but also the surface layer has started to come away at the bottom of the speaker panel.

They cabinet does have some really nice features though. The coin door is an original single slot door which is pretty much straight and may not even need painting:

My two other favourite features can be seen in one shot:

I still can’t believe I managed to find a UK release Radarscope, let alone one with the early Sanyo “in a box”.

So that’s it for today, next step will be to remove the control panel, marquee and bezel and then remove the monitor. I can then properly deep clean the cabinet and decide what repairs are required.

It will be a shame to remove the side art as it looks lovely (especially with the lack of holes and side bolts thanks to the Sanyo “in a box”), but at least is not original:

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mike says:

    Amazing find. If this cabinet was UK then how did it end up with an insert coin sticker for 25 cents? I’ve never seen a genuine UK Nintendo cabinet to know if there was an “insert 10p” equivalent.


    1. Jonathan says:

      Hi Mike. All of the artwork was replaced with repro artwork for Donkey Kong. It will have originally had a 10p sticker (like my HeliFire cocktail)


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