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RickR

Restoring a Big Trak

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I just purchased a Milton Bradley Big Trak on ebay.  It was in broken/parts/as-is condition.  The price was right, and I thought it would be fun to try and restore it. 

For those that are unfamiliar -- the Big Trak was an electronically programmable toy vehicle from 1982.  More info here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Trak

I always wanted one, thanks to commercials like this:

I thought I could skip the apple and deliver a beer to my father.  Alas, the budget would never allow for this purchase.  Until now!

Well, the Big Trak arrived yesterday.  As advertised, in pretty sad shape.  Lots of dirt and grime, a broken battery terminal, and worst of all, a broken front axle.  So I immediately got busy.  I took apart the wheels and applied some epoxy to that broken axle.  Everything removed got washed.  Next steps are to take the top off and see what's going on with the electronics.  And replace that battery terminal.

I've got mixed expectations.  I think at the low end, I may end up with a Big Trak that is cosmetically good, but doesn't work.  I'd be ok with that...it will look great on a shelf.  Best case, I get it fully working. 

The main body section, not yet opened:29436814_bigtrak005.thumb.JPG.86b1674e880838bf5a3810e378a22bf7.JPG

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Broken battery connector:

546237836_bigtrak006.thumb.JPG.f3927d3e950eabfffea7b625be1ea8f9.JPG

 

Fixing Axel Foley.  Using a lot of epoxy will make it stronger, and it will still fit in it's slot.

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Removed parts have been washed.

1012663639_bigtrak001.thumb.JPG.46a8a16ec1166a4fb4c4f4a364659c63.JPG

 

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That is very cool! I'm already betting you can get it to work.(Vegas has odds on everything!)

I had a knock off version, maybe made by Radio Shack or something like that. It was used and had no trailer, and since the large batteries it used were hard to come by, I rarely used it. But it still had a cool look.

 

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Update.  This thing is really dirty.  I opened it up, and replaced the battery connector.  On/off switch needed cleaning.  Now, it turns on, but I'm not sure what any of the buttons do.  I guess I'll have to read the manual. 

At this point, I have everything drying.  All pieces have been washed.  Including carefully cleaning the circuit board.  I had to re-solder the speaker wires and glue the speaker down.  Once everything is dry, I'll put it all back together and hope that it works.

By the way, it uses 1 9V battery and 4 "D" cells. 

 

bigtrak 009.JPG

bigtrak 011.JPG

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Cleaning complete.  Re-assembly complete.  Should we take a poll about whether it works?

 

Naw!  It works!  It works nicely.  The only thing wrong at this moment is that the "laser" light bulb is burnt out.  I'll need to find a new one, and it's kind of a strange bulb.  The repaired front axle appears to be fine.  I am stoked! 

 

bigtrak 001.JPG

bigtrak 002.JPG

bigtrak 003.JPG

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14 hours ago, Justin said:

Super cool to see photos of your restoration efforts Rick. You're giving me flashbacks to 20 years ago when this site was brand new and I was dismantling, cleaning and restoring 7800 systems. It was a lot like this.

Most of my used systems were purchased in poor condition needing something.  Except the Master System that was gifted to me.  That thing looked hardly used.  And I've got another mystery system on its way.  Suppose to be here tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.  I'll most likely do a teardown and cleaning of it, too.  I'm picky that way.

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27 minutes ago, kamakazi20012 said:

Most of my used systems were purchased in poor condition needing something.  Except the Master System that was gifted to me.  That thing looked hardly used.  And I've got another mystery system on its way.  Suppose to be here tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.  I'll most likely do a teardown and cleaning of it, too.  I'm picky that way.

Make a post with pictures.  I love that kind of thing, as you can guess. 

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9 hours ago, Willie! said:

I had one I restored with a trailer, wish I had known you wanted one as I gave it away.

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Oh man, I would have loved that trailer and manual.  I'm sure you made somebody very happy with your generosity, Willie!  If you ever have good stuff you no longer want, I'd be happy to pay for shipping to Oregon.

Meanwhile, after a few hours of playing, my fixed front axle gave way and cracked in the same spot.  So I've re-glued with a fabricated metal clip over the wound.  I'm going to let it cure over a few days before I put er back together.

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

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I remember wanting one of these as a kid. Forgot about it until this post and Willies video. My girls just a programing Robotics thing sponsored by LEGO for Girl Scouts this past weekend. I looked up ebay for a few and I amy pick up one of the cleaner $25 "untested" ones to see if I can get one working too.

 

Thanks so much for posting this. Looking great BTW. 

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I had no idea that in 2010 a british company called Zeon relaunched the Big Trak as a slightly modified replica. It looks nearly identical to the UK release of the original Big Trak and operates the same way. They replaced the MB logo on the side of the Big Trak with their Zeon logo, but otherwise it looks identical. 

https://www.amazon.com/BBT-BIGTRAK-Bigtrak-Zeon-Limited/dp/B0035IZ85G/

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I wish someone would bring back the Big Trak, maybe in a slightly more modern form with rubber tires, a better suspension that can go over big stuff, and bluetooth connectivity to an app on your phone to map out your room and program it in grater detail to go under chairs, etc. etc.

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