Before you can fix an arcade game, a pinball machine or any electronic device, you have to first accurately analyze the problem. A few tools and a good eye will take you a long way towards performing a professional repair. In this post, we’ll discuss some simple steps you can take when you are starting a repair job.
Step 1: It’s usually easier to determine what is wrong with a game by determining what is right. Are there any signs of life at all? Does the marquee or other lights work? Do you hear the monitor? Does the game play blind? (i.e. the monitor has no picture but you hear sound from the game) If the game is appears to be dead, start simple. Do you have 120 VAC going into your power supply? If your power supply is good, is it supplying the correct voltage (usually 5 VDC and 12 VDC) to you main board and other components?
Step 2: Always start with the obvious. Try using the self test on the PCB or in the test menu if the monitor is working. Input and output tests will tell you if certain things are functioning properly. Find a manual for the game online and look for troubleshooting tips inside of it. If the manufacturer is still in business don’t be afraid to give them a call. Look for places that look burned or have loose wires or connections.
Step 3: Use a multimeter. Don’t trust your eyes, trust your meter. Check for blown fuses. Read the manual for your meter or find one online. There are many things you can use your meter for from simple tests down to the component level.
Step 4: Check all wiring. Do some basic continuity checks with your meter and make sure you have good connections. The wiring harness can be a common place for issues as previous owners might have flexed the wires or mishandled them. Trace down the wires using the connector on the harness as a test point.
Step 5: Ask for help! If you are ever reach a point where you don’t feel comfortable, it’s a good idea to ask for assistance. There is no shame in asking a question only in being afraid to ask! Make sure you have as much information as possible when asking for help. Information like the name of the game, the manufacturer and time period are very helpful to someone trying to assist you. Please feel free to leave a comment on our site or email us with your question. We will try to assist you in any way possible.
Always make a commitment to doing the job right. Don’t take shortcuts or do it half way. Your arcade game deserves better and you will be glad in the end you took the time to do it right. Good luck with your projects in the future and again please feel free to leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section below.