I was doing some monitor work this past week and was thinking about how much I wish I had a mirror to help me adjust my monitors. Anyone that collects games knows that adjusting monitors is a real pain without a mirror. Nearly all monitors have the adjustment controls on the back of the monitor chassis, accessible only from the back of the cabinet. The problem is that you can never see the screen from the back while turning the adjustment pots. Arcade techs and operators all had really nice mirrors on stands that they could stand in front of a cabinet, allowing them to see the screen while adjusting. Not really the most practical thing for a homeowner to keep lying around.
Over the years I’ve used all kinds of methods to try to see the screen while adjusting monitors. Sometimes I get lucky and can reach around from the front to adjust while still seeing the screen. Other times I’ve had someone hold a mirror for me. Well after several years collecting I’ve had enough. I started researching what other collectors were using. I came across a great thread on the KLOV Forums that talked about different mirrors that people use. One guy, “FrizzleFried”, had a great idea for a clamp-on mirror made from a clamp-on lamp and a hand mirror he picked up at Walmart. I decided to see if I could find some good parts at my local Walmart and make my own.
I was able to find both parts I needed at Walmart pretty easily. I was pretty happy with the mirror because it was pretty big and the rectangular shape would really work well with showing a monitor. I wasn’t stuck with a round or heart-shaped mirror! Also, if you plan to do the same thing, make sure you get a clamp lamp with rubber pads in the clamp. This will prevent possible damage to your cabinets’ artwork.
The first step was to take the light fixture off of the lamp, leaving the clamp and flex arm. It was tough to get a wrench into the light cone to take the cone off of the arm, but I eventually was able to remove it. I cut the wiring to make it easier to pull off.
As bad luck would have it, the threaded end of the flex arm had a larger diameter than the hole in the mirror handle. Worse, it was shorter than the thickness of the handle. I ended up having to drill the hole in the handle larger, and cut down the thickness of the mirror handle to allow me to mount it to the flex arm. After some time with a drill and hacksaw, I had a clamp-on mirror.
The only problem was, as you can see in the above picture, the flex arm was not strong enough for the weight of the larger sized mirror I purchased! I cut some coat hanger wire to fit into the flex arm, and that ended up being the additional strength I needed. It now works perfectly!
I’m glad I finally made one of these. I can’t believe I hadn’t done something like this sooner. It really makes a difference when working on monitors. If you would like to see more pics, and pictures of some other test equipment I’ve made, check out my Test Rigs Photo Gallery.