Arcade Collecting > Restorations & repair

Restoring a sit down Daytona USA cabinet.


First of all I have to apologize for my English, because is not my native language. I am sure that you will find many errors.

In Daytona USA, I had thrown many coins back then in 1994 in a big store with arcade cabinets in Athens. This is one of my favorite racing games and also the unforgettable Sega Rally, which I had no reason not to honor both every time I visited the store. The only chance then to play Daytona at home was to have the expensive Sega Saturn console. Even better if you also had the Sega steering wheel. Of course everything was fine, as long as you did not compare Saturn next to the arcade machine.

Memories lingered frantically in my mind for quite some time. So, it was not long before I thought about how nice it would be if I had Daytona at home for frantic retro races (and who wouldn't want to really).

I had found it for sale here in Greece, but the money was way too much for any my budget After all, I did not want to use it for professional use, so that I could justify the cost of my absurdity. So, I decided that what I really needed to do was learn how to do it right. Besides, it is a rather challenging construction on a technical level, which set me some personal pre-construction parameters (commonly paused).

I searched the net for many photos from different angles with details, that would help me to the  construction with the greatest possible fidelity. The most important thing at first, was to find its exact dimensions or at least, to do it approximately with a small deviation. I am good at creating things and it was a challenge just to think of such a construction.

So while I was searching for information and photos, one day I found the all time classic seated version of Daytona with the help of a friend. He wanted it for restoration but he did not had the required time. So he decided to give away and of course I did not miss the opportunity. Before I got it, I had seen it up close and it did not work and it was generally in a very bad condition (wood rotted by rain water, torn stickers, very dirty and it was generally in the worst condition). I did not mind though, since I basically wanted the metal and plastic parts. I had no problem replacing the rotten wood and the stickers on the sides. So I can say that surely it was quite useful. After all, to find genuine parts of Daytona, not only in Greece but worldwide, is difficult and especially not at all economical. Its poor condition saved the work and time it would take to rebuild. But my madness sometimes just has no limits ..

Before I picked up the damaged Daytona in my house and specifically in the yard of my house(since I had to disassemble it before I had to move it in the basement). I looked at the station weather for the possibility of rain. Not off course that that the machine was working, but I just did not want it to suffer more than it already did so many years. So after the station weather gave for the specific day, but also for the next, clear weather without any clouds, sunshine ( typical Greek day) and after clearing at night with 28 degrees, I receive next morning the Daytona in my yard. A very helpful friend brought with him two other people to carry it. So everything was fine and the greatest epic journey had already begun  So I waited the next day, to start cleaning and disassembling to get it down to the basement.

When the great powers of Gods turn their backs on you..

So the next day on Saturday, I wake up full of appetite and I opened the door of the house. To my great surprise and horror, this was the first time of my life that I saw so much rain. Daytona was full of water every were. It was generally a cursed morning as nothing went as I wanted. I immediately got to work and using towels and the air blower, it took some time but finally I dried the water from all the incredible places.

After the above disappointment I started the disassembly and it took me a little more time than I expected originally.

Finally, I successfully separated the pieces of the base. The blower worked overtime, as the base was full of dirt and tons of dust. Even different species of insects had made their home in there where I had to get rid of them. The blower did not completely clean the base, so the cleaning was completed with wet cloths and long hours of rubbing.

Then the screen had its turn which I must say, that it was not easy at all. Just o disassemble the wood around the screen it took me almost two days, since most screws were rusty as far as it goes. In order to take apart the top of the Daytona, the screen must first come out. If the screen does not come out, there is no room for the hands to unscrew almost anything. Then the two long narrow speakers that are left and right, and then the screws that hold the perimeter wood. The screen is 29 ”and the irons on the back give it even more weight. So much weight that her transfer to the basement was done with the help of a friend (there are stairs and I am at an age where I have to be careful with weights).

Dismantling was generally completed within four days, and the pieces were moved one by one to the basement of the house.

Looking at the whole Daytona in pieces laying around, the rust on the metal parts was clearly visible. Almost all the metal parts were completely rusty. I do not know where to start and where to finish. Fully rusty seat base, center floor at least rusty in a few places happily, subwoofer frame under the seat rusty at the extreme and dashboard metal frame completely rusty, side box with coin mechs completely rusty also the base full of rust. In a few words we are talking about an impressive crescendo given by the rust, praising with great pride its destructive grandeur

Even the metal base of the seat was broken at one point as shown in the photo.

Then I removed all the boards and power supplies and as I found out, at least the CPU and video board of the game was already in extremely poor condition. So I focused more on disassembling the cabin parts and cleaning them. The wooden parts of the cabin (MDF wood) were almost doubled in width by the water that fell on it for so many years. So all the woods needed to be replaced as of course the stickers (or whatever was left of them).

The base of the Daytona, as well as the large coin mech on it's sides, are made of metal and had enough rust that needed to be handled properly. The rubber red t-molding was cut and damaged in several places.

Gods, how am I going to resolve this?

An attempt to resurrect the boards without any hope.

I decided to give the boards a chance, even if it was certain that at least some (if not all) of them were badly damaged. I wanted to do it even when the effort was objectively fruitless from the beginning with a guaranteed waste of time. So, I cleaned them carefully with isopropyl alcohol, a hard toothbrush, swabs and also with an electronic board cleaner. After the cleaning, the huge damage from the moisture for so many years was clearly visible. Unfortunately there were too many rusty pins on almost every board. I'm talking about whole series with tiny rusty pins. With a closer look, I discovered cut paths (imagine I counted at least 12 cut paths on the CPU board alone). Of course there was absolutely no reason to reconnect the boards to see what was going on. At least the power supplies were running at the right voltage.

Yes I know, now you will tell me that I made a big mistake that I did not insist on repairing the boards. But when you have five boards in front of you in the worst condition that can possibly be and a hell of broken circuit routes and in addition there are no spare parts, it is better to think again.

Did I mention that the machine was unattended on a plot of land to be eaten by the sun and rain for at least 20 years?

There was no reason to send the boards abroad for repair. It was certain that at least two of the four boards were badly damaged and these were the CPU board and the video board. The money that they asked for repairs abroad was way too much. Also the chances of the boards being repaired were extremely low.

Regarding the screen, it did not turn on since the game did not work. The service manual of Sega does not help much in this case (basically it does not help at all, since the only thing it mentions is that if the monitor does not turn on, to check if the fuse on its board has burned out). However, I did not give many chances for it to work, since its board was in a dramatic state due to rust. I made the effort and took it to a man who still repairs CRT monitors and used to repair arcade monitors, but he could not get it back into operation (it had damage from water).

So starting the reconstruction.

Something that I personally had not thought of it at first, is was the restoration of such a project which presents several practical problems. In thought, even in a plan, everything seems easy. In practice and in the course it is that you perceive the hardships and meet the impasses that arise in front of you. Even a full cabin with joysticks and buttons is by far the easiest job to do. Apart from the unfortunate moments that may arise in an issue and take you back.

I originally intended to use Dreamcast. But the Daytona version of this favorite console, despite the very good graphics it has, has several differences with the original. I confess that Saturn also crossed my mind. Of course the graphics are far worse than the arcade version, so it was rejected almost immediately.

Candidate systems were finally the pc with the Sega m2 emulator and the ps3 that I have here and I don't even use it. It took me some time to come to a conclusion, since in each of them I faced several important problems.

Initially, the m2 emulator is generally good. On the other hand, the version of Daytona, on the ps3 (as well as on the Xbox 360) is much smoother and completely similar to the arcade (much better than the m2 emulator on the pc) I think. Unfortunately the problems were not few on the ps3 if you want to connect it to a CRT screen.

One is that you do are not be able to disable anything with the option asking you to save at the beginning and two that Daytona does not play at 4: 3 every time you restart, but only at 16: 9. I forgot the third and biggest problem. On CRT 50hz TV and via scart RGB connection, the graphics in the game have crazy flickering (even if the ps3 was set to 50hz). Maybe at 100hz CRT there may not be this problem, I do not know. Anyway, I had to use the TV I already had, a Sony Trinitron 29 inch. In the end, with the ps3 it didn't work out no matter what I tried. I test the pc and m2 emulator to get a normal picture on CRT TV and play normally. The m2 emulator does not want anything crazy in terms of pc capabilities to run properly.

I did a test with a Chinese VGA-svideo adapter. The result of course was a rather blurry picture The image is bad despite the necessary settings in the driver on the graphics card. The Nvidia 8800GT graphics card did not liked the soft15khz application. So I tried an Ati Radeon HD 3870 512mb. Surprisingly, Ati in a svideo - svideo connection showed a much clearer image than Nvidia. With svideo connection you can not read the letters in windows (they are blurry). Of course you can watch a movie on TV, and the Daytona I tried had a good image. But you get too tired, especially when you sit so close to the monitor as when you sit in the Daytona seat. Specifically after a match my eyes were hurting. After playing for a while with Ati settings, I finally managed to see a correct image that was pretty good for my eyes.  But the driver of the card unfortunately did not kept the necessary settings after restart or shutdown of windows.

Because I was getting tired, I tried some Ati cards and ended up with the HD 3450 512mb. With soft15khz and a proper cable that I make, the pc showed an image normally on the TV. Here I must mention that Daytona in arcades runs at a resolution of 496x384 25khz (like the Sega rally). The bad news is that the Nanao s29-su do not have a VGA 15pin plug. The emulator sticks in full screen in CRT n 496x384 resolution. I tried it on Windows XP and 7 with the same result. The best resolution for the Daytona was 640x480. Below this resolution the graphics break down a lot and the emulator does not run at 60fps. In 640x480 but in CRT you have flickering. At least not as intense as on the ps3 and not as in game, but really annoying.

Surely someone will wonder why I did not put a modern flat screen to calm down. Call me stupid if you like but I l still love cathode ray tube screens in arcades. The bezel has chaotic differences with a flat screen anyway. Honestly, the issue of the screen occupied me for several months. I talked to several professionals almost all over Greece to find a 29 ”crt TV with VGA plug, but in vain, I did not find any tv with this feature  anywhere.

Eventually the solution came very close to me, specifically from an old company that once was making arcade monitors and monitors for professional use. I met the owner of the company and bought a new 28 ”31khz CRT screen with vga plug. I chatted with him for quite some time and he showed me several machines of his highly impressive laboratory. The screen was an inch smaller than the Daytona had but the damage was minor. The pc immediately showed an image on the screen via vga. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to claim that the image in m2 games was better than the led I have in my office. Clear image as in the Daytona arcade and exactly the same feeling as the arcade. What more could I ask for?

The painting of the metal pieces and the restoration of the large base.

How to paint walls I know well, I have painted some in the past and I have no problem. But I had never tried  to paint metal before and as it turned out things are a bit more complex. The first thing to do was to remove the rust. How many hours I rubbed the rusty spots with sandpaper I don't really know. In most of them, the black color that Sega had spread did not even come out with a sander. So I used a paint remover and the job was done easily.

The base of the seat during the rubbing process.

The same base after fresh spray painting.

Then I rubbed all the rusty spots with a chemical that balances the rust. This helps to prevent rust from spreading further to the metal. After it dried, I did some tests with a spray primer that I bought from a store. The paint did not sit on the metal (the manufacturer claimed that the paint was for metal surfaces) and I started looking for information. Eventually I came up with a professional primer and spray for painting car metal surfaces. In the shop they even tested a very small piece of metal to convince me.

The base of the seat painted on its edges after I first soldered the broken metal piece.

The central base of the machine painted with anti-rust paint inside (still wet that's why it's glowing).

I cut the sides and all the necessary wood panels from MDF wood with my jigsaw.

With all the metal parts now painted, I did a test assembly of the wooden surfaces. To find the good fit before the stickers are glued and the wood is painted.

After everything was as it should be, I painted the wood white exterior and black interior just like Sega wood. The laminated vinyl stickers came out much better than have I imagined in the first place. 3 small sample prints were made, just to see which red color is closer to the color that the machine originally had. And finally I can say that I achieved it very close of the red color. It is worth noting that Sega in 1993 used screen printing and not stickers. Without remembering exactly what the color has been since then, I'm sure these colors are much more intense. In any case, the visual effect was beautiful and quite faithful to the original.

Here I have screwed 2 of the 4 Sega front speakers (surprisingly all the speakers still work). I have also placed the metal base of the screen (I have not screwed it from below so it is not aligned straight). The thin wooden surface is the base for the display board. The biggest challenge so far was to bring the 28 inch screen right in the center of the bezel, with the same distances between the four sides. It was a time consuming micrometric process and not particularly enjoyable (notice the two extra holes I made in the ends for the mounting screws). Although it seems simple in theory, believe me, it is not at all easy in practice.

Fortunately, the large wide wooden base of the seat only needed a very good cleaning. The cladding protected the wood to a great extent. Of course new screws of different sizes and types used.

Here I just glued the red perimeter stripe around the base.

The accelerator and brake pedals with their mechanism clean and painted bases front and rear.

And the seat in place and screwed with the mechanism front and back still in full operation. The seat has several scratches. But I did not want everything to be perfect and painted. The seat, the dashboard and the bezel will remain as they are, reminiscent of the glorious days of glory.

I painted the back plastic of the seat black and printed and glued a new Road Burning Action sticker. No number on the back anymore.

And so far the result is this..

I applied the new red t-molding around all the wood surfaces. If I may, I can say that with this, the machine has acquired an arcade style. In the end, the choice of red t-molding is much better than the black one I originally thought.

I dealt with the lights and the buttons on the VR panel. Below I have connected the IPAC for the buttons and the APAC (controlled by the Ramjet application) to properly turn on the lights behind the buttons.

And here is the full function of the VR panel. Attract mode before the game starts by automatically flashing the lights behind the buttons. I also successfully test the 4 buttons with different angles in the game.

Tomorrow the rest and the ending.

Steering wheel.

One issue that bothered me was that I wanted to keep the factory steering wheel on the dashboard. A pc steering wheel would be ideal and I had seen that some people had cut the dashboard to fit the steering wheel. But I wanted to keep the arcade steering wheel, as well as not make any changes to the dashboard. So, I come up with the idea, to connect Sega's potentiometer to the PCB of the steering wheel. The same exactly for the gas and brake.

I had this cheap Logitech steering wheel laying around.

I just cleaned the gears and left the back of the dashboard as it is. I connected the steering wheel potentiometer to the Logitech board.

For force feedback, I was thinking to to attach Logitech's motor and see how it reacts in game.

Which to my surprise was 50v.

Unfortunately the force feedback in practice did not work as I expected. As I found out, the Logitech power supply produces 24v, its motor is 50v and the output given by the board to the motor, when the feedback is activated, is from 6v to 12v. So the power is terribly weak to move the large metal gear on the shaft quickly through the belt. To be precise, it can only spin the gear a little. I guess that's why the Sega's force feedback motor ran on solid 100v and the steering wheel shook and turned with such great power.

I had no choice but to completely remove the Logitech feedback motor. I reinstalled the Sega motor which I have not connected anywhere (basically it is impossible to connect to the pc so simply). However, in combination with the belt, it ties the steering wheel and makes it a little tight, just like it was in the original arcade (picture above the big motor on the right).

The only solution for feedback is the L2M2 board. But I can't find it anymore for sale anywhere. So at the moment the game has no feedback, but it is something I want to put in the near future. Because it is simply half the joy as you already know.

I had to admit that the biggest and most difficult issue was literally gear mechanism speed which had only 3 switches for 4 gears in game. The solution is the microcontroller 74LS138N. Below is the final circuit that connects the 3 gears from the gearbox and takes out 4 in the IPAC and it works perfectly.

So this is behind the dashboard. The APAC, the IPAC, the microcontroller and the Logitech board. I admit that this is not beautiful picture, but at least they are functional.

I replaced the potentiometers from the accelerator and the brake with metal ones, exactly the same as the Sega had. Not that the plastics had a problem, I just decided to replace them with the metal ones.

Although the cabin had a carpet in front of the pedals (badly damaged) which I happened to see in an elevator, I did not even try to find one, I installed this metal sheet that I think fits better.

And here a cheap Chinese amplifier placed on the back vertical wood, just behind the screen.

And the final result..

A friend of mine is testing the cabin.

Thanks for reading. Any comments/suggestions will be high appreciated.

Sorry again for my English.


--- Quote from: telonio on October 28, 2021, 02:49:43 pm ---The only solution for feedback is the L2M2 board. But I can't find it anymore
--- End quote ---
I know that @"TipsyMcStagger" was selling replica L2M2 boards a while back (see this thread) as recently as this summer.  The thread talks about Sega Rally machines, but would those work for your Daytona cab?

Hello! Awesome job.  Could you provide the paint codes or brand you used for the orange/red? I am trying to restore mine like yours.

Also did you upgrade the 26'' inch monitors to 29''s?  And they fit?


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