Hi! After more than 25 years in the arcade video game business, I have seen just about every possible video game maintenance and handling mistake.
Here then are ten tips to help you prevent the more common mistakes, and thereby increase the life of your arcade video game:
1. Back door.
Unless you have small children, pets, or rodents, remove the cabinet's back door to dramatically improve air circulation. Heat is the number one enemy of a games' electronic components - monitor, power supply, circuit board, and isolation transformer.
If you have mice, set traps inside your game. The little guys will destroy your game in no time. They eat wiring insulation (very unsafe), they build nests of trash (very unsafe), and they ruin electronic components (very expensive).
Another way to improve air circulation is to set a fan(s) inside your game. Direct the air flow towards the printed circuit board
and monitor. This will really help to extend the life of your game.
4. Surge Protector.
If you have one, use it. If you don't have one, get one. Who knows when lightening will strike. The surge could cook your printed circuit board.
The backlight (fluorescent or incandescent) which illuminates your game's marquee is full of potential hazards. First, either type will eventually ruin (burn up) your marquee. Next, if the fluorescent bulb begins to flicker, it can interfere with the play of your game. And lastly, if the transformer blows, it can blow your cabinet's power fuse. Just disconnect the power to the backlight, and save the headaches.
Every so often, you should vacuum the insides - monitor, power supply, printed circuit board - of your game. Electronic components attract dust. Dust acts as an insulation barrier that traps heat. The resulting intensified heat shortens the life of the electronic component. Just make sure you kill the power to your game before you begin cleaning.
Set your game to freeplay. There are two big benefits. First, to get game credits, you are no longer having to find a little coin door switch. And second, the coin door is closed (preferably locked), thus preventing the possibility of someone getting electrocuted (the monitor neck board is often close and inline with the coin door).
8. Blown Fuse.
When your game blows one of the cabinet fuses, don't replace the fuse hoping all will be okay. The fuse blows because an electronic component has failed (shorted). If you replace the fuse, two bad things could happen. The failed components' circuit could be further damaged. And, you could start a fire. So, better to call someone to service your game.
Static discharge could ruin your printed circuit board. So, be sure to discharge yourself before touching any printed circuit board. Also, a discharge to the metal coin door can cause some games to reset. If this is happening, you may need to place an anti-static mat in front of your game.
10. Cabinet Leg Levelers.
Be sure to install the cabinet leg levelers. First, they are used to level your cabinet, and prevent its rocking. But more importantly, they elevate the cabinet enough to prevent water damage (spills, condensation) to its base.
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