Revive an Arcade Machine Is Possible and Very Simple: What We Learned in The Arcade with

Although the generational component of the technology is increasingly accused and fast, there are inventions that manage to stay in the memory of those who lived its glory so that this does not just go and resurfaces. Example of this are arcade machines, that not only survive today, but that they can be resurrected without much complication. Something that we have seen directly witnessing the Arcade with.

A monograph of classic video games machines which was held during the past weekend carried out by the Association Cultural Arcade Vintage (in Petrer, Alicante), which received nationwide (and some international) fans who attended the sessions, workshops and tournaments environment to these machines and their historical games. And, between departure and departure, Learn to restore or build your own arcade machine.

A market that exists, and how

At the headquarters of the Association are the corridors rows of these machines, sorted by decades and types. Hybrids between device and furniture that they accumulate years, and as wood instruments, how much older, higher-value. Figures that according to said Pablo Forcen Soler, who is in charge of checking machines to work properly in the Association, have multiplied in recent years.

Yes that has become fashion. Before you could get a machine for 300 or 400 euros and now you see that are sold by more than 1,000.

It is not surprising that there is special interest in maintaining and even revive them when they are in possession, but for some reason let go or simply already arrived without giving signals. And the best thing is that an excessively high level of technical knowledge is not required. It is enough to know the basic concepts of conductivity, not forgetting the safety measures in these works to follow a series of steps and tips.

The guts of an arcade

Although we are not experts or our level of knowledge of electricity and electronics is high, it will fit to think that there will be a jumble of wires and components after the arcade furniture wood. This can give us some respect (especially if we are neophytes, or start with a little background), but in reality There are a few parts We will also be family if we have “tonteado” with the insides of a computer.

¿Recuerdas those basic circuits that you did at school with whom you recently a lightbulb with wires, a battery and clips? Well, that is something else prepared obviously, but that simple mechanism will help us to understand what you see when you open the arcade and how it works.

  • Monitor
  • Power supply: ensuring the energy supply of the entire system.
  • Base plate: the “brain” of the machine. Here comes the power source and is where all orders leave to run.
  • Jamma harness: the Holy Grail of an arcade game. It is a connector that fits into the motherboard that combines leading plate orders and wires that come to it on the part of buttons and other parts.

It is essential to identify the components of the machine and also meet them in some detail in order to evaluate them (and in some cases repair them). Here we pull back those basic knowledge of electricity, helping us that yes of manuals that we have available both online as sometimes physically (sometimes find them same machines inside). Can we do not like that appeal to them, but as always it is better leave pride to one side to accommodate the security.

In this regard we have taken into account something important when you open the machine: the monitor tube stream. It’s an element that It is loaded and have to avoid touching, so you will have to download it to work without that risk, something that we have to do with caution due to high voltage. This should use a cable (with the stripped ends), a screwdriver and identify the suction cup and the stranded wire mass (i.e. a point without load). We have to connect both points with cable, winding the screwdriver on one end and playing with this Cup, so that with each other we play dough and remove the tube voltage.

So, before we slaughter the essential it will be clean all these parts that inevitably it will accumulate dust, rust and dirt in general. So often resort to compressors, so much for dry parts if we washed them with water and remove the excess dust. Because Yes, although surprised these old plates basis they tend to wash with water and household cleaning product. That Yes, it is essential to dry thoroughly, either with the compressor, dryer of hair or even the oven (at 50 ° C).

Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Like any device to be repaired, this is of identify what fault and the solution required. So, connect the machine to see if it starts and, if positive, which elements are functioning (if we see picture but no sound, to the contrary, etc.). This will be worth to us to determine what review, although it is worth a general review to assess the State of the machine we have acquired.

In this way, it’s identify and check the voltages and currents. I.e., as if we had one of these circuits of the school that we remembered before but transferred to every action that takes place in the machine. And so we have to resort to a tester or voltmeter, a simple device that indicates the conductivity between two points, so that we can see if it exists and to what degree (according to which reaches us by the electric network) and the status of components.

Tester or voltmeter.

More practical is to start with the source, since it is responsible for distributing power. Here we will have identified the three basic parts thanks to manuals (AC, transformer and outputs DC input), as well as different voltage outputs:

  • Video: 5 volts.
  • Sound: 12 volt.
  • Demagnetizer of monitor: If this part fails to see abnormal colors in corners or in some parts of the screen.

If any of these parts does not transmit signal, the basics is to check if it is a matter of the fuse, a component that can be family and has easy replacement. Although this already depends of in what degree value to repair the original component or replace it with a new one, on which Paul says that he tends to be rather more practical especially if it’s more complex electronic repairs on base plate.

It can be more or less conservative purist. I am personally very practical and often prefer to change the piece and go it safe, although sometimes it holds something else, according to seniority and the value in the machine Assembly, and the simplicity of the service.

Hantarex power supply.

Once we assess the State of the source, we will harness Jamma, whose parts and guidance will be identified with the help of manuals and the tester (identifying the conductivity). In this way, use the tester to identify the pins will help us at the same time to assess the State of the same, again having the same alternatives in case of detecting a failure: replace a cable or the whole piece.

Then we can assess the other components in the same way: keypad, speaker and monitor. While plate and Jamma harness in a correct state, these parts should work well, so if they follow the fault is found in these.

As for the monitor, according to what they are our notions and, above all, our willingness to repair components, It will compensate check each part or directly choose to change. In the first case must be taken into account the basic parts: power input, RGB (the part that handles the primary colours – blue, green and red-), the demagnetizer and potentiometers.

If we opt for find out what fault specifically, checks both the conductivity general (if start or not) as the colors, reviewing each RGB cable. If what we see are the symptoms that we mentioned before the demagnetizer, we can try to fix it using an electromagnet or replace it directly. If wrong on the other hand is the brightness or contrast it will be thing of the potentiometers, which also can be replaced quite easily.

Nor should we forget ventilation. Here we find two possibilities: that the fan base is (enter air) or on top (extracts). Occasionally, although it works well you can make too much noise, by what will compensate the change (this piece is not usually repair).

In this sense, maybe that they invade us doubts if we consider some of these spare parts, being devices with decades of seniority. But in reality is easy to do with replacements, in fact it is very easy to find replacement components both distributors online and physical stores, as it is the case with current devices and computers parts.

The verdict

Once we have reviewed and repair (where necessary) the parties, He plays all reassembly and check that we have done a good job. So we can arrange it as you want, although the interior of the furniture is normally built to fit each part, and is simply screw or clip them. Here we will need some DIY basic if, for example, we have gone from a CRT monitor to one flat.

Remember the important thing is connect it all correctly especially in the case of the Jamma harness, if you insert it in inverted way can break the plate. Here to help manuals and the standard of “the three spaces” (three empty PIN), very useful to identify which face corresponds to the components of the plate and face to the welds. However, there will be little problem if it were a harness new, given that usually come with directions and following the code of standard colors for the wires (black = ground, Orange = 3 volts, Red = 5 volts, yellow = 12 volts).

It is essential to connect the harness Hamma in the correct direction with respect to the faces of the plate.

Once everything is ready, it is see if the thumb points up or down after giving to the ignition switch. It should be do not cover it if we see something still does not work, so check it at the time (with the same system of measuring voltages and continuities), and thus we will see some indicators as the red LED of the source (which will be on if it works correctly) or rotating fans.

Once you have everything installed and connected properly, try to turn it on.

The icing on the cake

In addition to these essential elements for the functioning of the machine, there are some other more secondary that we may want to restore or change, such as the marquee (the top of the machine carrying a lighted sign) or purse or insert coin button. Here again we start with the same system, although here the repair is less common and directly use the replacement.

With regard to the the porch light tube We have two options according to the conservative and the sparing us, opting to install strips of LEDs. Here depends on what we prefer: If you keep the intensity of illumination but consume more (25 watts compared three) and save us having to change the system (though simple), either buy a strip of LEDs.

Speakers and tube light in the canopy (top).

The advantage of the LEDs on the tube, in addition to which when sold by meters tends to be very economical (and give to multiple machines), is that it has no ballast and It is something safer to work with them. And to compensate for the lower intensity of light, one of the attendees we illustrated with a “briconsejo” explaining that he is achieved to increase the intensity by gluing strips of adhesive tape with metallic finish (with care of that is not wrinkled so that it reflects the most).

On the other hand, it is the dream of every player’s arcade: the eternal credit. Luckily now will not have to invest a considerable amount of coins to play to install a button that allows us to have credit every time you click on it, and is simply a “transplant” “misleading” to the plate: this will receive the order to give credit but not by a coin, but by our press.

For everything else, the DIY and resorting to connoisseurs

Another interesting workshop for the fan of the arcade that occurred in the Arcade with was the construction of our own machine ‘from scratch’, although Yes we would need a piece of furniture for less having the interaction that we have with a “pure” machine. A relatively simple option and it can be quite economical, depending on how demanding that we are.

Here again help our previous contact with the guts of a given computer which is basically riding one, with your monitor, motherboard, RAM memories and storage and its power supply. That Yes, here in terms of the software we have recourse to a current operating system (Windows or Linux) and a game emulator, so it is not an option suitable for purists.

What is clear is that These mythical machines is still full of life, especially when there is a community so active and that, as we’ve seen in this event, it moves and connects fans through sharing knowledge and that typical “chop” to see who manages to leave his three initials at the top.