Hi! This page is a collection of many tips and best practices to help you understand the many things associated with the ownership, operation and maintenance of multicades and arcade video game machines.
If you need further help or explanation, just give us a call or send an email.
Tips and Best Practices for Operation and Maintenance:
Your machine requires only normal wall outlet 120 volts AC.
Best practice is to unplug machine from wall outlet when not in use. When machine is in use, use a surge protector. We install a surge protector in the machines that we build or refurbish.
If your machine does not have an external power switch, use a power strip with a power switch. We do not install an external power switch in our machines.
Or, in some machines, such as our cocktail table, you may be able to reach the surge protector power switch through the front access door.
2) Component arrangement.
When you remove the cabinet back door, typically you will see the green game printed circuit board (PCB) attached usually to either the cabinet left or right side, the arcade switching power supply located near or just below the PCB, and the AC power components located on the floor of the cabinet.
The JAMMA wiring harness edge connector will be seated at the top of the PCB onto the PCB pinout fingers. The JAMMA wiring harness will connect the PCB to the power supply, monitor, control panel, and to the coin door when the machine is intended for coin operation rather than freeplay.
Do not touch or attempt service of any component when the power is on.
3) Coin-op or freeplay.
Unless you specified coin-op, the default setup for home use of our machines is freeplay. Consequently, the coin door will not have been enabled to recognize the use of coins.
Some game systems do not feature a freeplay setting. Thus, a green color credit button will be installed on the control panel or other designated cabinet location.
4) System boot up.
When you power on a multicade machine, a few seconds to a few minutes (depending on the size of the system) are required for system boot up. The status of the boot up process is usually shown near the top of the monitor screen. When the boot up process is complete, the menu screen will appear.
5) Selecting and starting a game.
When at the menu screen, usually pressing a white color player start button will enable menu scrolling (sometimes credits will have to first be added). Then, use the joystick to scroll through menu titles and menu pages. When the desired game is found, usually it will be highlighted, press a player start button to begin the game.
If machine is not freeplay capable, then credit(s) will need to be added before the selected game can be played.
6) Marquee backlight.
A flourescent lamp fixture consists of 3 components - lamp, starter and transformer. Each of these components frequently fail and can cause damage to your machine. The heat from the lamp will crack and discolor the marquee. A failing starter can cause interference with the circuit board operation. And, a shorted transformer will smoke, possibly burn, and blow the cabinet fuse.
For these reasons, I suggest disconnecting or entirely removing the flourescent marquee lamp fixture.
If you want a marquee backlight, I suggest you order our LED marquee backlight. It is cool operating, and will not damage the marquee material.
7) Routine controls maintenance.
Whenever a pushbutton gets sluggish in movement, probably it is dirty. Spray some Windex into the top of the button. If that does not help, take the button apart and give it a bath.
Whenever a joystick becomes difficult to move or it does not move smoothly, it likely needs a lube job. I use WD40 (any heavier lube will make the joystick sluggish). Just raise the black washer and spray around the base of the joystick shaft at the bearing housing.
8) Technical support.
We consider all of our customers to be part of our extended family.
That is why we provide free lifetime email and phone technical support. If you have a question or need help with a problem, whether you bought a part or a machine, we are as near as your cell phone.
9) Volumn control.
Volumn is adjustable either manually or virtually, or with some systems, both.
Manual adjustment can usually be accomplished by rotating a specific wheel or knob on the PCB. Or, if your machine has a powered stereo speaker system, a volume control pod will be conveniently located just inside the front access coin door.
Follow the directions in the machine manual for virtual adjustment.
10) The game printed circuit board (PCB).
Here is a photo of a typical modern PCB. The gold plated JAMMA pinout fingers are located at top of photo of this PCB.
The PCB is the brains of the machine. Handle it very carefully. Turn off the power and discharge yourself of static electricity before touching the PCB.
11) Continuous machine operation.
Best practice is to always unplug, or at least power off, your machine when not in use. Continuous operation of the machine will unnecessarily age the electronic components, especially if the machine has a CRT monitor.
If your machine has an LCD monitor and a surge protector, continuous operation would be a bit more acceptable, but still not recommended.
12) High score save.
Some machines have high score save capability. With some systems, this feature may be enabled or disabled. However, this feature would not apply to those games that did not originally provide high score save.
If your machine does not save high scores, then scores will be lost when you change play to another game and when the machine is powered off. In this case, you might consider continuous machine operation and not changing games in order to save your high score.
13) Machine or system operating manual.
Lost your manual? No problem. You will find scanned copies of many manuals at this website. And, if you request, we will mail you a replacement copy, too.
And, we have the original operating manuals and schematics for practically every Golden Era arcade video game machine made. Some are for sale, inquire if interested in purchasing an original game manual.
14) Maintaining machine plastics.
15) Common sense operating tips.
16) Paint touch up.
Over time, and sometimes in transit, your machine cabinet paint will become scratched and in need of touch up. Here is the solution, order our Paint Touch Up Kit.
If the scratch occured in transit, let us know and we will send our Touch Up Kit to you right away. And, at no charge.
If not protected with a kickplate, the front lower area of your machine will become scratched and scuffed by the constant kicking of excited players.
Thus, it is a good idea to order a kickplate when placing a machine order.
18) Playing the classic games.
Need a refresher on how to play your favorite classic arcade video game. Or, want to know just about everything there is to know about your favorite classic arcade video game?
Then, visit this website -
19) JAMMA wiring and plug-and-play.
If your machine was built, modernized or upgaded after about 1984, your machine is very likely JAMMA wired. All of the machines that we build or refurbish are JAMMA wired.
Most importantly, what this means is that your machine can easily operate most any similar monitor orientation and controls compatible JAMMA game PCB.
So, if your JAMMA machine does not currently offer a particular, but monitor/controls compatible arcade video game, just buy the JAMMA game PCB and plug-and-play.
Visit this page for more about plug-and-play.
If one of our machines is in your home or office, you are potentially a good will ambassador for us. So, send us some business. Earn lots of cool stuff to upgrade your machine.