‘Avenging’ a converted Journey

This is the story of one man’s unwavering determination to convert a beleaguered Journey back to it’s original glory. A difficult task to say the least, finding parts and artwork to convert a Journey back is a near impossible task, but somehow Jeff P. has almost completely finished his restoration, and here’s how he did it.

Troy’s arcade game party in Chicago

I first met Jeff P. in person in Chicago at Troy Akey’s game party in Oct. of 2008. Jeff and I had exchanged emails a couple of times and I was glad that he came down from WI so I could meet him. Really nice guy, when you talk to him you get the sense that he is very sincere which I am a sucker for. When we got to chatting about arcade game artwork he told me that he was gradually working on bringing a Journey back to life, artwork and everything. Pretty tall order for sure, but nothing is impossible, you only have to know the right people and have some skills.

When Jeff first started collecting arcade games in 2006 he quickly met another well known collector in the Milwaukee area, Larry C. At the time, Jeff was just looking for a cabinet to convert into a multigame and Larry had an Avengers that was housed in an old Journey cabinet.

Converted Journey - Avengers Arcade Game

Being new to the hobby, and having a passion for the original band Jeff decided he would take a stab at putting the Journey back together. Larry, like an collector, pointed out the difficulties, “Good Luck,” he said, “Journey is a rare and sought after game.” I am sure at the time Jeff didn’t really have a good guess on the expense needed to track down all of the parts.

Buying a ‘non working’ Journey PCB – $165

The first place to start was online, looking for the crown jewel for the Journey, the gameboard. After looking all over and not having any luck Jeff emailed Anthony Pietrak at QuarterArcade.com and asked him if he had any ideas. Anthony had a boardset, untested, and was willing to sell it for $165! Not cheap. But kind of a miracle that he had one, finding a board set could take a portion of a year trying to find and finding someone willing to sell. Anthony offered to test the board for another $100, but Jeff opted out of that and just bought the Journey boardset as is.

The second order Jeff placed was to Bob Roberts, the nicest and most knowledgeable king of arcade game parts, for what Bob calls a ‘Fully Loaded JAMMA Harness‘ , as well as all of the molex connectors needed to wire the harness connections to the PCB.

Before seeking out any artwork, Jeff decided to get the boardset working. When the parts arrived he rigged up a test harness on the bench, wiring up each piece of the game (sound, monitor) and attempted to get the Journey PCB working using a switching power supply. On the first try Jeff got a few Ram errors. After reseating each and every chip and six power ups later the board no longer displayed the Ram errors and they haven’t come back.

Journey working with PCB - Photo 1Journey working with PCB - Photo 2

The problem must have stemmed from some corrosion on the chips. Journey PCB displaying the game, ready to go. Onto troubleshooting the most important part of this game – the sounds.

The best thing about Journey – The Soundtrack

While Jeff was troubleshooting his Journey game board he noticed that most of the game sounds were working, but not quite all of them. Back to the troubleshooting. The first step was to put the running boards through the self tests in the Diagnostic mode. The MCR board has a thorough diagnostic menu with an option to test the sound channels individually or in succession. The board will play a higher tone as it increments through each channel 1-6. When the diagnostic got to channel five the only sound was a ‘pop’ before it correctly played channel six. Jeff then went and double checked the work, testing each sound channel individually and found a couple more that needed to be repaired.

After trying a couple of things, tracing the circuits and using a bit of logic Jeff found a couple of the logic chips were bad – chip ls74191 at location f9 and chip 7407 at location c6. He had figured out that the chips had to be after the chip for the sound processor and before the chip for the amp. After replacing that bad chips all of the sounds worked just fine!

Working PCB – Check
Sounds – Check
Almost working Journey – Almost priceless

There’s another part…

In part 2 of the Journey story we’ll cover the final steps, finishing up the wiring and putting all of the parts together in the cabinet.

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