Space Duel to Major Havoc Conversion

Cabinet Modifications:

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Last update: Apr. 20, 2013

View Major Havoc on KLOV

Atari 1983: Color Vector, 1 or 2 player

Conversion Project Sections...


Control Panel Modification for the Roller Controller:

The original Atari conversion kit for SD was exclusively supplied with a spinner, probably primarily because it was the cheapest solution. It also fit within the available space of the SD style control panel. The Tempest kit didn't even have the spinner because Tempest already has a spinner. The roller controller was standard issue on the dedicated MH cabinets but was not part of the conversion kits.

In the world of home arcades though, a lot of people who dream of converting their Space Duel (or Tempest) to Major Havoc also imagine installing the roller controller.

Let's face it, the roller controller is more fun than a spinner and it looks a lot more interesting. It even lights up. In fact, so many people want the roller controller instead of the spinner that reproduction control panel overlays made for Space Duel (and Tempest) are supplied without any holes cut in the roller/spinner area so that each person can do what they want. But here's the thing. The roller controller won't fit under the Space Duel control panel without a little help.

To fix this problem, a small section of wood must be cut out of the lower support. If you're anything like me, you won't like hacking a nice near mint SD cab like this, but there is simply no choice if you want the roller controller to fit. With the modified control panel mounted in the fully open position, mark the section to be removed on inside of the lower wooden panel support. The silver metal part of the roller frame is 3-1/8" wide so draw two lines (from front to back) each 1/4" beyond each side of the silver frame. The lines will be spaced 3-5/8" apart. The rear edge of the cutout section is 3" back from the front edge of the panel. I cut this section out using a variable speed reciprocating saw.


Here, the control panel is fully closed. Looking upward at the underside of the control panel, you can see how the roller controller frame dips below the top inside surface of the wood. This open hole can be easily covered with a simple sheet metal plate. I'll take care of this later.


Here, the control panel is fully closed. This is how the roller controller looks from the inside.


Here the control panel is partially open and you can see the roller controller just beginning to enter the cutout area.


Here's is another view with the approximate arc of rotation marked. Inside the arc, the wood would not have to be cut. Outside of the arc where it dives into the wood, you would have to cut it. In theory, it may be possible to carve out wood from the top side and not go all the way through the wood panel and so eliminate the need for a metal plate cover to be added to the underside. Maybe a small hand router could accomplish such a fancy cut or maybe you could use a standard router to notch it out if you can remove the wood panel for cutting it and then replace it. I think it's a lot easier to just cut out the entire section and cover it underneath with a metal plate later. Obviously personal choice applies here.


With respect to roller placement vertically on the panel, be aware that it can't be set too low under the "<MOVE>" text because of the following minimum gap requirement. As the panel swings open, the roller gets pretty close to the front edge of the hinge plate. If you position the roller too low (too toward the front face of the control panel), it will collide with the hinge and prevent the panel from opening all the way.


Here is the area that I recommend to be covered by a new metal plate. You could make a simple patch piece, a short piece, that just covers the cutout area, but I think that a full length piece would look much cleaner and less obvious.


Here is a you-tube video that shows the roller moving through the wood panel notched area to give you a better idea of exactly where there must be clearance added.



My wish came true! In Feb. 2013, I received from Troy (KLOV: Takeman) a brand new custom made control panel and bottom cover plate.

I made a simple outline drawing of the plate in case you want to make one. This doesn't show the nice welded studs that Troy's plate has but the locations are indicated. The drawing can also be used to make a simple template with which you can locate and drill the holes required to mount the panel.

Download the bottom control panel cover drawing: DXF PDF

Here's some pictures of the bottom plate. The thread of the studs is #8-32.


Now here's that new custom made control panel (from Troy)...


The #10-24 studs for the roller controller are pressed in and flush on the top surface. After taking this photo, I painted the tops of the bolts to prevent rust.


Hey, this edge is a whole lot straighter then my own modified SD panel !


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