Sega Pengo finally working!

Today a fellow Indianapolis coin-op collector came over to help me take a look at my Pengo. Sitting in my basement now for over a year, and not working for about 15 months, Pengo has been the bane of my existence. The last thing I did on my Pengo, was I installed a switching power supply. I made a rookie mistake, however, and forgot to check my voltages before plugging my Pengo PCB in. After I turned the game off because the game reset and went to a screen of yellow bars, only then did I find that my +5v was at +5.83.

Convinced I had friend my pcb, I was distraught at potentially costing myself more money and unsure how to check for sure if the board was the problem.

So, today, my friend Robert took a look at the game with his accumulated knowledge. He first looked over the pcb, to see if there was any visible damage, fried parts, etc. He didn’t see anything that seemed problematic on the Pengo pcb. He noted on the backside that there had been some touchup at one point, because there was a dark discoloration on some of the solder points. He said that was flux, which I didn’t know until today. He also reminded me that the components on the pcb were meant to withstand higher voltages, just not for any extent of time. So, he was thinking that since I had only powered up my Pengo with the high / wrong voltages for a couple of minutes or less, that the board might still be ok. The newer boards were a little less sensitive, he said, to being damaged by incorrect voltages.

He plugged the harness connection onto the board, unplugged the coin door, and powered Pengo up. It appeared to work fine. So, we powered Pengo down, plugged the coin door back in, and tried again. Still, no issues. I wasn’t seeing the yellow bars when I had last used the game or anything.

It was like Robert had magical powers. I drilled out the bottom coin door, because there were some wires that we assumed went to the counter. Sure enough, there was a counter in the coin door, with about 9,100 plays. Not too bad, but I think that this Pengo was Home User Only (HUO) for most of it’s life. Robert also messed with the sound, adjusting the sound control on the board and finding that it was the base control and that the sound control inside the coin door would adjust the sound louder or softer from there. Another thing, that I know I tried and it didn’t do anything.

Working Sega Pengo by Jr. Pac-man in Indianapolis, IN

So, I played Pengo. We both had some beer, played a number of games. The game had no issue. It was like it was never broken. The coin up didn’t reset the game like it had for me, nothing. I left the game on periodically played it over the next 10 hours, and there were no issues at all. Well, I noticed that Pengo wasn’t keeping high scores after a little while, but you know what? I was just so happy I had my third working game that I didn’t care.

Thanks so much Robert, what a great guy to come down and check things out. I feel bad that it seemed like the Pengo problems that plauged me didn’t exist at all, but I was just happy that it works. The most important part.