Adding Credits To An Arcade Game (And Setting Up Free Play)

Adding Credits To An Arcade Game (And Setting Up Free Play)

In order to play most arcade games, you must either have a way to add credits to the machine or set the free play setting on the board. While most newer games offer a free play setting, there are several older games that do not have this option. Of course, you can always insert coins into these machines but that can be inconvenient if your arcade cabinet is for home use only. In this post, we will discuss how to add credits to an arcade game by using the coin switches and how to set up a game for free play using the test/service menu and dip switch settings built into the arcade board.

Adding Credits To An Arcade Game (And Setting Up Free Play)

As we discussed in the introduction, you can always use a coin to add credits to an arcade game. The coin works by passing through a coin mech that only allows the correct coins to fall into the coin box. Please consult our post on Adjusting A Coin Mech for more information on coin mechs and how they work. Just below the coin mech is the coin switch which is similar to the microswitches that we use on regular arcade buttons and joysticks except that it is activated by a wire being depressed instead of an actuator. As the coin falls out of the mech into the coin box, it lands on the wire attached to the coin switch which adds a credit to the game. Please note that if anything pushes the wire on the coin switch down the game should register a credit. We like to use our finger to press down on this wire when we need to quickly add credits to a game. Keep in mind that sometimes the coin switches will have a cover on them that will make it difficult to press the wire down with your finger. These covers can be easily removed by taking out the screws that are holding them to the coin mech.

Coin Switches (With and Without Cover)
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Now, you could always add a lot of credits to your game by pressing the coin switches with your finger before having people over to play your arcade game but eventually the game will run out of credits and you’ll have to repeat this process. You can also leave your coin door open so that you can easily gain access to the coin switches once the credits run out but that can be a problem if you have small children as they might do some damage to the inside of your cabinet. In order to avoid these problems, we suggest wiring up a credit button. We like to use either a regular arcade push button with a microswitch or a mini momentary switch as our credit button. All you have to do is take the wires off of the coin switch and attach them to the credit button. This will make it so that when the button is pressed the game registers a credit. Please check out our post on Wiring A Push Button if you need help with that process. Of course, you can place your credit button anywhere on your cabinet. Some common places we like to place our credit button include the control panel (perhaps by your start buttons or underneath the panel), on the front of the cabinet and inside the coin rejection chute. - Buy Now! Buy a Mini Push Button Momentary Switch from now!

Keep in mind that you may have to extend your coin switch wires depending on where you decided to install your credit button. You can also splice into the coin switch wires instead of attaching them directly to the button if you would like to keep the coin switch active or if you would like to make it easier for these wires to reach your credit button. Some games also have a service credit button that will allow you to add credits to the game. You can also use the wires attached to this button for your credit button as well.

Credit Button Wiring
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While using a credit button is a nice feature, it can sometimes be confusing to your guests if you have a home use arcade game. Most modern arcade boards have a free play option accessible through the either the test/service menu or a dip switch setting that allows you to play the game without having to insert credits. The test/service menu for most games can be accessed by pressing the test/service button located somewhere inside the cabinet. The most common place for this button is right inside the coin door but this can vary depending on the type of arcade cabinet. Once this button is pressed, the test/service menu should come up on the screen. From here you can change the different options of the arcade board by following the on screen instructions. For older games, the free play option might be accessible by adjusting the dip switches on the arcade board itself. Please see our post on Adjusting Dip Switch Settings On A Board for more information about adjusting dip switches. Be sure to consult the manual for your game as it should tell you if the game has a free play option and how to access it.

Being able to easily add credits to an arcade game is a must for anyone who has a home use arcade cabinet. This ensures that your guests can enjoy your game without having to manually insert coins or bother you with adding credits. Setting the free play options can also enhance the enjoyment of these games for everyone that comes over to your house to play your arcade cabinet. Please leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section below.

  1. Avatar
    Ridge Woods

    I’ve never thought about wiring up the coin mechanism to an arcade button. Pretty smart

  2. Avatar
    Ivy Baker

    This is some really good information about arcade games. I liked that you explained that you might need to extend the wires for the coin switch depending on the machine. I have been thinking about getting an old arcade game in my basement for my nephew to play on. So it does seem like a good idea for me to know that that coin switch.

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