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Do Pinball Machines Need To Be Switched On All The Time?

Pinball machines are some impressive pieces of equipment. They have a lot of moving parts, and even more electrical components that need to stay in working order. With all of these important components, many owners wonder if their pinball machine needs to be switched on all the time.

Pinball machines do not need to be switched on all the time. While turning your machine on will send an inrush current through the machine, this does not cause significant wear of the electrical components. Keeping your pinball machine on all the time will simply waste energy.

Below, we’ll discuss this idea in more detail, and tell you everything you need to know about keeping your pinball machine on. We’ll also go through some key tips to maintain your pinball machine, so you can be sure your machine stays in working order for years to come.

Should You Keep Your Pinball Machine On All The Time?

Many people believe that turning something off after every use and then turning it on again when you want to use it uses more energy than leaving it on in between uses. However, this hasn’t been the case for a long time, and it’s usually associated with light bulbs.

Fluorescent bulbs of years gone by did used to wear slightly faster when they were repeatedly turned off and on. This is no longer the case, but the cause of this phenomenon still exists. Essentially, when you turn any electrical device on, there is something called an inrush current that travels through its circuits.

Inrush Currents

This is something that all electrical devices are subjected to, and it’s essentially a larger than normal rush of current that goes through the device’s circuitry. This charges any capacitors, inducers or transformers in the device so that you can use it straight away.

Modern electronic devices and circuits, like those inside pinball machines, are built to withstand this large rush of current. This means you don’t need to worry about any of the internal components getting damaged when you turn your pinball machine on to play at the start of the day.

Use Common Sense

However, you do need to use a bit of common sense to decide when you should turn off your pinball machine. If you’re stepping away from the table for a few minutes, there’s no need to turn it off. This is only going to be a nuisance when you come back and have to turn it back on, especially if your pinball machine takes a long time to boot up.

However, if you’re stepping away for half an hour or more, you should probably turn it off. In the long run, turning things off and on again repeatedly over the course of many years can reduce its lifespan. This is just due to the lifespan of the circuitry inside, and like any device, the more you use it the faster it will wear out.

Does Leaving Your Pinball Machine Switched On Save Energy?

Leaving your pinball machine switched on does not save energy when compared to turning it off and on again. This is because the inrush current that the machine uses when it’s first turned on isn’t significant enough when compared to the energy used by leaving it on for a long time.

The inrush current can be up to 20 times that of the current that flows through the device during normal use. But this current is only there for a fraction of a second, which means you’d have to turn it off and on again a lot to notice any significant spike in energy usage. Doing this just isn’t good for the components inside anyway.

Saving Energy

But if you leave your machine on all the time, you are going to use a lot more energy than if you turn it off and on in between uses. If you’re stepping away from the pinball machine for longer than half an hour, we suggest you turn it off and unplug it. This way, you’ll save a lot of energy versus leaving it on for hours on end.

Obviously, using the pinball machine uses more energy than leaving it on with nobody playing, but if it’s still switched on, it’s still drawing power from the wall. This means it’s still using energy, and therefore still costing you money.

The Arcade Environment

However, pinball machines are designed for the arcade environment. They’re designed to be left on for long days or nights, without being switched off in between uses. This means anyone can walk up to any machine they like and play it without having to turn it on.

All modern electronics are designed with energy efficiency in mind, so don’t worry too much if you accidentally leave your machine on for the day. You might notice a jump in your electricity bill, but it won’t significantly damage the machine.

With that being said, pinball machines often give off a lot of heat. Heat is not good for electronics, and so if you do leave your pinball machine on for long periods of time, you run the risk of things wearing out due to heat damage. So, play it safe, and turn your pinball machine off when you’re not using it.

3 Pinball Machine Maintenance Tips

1. Unplug It When Not In Use

As we’ve discussed above, simply switching off your pinball machine and unplugging it when you’re not using it is a great way to save energy and prolong the life of your machine. Even when you turn it off or put it on standby mode it’s still drawing power. So, to be safe, just switch it all off and unplug it.

2. Keep It Clean

Regularly cleaning your pinball machine doesn’t just ensure it always looks its best. Getting underneath the glass and clearing away any dust and debris around the electrical components (with the machine turned off) is a good way to minimise the chances of any unnecessary heat build-up that could reduce your machine’s lifespan.

3. Service Your Pinball Machine

As with your car, you can service your pinball machine to make sure everything is in working order. If you can’t do it yourself, call a professional pinball technician. Servicing your pinball machine makes sure everything is working as normal. This ensures your machine isn’t faulty, and therefore reduces the chance of any energy usage related problems occurring.

Final Thoughts

Pinball machines don’t need to be switched on all the time, as doing so will waste energy and cost you more in the long run. While turning your machine on does send an inrush of current through it, this doesn’t cause any significant wear or damage, and so it’s safe to turn it off when not in use.