Safely Discharge An Arcade Monitor

Safely Discharge A Monitor

Working on arcade monitors can be a dangerous endeavor. The first and most important step when working on an arcade monitor is to discharge it so you can safely remove it (or just the chassis) from your arcade game.

Safely Discharge An Arcade Monitor

Arcade Repair Tips Video Series - Volume 1 (DVD) Ad

First off, if you are not comfortable around electricity please consult professional help. While the process is not difficult it is highly dangerous as you could be shocked or even electrocuted. Please consult professional help if you have any doubts about being able to carry out this process.

Secondly, make sure that you are wearing rubber soled shoes and that you have removed any jewelry (such as rings or watches). Remember, you don’t want anything metal that’s attached to you to come into contact with that monitor! Also, it’s always good to wear Personal Protective Equipment (or PPE) if you have access to it. Rubber gloves and eye goggles are highly recommended especially if you are nervous about doing this in the first place.

With all of the safety talk out of the way, let us continue…

Before you touch anything in the arcade cabinet, make sure the power is switched off and the game is unplugged. Also make sure that you have assembled your monitor discharge tool and have an insulated flat-head screwdriver to use with it. For more information on this, please view our post on Your First Arcade Toolbox.

Now that you have your monitor discharge tool and insulated flat-head screwdriver, take the alligator clip on one end of the monitor discharge tool and attach it to an unpainted portion of the metal monitor frame. Take the alligator clip on the other end of the monitor discharge tool and attach it to the metal part of your insulated flat-head screwdriver.

With the insulated flat-head screwdriver in your hand, move the end of the screwdriver towards the suction cup and the anode. The anode is the wire covered by the suction cup that goes into the monitor tube. Slide the flat-head of the screwdriver underneath the suction cup. You should get either hear a loud pop or see a blue flash. Please note that these results do not occur on every monitor. After you have touched the anode with the screwdriver, remove the screwdriver and wait a couple of minutes then repeat. It’s good to do this a couple of times as sometimes residual charge can build up after the initial pop.

Once you have finished this process, you can be assured that you have successfully discharged your arcade monitor. Once you have discharged your arcade monitor, you will be on your way to repairing your arcade monitor and ultimately to playing your arcade game.

  1. Avatar
    John Robertson

    This is not the proper method to discharge monitors especially if you are dealing with older B&W games. You MUST use a series of resistors to safely discharge older solid state monitors otherwise you will damage the HV diode(s).

    This method (screwdriver under the cap) method of discharging dates back to the old tube TVs and was perfectly safe for the TV (risky to the person if careless!), but the early generations of solid state TVs/Monitors used solid state diodes that can be damaged if the tube was discharged too quickly – or if the HV was tested by drawing a spark from under the HV cap. I have a writeup on the proper and safe way to do this process at
    Read this if you want a second opinion on how to do this properly.

    John :-#)#

  2. Avatar
    Tim Peterson

    Thank you John for your valuable insight into this topic. We value and trust your opinion. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us. Your point is well taken and should be taken into consideration by viewers of this site.

  3. Avatar

    Chassis is pronounced CHASSY…cripes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *