When you start troubleshooting your arcade monitor, remember to always start off with the simple fixes before moving on to the more complex ones. Many of us want to install a cap kit before giving the adjustments a tweak or two. In this post, we discuss how to adjust an arcade monitor to achieve the best possible picture.
Adjusting An Arcade Monitor
Before you get started, you want to identify what’s wrong with your arcade monitor. The most common problems that can be solved with the monitor adjustments are out of focus, dim or dark picture, scrolling screen and bleeding colors. Obviously if your monitor is not getting power then no amount of adjusting will help you. We recommend checking the power and video wires before making adjustments to make sure that there are no problems in these areas. Also, we would recommend either getting a friend or a mirror to help you with the adjustments. This makes it much easier to know what’s going on with the monitor when you turn an adjustment knob.
First, we’ll start off by locating the focus and brightness controls on the flyback. Locate the flyback on your monitor chassis. It is usually a big black cylinder attached to the anode (located underneath the suction cup) by a red wire. On the flyback there should be two knobs. The top one is usually the focus and the bottom one the brightness. Please see the diagram below.
Some monitors have three knobs on the flyback. If this is the case with your monitor, try turning the knobs just slightly to identify which knob does what.
While there is a brightness on the flyback, there is typically a brightness adjustment on the control board as well. The control board usually contains adjustments for horizontal and vertical hold, brightness and contrast among other things. Control boards can come in a variety of ways. Sometimes they are a separate board attached directly to the chassis or by a group of wires. Other times there are just pots, or potentiometers, soldered directly to the chassis. Please see the diagram below.
If you are having scrolling screen or sync issues, you might try to adjust the horizontal and vertical hold. Everything else on the control board is pretty self explanatory. The contrast is very important if this monitor is located in a light gun game. Light guns depend on a bright monitor to work so make sure that this is adjusted correctly.
Next, let’s take a look at the color adjustments. Color adjustments are usually located on the neck board. The neck board is a small board attached to the back of the tube. Look for some adjustments located either on the top or the edges of this board. These are the color adjustments. Please see the diagram below.
There are typically two adjustments for each color: a drive and a cutoff. The drive affects objects on your screen that are the color of the knob you are adjusting. For instance, if the life bars on your Street Fighter II arcade game are not red enough for your liking, you would want to adjust the red drive. You can think of the cutoff more like the “tint” on your monitor. If there are no red objects on your screen but you see sort of a reddish tint on your monitor then you need to adjust your red cutoff.
One thing to keep in mind is that many games have monitor test screens in their test mode that allow you to easily see adjustments that need to be made. Check your arcade game manual for more information. We also recommend marking your pot and your board with a magic or permanent marker once you have found the adjustments to be to your liking. Some people like to put super glue or silicon on these knobs at this point. We discourage this practice because monitor tubes can change over time and, as such, these adjustments can change. Adding super glue or silicon to your knobs will make an adjustment that should take just a second or two take ten minutes or more.
Taking time to adjust your arcade monitor before doing a cap kit can save you time and money. Make sure you adjust your monitor on a regular basis so you can continue to enjoy your arcade game in the future. If you have any other comments, questions or suggestions about adjusting arcade monitors feel free to leave a message below in our comments section.