My Defender Project

It’s no big secret, my favorite video games are those made by Williams Electronics, Inc, who produced arcade video games from the late 1960’s until the mid 1980’s. In my opinion, they really hit their stride in the early 1980s with titles like Robotron: 2084, Joust, Defender, Stargate, and Sinistar. I can’t tell you how many of these games I’ve owned and sold over the years. Well I’ve recently told myself that when another one of these games come around, I’m going to buy it and keep it. That’s just what happened with my recent purchase of a Williams’ Defender.

Looks like the guy that had it before me let it sit in the garage for quite a few years in a state of disarray. I guess he got sick of looking at it and posted it on Craigslist. I was fortunate enough to be able to pick it up for $140…complete (not working). I’d rather purchase a complete non-working game than any other because they are less expensive and to tell you the truth, they’re not that hard to get functional again with a little time and patience. As an added bonus, when I picked this one up, there was a Black Widow spider living in the bottom of it. Yikes! I hate spiders.

The guy told me it didn’t have an interface board in it and that was the only thing. Uh huh…right. I get it home to the garage and give it a once over and here are the blatant things I’ve noticed with it:

  • Power supply is not functioning
  • It’s got a Robotron/Joust interface board in it
  • There is no bulb in the fluorescent marquee fixture
  • There are TWO wiring harnesses in it…I’m still laughing
  • Plenty of cigarette burns on the control panel
  • The Wells Gardner K4600 desperately needs a cap kit and some attention
  • The original speaker grill is broken – somebody screwed a completely different grill to the original
  • The original speaker was replaced by one that is way too small
  • The top marquee bracket is not original and doesn’t cover the entire marquee
  • Coin door is missing the lock
  • No coin bucket

I put another working power supply in the bottom for a quick power on test – no dice.

The monitor definitely needs some TLC.

Some idiot painted over the “Defender” logo on the side art.

Nice speaker grill.

The control panel looks like somebody used it as an ashtray

I’ve started at the top and will work my way down. First thing is I need to get that monitor right. I ordered all the parts for a cap kit (and then some). I can start working on that and get it tested in some other games I’ve got working. I need to get the correct interface board and I’ve got some feelers out on a replacement. I’ll update this page with the results as I progress through this adventure.
28 July 2017

I got around to pulling the Wells Gardner K4600 19″ monitor out of the Defender today. I had ordered a new cap kit this past week and it came yesterday. I might as well get started giving this tired monitor a new outlook on life.

And after a good scrubbing…