Many of the questions that we receive involve arcade games that are playing blind. Playing blind refers to a particular troubleshooting symptom where you can hear sound coming from the game but the screen does not show a picture. While playing blind can be related to power or board problems, the monitor chassis is most often the culprit when trying to repair this issue. In this post, we’ll discuss some basic and advanced techniques that will help you troubleshoot and repair arcade games that are playing blind.
Troubleshooting Games That Are Playing Blind
Before we get specifically into playing blind issues, let’s talk about some general arcade troubleshooting for “dead” games. After all, your arcade game may be playing blind and you might not know it. First off, try powering on your arcade game and pressing the start button. If you still don’t get any sound from your game, you might try coining it up and then pressing the start button. After you have determined that you’re game is playing blind, try turning up the brightness and the contrast to see if it makes a difference in your screen. Your screen could just be too dark for you to see. If adjusting the monitor doesn’t make a difference then we’re probably having some monitor related issues.
Let’s start our monitor troubleshooting by checking the power wires. There should be a 2 or 3 prong Molex connector with wires going through it that go from the bottom of the cabinet to the monitor chassis. These wires could be coming from an isolation transformer (looks like a brick in the bottom of your cabinet) or directly from the AC line. Using a multimeter, located the two AC wires and measure the voltage coming off of them at the Molex connector. We recommened measuring the voltage from the monitor side of the connector to make sure power is getting all the way through. If you do not get any AC voltage reading, check to make sure there is not a blown fuse or bad wiring in the bottom of the cabinet. Otherwise we can move on to checking the video wires. Make sure that these wires are making a good connection from the game board to the monitor chassis. Also, the pins on the monitor chassis where the video connector makes contact can become loose. Try resoldering these pins if they do not feel secure.
With most of the basic monitor troubleshooting out of the way, we can move on to the more advanced problem areas. With the game on, look at the neck of your monitor to see if there is any glow. This neck glow usually indicates that your monitor chassis is getting the high voltage it needs to display a picture. If this glow is missing, you probably need to start looking at the power supply section of your monitor chassis. Start out by looking for any fuses on the chassis that might be blown. Once you locate one, try to replace it with the correct fuse. Some monitors have a label on the chassis to indicate the type of fuse required. If your monitor does not indicate what fuse to use, try getting one similar to the one currently on the chassis. With the new fuse in place, try powering on the game again to see if the fuse blows. If the replacement fuse blows then we might be having an issue with our Horizontal Output Transistor (or HOT) or some of the diodes on the board.
For more information about diodes, check out our post on Checking Diodes On An Arcade Monitor. In this post, we discuss how to check the diodes on your chassis that might be causing your fuse to blow. Once you have checked your diodes and replaced them as needed, try checking your Horizontal Output Transistor (or HOT) to see if it is functioning properly. On our Volume 2 DVD, we have a video on Checking The Horizontal Output Transistor that shows you how to use a multimeter to check your HOT. We recommend purchasing this DVD if you are not already familiar with this process. With the diodes checked and the HOT replaced, try powering on your arcade game again to see if the issue is resolved.
You might notice in our video for this post that checking the diodes and replacing the HOT did not repair our issue and actually led to some electric discharge known as arcing. Arcing is usually an indicator of a bad flyback. The flyback (along with the suction cup or anode) is the part that supplies power to your monitor tube. As you might expect, it contains quite a bit of high voltage and can be quite dangerous if you do not use caution. Make sure to take all necessary precautions to protect yourself against electric shock. If you do experience arcing, immediately unplug the game. Since you have pretty much determined at this point that the flyback is bad, remove your monitor chassis and replace it. Our Volume 2 DVD also has a video on Checking And Replacing The Flyback that shows you how to check to see if the flyback is good and how to remove and install it. We recommend purchasing this DVD if you are not already familiar with this process.
Please note that every arcade monitor is different. Even though these steps helped us repair our monitor, there might be some additional steps that need to be taken in order to repair your specific make and model of arcade monitor. Consult your monitor manufacturer and their documentation for any additional information or steps that need to be taken. The monitor featured in our video for this post is a Wells Gardner K7000 Series.
Arcade games that are playing blind account for a large amount of the questions that we receive. Now that you know a little bit more about how to troubleshoot and repair this issue, you can conquer one of the most common problems that plagues non-working arcade games. Please leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section below.