Replacing Lights In An Arcade Cabinet

Replacing Lights In An Arcade Cabinet

While marquee and coin lights do not effect the gameplay of an arcade game, they do provide a more authentic arcade atmosphere and experience. In this post, we will discuss the steps that you can take to troubleshoot your arcade lighting issues.

Replacing Lights In An Arcade Cabinet

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Before we get started, we would like to thank all of you that gave your hard earned money to our HD Camcorder fund. Through your generous contributions we were able to purchase a new pocket camcorder with high definition capabilities. This post contains the first video that we’ve shot with the new camera and the results seem to be very good. Thanks again and enjoy our new high definition videos.

The first type of arcade lighting that people think of is typically the marquee light. This is the light that acts as a backlight for the glass or plexiglass marquee. In most games, florescent light bulb fixtures are used; however, older games such as Pac Man have regular filament light bulb fixtures. We prefer florescent light bulbs as they are brighter and tend to give your marquee a much better look when lit up.

Getting to your marquee light fixture in most arcade games is pretty simple. You can start off by removing the marquee. The marquee typically has two metal pieces of angle iron that are screwed into the cabinet that hold it in. Unscrew either the top or the bottom piece and remove it and the marquee from the cabinet. This should give you access to your marquee light fixture.

Once we have access to the light fixture, we can start our troubleshooting. We usually start off simple by trying to replace the bulb. If you replace the bulb and it still doesn’t work, check the wiring going to the marquee light to make sure you are getting power to the fixture. If it is a florescent light fixture, you can also try replacing the starter which is a round metal piece that looks like a capacitor. Just twist it out of the holder and take it to your local hardware store to find a suitable replacement. If a new starter doesn’t work, we usually just buy a new fixture. We highly recommend ordering your florescent light fixtures from They sell the newer style florescent light bulb fixtures for about $10. A very good deal from an excellent retailer.

Now that our marquee light is working, lets move on to our coin and button lights. You can gain access to your coin door lights by opening your coin door and taking a look at the lights behind your pricing labels. If they are not working, take them out and give them a good inspection. If they look burnt, see if they have a number on them before throwing them away. This number will help you identify what type of bulb you need to replace them with. The most common bulbs are typically 161 for 12-14 VDC and 555 for 5-7 VDC. Please check out the chart below for other bulb numbers and their voltages.

Arcade Bulb Chart

If you suspect that you have bought the wrong bulbs, an easy way to tell is by the brightness of the bulb. If the bulb is super bright then your bulb’s voltage rating is lower than the voltage going to your socket. The same goes for if your bulb is super dim except for that your bulb’s voltage rating is higher than the voltage going to your socket. You can, of course, always check the lamp sockets with a multimeter to find out the voltage.

Push button lights use the same type of holders and bulbs as the coin door lights except for they clip behind a push button. These lights are usually removed by either pulling or twisting the holder from the back side of the push button. You can check the voltage just like you did with the coin door lights. If you don’t get a voltage reading then check your wiring. You can also check to make sure you have the voltage wires and not the push button wires.

A well lighted arcade cabinet typically increases the number of plays you get in an arcade and gives your cabinet a more authentic feel. Please let us know if you have any question or suggestions by posting in our comments section below.

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    Your videos are always the best. Vote Tim Peterson.

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