Touch screen & parts

The ups and downs of legislation

Burns sets up specialist services

Fas pendezza

International round – up

Italy faces major AWP shake-up

New circuit board plant for india

Polish trade association treasurer speaks out

Alberici cashes

Big firms to support colombia event

Eastern europe proving profitable for me

Harry levy

Operators’ forum

Section 16 ‘replacement market

UK firm focuses on gaming

ATRI edited highlights

Bougues batiment buoyed by kaunas bid

Educate, Agitate, Organise!

International round – up

It’s never ending

Tickets getting lots lighter

Peermont buys controlling interest in tusk

Vegas giants compete for signapore

More casinos for south africa

AWSP can be fun



Thirty-three years ago when I was a building contractor, I took on a 15-year-old kid as an apprentice.  He was one of the better ones, a kid who genuinely loved carpentry and took genuine pride in every nail he put the hammer to.  His only problem in relation to his work was that he would much rather borrow my tools than buy his own. 

I said to him when he started his second year, ‘Brad, you’re going great, mate, but you have to buy tools.  I know it’s been a bit tough on first year apprentice wages, but now you’ve got a pay rise, you’re going to have to buy some, okay?”
His replay was something like, “Jeez, Jack, I can’t do that, I’m saving for a car and tools are too dear.”  Dollars meant a hell of a lot to young Brad.  But him being a good kid and me being a softy, we worked it out.  I bought him about two hundred bucks worth of tools and deducted five bucks a week from his pay.
Just after this I was having a beer with his dad, Dennis, who we’d become good friends with, and Dennis had a real go at me for buying the tools.  “come on Den,” I said.  “The kid’s got to have a car.
Dennis laughted like crazy.  “You got sucked in Jacko.  The little beggar has got over 12 grand in the bank, the car he wants is only about six.  He’s got the first buck he ever earned.”
“Socially, the same kid was a party animal; he’d party anywhere, anytime, particularly if he didn’t have to pay”

Dollars meant a hell of a lot to young Brad.  Brad stayed with me after he finished his apprenticeship, till he was 28, and throughout this period he chased the dollar like there was no tomorrow.  While I was always his boss, we became great mates over this period and he was like another son to me, even though his whole life revolved around dollars.  Socially, the same kid was a party animal; he’d party anywhere, anytime, particularly if he didn’t have to pay.

      Along the way he got married to the daughter of another friend of ours, had two kids, got divorced, got married to a Bali girl, and started building a house in Bali.  There were many of the belief that he would never grow up, but to those of us who cared, we were hoping he was at last settling down.
      But dollars reared their head again.  He couldn’t earn enough money in Bali to finish the house, so he started coming home for three or four months, working like crazy (for cash) then back to Bali, do a bit more on the house till the money ran out and come back to Australia for another working spree.

      He gave every impression of loving what he was doing and I had a beer with three days before Christmas when I was down in Sydney.  He was then 48 years old, but still looking for a party.  He’d brought his wife with him on this particular trip, been here six months and told me he had almost thirty thousand stashed under his bed in an old briefcase which he was taking back to Bali after Christmas to finish the house.

“You can never let money rule you.  It can twist your head.  Believe me, if money is the only problem you’ve got, you’re laughing”

On January 15, I went to Brad’s funeral, one of the toughest funerals I’ve ever endured.  Three hundred-and –forty-odd people signed the book and I reckon there were at least 100 that didn’t.  all his party mates, the people he’d done work for and family, friend, etc., were there.  If Brad had known just how many people cared about him, he may not have stabbed his wife to death and shot himself in the head.

But that’s what he did just over a week after I saw him laughing and happy over a beer.  He’d been that busy working (and partying ) he didn’t know his Ballinese wife  had blown the best part of the 30 grand of their money and stuffed the bottom of the briefcase with newspaper –and tragedy struck.
Dollars meant a hell of a lot to Brad.  I know this has basically nothing to do with what I’m supposed to write about in these pages, but we all chase our butts off to get money and it’s always been my belief that’s what men were made for.  But you can never let money rule you.  It can twist your head.  Believe me, if money is the only problem you’ve got, you’re laughing.  Till net time- Jack.

It seems a million years ago during one particular ATEI that the buzz was all about a new type of four-way player control joystick.  It was especially suited to the rigours of Pacman.  Operators no longer needed to perform delicate surgery upside down in the dark under a tabletop video game player control panel.  No matter how careful you were, that spring circlip would always fly off and get lot.  Exciting times indeed!
      We couldn’t help but notice there was no slow transition from joysticks and buttons to touchscreens.  One minute we were changing micro switches and cleaning the buttons time after time on video games like there was no tomorrow and the next it was all point and touch before they can talk so touchscreens  are a fairly logical progression from mechanical button interface to host machine.  The more touchscreens develop the better, that’s my view.

      The early touchscreens – and it’s important to note that as is often the case the amusement industry was leading the way in terms of applications of this new technology- were basic bits of retro fit kit.  Sticking a touchscreen over a standard CRT (cathode ray tube) screen was the only available solution.
      They were riddled with teething problems, not least  the touchscreen becoming unstuck from the picture screen due to heat, spilled drinks, cleaning liquids and a liberal helping of misuse.

One minute we were changing micro switches and cleaning the
buttons time after time on video games like there was no
tomorrow and the next it was all point and touch.”

A clean, warm damp cloth with a simple degreaser and anti smear agent like a drop or two of vinegar is all that is needed to restore modern touch technology machines.  There are proprietary screen cleaners recommended by manufacturers but if these are not to hand to a straight shot of vodka from the bar or a splash of vinegar from the site fast food counter will get you out of a need for a return service call.  They don’t teach you this stuff in the training workshops but you can always get it in the Fix it column!

      I was reminded at the recent ATEI show in London that field service engineers don’t want to know the ‘tech spec’ on resistive screens  versus capacitance and the like.  Quite often when they are 50 miles from home at 10 in the evening with a hurricane blowing outside, how to get the damn thing working again will do just fine.

“Field service engineers don’t want to know the
‘tech spec’ on resisitive screens versus capacitance and the like”

      I was once the world’s worst for saying: “I haven’t got time to read the operator’s manual.  I need to get the machine working again now!” Wrong approach.  Read the manual and save time.  Twenty minutes to get to the page that says ‘in the event the machine stops working, remove hidden cover A and push reset button B’ is well worth it.

On site first aid

The first and foremost thing to do is clean the screen and inspect it for surface damage.  Then check for power, often there will be a miniature or sub miniature power on LED indicator.

  1. If the host machine is on and the touchscreen is working but ‘out’ as in out of alignment go to the factor set up procedure.  Run the synchronization set up to get the screen picture or image re-aligned with the touchscreen.
  2. All touchscreens are connected in some way to the logic, often via thin ribbon or flex cables or connectors, transparent copper coloured film with wires running through it.
  3. With the machine switched off, remove and replace these connectors very gently two or three times.  This will help make contact where it is impossible to clean a terminal.  Never bend these film connectors through a sharp angle as they will fracture internally and cannot be repaired once the circuit has been opened.  Some of these film connectors will appear not to have a connector block on the end.  In fact often the wire connectors are exposed from the insulation of the film perhaps only by less than 1mm.
  4. The up/down and left/right directions are know as X and Y reaction.  Some earlier, machines had a series  of ‘frets’ or contacts, like piano keys, running along the sides of the touchscreens which was itself anchored to a flat LCD (liquid crystal) or LQD (liquid quartz) screen.  By design, these were covered by a thin layer of foam to protect them from accidental and or deliberate spillages of drinks and liquids.  In time, these frets would corrode and fail.  They could be re-jointed, but this is a job best done in a workshop, not on site.

It would have been good if I could have given you a dozen or so on site Fix it tips, but the fact is these new screens have matured and are now designed to work outside of a laboratory environment where they were developed.  They now work very well with little or no hassle in the jungle we call amusement machine sites







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