Arcade Monitor Blues

So, how do you know when your monitor is ready to be replaced?


The Obvious

Ok, so your monitor wont turn on.  This could be for a number of obvious reasons.  Check these in order:

  1. Look for something that may have damaged the monitor.  Many times an overhead marquee light fixture will fall and damage the tube, neckboard or chassis board.  If you don’t see any large parts lying around, you’re probably safe
  2. Does the rest of the game work?  Is the overhead marquee on?  Are there any LEDs blinking on the game board?  Do you hear any sound when you insert a credit or press Player 1 Start?
  3. Power is going to the monitor.  Check the main fuse.  This is sometimes located on the floor of the arcade game.  One or more fuses will supply power to the rest of the machine.
  4. Check the fuse on the monitor.  Every monitor will have a small glass fuse located somewhere on the main chassis board.  Make sure the entire game is unplugged before you start poking around.
  5. Make sure the video cable is plugged in and all wires are connected.  (Red, Green, Blue, Black and White

User Adjustable

Ok, so the monitor works, but it doesn’t look right.  There could be some simple adjustments to check first.

Check if your monitor had a wired remote control board.  It is usually about the size of an open matchbook and tethered to the main monitor board by a 24-36″ cable.  You need to understand the controls in order to adjust the monitor.  Most all of the following controls will be located on the wired remote control, however some may be located on the main chassis pcb.

Horiz Hold:  Use this to adjust the picture if it is rolling left / right.  If this does not work, check to see if the white wire is properly connected on the video input.

Vert Hold: Use this to adjust the picture if it is rolling up/down.  If this does not work, check to see if the white wire is properly connected on the video input.

Horiz Size: Use this to adjust the width of the picture

Vert Size: Use this to adjust the height of the picture

Horiz Pos:  Use this to adjust the position of the picture left/right

Vert Pos: Use this to adjust the position of the picture up/down

Bright: Use this to control the overall brightness of the screen.  This is in conjunction with the contrast.   First set the contrast in the middle. Adjust the brightness up all the way until the black image area is no longer black.  You may need to turn down the lights to fine tune this.  Then adjust the contrast up/down so that the colors aren’t too bright and washed out.

Contrast:  See above.  If you cannot adjust your contrast high enough you may have a tired CRT picture tube or you may need a rebuilt neck board.

Not So Obvious

This is the grey area where a monitor works, but not even close to the way it should.  Unfortunately, many used arcade resellers leave their monitors in this condition and crank up the brightness and contrast to compensate.  Often this results in washed out colors.  Usually RED is the most obvious color of a tired monitor if the color bleeds onto other graphics.  Additionally, many arcade resllers rejuvenate their monitors to fix this issue.  This is a process of introducing high current into the tube to burn off deposits from the guns.  This actually works for a short time.  Sometimes for only hours, sometimes for months.  Either way, long enough to prove to someone that it looks good enough to sell.  This is unscrupulous behavior in my opinion, but you get what you pay for.  The problem is that there is no good way to tell if a monitor has been rejuvenated until it’s too late.   In this event, you’ll need a new monitor.


Repair or Replace

We can take your old monitor and give you credit for a fully rebuilt monitor (given it is the same or similar model and not physically damaged).  All of our monitors come with guaranteed clean CRTs with very low hours.  We rebuild all the typical wear components on all circuit boards and calibrate the monitor so that all color guns aim true.  Call or email us for detail.


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