Turbo OutRun Control Repairs

This beautiful arcade cabinet sat exposed to the elements in a back alley in Kitchener for months before being rescued by a team from Kwartzlab. The weather was not kind to this poor machine, and it was clear it would need some love to get it running again.

Surprisingly, all the electronics in the unit are in decent shape. I plugged it in though a series lightbulb rig (unfortunately we don't have an isolation transformer and variac in the lab) and let it warm up for a few minutes. I plugged it directly into the mains after that and it powered up perfectly.

There were a few problems with the controls on the unit. The steering wheel was "crooked," so that I needed to tilt the wheel 30 degrees clockwise to get the car to travel straight. There also seemed to be a problem with the 2-speed stick shift - it would register being in the high or low position, but it wouldn't lock into low.

The game's controls, from behind. The steering wheel drives the two large gears in the middle, with a potentiometer attached to the lower gear and the wheel itself on the upper gear. To the left is the button for the turbo, and the stick shifter.

Straightening out the wheel was a simple matter. Bevan tiled the wheel so that the pot was centred, then I removed the drive gear, straightened the wheel, and replaced the gear. It's not quite perfect, but it's good enough.

The shifter unit removed for repair.

It was clear after removal that there was a spring that needed replacing to make the shifter lock into low gear. The tension spring sticking out from the bottom of the shifter unit was a red herring - the real broken spring was inside the shifter, and pushed a metal piston against the metal rocker on the left side of the unit. Thanks to Matt for his keen eye there!

The repair seemed to be stalled there for the night. Without a replacement spring there would be no point reassembling everything. Don the E-Waste Guy came though for us though, and dug out a box of various compression springs. We found one that worked well enough, and reassembled the unit under the watchful supervision of Chris.

Chris took the repaired unit for a spin once it was assembled. The shifter is working great!