Rad Racer Nintendo NES Complete in Box Variants

NES Rad Racer CIB Variants Front

Pictures of my two complete in box (CIB) variants of Rad Racer for the Nintendo NES from my personal video game collection. You can see that the Nintendo seal’s are different on the game paks as well as on the game boxes. One is known as the “circle seal” and the other is known as the “round seal”. I only have the instruction manual and the 3-D glasses for one of them unfortunately.

NES Rad Racer CIB Variants Front
NES Rad Racer CIB Variants Front
NES Rad Racer CIB Variants Back
NES Rad Racer CIB Variants Back

My Galaga arcade machine a thrift store find

My Galaga arcade machine at the Thrift Store

My Galaga Arcade Machine – A thrift store find

My Galaga arcade machine at the thrift store
My Galaga arcade machine at the thrift store

How I found it

It was a random Tuesday and my girlfriend and I were visiting up our normal stops, shopping at various thrift, resale, and video game stores when we came across this Galaga machine at a thrift store that we hadn’t been to in a while.

I wasn’t looking for an arcade machine (I was actually looking for Nintendo NES games) but when I saw this Galaga machine it definitely got my attention since Galaga is one of my most favorite arcade machines of all time.

The Galaga machine had a price tag on it of $495 which was not in my price range but since I was at a thrift store I figured the price was probably negotiable.

Upon inspecting it I noticed the back door was missing. The store was not very well lit so it was hard to see inside of the cabinet but I did notice that the power supply had been updated to a newer style switching power supply, which I liked. I also noticed the monitor didn’t have any burn in which is very common so I really liked that too.

I asked one of the employees if I could test out the game. He said “Yes, but if I remember correctly it had a bad video something or other”.

I was still interested and wanted to test it out so I asked him if I could at least power it on.

He said “Sure, lets plug it in and see what happens”. When he reached into the cabinet to pull out the power cord he noticed that it was cut in half so obviously I wasn’t going to be able to test it out.

To me this wasn’t a big deal since it’s an easy fix but I wanted to use this for my bargaining advantage. I told him that $495 was way too much since I couldn’t even turn it on to test out. I asked him what’s the best price he can give me keeping in mind the condition that it’s in. He told me that I could have it for $175. I thought that was a fair price so the deal was done. He told me that they would deliver it the next day for me too.

Cleaning & Inspecting

Once the Galaga machine arrived at my house it was time to see what exactly I had gotten myself into.

The first thing I did was vacuum out all the dust, dirt, and spider webs that had accumulated over the last 30 plus years. Once it was clean inside I got a better look at all the wiring and such in the cabinet.

I noticed that some of the wiring was done using butt connectors so I removed those and soldered the wires back together. This wasn’t really necessary but I prefer to solder wiring. I also soldered the broken power cord back together.

Galaga broken power cord
Galaga broken power cord

I removed the motherboard and began to inspect it. I was looking for burnt chips, cut traces and any other problems. From my research I realized that Galaga is notorious for having problems with the motherboard / video board. The reason is because there are a lot of socketed chips on the boards that are prone to failure due to heat, dirt, and low quality parts that were used in assembly. The chips have very fragile legs on them so you have to be very careful when removing them. It wasn’t my first time removing socketed chips but it was true these chips are fragile.

Galaga Motherboard
Galaga Motherboard

It was apparent the motherboard had been worked on in the past. It still had service stickers attached to it and it also some hot glue on the board from the service.

Galaga motherboard service tag
Galaga motherboard service tag

Cleaning the motherboard / video board

I carefully removed each of the socketed chips one at a time and cleaned them. I used a pencil eraser on the chip’s legs as well as some isopropyl alcohol. While the chips were out, I also cleaned out the sockets with isopropyl alcohol and compressed air. I took my time to make sure I didn’t break off any of the chip’s legs.

Time to power on!

After installing the cleaned motherboard I was ready to test out the machine. I pressed the power switch and I was happy to hear the familiar high pitched sound of the monitor coming to life. After a few seconds it warmed up and I saw that the game was playing.

Unfortunately though, the screen didn’t look right. The colors were way off as it was too red and in the top right corner it was green.

Galaga monitor bad colors
Galaga monitor bad colors

Luckily for me the fix was to adjust the pots on the back of the monitor’s neck board (see the pic).

Galaga monitor adjustment pots for colors
Galaga monitor adjustment pots for colors

After the fine tuning I also adjusted the focus so I would get a nice clear picture. The red monitor must have been what the salesmen was talking about it having a “bad video board”.

Extended testing AKA: Playing some Galaga

I started playing and made it to stage 20 and then all of a sudden the game rebooted on me. It then came up to an error screen where it said “RAM OK ROM 01” (Note: Errors are displayed in upside text when the Galaga machine boots)

Galaga Error RAM OK ROM 01
Galaga Error RAM OK ROM 01

From my research it indicated there was a problem with the rom chip at 3N so I removed the rom chip again and cleaned it some more and also cleaned the socket again.

Galaga ROM 3N
Galaga ROM 3N
Galaga socket 3N
Galaga socket 3N

I also read that the power supply voltage should be checked and adjusted if it wasn’t around 5.2 volts. My power supply was putting out 4.9 volts so after I adjusted it to 5.2

Galaga power supply adjusting voltage
Galaga power supply adjusting voltage

After the cleaning the 3N rom chip / socket and adjusting the power supply voltage I’m happy to say that I’ve had no problems at all with the game. It hasn’t rebooted on me or acted up at all.

Video of the end result

Next on my list is to install a marquee light because it doesn’t have one in the cabinet. I’ve already ordered side art and the kick panel art so that the cabinet looks complete. All in all I’m very happy with my Galaga game.

Nintendo NES Test Station

NES Test Station
NES Test Station
NES Test Station

I finally got my hands on an NES Test Station. I won this one on eBay. It was in non-working condition. In the description the seller said that it didn’t power on so I figured why not try to win it, it sounds like a fun little project if the price is right.

Once I got the test station I traced the “no powering on problem” to a bad power supply. I found another working power supply on eBay for $10 plus shipping. It required a little soldering and splicing wires to replace it but it was pretty simple. Once I got the new power supply in, the test station turned on so it was time to “test the test station”.

I did find a problem with the Control Deck test area. I ended up having to resolder the wiring for the A/V inputs because they were not working. Luckily, that was the only other thing I had to fix. It was a fun project and this is something I’ve been wanting for a long time.

The NES Test Station tests the following items:

  • NES Control Deck
  • Game Pak (Game Cartridge)
  • RF Switch
  • Audio / Video Composite Cables (The Red / Yellow RCA Cables)
  • Accessories (NES Controllers, ROB the Robot, Zapper light gun, & Power Pad Mat)

This is one of my favorite pieces of my game collection. It’s very rare and you don’t see them for sale a lot and when you do they are pretty expensive.

NES Test Station Menu
NES Test Station Menu
NES Test Station Legend of Zelda
NES Test Station Legend of Zelda
This is the bad power supply that was in the NES Test Station
This is the bad power supply that was in the NES Test Station

Atari 2600 Games and TurboGrafx16 Console

Atari 2600 Games and TurboGrafx16
Atari 2600 Games and TurboGrafx16
Atari 2600 Games and TurboGrafx16

Here’s a recent Craigslist pick up.

I had been posting some wanted to buy/trade ads on Craigslist looking for Atari 2600 games and a TurboGrafx16 console.

Someone responded to my ad saying they had both a TurboGrafx16 and some Atari games so we ended up making a deal.

I didn’t get any controller or an a/c adapter for the TurboGrafx16 but from what I’ve read you can use a Sega Genesis a/c adapter so I’m good on that since I already have a few. I plan on buying a controller off of eBay or locally if possible. As for games I know I want Devil’s Crush, Splatterhouse and Bonk’s Adventure to get started.

There’s a nice variety of classic Atari 2600 games in this lot. The labels for the Activision games aren’t in the best shape but from what I’ve seen that’s fairly common. I was happy to get the Superman and Asteroids games complete in box including the Atari game catalogs.

This was a nice Craigslist pick up considering it didn’t cost me any money, just duplicate games I had laying around the house collecting dust. I always try to use what I already have in terms of my game collection to acquire new items for my game collection.

The Atari 2600 games aren’t worth that much money but it was a nice way to get a good chunk of quality games (and the complete in boxed games) at no cost. The Turbografx console from what I’ve seen online goes for about $40.00 in working condition. I still need to pick up a controller for it but it’s nice that I can use the Sega A/C adapter for it and the Nintendo or Sega RF Box. I’ve been wanting a Turbografx16 for a while so I’m glad I was able to make the deal.

World of Nintendo Neon Sign

World of Nintendo Neon Sign

I found this in a pawn shop recently while looking for NES games. It was broken in two places and the only part that would light up was the word “Nintendo”.

As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it. I asked if it was for sale and was told “No, it’s for display purposes and it’s not for sale”. I was pretty discouraged and disappointed.

Since this pawn shop is one that I frequent when searching for retro games I ended up stopping in there a month later and figured I would ask again. This time I was told “Yes, we can sell it to you but it’s partially broken”.

Needless to say I purchased it and now my mission was to get it fixed. I found a local neon shop that fixed the broken neon tubes and recharged it with the gas.

I haven’t seen too many of these online and I’m not sure how much it’s worth but I plan on keeping it for a long time.

World of Nintendo Neon Sign
World of Nintendo Neon Sign in my game room
World of Nintendo Neon Sign Back Side
World of Nintendo Neon Sign Back Side