While most standard arcade games run 120 VAC to the various parts inside the cabinet, Nintendo arcade games are somewhat different. Nintendo is a Japanese company and as such uses the Japanese AC voltage specification which is 100 VAC. This difference may seem small at first glance but it can wreak havoc on your repair and restoration efforts. In this post, we are going to discuss some tips to keep in mind when working on Nintendo arcade games.
Working With Nintendo Arcade Games
When you look into the back of your Nintendo arcade cabinet, you might think that it looks pretty much the same as any other cabinet and you would be right for the most part. The main difference is that the power cord runs to a transformer that converts our 120 VAC from the wall to 100 VAC for use inside the cabinet. Most everything inside the cabinet derives it’s power from this transformer. This includes the monitor (or monitors if you have a dual screen), power supply and even the marquee light. Also, some of these cabinets have power plugs in the bottom. Be very wary of these plugs as they also tend to put out 100 VAC which can cause problems with anything you plug into them (such as tools).
You might have heard some horror stories of people trying to replace an arcade monitor in a Nintendo arcade cabinet with another major brand such as Wells-Gardner. This is because most monitors here in the states are made to take the 120 VAC instead of the 100 VAC and will not receive the correct power depending on how you hook them up. In the video for this post, we have a similar dilemma with a power supply. The best way to guarantee that you are getting 120 VAC to the parts that require it is to tap into the power cord itself.
The easiest way to tap into the power cord on many Nintendo arcade games is to locate the connector between the power cord and the transformer. From here you can use a pin pusher to remove the pins from the connector. You can then cut and strip these wires to get them ready to be repinned. Take some spare wiring and twist it together with the existing wires you just stripped from the connector. It is a good idea to use the same color wires to tie into with so that you can keep your AC lines consistent. Once that is done, repin the wires and insert them into the connector. Reconnect the connector and you should now have two wires protruding that contain the 120 VAC necessary to power the non-Nintendo parts in your arcade cabinet.
Nintendo has made some great arcade games over the years. From Donkey Kong to Playchoice 10, seems like everyone either owns or has wanted to own one of their great classics. Just keep in mind that the power scheme that lies within them is foreign and as such can be difficult to work with sometimes. Knowing up front that Nintendo arcade games run off of 100 VAC instead of the standard 120 VAC will save you a lot of time in your future repair endeavors. Please feel free to leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section below.