Alien Poker


This game had been in storage without playfield glass for a long time. There was a thick layer of dust on playfield. But under the dust was a pretty nice playfield and all parts intact. Backglass is flaking but most of the paint is still there. That should be fixed soon.

The rightmost bumper was dead. When fixing that, I found an error in the game manual - the left and right bumper solenoids are mixed. But after a while I found the problem. Bumper driver transistor was completely missing! So, driver board out, new transistor in place and off we go. But now the coil is constantly on! Probably the pre-driver transistor is bad? It wasn't. Instead both the 7408 and solenoid PIA were bad. Luckily I had both available. The original chips were not socketed so I added sockets for the new chips. A good way to remove old chips without destroying the PCB is to cut the leads with sharp cutter pliers and then remove the IC package. After that it is easy to lift the leads one at a time and clean the holes with suction pump or solder removing wick. Next time these IC's fail they will be easier to replace because of the sockets. Now it works fine, time to start playing!

A few lamps and all rubbers need replacing. After that this is a fine and solid machine for a long time playing joy.


Something had to be done for the backglass. Most of the paint was in place but so flaky that even a light touch made paint flakes fly. After spraying with clear acrylic, first layers very carefully for not to remove paint, it was solid enough to begin restauration. A little yellow and red paint was needed. It is difficult to mix colors for backglass. If you get a shade that looks good with power off, it probably is very different when lights are on. I had to compromise and remove some light bulbs from the worst looking areas. Now it looks quite nice. When spraying the acrylic, it is best to use some masking tape on the score windows so you dont have to scrape the acrylic off those after it dries. Luckily I found some tape that was exactly same width than the window height. After first two acrylic layers I carefully pressed the lifted paint flakes down with fingers and they stayed nicely that way.


There is a really scary Alien picture in all 5 drop targets of Alien Poker. My game had only one image sticker left. A couple of them were found inside the cabinet. Doesn't look too hard to reproduce.

First I scanned the sticker, touched up some scratches with a painting program and then printed mirrored images onto overhead transparent film. Why mirror images? Then you can turn the sticker around and the printed image is protected by plastic film. I attached the plastic to white sticker paper with some superglue and then cut out the images. The sticker attached well onto the drop target and now there is an Alien in all 5 of them again!

The stickers came out so well that the original (second from the left) differs from the home made ones only in that it is slightly worn at the edges.


One drop target sticker fell off. Well, all others are still there solidly, so no need to worry. Put in a new sticker and thats it. At the same time, I changed the display voltage controlling zeners at the power supply from 100 V to 91 V. The displays are a little less bright now, but their lifetime should be much increased now.


Game settings and bookkeeping have been reset! The batteries are OK, so the problem is elsewhere. After a little experimenting, I found that the settings reset every time I knock the CPU board a little with a screwdriver handle. So I reheated and added some solder to CPU board in the 5101 CMOS RAM area. Now it seems to be better. The boards are assembled with quite little amount of solder.


The upper right flipper was missing an Anti-biff wire, that should prevent player from hitting the game and getting the ball back in play after right side drain. In this game, the wire also prevents ball draining between the two right side flippers. I thought that the wire is not used in this game, but it seems I was wrong. There are mounting holes for the wire on the playfield. So, let's twist some steel wire and make this game as it was supposed to be!


The drop target decals I made one and a half year ago were starting to drop off. Time for new ones. This time, I printed directly to paper, put adhesice mylar on top of printing, cut to right size and glued onto target. Should last for some time. I also installed yellow shields on two lamps behing the target. Now they don't shine so brightly to player's eyes.


There's time for everything, and now it is time for my Alien Poker to move forward. The new owner has lots of memories from 25 years ago, when Alien Poker was new. I'm sure he will experience nice flashbacks when playing this game.


Alien Poker's new owner has been playing it for a little over a year now, and he decided to sell it. Of course, since I now have lots of space, I wanted to have it back! It is still in very nice condition. It feels good to have "Alpo" back home again!


It was time to do a good cleaning, and replace all rubbers. The old ones were installed in 2001, but don't look very bad though. Of course, playfield waxed and new rubbers installed, the game now looks real good! So on with the test games. After a few games, there was a mysterious thump from the cabinet, like something has dropped on the bottom. And sure enough, the rightmost bumper quit working at the same time. Open game and look inside. The bumpers metal bracket had broken and the coil dropped out. Fortunately I had a spare bracket, but still I must try to weld the old one back together since I don't have more of those, just in case another one breaks soon.

Bumper bracket in two pieces.


Alien Poker left again to new owner, let's see if it still comes back some day!

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