Despite there having been more booms and busts than I can count, and a mind boggling number of twists and turns; it nevertheless is a really fun business.
Why? I am certain there are many reasons, but I suspect that one good one is that there is never a dull moment. Things are always changing. And, those changes often usher in more changes. (If you don't like change, this is definitely not the business to be in).
Take for example, the classic arcade CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor. As anyone in the business will tell you, CRT monitors can be a real pain. So, at least one change - the change from CRT to LCD monitors - has been met without any resistance at all.
Long story short. They do not make CRT monitors anymore. And, there is a better replacement - the LCD monitor. Life happily goes on.
I assume that you are reading this page because you are considering making the change from a CRT to an LCD monitor. If so, then this page is for you.
Below, you will find all the step-by-step instructions to perform the upgrade. And, if you are a customer, you will receive my phone and email support, as well.
The work required is not too difficult. And, the tools required are just common ones. Even if you are only marginally adept at such undertakings, you can finish this job in one or two evenings.
So, let's get started.
First, some assumptions, precautions, and warnings:
1. There are far too many different styles of arcade video game cabinets to attempt to describe every upgrade possibility in detail.
So, we will limit the examples to a couple of the more common cabinets. Generally, the steps and process that apply to one style of cabinet, will apply to all.
2. There are many different multicade systems. Some may work with a particular LCD monitor and some may not.
At the minimum, you should assure that the LCD monitor and the multicade system both have VGA (video graphics array) cable ports. And, that both will operate at 31MHz high resolution.
3. Dispose of your old CRT monitor safely and as your community will permit. It is likely considered hazardous waste, so it may not be a landfill item.
In any event, the neck of the picture tube should be broken. There will be an implosion. So, be very careful of flying glass.
4. For more about the safe handling of a CRT monitor, read this page.
5. If you are not upgrading a multicade, but rather a classic game with its original game circuit board, you will also need to install a CGA to VGA converter. Instructions for installing a converter can be found at this page.
As outlined below, there are eight stages of work to upgrade to an LCD monitor -
(Click any photo for a larger view, then click again to zoom.)
Stage One - Removal of the CRT monitor:
1. Read the warnings above, and make sure the AC power is off to the cabinet.
2. Disconnect the AC power line at a connector situated between the isolation transformer and the monitor.
3. Disconnect the video input wiring that leads from the game circuit board to a connection point at the monitor deflection board.
4. Determine the mounting method for removal of the monitor from the cabinet. Typically, there will be four bolts, or screws, that attach the monitor frame to a cabinet frame.
5. Determine the removal point of the monitor. Some monitors will remove from the front of the cabinet, and others from the rear.
6. The monitor removal can usually be performed by one person, but the task is easier and safer with two people.
7. When you have disconnected all wiring between the monitor and cabinet, and determined the removal point; you are ready to loosen the bolts/screws that secure the monitor frame to the cabinet, and remove the monitor.
8. Wear gloves because the monitor is heavy, awkward to handle, and the metal monitor frame has sharp edges.
9. Dispose of the monitor safely.
10. There may be some installations where you will want to save the metal monitor frame to use for the mounting of the LCD monitor.
Stage Two - Installation of the LCD monitor:
The job required about 30 minutes.
Simply, use the steel cross bars that previously supported the CRT monitor. You will need to drill new holes in the steel support rails.
Use velcro to secure the LCD monitor to the cross bars.
3. The four fastening points at the back of an LCD monitor (the ones provided for wall mounting), could also be used for securing the monitor to the rigging.
4. Usually, any physical style of LCD monitor will do.
5. The monitor stand may or may not be needed. In the photo example, the stand was not used.
6. Rig a support structure for the LCD monitor. The structure may be made of wood or metal. And, may incorporate the monitor stand, or not.
7. Attach the rigging to the cabinet, typically using construction adhesive, metal or wood brackets, and carriage bolts.
8. Use construction adhesive or silicone adhesive to help secure the monitor to the rigging.
9. Set the monitor in its final location while the monitor is displaying a game. This is necessary in order to correctly center/position the game image (not the monitor) within the cabinet.
10. Attempting to center/position the LCD monitor will not achieve a correctly centered/positioned image, since the LCD monitor is physically a widescreen configuration.
11. The games are not formatted for widescreen; and thus, will display proportionally correct at one end or the other of the widescreen.
12. Centering/positioning of the game image may also require flipping the image display. On the iCade 60-in-1, DIP #1 is provided for image, or screen, flipping.
13. Industrial grade Velcro may also be used to help secure, position, cradle, and/or support the monitor.
Stage Three - Connecting the VGA cable:
2. The VGA cable will be provided with the LCD monitor.
3. Assure that the multicade system (PCB) and the LCD monitor, both provide the same type of video port.
4. The LCD monitor VGA port is usually found at the rear bottom of the monitor.
5. The VGA cable should be secured and supported near both ports with cable hangers and/or cable ties, or other similar support method.
Stage Four - Providing AC power to the monitor:
1. An AC power cord will be furnished with the LCD monitor.
2. The LCD monitor power input port is usually located rear bottom of the monitor.
3. Sometimes, AC power can be obtained at a power output port provided at the power supply. The power port will usually be labeled 110 VAC @ 1 amp.
4. However, most arcade power supplies do not provide an AC power port.
5. When there is no AC power port available, you will have to tap an AC source within the cabinet.
6. Usually, you will simply splice (use butt connectors) the LCD monitor power cord to the power cord that previously provided power to the CRT monitor.
7. Make certain that the AC power is off to the cabinet before you begin cutting or splicing AC power cords.
8. You will need to furnish cable hanger and/or cable tie support for the power cable.
Stage Five - Fashioning a suitable monitor bezel:
1. A monitor bezel is usually made of either clear glass or acrylic, or dark gray glass or acrylic. A bezel is used to provide a barrier cover over the monitor. It is also used to hide the interior of the cabinet.
2. Due to the difference in the size and shape between a CRT picture tube monitor and an LCD flatscreen monitor, a clear monitor bezel may not hide the cabinet interior.
3. If you determine that a dark gray monitor bezel would make the best presentation, then use either 1/8" or 3/16" thick dark gray acrylic.
4. Use the original monitor bezel as a template for determining and cutting the correct size of the new bezel.
5. Less than full 4'x8' sheet sizes of acrylic can usually be obtained from any plastics supply.
6. Acrylic, Plexiglass, and Lucite are names used to identify the same plastic product. Usually, just the term 'acrylic sheet' will describe the product you need.
7. For our customers, we can furnish a clear or dark gray 1/8" thick acrylic monitor bezel cut to the correct size for $35, plus $15 if to be shipped.
Stage Six - Adjusting the video output signal:
1. The video signal of the multicade system will have to be matched to the LCD monitor.
2. In the case of the iCade 60-in-1 system, signal matching is an easy task (click the link, see section #3). A hard DIP switch (DIP #2) is provided on the PCB - ON is for LCD (VGA - 31.5 KHz), and OFF is for CRT (CGA - 15.75 KHz).
3. Consult the multicade system manual for the proper video signal setting.
If you have lost yours, you can find many manuals at this site.
Stage Seven - Adjusting the LCD monitor:
1. You will need to adjust the LCD monitor brightness depending upon whether you use a clear or dark gray monitor bezel.
2. Just follow the instructions found in the LCD monitor owner's manual.
3. Even if you do not have a manual, the LCD monitor's adjustment controls are simple, intuitive, and universally similar for all LCD monitor applications. So, if you can adjust your computer or TV LCD monitors, you can probably adjust your game's LCD monitor.
4. The adjustment controls are typically located front bottom right on the LCD monitor.
Stage Eight - Connecting the monitor sound system:
1. Some of the larger LCD monitors feature their own stereo sound system. Typically, the monitor system produces sound that is better quality than the original cabinet speakers.
2. If the monitor has a standard green sound port, connect the green sound cable to the green sound port on the game circuit board.
3. Then, disconnect (or cut) the two JAMMA speaker leads.
Feel free to ask questions and provide feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org