NFL Blitz cabinet refurbishment (2016) 

So several years ago I picked up this NFL Blitz 2000 game which for the most part has just been sitting due to the monitor failing a few years ago

Now the game is not an original Blitz cabinet as it started life as a Sega Virtua Fighter as you can see in this example here.

{click for larger images in new window)

Upgrading cabinets to new games was fairly common as a way for arcade operators to upgrade machines without additional cabinet expense. As you can see in the flyer above, kits were available for a variety of cabinets depending on their configuration. The bulk of arcade hardware conformed to the JAMMA (Japan Amusement Machinery Manufacturers Association) spec which allowed arcade hardware to be upgraded with ease. Unplug the old PCB, insert the new one, slap on some new decals and marquee and presto you have a new machine. How crazy you want to get is up to you and your skill level. I have seen lots of basterdized arcade machines, indeed there is even a webpage or two dedicated to the practice of poorly done arcade conversions.

So I started the refurbishment by pulling the 100 CRT pound monitor out and cutting off a foot from the rear of the cabinet. 

You can already see where I added kick plates made from aluminum to help in repairing the lower cabinet.

Here you can see the cabinet backside: The lower section has been cleaned up and reinstalled. The wheels on the back were reused and reinstalled as well as the really help in moving the cabinet around. The door will remain the same size and be reused and the upper panel is now made from plywood with an old Quantum3D fan grill for ventilation (picture later).. You can tell by the trim up top just how much was lopped off the back! Most arcade cabinets are sized as they are to support the CRT monitors available at the time and this had a real monster on board.

Here you can see the mount I made from scrap lying about the shop for the LED/LCD which bolts to the SEGA cabinet monitor mounts. The new monitor is a 27" Wide-Screen AOC PC unit from Wal-Mart that fit with about an inch to spare on each side. I wanted as wide as possible so that games that are in vertical orientation had as much space as possible to be displayed. Some example of vertical screen games are 1943, Space Invaders, Pac-Mac, Donkey Kong and Dig-Dug. Common horizontal screen games would be Defender, Asteroids Joust and of course NFL Blitz.

Vertical refers to the long side of the monitor being aligned top to bottom as you are looking at the cabinet, horizontal refers to the long side of the screen being left to right as you are looking at the cabinet. It all depends on how the game was programmed and the CRT screen was installed in the cabinet.

Now arcade games don't display on normal PC monitors as a rule of thumb due to their low resolution output signal so you have to buy an CGA to VGA converter. There is a pack of them on Ebay and all I can say is.. purchase with caution as there is a bunch of counterfeit units out there. To add to the fun, not all arcade games play nice with converters due to their varying output signals. Best bet is to get on Youtube and do a search for your particular game and put CGA/VGA converter in the search parameters and see what folks have to say. Some games I tested worked great with the default settings, others are still giving me fits. Be patient and try different resolutions and clamp settings on the boards display adjustments. So far I have had best luck with the Blitz boards at 1024 x 768 with clamp settings 04 and 05 though it is still washed out a bit. I'm still picking at it though.

(Hydro Thunder PC game shown)

Took the glass and made a bezel or mask by painting the backside of the glass with black paint, it came out pretty sweet and was virtually free.

Semi finished project!

List of stuff: Repaired wiring and butchered grounds, simplified wiring (removed excess and unused) replaced T-12 florescent marquee light with 2' led strip light from Lowes hardware, removed CRT monitor, cut foot off back of case and rebuilt, made mount for LCD screen and mounted, painted glass for mask, removed decals off cabinet and marquee glass, filled holes in cabinet from security bars around coin area, added free play coin and test games buttons, new locks on coin doors and rear door, painted some trim (not done yet) set voltages on JAMMA power supply, installed a VGA switcher, installed a server class surge protector and power conditioner and made a mount for CGA/VGA converter under the controls so they are easy to access and make adjustments.

I also converted the game over from a Western Digital hard drive to a compact flash drive using an IED Compact Flash adapter, 2 gb Compact Flash card, PC and a program called CHDMAN. Frankly its a pain in the butt to use but the most reliable way to backup hard drives for arcade machines as we all know hard drives fail. The drive was getting flaky so now not only is the machine more reliable but I have a backup of the drive image.

Now you may have noticed I mentioned the installation of a VGA switcher; this is due to the fact I tossed a Win7 PC in the mix to run a MAME emulator for really old school games. Been tinkering with MAME on and off for several years now and thought it would be best to incorporate it while I was fooling about with this cabinet. Odds are I'm going to change the control setup so that I can play several other non-joystick games (like Tempest for example) and I have to give some thought in what would be the best way to accomplish that goal. Be cool to play GLQuake on an arcade machine! It would be a shame not to use the hardware for such fun that is just sitting there.. There is also several PC ports that can be played which support high resolution output or at a minimum can take advantage of the graphics card quality settings.

Stay tuned for more updates...


Click the V5-6000 to enter site through main page.