Keeping your monitor in top shape
by Yeehaw McKickass, 26 January 05
Luckily, there are several simple things an operator can do to keep a DDR monitor crisp and clear. As many of the subjects in this guide deal with components inside a machine, only machine owners and operators should attempt any of these.
Additionally, the information in this guide was gathered using a Korean machine. If you have a Japanese machine, there may be some differences.
Table of Contents:
The location of your machine is one of the biggest factors to revenue and playability. If you have your machine located in the back of your arcade, or sitting in your garage, youâre not going to make any money off of it. Optimal location for any game is in a high traffic area. However, DDR adds further concerns when it comes to the life of the machine, playability, and effects on neighbors based on sounds.
While these are all factors to be considered when placing your machine, you should also pay attention to the lighting around where youâre going to place it. Not enough light, and you run the risk of people running ito the bars or falling off the pads. Too much light, and you get a glare than can make the screen impossible for a player to see.
Generally, you donât want your machine somewhere it can reflect sunlight, or have lights pointed directly at the glass. The simple solution to this is to either move or eliminate lighting causing the problem, or move the machine to a different area in your location.
Remember, if a player canât see or interface with the game, it doesnât do anybody any good.
Keeping the glass covering the monitor clean is another easy way to keep revenue up and players happy. Many times, players will place their hands on the outside of the glass and leave sweaty smudges, reducing visibility. Windex and a paper towel is the simple solution to this problem.
You also have to keep the monitor side of the glass clean, as it attracts dust. To get the glass off, you can either remove the screws from the top metal bracket, remove the bracket. and pull the glass up; or remove the screws from the front panel (where the start and select buttons are), and lift the glass out from bottom. Again, windex and a paper towel are all you need.
Simply put, your monitor is a dust magnet. Depending on your machines location, you may need to do this several times in a week. To accomplish this, simply use one of the methods listed to remove the front glass, then wipe down with a paper towel sprayed with windex.
And remember, if you think your monitor is dirty, it probably is.
Introduction to operator controls and the guts of your monitor
There are several knobs and dials you can use inside your machine that have various effects on whatâs displayed. But first, hereâs a view of what youâd see when you open the back of your machine.
In this picture you see is the back of the monitor and the board attached to the neck of it. In this picture, there arenât any controls on the neck board that need to be fiddled with.
Here you can see numerous knobs and a green board with knobs on them. This it the main board and the remote board (despite the fact that in the picture, itâs not very remote).
Speaking of the remote, hereâs a picture:
The remote in your machine may look different, and if you have a japanese machine, itâs in the coin door.
Hereâs the listing of what each knob is and does clockwise from the lower left knob:
With the exception of my labeling on Blue gain, all the knobs are easily read in that picture.
By this point, an inexperienced user will look at the terms gain and bias and be confused. Another way of looking at these terms is to translate Gain and Bias to the terms used in photography, Hue and Saturation.
Simply, the gain(hue) controls change the warmth of a color, while the bias (saturation) controls change how much of a particular color there is on screen. Figuring out how to balance these best is achieved by going into Color Check in operators mode.
The last piece of hardware that has a controllable effect on the screen is the Flyback.
The flyback has DIRECT control over a monitorâs CRT guns, and can only affect two things:
Any time you have to adjust something on your flyback, you need to be careful, as it contains high voltage and amperage. The controls on all flyback units should be turned with a nonconductive screwdriver for maximum safety.
You may notice that both the remote board and flyback have brightness controls. This is intentional, as a remote board is generally meant for access from anyone, but the flyback is meant to be handled by trained personnel. Additionally, flyback brightnes is actually a high voltage limiter control. While this does increase brightness, it also increases the amount of radiation output from the monitor.
Before making any changes to the brightness setting on the flyback, be aware that this will have effects on any color settings. Flyback brightness controls tend to be magnitudes more powerful than remote controls.
One final note: NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENTS TO THE CONDUCTOR WIRE ATTACHED TO THE BACK OF YOUR MONITOR TUBE. This wire is normally red and attaches to the monitor with a suction cup and dual hooking system. NEVER attempt to remove or ground this without proper training. The stored voltages and amperages are strong enough to kill.
Common problems and solutions
Bob Earl for getting the higher quality pictures of everything but the remote board, and providing input while I made adjustments to a monitor; Game Tech Chris for being a sexy beast, Zaps00 for informing me that rejuvenators do in fact exist, the DDRFreak contributor crew for looking this over, and anyone else I may have forgotten.