Neo Geo MVS Refurb Part 1: ToDo List
2/20/90. That is what is hand written just under the control panel with a signature I can’t read. That means that this cabinet has seen action for over 20 years, most of those in busy public places. There have been many different revisions of the Neo Geo MVS (9 in the US alone as per hardMVS). As about the closest thing to an MVS connoisseur, I can say that the MVS-4-25 version 3 is actually my favorite of the bunch. It has the full 25″ monitor, 4 game selections, separate headphone/card jacks, a big marquee with lit game selections and exposed stereo speakers, a great cabinet design, and lacks the added size and screen bezel of the 6-25. Really the only common complaint of the system is the fragility any of the 4 or 6 slot boards, though that is mostly due to people trying to move the cabinet with the games still installed in the slots (and they are very lose anyway). Overall though, this is a gem.
Once I managed to get the MVS inside, I went to work cleaning it up and checking each part. The multi-slot MVS has a few extra features not common with other arcade games with a breakout for memory cards and headphones, per player credit counters built-in to the control panel, and a multi section marquee driven by some extra PCBs. It makes for one cool machine, but a little extra work to refurbish. Overall though, the system is in great shape given its age, history, and just how unwieldy it is to move. Here’s the breakdown:
The motherboard is actually working great. All four slots and functional and all the hardware tests pass perfectly. The only problem is that it is producing sound very quietly to only the right side on both the speakers and headphones. This is a very common problem that is usually fixed by replacing the capacitors for sound output.
-Replace capacitors for sound
-MVS Capacitor kit
The interior of the cabinet is pristine with no water damage or signs of unwanted visitors. There is also no sign of warping or any questionable joints. The only structural issue is a bit of a bend in the hinged metal control panel that can rub when opened. I will likely try to do some minor bending to straighten it out, but it’s not much of a problem. The exterior has actually help up pretty well itself, but definitely shows signs of wear and has never seen a refurbishment. There are a pair of holes near the coin door from a once installed security bar, but otherwise the wood has held up. The paint and graphics are all original, but everything has some scratches and natural wear. One of the leveller feet is missing.
-Replace leveller feet
-Fill the holes near the coin door
-Sand and paint the entire cabinet
-Replace original graphics
-4x gliding leveler feet and brackets
-40’of black rounded T-molding
-Quart of Behr Premium Plus S-G-180 Grenadine
-Quart of Behr Premium Plus Black
–Three logo set for both sides
–Left/Right player set above coin slots
Everything is in place in the marquee, but it has seen better days. There are cracks in the plexiglass, the left speaker has a tear, and plugging in the PCB for marquee control results in a faint buzzing. After using the hardware diagnostics, I found that the buzzing is due to the EL on some slots paper being out and needing to be replaced. The speakers are simple 4″, 4ohm drivers that can be found at any car audio place, but I’ve decided to take it further. I have a Logitech THX certified 2.1 setup that is collecting dust, so I will instead mount the speakers in the marquee, place the subwoofer in the base, and mount the volume control to the outside of the cab. That should allow for much better sound, volume control without opening the control panel, and make it easy to output sound from any other board or PC that might eventually hide in the cabinet.
-Replace plexiglass and attached graphics
-Mount volume control on outside of cabinet
-Mount power and subwoofer inside cabinet
-Replace EL paper
-Cut plexiglass panel
-Replacement marquee graphics
-Old speaker system
-4x A6 EL paper
While completely functional, there is definitely work to be done here. The buttons were replaced recently and are working well. The joysticks also work well, but are heavily scratched and are not the correct color. The overlay graphics and are scratched and aged and the plexiglass and bolts are completely missing. The wrist area has a ton of wear.
-Sand down entire metal control panel and remove old graphics overlays
-Prime and paint entire control panel
-Replace overlay graphics, plexiglass, and bolts
-Rustolium Hammered and Gloss Black spray paint
-Replacement overlay graphics
–Control panel overlay
–Headphone/memory card overlay
-6 small carriage bolts
-Custom cut plexiglass
-2x Happ 8-way competition joysticks
Thankfully this is pretty clean and the mechanisms are working well. The only thing is that the coin return panels are different colors and not lighting up. Also, all of the locks on the cabinet (two for the coin doors and two for the marquee) take a different key, so it would be nice to get those on the same pattern.
-Prime and paint doors
-Replace coin door bulbs
-Replace coin return buttons
-Rustolium Hammered Black spray paint
-2x 161 bulbs
-2x 7/8″ and 2x 1-1/8″ locks keyed alike
-2x coin return buttons
It looks lengthy, but that should do the trick. Since there are so many obscure items in this list, my next part will cover where I found all of this stuff.