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(Topic ID: 233249)

Surf Champ - New Transformer Wiring Gives On/Off Switch Shock

By ChipS

1 year ago

Topic Stats

  • 6 posts
  • 4 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by ChipS
  • No one calls this topic a favorite


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Power Button02 (resized).JPG
Transformer_Old03(sm) (resized).jpg
Transformer_New01(sm) (resized).jpg
Tilt Mechanism02(sm) (resized).jpg
Tilt Mechanism01(sm) (resized).jpg
Power Button01(sm) (resized).jpg
Coin Door Ground03(sm) (resized).jpg
BlownFuse01(sm) (resized).jpg

#1 1 year ago

I recently purchased a Surf Champ from a seller in Pennsylvania. When I picked the game up, I played it just to make sure it worked. When I got it home, I realized the power cord was shot and decided to replace it, something I'd never done before (I'm a relative newbie to EM repair). So I bought a new grounded cord from PBR and hooked it up. I read vid1900's guide to replacing power cords, etc. ( and figured I'd give it a shot. It went relatively smoothly, except it took quite a while to melt the old solder on the existing neutral line connection.

To do this, I removed the playfield and the bottom board with the transformer, to make it easier to solder the wires. Once the cord was connected to the transformer, I replaced everything except the tilt mechanism. (I was in a hurry to see if I had actually been successful in rewiring the transformer and figured I didn't need the tilt mechanism reconnected to check that.)

I plugged it in and hit the ON/OFF switch underneath the cabinet. When I hit the switch, I received a small shock. The game powered up fine. I started a game, played one ball and during that ball, the game tilted for no apparent reason. I turned the game off and unplugged it.

I searched pinside to see if I could figure out the problem and wondered if I had wired the transformer incorrectly. I found a post by vid1900 in this thread (

With the game off, but plugged in, check your incoming wires in the machine. So, meter set on AC:

One probe on WHITE wire, one on green. Voltage (hopefully 0v)? (if 120v WHITE is HOT)

One probe on BLACK, one on green. Voltage (hopefully 120v)? (if 0v, ground is faulty)

One probe on BLACK, one on WHITE. Voltage (hopefully 120v)?

I ran those tests and got these results:
One probe on WHITE, one on GREEN: 0.24 V
One probe on BLACK, one on GREEN: 124 V
One probe on BLACK, one on WHITE: 124 V

Not sure why it was off by a little bit. But based on my results, I'm assuming the game is wired properly. I also used a tester on the outlet and confirmed that it is wired correctly. I have no problems with wiring in my house - all outlets are grounded.

I believe I properly grounded the cord to the transformer. And both the coin door and ON/OFF switch seem to be grounded properly. So why did I receive a shock?

After the test, I also noticed that one of the fuses has blown (see photo). This fuse had previously been fine. I took the fuse out and examined it and noticed the fuse is rated as 20A and it is supposed to be a 15A fuse.

Can anyone tell me what is happening and how I can correct it?


Transformer_Old03(sm) (resized).jpgTransformer_New01(sm) (resized).jpgCoin Door Ground03(sm) (resized).jpgPower Button01(sm) (resized).jpgBlownFuse01(sm) (resized).jpgTilt Mechanism01(sm) (resized).jpgTilt Mechanism02(sm) (resized).jpg
#2 1 year ago

I would replace that switch. Chances are the switch is arcing internally and causing a shock. Additionally wouldnt be a bad idea to run a ground wire to that plate.

#3 1 year ago

If you used a brand new "flat" power cord, did you connect it correctly according to "ribbed" and "non-ribbed" wires?

Ribbed = neutral (white wire)

Non-ribbed = hot (black wire)

Green = ground

#4 1 year ago

Provided you have made correct connections with the new power cord there is no reason for this shock to occur providing you are sure there was no pre-existing issues when you purchased the machine. When I install a new power cord I always use a test light from the cord hot, neutral & ground pins to the correct placement to the primary fuse, transformer and ground (earth) connections respectively as a verification. Are you sure there were no changes made when you lifted the pf (and removed jones plugs) to access and remove the motor board? That imo is the likely cause of the blown pf fuse.

#5 1 year ago

Ken - Yes, it is a brand new flat power and I triple-checked to make sure I was connecting the ribbed side to the neutral connection on the transformer (with the two other white wires) and the smooth side (hot) to the primary fuse - which was how it was connected previously. I believe the tests I ran that were outlined by vid1900 in a previous post (see above) confirmed that I made the proper connections.

PinballplusMN - The current switch does have a ground wire connected to that plate (see photo above). Ground wire also runs to, and is connected to, the coin door. Could the switch still be arcing internally and providing a shock, even though it is grounded?

Wayner - I run your test, but again, since the tester shows the outlet is wired correctly, the test that vid1900 outlined seems to verify that all the connections were made correctly.

What changes are you suggesting may have happened when I removed the pf to remove the motor board? What should I be looking for? I've checked all the jones plugs and made sure they were reconnected properly.

Is there any test I can run at the ON/OFF switch wires that might help? What should the voltage over the red and black wires be?

Also - can anyone tell me the purpose of that fuse? The other two are labeled as "Playboard light fuse" and "Lightbox light fuse," but the one that blew is not labeled.

Thanks everyone!

#6 1 year ago

I did some continuity testing using a test light and checking the pins in the new power plug to various components. Here's what I've found:

There is continuity between the ground pin in the plug and the ground lug on the transformer. Also continuity between the ground pin and the ground wires on both the coin door and the ON-OFF switch.

Also confirmed continuity between the neutral pin on the plug and the neutral lug on the transformer; also between the hot pin on the plug and the spot where the hot wire is soldered to the main fuse.

I also checked for continuity between the pins on the new plug and the wires connected to the ON-OFF switch. There is continuity between the hot pin on the plug and the black wire on the switch. There is also continuity between the neutral pin on the plug and the RED wire on the ON-OFF switch.

Can anyone confirm that that's the way it is supposed to be? Thanks!

Power Button02 (resized).JPG
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