The arcade and pinball machine world is one filled with great individuals with big hearts.
Arcade Repair Tips has built a library full of helpful resources for troubleshooting and maintaining arcade machines. They have a strong YouTube presence with helpful videos, a podcast available via iTunes, social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook, AND a phone number to help you get that machine working.
In addition to all of this, they have made their videos available for purchase on DVD. These DVD volumes include many of the How To videos from Youtube as well as many extras as exclusives.
I recently sat down and watched the Volume 4 DVD and immediately wished I had had something like it when I first started working on arcade machines over a decade ago. This volume jumps into some of the really juicy topics of arcade repair such as troubleshooting games that are playing blind and rejuvenating a CRT’s picture tube.
Volume 4 contains a vast amount of content split across two DVDs. Episodes in the set include:
• Connecting Ground Wires On A Control Panel
• Swapping Boards In A JAMMA Cabinet
• Using A Tube Rejuvenator
• Drilling Holes In Plexiglass
• Checking Potentiometers With A Multimeter
• Troubleshooting Games That Are Playing Blind
• Opening A Cocktail Cabinet
• Wiring An Arcade Cabinet Using The JAMMA Standard
• Installing A Multicade Upgrade Kit (For Pac Man Cabinets)
• Installing Artwork On An Arcade Cabinet
• Repairing Joystick Switch Issues
• Replacing A Control Panel Overlay
In addition to these episodes, there are a large number of extras contained in the set. These extras include a collection of short videos entitled “quick tips,” extended videos for the episodes I mentioned above, and several bonus videos including Picking up and Unboxing a New Pinball Machine as well as A Warehouse Raid in Korea.
One set of videos that peaked my curiosity were the extended videos. Were they simply the same as the original videos with two minutes tacked on to the end, or did they genuinely provide extra content that made them worth producing? I am happy to report that the extended cuts were expansive and really provided extra footage that was both genuine and relevant.
The list of extended videos includes:
• Wiring An Arcade Cabinet Using The JAMMA Standard (Extended Cut)
• Troubleshooting Games That Are Playing Blind (Extended Cut)
• Replacing A Control Panel Overlay (Extended Cut)
Troubleshooting Games That Are Playing Blind immediately caught my eye. When someone says a game is “playing blind,” what they mean is that the machine powers up, a coin is inserted, and the game is played without the ability to see anything on the screen. Arcade Repair Tips’ Tim Peterson calmly takes you through some troubleshooting procedures on a machine that is genuinely playing blind.
I watched the standard cut on the DVD for this episode immediately before watching the extended cut. Wow! The extended cut really added a lot of content to the episode. While the standard cut works by providing a narrated, troubleshooting process with a cut to the result after each operation, the extended cut shows you some of the actual work. Some portions of this work aren’t narrated. There is no scripting, and I quickly found myself feeling like I was in the shop with Tim and Jonathan as they did their work. Each cut has its own set of advantages depending on the experience of the viewer. Those that are experienced may desire the standard cut for the sake of process simplicity, and the less-experienced viewer may want to see a bit more of the hands-on work that is required between several of the steps. I am glad that both cuts were included on this DVD set.
I should mention that there are several instances in a few of the videos where it is a little difficult to hear Tim’s narration. This could be due to an operation Tim is in the middle of performing or some ambient noise from some arcade machines that want to make their presence known in the video. This usually does not last long, and doesn’t really detract from the overall experience.
I highly recommend the two disc Volume 4 DVD set. Personally, I am sad I missed these guys when I attended the Houston Arcade Expo in 2012. They are here to help you fix those arcade machines that are causing you trouble, and that help is greatly appreciated.