Archive for March, 2012

Are Roller Coasters Really Dangerous?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 | Permalink

Roller coasters are popular attractions at amusement parks all over the world, and patrons flock to them for thrills, especially in the summer. However, some deaths and serious injuries have been associated with roller coasters, raising concerns about their safety, especially for fragile and elderly riders. The relative lack of regulation of the amusement park industry has also been a cause of concern for some lawmakers, who would like to see more oversight of roller coasters to prevent injuries.

Statistically, a roller coaster is not very dangerous, especially if you are in good physical condition. Amusement park patrons are far more likely to die in accidents on the way to the park than they are to suffer injuries on a roller coaster, assuming that the equipment is well maintained and run responsibly. Amusement parks run numerous tests on their equipment to ensure that it is safe for use, including measurements designed to determine the g-forces that riders will be subject to. Amusement parks like their patrons healthy and alive, so they try to build roller coasters which are fun and safe.

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There are, however, a few instances in which riding a roller coaster may be unsafe. For all riders, riding equipment that is not well maintained is risky. When riding a roller coaster, it is always a good idea to inspect the equipment. Look for signs of rust, poor repair jobs, or dirt, suggesting that the roller coaster is not well cared for. When you strap into a roller coaster, make sure that the straps are not faded, repaired, or frayed, and if a restraining bar is used, make sure that it locks into place snugly, leaving no room to wiggle or slide. Small children are especially at risk of falling out of roller coasters, due to their small size, so make sure that they are going to be safe.

Roller coasters can also be dangerous for people with heart conditions. The sense of excitement that accompanies a roller coaster ride is also accompanied by an elevated heart rate, which can cause an arrhythmia or myocardial infarction, better known as a heart attack. People with known heart conditions should talk to their doctors about riding roller coasters, because they may be unsafe.

In addition, roller coasters have been linked with the appearance of blood clots on the brain, called subdural hematomas. A subdural hematoma occurs when blood vessels on the brain burst and the blood starts to clot, and it can be a serious health problem. This occurs very rarely, and is linked with roller coasters that subject patrons to high g-forces or instances where a passenger was whipped around as a result of poorly secured safety equipment. Individuals who take blood thinners should avoid roller coasters for this reason, and anyone who experiences repeated headaches after a roller coaster ride should mention it to their doctor.


To get additional information about used amusement park equipment, and used amusement park rides, please visit our used amusement park equipment informational site.

To get additional information about used arcade gameslaser tag equipment, and used laser tag equipment, please visit our used arcade games informational site.

Introduction to Arcade Machines

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 | Permalink

by James Bright |


Sooner or later you’ll want to learn more about your arcade game. Either you’ll get curious about how it works, want to make fine tune and adjustment, or you maybe you’re trying your hand at fixing your first game. This article will give you some very basic information about an arcade game. It’s meant for the first timer/hobbyist who has never worked on a coin-operated game before but is interested in getting more familiar with their game.

The Basics: Three Parts of a Game

Whenever I’m explaining an arcade game to a person, I like to describe the basic components of a game. Most, but not all games1, have just these three basic parts. They are:

  • Power Supply: Powers the game and monitor. Usually located on the base of the game, and in some older games may be comprised of a few components.
  • Monitor: Display for the game. Common sizes for classic arcade games are 19″ monitors for upright games, and 13″ for mini and cocktail games.
  • PCB or Board: “Computer” component of the game. May be as simple as one board, or may contain a series of boards. Can be located in many places, but typically the PCB is on the side or back of the game. Varies greatly by game.

While these are the three basic components of a game, there is really a fourth component: the connectors. Many times this is overlooked, but it definitely worth mentioning. The Power Supply, Monitor, and PCB are all connected by this connector or Wiring Harness. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll count the joysticks and buttons as part of the connectors. If you think about it, this is pretty accurate: they connect us, the game player, to the game. A large part of troubleshooting arcade games is finding out which component is causing the problem and then either replacing or repairing it. One of the first things to check when looking at a game that isn’t functioning properly is the connectors. Make sure everything is connected up properly before suspecting any of the three basic components.

Power Supply

The purpose of the power supply (PS) is pretty simple: it supplies voltage to the game and monitor so that they run properly. Typically, a power supply will provide +5V, -5V, and 12V to the game (Direct Current), as well as a ground line and +/- AC (Alternating Current). If your game requires those voltages, you’re in pretty good shape as a switching power supply is a “modern” power supply that is easy to replace. Prior to the switching power supply, games came with custom power supplies. Sometimes they would supply odd voltages such as +25V, +30V, and even -12V. In some cases this means that a game can not be upgraded to a switching power supply. Instead the original linear power supply will need to be repaired.

Generally speaking, the +5V is what will be used to power the logic on the main PCB. The other voltages, if used, drive power to sound PCBs and amplifiers.

You’ll probably hear the term “linear power supply” as well as “switching power supply.” These are basically the methods by which the AC from your house is converted into DC for your game. Linear power supplies are the older, propriatary power supplies that vary greatly from game to game. Switching power supplies, or “Peter Chou power supply” are newer and pretty standard.


We could write many, many articles dedicated to monitors alone. But given that this is just an introduction to arcade games, we’re only going to cover the basics here.

There are a few different types of monitors:

  • Raster Scan: The type of monitor that is much like your T.V. Raster scan monitors are used in games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Street Fighter, and the like. They project images on the screen by using an electron beam to scan across the screen from left-to-right, top-to-bottom. Raster Scan monitors are generally available in normal and medium resolution. Nearly all games are normal resolution.
  • Vector: This type of monitor is used in games like Tempest, Star Wars, Battlezone, and Asteroids. Instead of scanning down the entire screen, the electron beam is used to draw lines. These monitors operate more like an oscilloscope than a T.V.

The most common work that a hobbyist will do to a monitor is a cap-kit. This is simply replacing all of the electrolytic capacitors that are used in a monitor. Over time, capacitors wear out as the material used in the cap evaporates. Do not attempt to do a cap-kit unless you are thoroughly familiar with discharing a monitor (not covered in this article). A cap-kit usually improves the sharpness and contrast of a monitor, but usually2 does not fix a broken monitor.

The monitor is probably the most unreliable of the components of an arcade game. If your game is “playing blind” (that is, you can hear everything, but you can’t see anything on the screen), then you know that your power supply and PCB are working. You have something wrong with the monitor or connection to the monitor. Monitor trouble-shooting is very specific to the monitor that you are working on. However, with the appropriate monitor documention and a multimeter, most monitors can be repaired.

With the exception of vector games, arcade games were not released with a specific monitor. So, if you find that your monitor needs to be replaced, you don’t have to search for the exact monitor for your replacement. In many cases you can replace it with a generic monitor, new or used.


The “brains” of the game is the PCB. This part of the game can be as simple as one board, or several boards wired together. For the beginner hobbyist, there isn’t a lot that you can do once you’ve identified the problem as being PCB related. That being said, there are a couple of cases where the board can be fixed rather easily. If you think you have a problem with the board, first try reconnecting the board where the board plugs into the wiring harness. What you’re really doing is making sure that the connection to the board is good. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then try pressing down gently on chips that are in sockets. Sometimes the connection between the chips3 and the board is faulty. In fact our experience has been that it’s just as likely (if not more likely) that the sockets have gone bad rather than the problem being the ROMs themselves.

One of the most common PCB related questions is game compatibility. Around 1986-87 a wiring interface standard known as JAMMA (Japanese Amusement Machine Manufacturers Association) was established. Since then, most, but not all games, have adhered to the JAMMA pinout standard. If you have a cabinet with JAMMA wiring, it is usually easy for you to rule in or rule out a board being defective. For more information about board compatability, read Anthony’s article PCB Swapping 101.


This article was meant as a primer for understanding arcade games. In the near future I’ll write an article that ties together this information with some basic troubleshooting.


To get additional information about used arcade games, laser tag equipment, and used laser tag equipment, please visit our used arcade games informational site.

To get additional information about used amusement park equipment, and used amusement park rides, please visit our used amusement park equipment informational site.

How to Start an Amusement Park Business

Thursday, March 1st, 2012 | Permalink

An amusement park is one of the most visited places during summer. People of all ages and from all walks of life regardless of their financial status enjoy everything there is, from the foods being sold in carts, the party like ambiance and not to forget the simple rides to the most exquisite ones.

Several fun loving individuals would want to put up an amusement park business. They would want to make sure that the return of their investments would be doubled or maybe tripled.

Probably they would want to satisfy the child in them. And surely an amusement park is one of the most profitable businesses there is, though it also requires a very huge amount of investment it would also require ample time to make a comprehensive feasibility study on how you would be able to come up with a successful business. The feasibility study is the most crucial of the all; the physical planning is the first step in developing an amusement park.

Another factor to consider is the availability of any vacant land on which to construct your amusement park business. You need to think as to how big or how small would be the size of the amusement park that you would want to put up. Do you have enough funds for it? If yes, then go ahead; start right away as soon you are done with the planning stage. But if you do not have enough funds to be able to start one, you can ask the help of your family or friends to be your business partner/s.

The rides that you intend to put up in your amusement park should be kid friendly. But of course you would also want to provide rides for the young heart. Equipments for amusement parks used to be very hard to find. Nowadays, the web is the easiest way to look for the best deals in the market from finding amusement equipment, suppliers, indoor playgrounds, amusement activities and edutainment, rides and resources to design. You can also consider getting used amusement equipment. Used equipment in good condition will always save you money in the short term. If chosen carefully, buying used equipment is a smart way to save some of your capital.

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Food and beverage carts are also a must. Since most of the amusement parks do not encourage its clients to bring in food, you have to make sure that there would be several options for them and the best food and beverage service possible. You can also offer spaces in your amusement parks for fast food chains to put up food carts for additional income that would come from their monthly rental from the space that they would occupy. Another wise idea is for you to sell novelty and souvenir items of your amusement parks.

It’s not just the fun and enjoyment why people would always want to come back more often to your amusement park. Cleanliness and courtesy of the staffs can also be a contributing factor why they would love to come back more often.

Finally… advertise! There is no better way to make it known than advertising. Look for the best advertising company to make the most effective ad for your amusement park, make it brief but concise.


To get additional information about used amusement park equipment, and used amusement park rides, please visit our used amusement park equipment informational site.

To get additional information about used arcade gameslaser tag equipment, and used laser tag equipment, please visit our used arcade games informational site.