Restoring Zaxxon TableTop Mini Arcades


Unlike other Coleco & Nintendo arcades this model was much more advanced.  It relies on a Dual vacuum fluorescent displays (VFD) and a mirror to create its image.

Many of these vintage arcades have held-up very well over years but seldom are they clean. This tutorial covers the basics on tear-down, screen & Joystick cleaning.

  • Original Price $60 
  • Release Date: 1983 
  • Manufacture: Coleco
  • Today's Value $88-$150 

Restoration Supply List:

  •     Phillips Screwdriver Medium Sized
  •     90% Rubbing Alcohol
  •     Windex or similar brand
  •     Cleaning Swabs
  •     Hi Polymer Eraser
  •     Lint free cloth
  •     Dawn Dish Soap or similar brand    
  •     Rubber Cement (for peeling labels)

Lets Get Started:

First Remove the 6 screws located on the bottom side. Note: If your battery contacts are corroded try cleaning them with vinegar and Qtips. Light grit sandpaper can also be used in extreme cases.

Separate the two halves as shown, work slowly and be aware of the inner mirror.

Now we have access to the two VFD screens and the reflective mirror.  Cleaning these screens will make a huge improvement with gameplay. This is a good opportunity to remove all surrounding dust and clean the motherboard.

Below is a illustration of how the VFD reacts with the mirror. One screen reflects off the mirror, the other passes through creating a 3D illusion.

Start by cleaning the mirror with Windex and a microfiber cloth. Clean gently and avoid scratching the surface. If needed you can remove this mirror, its usually glued into place. Caution it is fragile.

Do the same for the VFD screens.

This VFD creates the Flying Zaxxon ship.

This VFD creates the background effects and enemy ships.

Its a good idea to clean the Joystick and button controls.  Clean this area with alcohol (or electrical cleaner) with a qtip or cleaning swab.

Next we can repair peeling decals and polish the plastic case.

For peeling labels I prefer using Paper Cement. It's has a strong bond and is archival.

Apply a light coat of cement to the decal and the plastic. Don't worry about cement running outside the edge, it is easily removed once dried.  Allow the cement to dry BEFORE pressing the decal back into place. This method ensures a strong bong.

Once dry use a flat edged tool and push the decal into place. Work the decal and remove any trapped air bubbles.

Last we can clean and polish the case with Novus #1 plastic cleaner. Buff the case with novus and a microfiber cloth. Try not to saturate the decals.

Done.  Assemble the item following the steps above in reverse order.  Enjoy your Arcade.


  1. How can you put the battery cover back onto the bottom of the zaxxon ? I had to order a replacement cover and i do not know how it fits, if i force it i am afraid it might break. Help!!!


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