Zoo Keeper Project

I picked up this cabinet has a converted Rastan at an auction because I saw that underneath the blue lamination was the original Zoo Keeper sideart. Having already had a Zoo Keeper boardset JAMMA-tized in my collection, I figured it wouldn't take much to de-convert and install the original boardset. And even if the cabinet could not be salvaged, it wouldn't hurt as a parts cabinet anyway.

Fortunately, the blue laminate came off the sides as well as could be expected. Then I disassembled the cabinet to begin the serious work. After removing the blue laminate, this is what was left this behind:

Egads! Glue residue and even some black paint that was applied toward the bottom! I wish I had taken more pictures, but the front and the other side came out basically the same way. Now the question was: could this be salvaged?

Fortunately, a test with Oops!(tm) remover revealed some great news; not only did it dissolve the glue, but it also had no ill effect on the underlying sideart whatsoever! What luck!

Now with the glue and paint gone, I could see the real work that lie ahead. See, upon removing the blue laminate, there were many spots where the glue "won", and the blue laminate had taken the side-art with it. And I mean many.

Being no stranger to massive cabinet touch-ups, I took in the very front of the cabinet to a nearby Sherwin-Williams paint store. The next day they had a paint match for me. The paint codes were as follows:

Product Y3T154
Description C-ACNTS LTX SG ULT
BLUE MATCH
QUART FORMULA
L1-52
R3-10+1
W1-3

Product Y3Y157
Description C-ACNTS LTX SG YEL
ORANGE MATCH
QUART FORMULA
R4-32
Y3-3
N1-1

After doing some wood filling on holes and problem areas, began touching up the cabinet sides a few hours a week for the next three months.

For the control panel, I picked up an overlay from Arcadeshop Amusements, and was able to de-convert and patch the existing control panel. For the marquee, I was tempted to use my own, but it was in such poor shape. I decided to grab a scan from CAGA, touch it up, and print it on my photo-quality ink-jet. I purchased the glass bezel from another collector, and got the original underlying plastic bezel (that holds the lights for the instruction card) from yet another collector. Re-painted the coin door (which fortunately still had the test switches and wiring intact), installed new t-molding, and re-printed the instruction card.

For the interior, I was tempted to simply install a JAMMA harness and plug in my already JAMMA-tized boardset. However, I discovered in my wiring harness pile an almost complete harness for Zoo Keeper, so I decided to go with the original wiring. The power supply was also another fortunate situation; a few months before, a friend had donated to me a complete Taito power supply block, so I installed it, even though I had no intention to use the original Taito power supply. Another friend donated a PC AT power supply, so I used that (along with an adapter I built) to plug into the original harness. I also added a connector for a battery, and installed a charged cordless telephone battery (same as my home cordless phone's battery; so I can re-charge it whenever need be).

And here's the result:

It turned out about as well as could be expected, and it's always satisfying to salvage a classic through de-conversion. Thanks for looking!


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