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Author Topic: Tron rehab project  (Read 5247 times)

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More Cowbell

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Tron rehab project
« on: May 22, 2007, 09:45:49 am »
I've been looking for a Tron cabinet for a while but as we all know, these cabs are either way expensive or way trashed. Through KLOV I found a local (cnlmoore) selling a Tron, Space Invaders, and a converted Pac-Man cab. All of them are projects and will take a lot of work, but that's the fun.

I picked up the Tron on Saturday and got to work on it that night. It has some pretty bad water damage but is otherwise pretty solid. The wood is actually still wet on the bottom and up the sides about 8 inches (it leached moisture out of his concrete floor  :cry:). I researched nostrobor's thread on repairing water damage and got to work (kudos nos). I took out the bottom (weighed no less than 60 pounds water logged) and cut off the bottom 8" or so of the side. I decided to work with the front and back as the back was fine and the front I think can be salvaged with bondo and sanding. I repeated the wood replacement on the opposite side as well and replaced the bottom. I was worried about the strength of those areas after having to replace so much of the bottom but it seems to be very solid.

Next step will be repairing the front and start sanding the sides around the art in preparation to repaint the black. I'm confused on what to do with the art. I would love to salvage it and save $150 since it's mostly there and mostly looks ok. I figured I would try to touch it up with some paint and see how it comes out. That's probably stupid and I'll end up replacing it but at least I'll know I did everything I could.
I've got a fever...

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2007, 09:46:32 am »
More pics
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2007, 09:47:08 am »
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ChadTower

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2007, 10:07:39 am »

Awesome.  Looking forward to this.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2007, 10:11:13 am »
Nice work so far. Just get the new sideart. Come on, this is Tron we're talking about here!

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2007, 10:21:41 am »
Nice work so far. Just get the new sideart. Come on, this is Tron we're talking about here!

I hear you loud and clear. 95% sure that's the direction I'll end up going. Removing the old stuff looks like it will be a ---smurfette---. Not looking forward to that either.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2007, 10:34:25 am »

Removing the old stuff will be simple if you do it at the right point.  That art doesn't look like you're going to be able to touch it up, too far gone.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2007, 10:44:32 am »
isn't it  too short for you to play?.... :laugh2:

(nice job so far....)
Seriously. Will it fit in my basement or what?

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2007, 11:36:40 am »
isn't it  too short for you to play?.... :laugh2:

(nice job so far....)

I'm used to either ducking my head to see the screen or I grab a stool.  :D
Donkey Kong is worse, that cab is tiny.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2007, 10:14:42 am »
I did a bit more cleanup last night. Also, I started putting all of the components back together to see if by some chance in hell I could get it working. I stopped at Radio Shaq and picked up fuses and once the kids were in bed I got them all replaced (the fuses, not the kids). I eyeballed the boards and connections again and looked for anything out of whack. Once satisfied, I plugged it in and things started happening. I have lights! All of the lights work after replacing only one of the starters, even the coin door lights work. The black light looks great and the backlit scene is as cool as I remember it. The game isn't working though. No coin up, no monitor, no LED on the board. I checked by eye again and noticed one of the capacitors on the power supply board looks blown. Compare the pics and you tell me (gold one looks blown to me). I'm assuming that could be the cause of the power not getting to the game board correctly. That doesn't explain why the monitor isn't working. I don't hear a whine or see any glowing in the neck. I tested the power in to the monitor and it appears good. What other tests can I do? Also, where can I test power on the boards? Xevious was easy, it had little tester posts all over it. These boards have nothing.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2007, 10:17:47 am by More Cowbell »
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2007, 10:56:42 am »

Caps don't usually "blow" unless they are installed backwards and hit with a hard current.  They usually just peter out their capacitance and stop normalizing the current.  Sometimes they open but that's less common.  I don't see anything visually indicating those are bad but given their age they may well be.

A decent DMM should be able to tell you if they're good.

If there are no test points you can test voltages by sticking the DMM leads into the backside of connectors, assuming there is enough contact exposed where the crimped pin sticks out of the backside.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2007, 11:17:58 am »
Chad is right.  I remember when I worked in a power supply manufacturer that if a cap was installed backwards it would blow like a firecracker and stink up the place.  Sometimes the blown cap would end up stuck in the drop ceiling over the Q&A area.

You are probably looking at the damage of heat and age to the plastic label on the cap.  It is right next to a heat sink.

TTFN :cheers:
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2007, 11:23:13 am »

Eh, they're just a little dusty, and the orange one got scratched when someone was playing with the connector next to it.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2007, 02:14:11 pm »
I found the schematics that show the voltages on the board connectors so I should be able to tell if everything is good coming out of the power supply board. It would be nice if that capacitor was the issue, easy to replace. I will still most likely have an issue with the monitor.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2007, 02:53:04 pm »

Given the water damage, I would be surprised if the power supply wasn't all corroded.  I'd also be surprised if the molex pairs don't need to be repinned.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2007, 02:00:19 am »
Hurry up and get past this electrode stuff will ya? I wanna see you work some more magic on this beat-up cab like you did on the DK.

Your GameRoom is gonna be super someday me thinks...  :cheers:
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2007, 10:05:07 am »
Thanks, DK. Funny you should push me in that direction since that's what I worked on last night. I stripped the bezel shroud out (with much effort I may add, it just didn't want to move). After that I pulled all of the inside art off since it was scratched and missing some chunks. A good sanding on the inside should prep it nicely for some new black paint. I cleaned the bezel glass (it took about 6 paper towels to get the grime off). Then I removed and carefully cleaned the background scene and the plastic black light case. I was hoping to save the black light case but it is pretty well faded. It will do it's job, but just won't be glowy. I still need to strip off the side art and prep that for painting.

I also was able to test some voltages to the boards and it appears there is either something wrong with the power supply board or the power supply itself. I am reading 3.95v straight from the ps board but when I hook up the game board it drops to .8v. I tried the pots and they do nothing (like Radioactive Man's goggles). The ps board is easily replaceable for about $15 so I'm thinking of going that route and seeing if it fixes the problem. If that doesn't fix it I'll look at replacing the big blue capacitors on the ps itself. I sure hope after all of those fixes that the game board isn't bad. Time will tell.

No new pics, the wife took the camera last night to go out with friends. I should really check those pics.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2007, 10:08:35 am »

Try getting a reading for a little AC on the power lines... if you get anything other than very tiny AC, your power supply filter caps are dead/near death and aren't smoothing current properly.

The caps are worth replacing anyway.  With a cab you're putting this much effort into, just rebuild the power supply and PS boards like you would the monitor chassis.  It's worth doing given all of the work you're putting into the cab.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2007, 10:16:45 am »
Good plan. I have to come to grips with the fact that I won't be able to rehab this right on my usual $300 total. It will cost more but be well worth it in the end. By the way, I forgot to mention that the monitor is working. When I fired up the cab last night I heard the crackle so I turned up the brightness and saw that it was on. That's good because I was fearful that it was dead last night. Also, I need to replace the power cord as someone at some point cut the ground off of it. I've already shocked myself twice just by touching the monitor chassis and a light fixture!  :o
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2007, 10:25:49 am »

Tron is a costly one because of all of the little artwork things, but given the importance of the power supply and such, gotta do it.  Don't do all the body work and leave the engine running like crap.

How is the joystick?  I haven't seen mention of it yet.  That's a biggie.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2007, 02:06:38 pm »
I'm picking it up tonight along with the spinner. I'm hoping it's decent. It came with the cab but I'm picking some other stuff up so he had to get everything together.

Has anyone used the switching version of the MCR power board? I'm considering doing that over replacing the board and the big caps. I have a spare switching power supply, it would just be a matter of figuring out how to hook it up properly.

Edit - I just found this tutorial. Seems pretty easy. I think I'll go with this. $45
http://www.wizzesworkshop.com/mcrswitcher.pdf
« Last Edit: May 24, 2007, 02:26:40 pm by More Cowbell »
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2007, 09:17:37 am »
Good progress this weekend. I picked up the new MCR board that is used with the switching power supply on Saturday. Tom W. lives right near me so it worked out well. Super nice guy and an unbelievable pinball collection. I hooked up the board and switcher and voila, I had power to the game board and video on the screen! The game is working although there seem to be some issues with a rom as some of the characters are a little screwed up. I'll remove, clean, and reseat the chips and see if that helps it at all. I also got the side art off with much effort using a heat gun. Cleaned the sides and painted. Also cleaned up the coin door of rust and painted. Now I'm just waiting on the sideart in the mail and I'll be picking up the inner art, cpo, and blue joystick this week. I also need to fix up the front (sanding and bondo). It's really coming together now. Pics tomorrow as I didn't have a chance to load them onto my memory card before coming to work today.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2007, 09:45:39 am »

Nice.  Tron is one of the few worth this much effort.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2007, 09:26:17 am »
Here are some pics of the video issue and of the painting progress. See how there are stripes that go through Tron and the cone? A thought just occurred though. Could it be a color problem? I was just thinking from looking at the tank screen that it looks like some colors are just turned down. Hmmm. Maybe some tweaking is in order. That would be nice if it wasn't a board issue.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2007, 11:27:55 am »
Pretty quick progress!  Very nice so far! (wish I had more useful info for you).  :cheers:
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2007, 11:51:37 am »
Pretty quick progress!  Very nice so far! (wish I had more useful info for you).  :cheers:

I wish you did too.  ;)

I'm amazed at how quick it is going given the fact that I can never work on it for more than a half hour at a time. I can't imagine how nice it would be to spend 3 or 4 hours straight getting stuff done. But then again, a lot of it is, sand, paint, wait, bondo, wait, sand, paint, wait, Pepsi, sand, paint, Gatorade.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2007, 12:38:43 pm »

No beer?   :)

Paint looks good... I'm not familiar enough with exactly what that screen should look like to help much.  If it looks like colors are off, probably a monitor issue... if picture is wavy, probably a caps on the chassis issue... if the graphics are being drawn off, as in new/missing pixels, I'd first look at the boards.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2007, 03:51:10 am »
Great work so far! Just picked up a beat up (but functioning) Tron myself this weekend... while the guts are in okay shape, I'll be dealing with quite a few cosmetic issues, including some boneheaded things like the curved plexi piece that someone "fixed" by covering it with a few coats of black paint.

Looking forward to seeing more of your progress.

By the way, here's a source for the "white blacklight" UV bulb that goes behind the center attraction panel.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2007, 11:36:35 am »
You did a great job on your Donkey Kong project.  Now another classic.  Good stuff.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2007, 02:08:24 pm »
Just got back from vacation to the west coast. Lots of beach and Disneyland for the family. Looking forward to getting my Tron rehab going again. When my wife picks up the mail from our neighbor I should have side art and a spinner decal. Now that I'm back I can order the t-mold too.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2007, 10:30:19 am »
Things have really slowed down on this project as I wait for things in the mail. I bought my side art through Yesterday's Arcades. They get a ton of flack for shilling their eBay auctions for cabinets but I'll give them this, they are extremely slow at shipping sideart. I was VERY disappointed to not have the sideart waiting for me when I got home from vacation on June 18th since I paid for it on May 25th. They did respond right away and let me know that they wrote my address wrong and they would be reshipping asap. Right. I finally got it June 23rd, a full month after ordering. It looked pretty good outside of the corners being a bit crushed in the middle (see the pic). I flattened them out for a few hours stacked between heavy books and hoped that once they were on they would flatten out. I've never put on huge sideart pieces like these and what an ordeal it is. I went with the spray method of wetting the cab and the glue. When I pulled the backing off of the art it started sticking to itself right away which got worse and worse the more I tried to get it unstuck. I had my 8 year old helping and thank goodness because this thing would have eaten me alive if not for him holding two corners. I thought for sure I was effed and I had just trashed one side but it came apart and I finally laid it out for spraying. The rest was easy, spraying the cab and the glue made it much more manageable and having help made a big difference in that my son could hold the bottom out while I smoothed down. I moved it into place once stuck and squeegeed out the moisture. The edges didn't want to all stick right off the bat, but the more it dried, the stickier it got. The second side went much smoother thanks to the learnings from the first side. The creases from the crushed corners are gone too. I'm just waiting on t-mold which should be in the mail today. Yay! Almost done!
 
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2007, 10:42:02 am »

Niiice.  I love this project.   ;D

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2007, 10:44:43 am »
I bet you were ready to ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- your pants for sure on that side art job huh? ;)

It is looking very nice so far.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2007, 10:47:57 am »

Next time, when you start peeling, take some small weights and hold the corners down that way... so it can't curl up on you and stick to itself.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2007, 11:10:35 am »

Next time, when you start peeling, take some small weights and hold the corners down that way... so it can't curl up on you and stick to itself.

That's what I learned for the second side. I had my son hold down the corners on the ground and peeled back from there. The first side I tried doing while holding up in the air and it went all kinds of crazy. Not sure what I was thinking on that first side.  :dizzy:

Shardian, I saw $$$$ signs floating away as I struggled to keep this self-destructing monster from imploding on itself any more. Fortunately, that stuff is really resilient and it doesn't hold a crease at all.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2007, 09:46:30 am »
Little bits of progress on this and some questions. I finally got the front of the cab looking good. I painted it but it just didn't look good as there was some bumpiness in the wood that didn't come out with the initial sanding. So I sanded the front all down again and repainted. Looks good now and was able to replace the coin door. Received the t-mold in the mail and installed it. Had to use some wood glue in some areas as the slots had worn away and they were too loose. My main concern now is getting the game to work well and look good. I was having the issue of some of the graphics looking weird so I tried cleaning and reseating the chips. This made things worse somehow, I'm thinking it was from opening the boards up and moving the cable connectors around. It certainly didn't fix the graphics problem so I decided to buy another board and hope for the best or put the boards together and get a working one out of it. I ended up buying two boards on eBay since they both closed for around $50 which I though was pretty good. More boards = more possibility of getting a good working one out of the parts. I received one of the boards and it works fine and looks good, however the sound is wonky where it wasn't on the other board. I'm going to wait for the last board to show up and see if that one works straight out of the box before I start Frankensteining them together to get good graphics and good sound.

Now my big issue is that it looks like the monitor needs a cap kit. The colors are great but it seems to be too low on the screen and the picture is slanted to the right with the far right really dropping down. It seems to drop further and further as it warms up too. I'm guessing this should be a cap kit although I'm doubting myself since the colors look so nice. Can I get an "Amen" or a "Hell No" from the gallery please?

Just for those interested, I have $552 sunk into this bad boy so far but it's very close to done. This is including the multiple boards which I may be able to sell one when all is said and done. Not a bad price for a fully refurbed Tron.
I've got a fever...

ChadTower

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2007, 10:12:49 am »

Could be a cap kit, could also be loose solder joints on the pots for those particular adjustments.  I'd reflow the pots, if that doesn't clear it up, then cap the monitor.  I'd probably just cap the monitor anyway, it needs it for sure, if it has never been done.

All of those twitchy errors sound to me like degraded edge connectors and harness pins.  I would bet that retinning the edge connectors and replacing the pins in those harnesses would clear most if not all of that up.  All of these refurb tasks head off many many future problems, too, so they're worth doing anyway.

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2007, 03:50:21 pm »
Did my first cap kit this weekend. Actually, I got the kit in the mail on Friday and decided to just get started pulling stuff apart and ended up doing the whole thing in like an hour. The discharge went off without problems (wife made me tape the screwdriver to the end of a broomstick!  ::)) and I even saw the nice spark that told me it worked. Everything came apart with no issues and the solder sucker I bought at Radio Shaq worked like a charm. I fully expected an explosion when I fired it up for the first time but was pleasantly surprised to see a crisp, clear picture perfectly centered on the screen with no foldover or smearing. I think I'll do another cap kit in my Pole Position, it's looking kind of washed out.
I am still dealing with Tron board issues. One board has the subtle graphics glitch, one board looks great but has sound that goes in and out and is missing some sounds, and one board doesn't work at all. I've tried swapping chips and nothing changes on either working board. I'm thinking at this point of living with the graphics glitch as it is fairly minor and at least the sound is perfect. Here's the most recent pic with the cab turned off.
I've got a fever...

ChadTower

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2007, 04:19:14 pm »

Niiice.

The first discharge is scary.  I made my brother stand behind me just in case I died.  That way I wouldn't sit there for hours and have one of my kids find me all bent up and smoky.   :laugh2:

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2007, 05:29:22 pm »
The first discharge is scary.  I made my brother stand behind me just in case I died.  That way I wouldn't sit there for hours and have one of my kids find me all bent up and smoky.   :laugh2:

Exactly why I had my wife in the garage. She then pointed out that the further away the better. It being my first discharge, I couldn't argue. I am emboldened after getting through my first cap kit. It always scared me before but it was really no sweat as long as you follow the discharge instructions carefully (including the broom) and take your time with the soldering.
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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2007, 06:14:20 pm »
Did my first cap kit this weekend. Actually, I got the kit in the mail on Friday and decided to just get started pulling stuff apart and ended up doing the whole thing in like an hour. The discharge went off without problems (wife made me tape the screwdriver to the end of a broomstick!  ::)) and I even saw the nice spark that told me it worked. Everything came apart with no issues and the solder sucker I bought at Radio Shaq worked like a charm. I fully expected an explosion when I fired it up for the first time but was pleasantly surprised to see a crisp, clear picture perfectly centered on the screen with no foldover or smearing. I think I'll do another cap kit in my Pole Position, it's looking kind of washed out.
I am still dealing with Tron board issues. One board has the subtle graphics glitch, one board looks great but has sound that goes in and out and is missing some sounds, and one board doesn't work at all. I've tried swapping chips and nothing changes on either working board. I'm thinking at this point of living with the graphics glitch as it is fairly minor and at least the sound is perfect. Here's the most recent pic with the cab turned off.


There used to be guys on some of the boards that could tell you which chip was bad just by describing the graphic glitch.  Or maybe it was one guy...I just remember thinking he was some kind of genie, or a wizard that knew what every chip on every board did...

So anyway, maybe leave it 'as is' and keep an eye peeled for one of those guys.  What is the glitch anyway, that one mentioned before? 

Oh, and looks REALLY good so far!
"Of all the Things I've ever Lost, I miss my mind the most." -Oz

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Re: Tron rehab project
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2007, 12:20:20 pm »
There used to be guys on some of the boards that could tell you which chip was bad just by describing the graphic glitch.  Or maybe it was one guy...I just remember thinking he was some kind of genie, or a wizard that knew what every chip on every board did...
So anyway, maybe leave it 'as is' and keep an eye peeled for one of those guys.  What is the glitch anyway, that one mentioned before? 
Oh, and looks REALLY good so far!

Thanks, Zakk. I'll keep an eye out for genies and wizards and maybe some demigods. Yeah, same glitchy issue. Not enough to really take away from gameplay but too much to say it's perfect and done.
I've got a fever...