General Category => Gone but not forgotten => Topic started by: tim on July 09, 2007, 02:13:49 PM

Title: Zoo Keeper
Post by: tim on July 09, 2007, 02:13:49 PM
Company : Taito
Cabinet : Dedicated
Monitor : 19" horizontal color raster
Year : 1982


Saw an ad on Craig's List for "the worlds coolest garage sale" which included "arcade games" in it's list of what was there. I dropped 'em an email to inquire about the titles and got the list.

Domino Man
Zoo Keeper
Kick Man
Jr. Pac-man

I asked for pricing and they said from 200-300 up to 1400.

I'm hot for Zoo Keeper and wouldn't mind a Journey, so I figured I better go check it out. When I got there, I saw that it was, indeed, a pretty damn cool garage sale. Tons of Star Wars, Star Trek and Hot Wheels stuff and six beautiful arcade machines. The Robotron was a caberet and it looked brand new. That was the $1400 one. The Domino Man looked minty, the Journey looked minty. The Pac-Man Jr. was a conversion of a Super Pac-man, but it was nicely done. The Kick-man was not working and was marked $300. The others were pretty expensive, though. I asked about the one that got me there ? the Zoo Keeper, and was told it was not working. I looked it over and noted that it was *really* nice. One small, light scratch on the otherwise perfect side art. Very slight cracking on the bend of the CP and *no* peeling on the bezel. I offered half of the price marked on it and we haggled for a bit and settled on a little more than half.

Got it home, plugged it in and, sure enough, not working. Looked inside and saw that it was all original, except someone had replaced the battery at some point, which is good, because those damn things leak. The +5v LED on the power supply was dark but the LEDs for the other voltages were lit. There's your problem.

I didn't have any spare Taito power supplies to use for parts but I did have an extra PC-AT power supply laying around. These work great in Zoo Keeper because they have the same reset circuit that Zoo Keeper needs (see details here ( I'm all out of .156" headers, though, so I couldn't build an adapter to go from the PC AT supply to the Zoo Keeper harness. I rummaged around in drawers and found something that'd work, though. I found a Taito filter board that had the right connectors on it. So I desoldered all the jumpers and made my own wire jumpers so I could plug the Zoo Keeper power connectors in one spot and the PC AT connector in another. Worked great! Here's a picture ( Doing it this way means I, or my successors in interest, could always stick an original supply back in with no mods if we ever want to.

So once the machine had proper power, I went around front and saw that the game still didn't boot. I hit the test switch on the PCB and it got stuck at RAM U30. Swapped out that 4116 and reset. That got it all the way through to the switch test screen. From there, however, nothing happened. None of the switches worked. I went 'round back and felt the coin processor MPU. Sure enough, hot to the touch. The coin processor crapping out is a very common problem with this game. Fortunately for me, I made a hack ( long ago that would eliminate the coin processor board from a Zoo Keeper, which is not required, since all it is used for is copy protection. So I burned a new ROM 19 and plugged the control panel/coin door harness directly into the main PCB instead of the coin processor board and powered back up. Before I could even get around to the front to look, I heard the old familiar attract music. Woot! All fixed. :)

Update - 7/25/07 : Well, the game mysteriously stopped working yesterday. I had it on while playing another game and glanced over to see it was frozen on the title screen. Now it doesn't boot. It behaves just like it did when the NVRAM sockets were messed up, so I suspect something related to that again. Need some free time to dig into it.

Update - 8/5/07 : No biggie. Just needed to re-seat the NVRAM. Working dandy now.