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The little things

Before you call the tech

Keeping up on maintenance guarantees that your games are in good working order and will also look more pleasing to customers. Creating a good impression promotes return visits and more play.

Before calling technical support, Jeff Delong, quality assurance director for Benchmark Games, recommends having some basic information on hand. “Basic stuff that would always be helpful to have on any redemption game” before calling includes things such as:

But it’s more than simply appearance. The key to longevity is preventive maintenance, Mike Pantalone, service and support manager with Bay Tek Entertainment, believes. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily complicated. A lot of preventive maintenance is basic housekeeping and common sense. For example, some games have optical sensors. When was the last time you cleaned them? Also clean the push button starts, which is where drinks often get spilled. “Check for the spring in the button,” Pantalone advises. “Listen for the switch engaging.” He says it’s easy to clean the switches and switch housings. Another cleaning suggestion he offers is to get inside. “You won’t believe what you’ll find! People stuff French fries in them, spill soda on them …”

The serial number of the game. Most manufacturers and distributors are able to track game serial numbers to specific delivery dates or batches; that can give the tech a better idea of the age of the machine, as well as what to expect of some of the parts that tend to wear down over time, or other issues that may be present.

Error codes. Many redemption games in the industry report an error code in some form when a problem occurs. These error codes can sometimes provide the support technician with far more information than just a description of the issue.

Check the manual. Technicians receive numerous calls and emails every week that could have been resolved without delay by taking a look in the manual that is provided with the game. No manufacturer could list every possible problem that can arise in a machine in the manual, but the most common problems are almost always mentioned in the service manual for easy reference.

Turn it off and back on again. “This troubleshooting has become a bit of a joke in the technical fields in recent history, but it does work,” Delong says. With the growing complexity of redemption and arcade games in recent years, there are far more computer- or softwarecontrolled systems than there used to be. For many smaller “hiccups” in the control of a complicated system, a simple restart will tend to resolve it. When you do this, check the clock so if it happens again, you can provide the amount of time it took for the problem to appear after a restart.

Sometimes it’s just the “simple things,” he reflects. He considers basketball the harshest game because the balls repeatedly beat against the backboard, but he says rink owners don’t check the nuts and bolts very often, if at all.

Prevention The best way to keep on top of issues is to create a maintenance schedule. One of the most important duties an arcade technician has is to schedule and perform preventative maintenance and cleaning tasks for the games. “Just like changing the oil and filter in your car, these tasks will help ensure that your games have the best chance to perform at their highest earning potential,” says Rob Zigmont, director of operations at Betson Enterprises. When establishing a preventative maintenance schedule, it’s wise to consult the machine’s operator’s manual because each game might require specific cleaning procedures. That said, some general rules apply. Zigmont shares his check list: •

First, give your games a good visual safety inspection. “Look for anything that will cause harm to the customer: broken plastic, loose screws that can cause an injury or other harmful items.” This is something that each employee should be made aware of and constantly be watching for.

Clean the cabinet’s exterior, using a mild general-purpose cleaner. Do not use any commercial glass cleaners unless specifically instructed by the game’s manufacturer.

Never use paper towels to clean plexiglass; it will scratch the plexiglass. Instead, use a soft rag, such as a microfiber towel.

All cabinet vents and fans should be kept clean of dust buildup. Use compressed air to blow out the fans. Also, verify that the fans are operating properly and change as needed.

The interior of the cabinet should be vacuumed occasionally. Some games collect more dust and dirt and will need to be cleaned more frequently.

Make sure there aren’t any loose items in the cabinet that could cause a short or block the ventilation fans.

Use a can of compressed air to blow out the ticket notch sensor on all ticket dispensers.

While you have the cabinet open, check steering belts and change if needed.

Games should be played and all I/O functions tested. Re-calibrate any controls and replace any parts as needed.

Please note, he adds: the game should be turned off when performing cleaning tasks.

Pantalone adds to Delong’s list: Trust the guy you called on the phone for advice. “They ask questions in sequence for a reason. It’s important to tell what’s not working and what is working in order for them to isolate the problem.”

Manufacturer-specific Delong says that Benchmark has an extensive range of products beyond the “legacy” machines they still support. He highlights some of the most common service calls and tips that work with the majority of their products specifically. Ticket Station •

Tickets not feeding? This is almost always a slipping problem. Check all the belts and gears on the ticket eater assembly; most likely, one of them has either come loose or has worn down. Many operators seem to assume it’s an electrical or motor problem since it appears it’s not feeding, but that is almost never the case.

Losing tickets or stopping in the middle of operation? This is not a symptom of a bad board or memory issue; this is a power problem. Check the power supply and wiring to make sure everything is as it should be – no damage or shorted wires. Then try changing where the game is plugged in for its AC supply. Sometimes, if a machine is at the end of a line of games all plugged into the same outlet, there can be small spikes or surges. If this happens, the machine might end up restarting, due to the sudden change in power, and there is a chance it will “forget” what it was doing. This is obvious for most games, as there is a boot-up sequence, but on the ticket station, the boot time is near instant.

Monster Drop Family (Regular, Single, Extreme) and Fireball •

If you notice the play balls are becoming dirty or damaged, they

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Volume 28 / Issue 1 / 37

Profile for Roller Skating Association International

Volume 28 / Issue 1 Rinksider  

In this first issue of Rinksider Magazine for 2019, readers will learn everything from the hidden secrets of arcade game maintenance to how...

Volume 28 / Issue 1 Rinksider  

In this first issue of Rinksider Magazine for 2019, readers will learn everything from the hidden secrets of arcade game maintenance to how...