Lowering volumes

I like to play my games quiet. Even with the volume Pot turned down all the way it is still louder than I want. I don’t do electronics. Can someone complete the sentence:

Install of in series before the potentiometer.

I actually have the same issue on a lot of my modern machines, I would like more granularity of volume control between 0 and 2, maybe something can be done on SAM or Spike/Spike2?


I enjoy hearing different sounds. Tough to do in busy arcade, but at home, I don’t need it cranked to hear all. Games like GB (stupid scream), and TSPP (Alien Invasion) are way too loud for me.

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Pretty sure you can disable the volume-boost feature in TSPP and other Keefer games. Check the feature adjustments for settings related to volume.

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You can disable the awesome, hilarious Ghostbusters scream in the menus.


We’re fortunate to have a LOTR at work in one of the breakrooms, but when I first got here there were people who complained about the noise spilling out into the main office area, so I’ve been able to turn down not only general volume, but some game-specific features.

Standard 34 -> Knocker Volume
Standard 37 -> Background Music Volume

I can’t find it at the moment, but I think there was something that I adjusted where multiball volume was also lower (default seemed to get a level of volume louder during multiball). The whole thing plays relatively quiet now, and I can’t speak to other DMD games aside from that one.

Service bulletin 133 will quiet down Whitestar games (replace two resistors on CPU board). Haven’t heard of any mods to quiet down a SAM or Spike game. Haven’t heard of anyone wanting to go lower than 1 either. Aren’t the pop bumpers and flippers louder than 1 anyway? Headphones?

There may be aftermarket sound boards for SAM, but Spike is going to be tough. There’s no external pot on either. On older games with an external pot, they’re not all the same specs, so no one resistor value will work for all.

Whirlwind is the game I most need to drop the volume on.

Parts book says it’s a 10k pot. Manual shows a 47 ohm resistor in there somewhere, but not shown in schematics. Don’t have one handy to look.

I would suggest testing the pot first. Should test 10k ohms turned all the way one way and 0 ohms the other way. If wrong, replace it. If ok and the 47 ohm resistor is wired into one of the two wires coming from the pot, you could try installing a 100 ohm resistor in its place.

Never hurts to clean the old pots too. Power off, douse it with 90% alcohol while turning the knob back and forth. Let dry for several minutes. Only use 90+ % alcohol so that whatever is left over will quickly evaporate. If you’re not confortable digging around, ask a friend for help. Checking or replacing the pot or resistor isn’t real hard.

Also, if the pot is a linear taper, you may have problems adjusting the audio levels smoothly and could get that “why is this blaring loud with the pot barely turned up” effect.

You can check which taper a pot is by measuring the impedance (ohms) from the middle and outside lugs. If linear, it will be 50% of the max value at half way up (or down). If an audio taper, it’s more like 15-20% I think. You can sometimes find the taper by looking at the markings on the pot though in my experience, this is often less likely to be obvious on older parts. New pots are almost always labeled A for audio and B for linear. A10K or B250K for example…

For TSPP and LOTR you’re looking for “VOLUME EFFECTS”. I believe TSPP is just on or off, but I think on LOTR it lets you set a limit of 0 (off) to 5 (not sure if higher or not, pretty sure default max is 5 though). Each number is the equivalent of raising the master volume by 1 with the + button.

JJP games let you control the intensity and the maximum.

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Replacing parts probably won’t solve the problem - Sys11 games were designed so operators couldn’t turn them down all the way. The existing electronics are likely fine; he needs to add resistance to drop the volume further. Replacing the 47ohm resistor with something higher should do the trick, but figuring out the exact value requires more knowledge than I have right now.

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Ok, it looks like it might have the wrong volume pot. It measures 5 ohms to 8k ohms. So if it suppose to be 10k ohms, that would explain why it is too loud. I will up the 47 ohm resistor and see if I get a comfortable range.

If the pot looks original, try cleaning it with alcohol before changing the resistor. They weren’t sealed, so dust and dirt can get inside and make them work intermittently. Alcohol often will make them work like new again. Use the 90% stuff and get a good amount on there (while twisting the knob). Then give it 15 or 20 minutes to dry and test it with the meter again. Blowing it out with compressed air will shorten the drying time.

I have learned more about how pots work than I new before. I tried swapping the 47 ohm resistor with something bigger, and the volume got louder. So then I decided I better actually learn how the pot works. The 47 ohm resistor is on the ground, it is there to redirect more to the speaker, so I actually needed bypass that resistor to drop the volume. I also added a 1k resistor on lug 2. I might still increase that more, but it is ok now.

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