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Opening An Arcade Cabinet

Opening An Arcade Cabinet

There is only so much troubleshooting that we can do from outside an arcade game. In order to fix the majority of arcade game issues, we must be able to access the parts inside the cabinet. In this post, we’ll discuss how to open an arcade cabinet so we can fix any problems that might be plaguing our game.

Opening An Arcade Cabinet

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You never know what to expect when trying to open an arcade cabinet. Some of the games we’ve seen have had everything from frayed wires to malfunctioning power supplies. This is why we recommend unplugging or turning off your game as a safety precaution. Some arcade games have a safety switch on the door that will automatically turn the power off, however, the previous owner of the game might have disengaged it. Do not take chances! Turn the power off to the game and restore it once you have opened the cabinet and located any potential hazards inside.

First, we want to unlatch our control panel so that we can gain access to our arcade controls. You can gain access to the control panel latches on most arcade cabinets through the service door. Insert your hand into the service door and reach up to the far left and right sides of the control panel. You should feel some latches. These latches hold up the control panel and prevent it from falling down during normal play sessions. You should be able to flip them down to release the tension on the latch. If you release the tension on both latches but the control panel still doesn’t release, check near the top center of the control panel to see if there is a third latch located there. Once you have released all the latches, the control panel should fall or come out giving you access to the arcade controls.

With the control panel folded down or pulled out of the cabinet, you should be able to access the monitor bezel and screen. This is very handy in case you need to replace the bezel or clean the screen. When you take off the bezel, you might notice some bolts that are going into the wood and the monitor frame. These bolts are used for mounting the monitor. If you wanted to remove the monitor, you could unscrew these bolts and pull the monitor out of the front of the cabinet. If you are going to attempt this, make sure that you follow our instructions on Safely Discharging An Arcade Monitor so that you know it is safe to pull out.

Next, we’ll focus on opening up the back of the cabinet. You can remove the back door of an arcade cabinet by either using the key, unscrewing a screw that’s holding it in or drilling out the lock. For more information on drilling out locks please see our post on Replacing A Coin Door Lock. Once we have opened the back door, we should now have access to all of the internal parts of an arcade cabinet. You will usually find the power supply and isolation transformer at the bottom of the cabinet, the PCB or board mounted on the side of the cabinet and the monitor located near the top of the cabinet. There is usually a button located just inside the service door. This button is typically a test mode or service credit button. This can be really handy if you are trying to troubleshoot your game.

Being able to open an arcade cabinet is one of the first steps in learning how to repair an arcade game. While not all arcade cabinets are arranged the same way, the overwhelming majority of them contain the same parts that we have described in this post. Please post any questions or suggestions you might have in the comments section below.

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Comments
  1. Joe Brewer

    Hey guys,
    you’re recording in high def! thats awesome! Thanks for using our music for your podcast…keep up the great work!

  2. John

    Thanks a lot for posting this, it really helped me. I had a golden tee that the ball wouldn’t register up, but when I took it apart and cleaned it, it worked great, not sure what the problems were. Thanks for showing how to open it, though. I was looking for all kinds of screws and never thought it would just be a latch. take care.

  3. Durp

    THANKS! After going crazy looking for the latches on an “All American Football” cab that I just got, I found out that there are 2 latches on the sides and none in the middle. Thank god since I couldn’t reach the middle part to save my life. It also opens the opposite way like the hood on an English car. I almost took a crowbar to it!

    It’s those little stupid things that can really give a noob like me a hard time. I REALLY APPRECIATE the effort that you guys put into your tips and videos. You’re the best! Without you there and be a few metric tons of scraped cabs and lost memories our there.

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