Outerworld Arcade
Space Encounters

Space Encounters
Strobe Unit Repair

space encounters strobe unit....bad strobe

If you have a Space Encounters machine, the strobe unit in your Space Encounters probably doesn’t work correctly.  The strobe bulb has long since burnt out, as has the red light bulb. Electronics in the board itself may have also died over the years.  This stobe unit, unique to classic video games, adds a lot visually to the game, so here's some tips on getting it going again.

The Big Red Blub

The 200w red incandescent bulb should light during attract and game mode every time an enemy is shot.  It illuminates both the game marquee and the spaceship scenery around the screen.

Unfortunately, these 200 watt red bulbs are impossible to come by these days.  If you find a source, let me know!  We have a local light bulb store here in Portland that carries every kind of bulb you can think of and more.  They used to be able to order them (someone used them in raising their chickens!) but can’t get them anymore from any of their suppliers. 200 watt white bulbs are available on the web, so it might be possible to paint one with a heat-resistant red paint. It also might be possible use a white bulb and use a red theater gel to made it appear red.

I've found a 100 watt red bulb a suitable replacement.  My source in Portland, Oregon for these bulbs is: www.sunlan.com.  BTW: It might have just been a bad bulb, but when I tried one of the common 40w red bulbs in this unit and the glass cracked off at the base...

If your red light still doesn’t light- look into replacing one or both of the MOC3011 amps with NTE3047 (datasheet).  Replacing this amp got one of my units working again.  I also bought a replacement for the Triax SC141D (crosses to NTE5608 - datasheet), but didn’t need to use it.

strobe pcb

The Strobe Light

The strobe bulb should flash several times in game mode each time an enemy is shot.  Luckily, Bally/Midway used the exact same strobe unit in their pinball, Flash GordonPinballmagic.com sells a replacement flashbulb and replacement reflector.  They are a little hard to get a hold of, but the unit works well and comes with installation instructions.  And it’s cheap at around $10.

If your reflector is good and you just want a new strobe tube, I'm trying out the following two from The Electric Goldmine: 10w or 12w at $1.00 and $1.25 each. I just installed one and no flash, but I haven't had a chance to dig into what might be the problem. I'll update this once I find out...