Wednesday, 16 April 2014

ARCADE MACHINE REFURBISHMENT - RESURRECTION PART 5. MARQUEE AND JAMMADRIVE 2

Hi All,

Well, the weekend has passed and I managed to get a little bit of work done on the arcade machine while my fiance was planting trees with her mom in one of the fields. Shirking a little bit of manual labour I slinked off to my arcade machine to continue work.

My main aim for the weekends work was to try and figure out the marquee light and try to get that hooked up and working. I must admit though I hadn't got a clue how the thing hooked up to the power supply as it was just 2 wires and they weren't standard colourings to the wires. Hmm, surely one has to be ground and one live? There's a sticker on what looks like the ignitor? power block for the light that says 240v so I thought 'brilliant! I'll hook it up to a mains plug and see what happens'. Well, what happened was the bulb got really bright then a burning spot appeared at a part of the bulb and it switched off. Doh!! Burnt it out and my confidence with getting that thing working dropped through the floor.

I could try to get another bulb to fit but I might struggle and then it could just burn out like this one did because its not wired correctly, so I decided to head down to my local B&Q diy store and pick up some tree ties for Roz and her mom and picked up a small strip light while I was at it. While I was there I checked over all the lights and checked that the one I got was mains powered so I could just hook it up and I'd be away.

I had a good long piece of mains cabling and scrounged a plug and hooked up the light to check that it fired up and worked okay. And, bingo! It worked! Next step is to get it mounted to the marquee board and check again. Here you can see it mounted to the board before I routed the wiring down the back trunking of the machine and down to the power strip thats sitting in the base.


After I got it all cable tied to place and hidden in the trunking I go it switched on in its new home. :D


Check that glow! haha. Another tick on my list of things to do there. Marquee light, done!

Here's how the machine looks at the minute with the glass and marquee sign all back in place.

Looking pretty snazzy I think. I don't know what it is but when the light turned on it just clicked to me. This is finally an arcade machine, it just feels more right.

During the week I'd received some new Neo Geo MVS games so I thought I'd bring one of the cartridges with me to 'test' out in the cabinet. Metal Slug 2! :D

Its crazy how different the game looks compared to my little LCD TV I've got at home. Standing up close to the CRT monitor with the scan lines etc makes it feel a lot more proper.

I got a nice little stash of games and I'm really itching to complete them all but the one thing I'm making sure I don't do is credit my way through them. I.e. just pressing the credit button continuously to force my way through the games. One thing I've been doing with Metal Slug 2 is giving myself 3 credits and 3 credits only. Trying to recreate only having so much change in my pocket like when I was a kid. Man, is Metal Slug 2 a hard game though!! I can only get to the end of level 3 so far with my 3 credits. Its crazy tough even on level 4 difficulty settings. I'll get there though.

The Games I got (as I got side-tracked there) are : Metal Slug 2 (loose cart), Metal Slug 4 (full kit), King of Fighters 2001 (loose cart), Puzzle Bobble (loose cart) and Tecmo Soccer '96 (loose cart). I'll probably be selling on Tecmo Soccer as Im not that into football games but the others are definate keepers.

So that was Saturday's work and I thought I would be all done for the weekend but we headed back on the Sunday so Roz could help her mom out with some more tree's so I had an idea of what I could leave in the machine semi-perminantly as I don't want to be leaving my 'real' arcade boards in the machine when it's not at my house yet.

So I used the time in the morning at home to source out an old Megadrive / Mega CD base plate from my wardrobe to see if I could modify it into a PCB stand for my Sega Jammadrive 2 :-)

I found the base plate out but quickly found out that its not going to fit the Jammadrive 2 unless I take the rubber feet off the bottom of the casing (not gonna happen as I want it to look stock :P ) or modify the plate. So I got my metal saw out and started hacking away at the base. I got a little way but needed some proper equipment so I took it to the farm and used the saws there.

Here you can see the Jammadrive 2 next to where I was working so I could keep offering up the plate to it to see how it was fitting.

Right, a little disclaimer...I'm not going to show the finished off plate because its VERY embarrassing and looks like a torture device from Vlad the Impaler (and it actually did impale me at one point and cut my hand doh!) but it does fit nicely and work very well. I drilled out some holes and mounted PCB feet that I had spare so that I could then screw that into the internal wooden wall of the arcade machine.


And here is the Jammadrive 2 sitting in place on the wooden wall. The way I positioned it is so the weight of the console pushes downwards onto the mounts of the base plate so it will keep in place and it also has the Jamma edge at a nice easy to access position. I've also mounted it quite high on the board so that I can still fit other arcade games in there past it so I don't have to take it out all the time to put other game boards in.

Im really pleased with how it sits in the cabinet I must admit and really happy that the baseplate worked after all my hacking of it (and my hand).

And here you can see the machine running Streets of Rage from the Sega Mega Games 6 cartridge. A neat little fact about this cart is that it has the full version of Streets of Rage on it so much that if you flick it over to Japanese language you get the game Bare Knuckle instead of Streets of Rage :D A good cart to test your language switch mods on ;-)

I thought I could leave this cart in the machine and there are a few games to have a blast on when there aren't any arcade boards plugged in.

Also its inspired me to dig some of my megadrive arcade converstions out of my shelves such as golden axe and I know its not technically an arcade game but its pretty close to the original, Splatterhouse 2.

Oh, I also painted up the old coin door that I mentioned in one or two of the video progress reports. Well it turns out after I painted it up that it didn't fit and wasn't the correct door!! Double dang it!

But I scratted around and found the proper one which is chrome and only needed a quick brush down to look half decent again. I mounted it into place and quickly tie-wrapped my Test Button to it but I'm going to extend the wiring on that so that its neater when you open the door.

And that's the progress so far. I'll leave you until the next post.

Catch you later

Porl''

Monday, 14 April 2014

ARCADE MACHINE REFURBISHMENT - RESURRECTION PART 4.5 - videos

Hi peeps,

Here is a small update for the last progress report. I finally managed to upload the video progress reports to Youtube over the weekend so I thought I'd post them up here while I carry on working on the cabinet.

I know you can see the progress in the photos but I always like to see arcade machines in action with the game up and running and yelling out of the way too loud speakers! haha :-P

Capcom CPS2 button demo:


Neo Geo MVS button demo:


catch you on the next update!!

Porl''

Sunday, 6 April 2014

ARCADE MACHINE REFURBISHMENT - RESURRECTION PART 4. CONTROL PANEL MODS

Hi everyone,

I've made some more progress on "the Machine" this friday afternoon and it's starting to get there now :-D

The aim for the control panel was to get 6 buttons for each player so that I can play my Street Fighter games on there no problem. So I set about drawing out the positions for the new buttons on the control panel so that I could figure out if they would all fit. What I've found is Player One's part of the panel had more than enough room around the existing 3 buttons to get the others to fit. But Player Two's area is really cramped. It's like they ran out of room as they worked along from left to right. So between the 3rd button and the cigarette area is rather cramped. So this part of the panel is going to have to be a bit of a compromise.

Last weekend I'd tried to make a start on the control panel and thought that I would be able to drill out the hole like a little pepper pot with the largest metal drill that I had and then cut out the linking bits of metal with my Dremel. Well let me tell you, that isn't the way to go about drilling the holes out of a metal control panel. To get the one hole done it took me an hour and a half and I went through 2 grinding wheels on my Dremel. This way would take me forever and I would be buying new grinding tools every other button hole.

So I left it there last weekend and during the week I picked up a Holesaw along with the corresponding drill bit from Wickes and set about the control panel again. What a change using the proper tools makes! The holesaw made short work of the control panel and I breezed through this time.


Here is the second player's control area. You can see that button 6 has had to be squashed up to get it to fit. And I've had to fit the extra buttons a little closer to the original holes because of available space. It doesn't feel too tight to use.

 Here you can see the holesaw I used. Its a 29mm holesaw and the buttons fit perfectly into the space you drilled. I thought it might make holes that are a little too big but they are spot on.

One thing to remember though is take out the existing buttons when you start to do your drilling. I didn't do this and buggered up one of my buttons. :-( The holesaw generates lots and lots of really little metal flakes and they can go down the litte gaps around the buttons and jam them up a treat! Because the plastic is quite soft the metal seems to dig in really well and it doesn't feel like it will come un-stuck.

So I'm going to have to order another one to replace the stuck one.

Below you can see the backside of the control panel all wired up. It looks a little bit of a mess but it's as neat as I can get. I can't pull the harness wiring through any further because its pulling the jamma edge up too high for my smaller game PCB's to sit on the bottom of the machine.


You can see that Player One's buttons are laid out more traditionally than Player Two. The spacing is still not exactly how you would normally have it if you were to make the control panel from scratch. But its nice enough I think.

Once I'd gotten all the buttons wired in and tested I started working on a little idea I'd had during the week. One thing I found out from making my first arcade stick for my Super Gun was that if you make an arcade stick that is just 6 buttons you won't be able to play Neo Geo MVS games that require 4 buttons. This sounds a little daft but when you make a 6 button stick for CPS2 Street Fighter games your top row consist of A, B and C from the Jamma harness. And the bottom row are Light Kick, Medium Kick and Heavy Kick which come straight from the CPS2 kick harness. Neo Geo MVS uses button D from the Jamma Harness. So when I made my second arcade stick I made it have 7 buttons so that it had D on there as well.

The problem with the arcade machine is that the control panel has very limited space but I still wanted to be able to play Neo Geo MVS games on it. So I decided to see if I could wire up a switch so that I could convert button 6 to either by Heavy Kick or Neo Geo Button D.

Here you can see the Conversion Switch held in place via Cable ties mounted on my new bases.


The center of the Double Pole Double Throw switch leads to button 6. The left hand tab comes straight from the kick harness and the right hand tab comes from button D on the jamma harness. So if you flick the switch over to the left your hooked up for CPS2 games, and if you flick it to the right you have button D for Neo Geo games. :-D Im really pleased that such a simple switch works a treat! Probably very simple to most people that mess about with electronics or wiring stuff up but being new to this I was quite proud that it worked. woop!


Here you can see the finished control panel all working with the glass window in place. I've got Samurai Shodown running in the machine using my Neo Geo MVS 1F board.




For some reason when the Neo Geo is running in the machine the TV is keeping the channel panel up in the top right corner of the screen. Im a little unsure why its doing this as it doesn't do it on normal Jamma games. I'm pretty confident that when I get hold of the remote for the TV I can get that to turn off though so it's not obscuring so much of the screen.

And as a last little picture, here is how the CPS2 cartridges sit in the bottom of the machine. You can see how the Edge connector is in the back and how smaller boards will just end up hanging from it. Which isn't a good way to have them connected. So I'm going to be making a little box that sits in the bottom of the machine so it raises the boards up a bit.


So what's next for the machine? Im going to be cleaning up the glass window and trying to get the marquee light working. Tidy up the coin door a little bit and remount it to the front of the coin door area. Sort out the back panel of the machine. Repaint it or something as birds have been pooping on it a bit. Ugh!

Catch you on the next update :-)

Porl''


Monday, 31 March 2014

ARCADE MACHINE REFURBISHMENT - RESURRECTION PART 3. HARNESS, CONTROLS AND SOUND

Hi Peepzilla's,

I've continued working away on my Arcade machine project and have made significant progress. :-D

Where I left it last time I'd gotten the TV in place inside the cabinet and roughly mounted the chassis in to place so that the cabling would reach where it needed to reach.

Well I had last monday off work so I thought I would spend a good chunk of it getting the Jamma harness mounted into the cabinet and get moving on with sorting sound and controls etc out. In the week between the last bit of machine work and monday I'd received my new Jamma Harness and I'd spent some time wiring up the video cabling to a Scart connecter I had in my box of wires. I made up some R, G, B colour potentiometers so that I could adjust the strength of colour coming from each game and mounted them onto a perspex holder I'd made.

While I was at it I made a perspex holder for my Jamma Test switch as well. This will live behind the coin mech door.


Full of confidence come monday I went to the farm and hooked up the harness to my power supply, flicked the machine on expecting a perfect image on the TV round the front. But what was on the screen was nothing but a diagonally scrolling screen of dissappointment. :-( There was a serious syncing issue!! The image was there, the colours looked nice and bright but the thing was scrolling at such a rate it made your eyes roll! This is an example of why you should test your wiring at home before going off expecting it to work. Darnit!

So I proceeded to try to problem solve the wiring while sitting with my knees up around my ears on the edge of the skate ramp. All the wiring was still attached from the trip from home so that wasn't the problem. I'd heat shrinked up my resistors etc to keep them in place, so I had to cut those away so I could triple check they were the right ones and low and behold the Sync resistor wasn't the right one! There was one colour on the banding that didn't match what my chart said. Unfortuntely I did have a replacement in my box so I had to go home to pick one up. On finding the right one I did a quick check and the resistor that was in the wiring was only a 56 ohm...it should be a 560 ohm! This has got to be the problem!!

So I headed back to the machine full of confidence again with the knowledge that this is surely going to fix the Sync issue. Soldering on a ramp is not easy I must admit so I think I will need to get a little fold up table or something for the future. Flick the machine on and POW! Sync issue is still there!! Officially I am stumped.

Instead of banging my head against a brick wall I decided to replace the control panel items and then head home. The original control parts are ancient! They definetly needed to go. Thankfully this step was a nice quick one and the buttons and joysticks look good in their new setting I think.




I pack up my stuff and head home and get thinking for the rest of the week.

Because I've been using up my holiday before our new allocation comes around in April I had Friday off work as well. So come friday morning I jumped back on to the Sync issue and decided to take off the scart plug as I remembered it was originally going to be a Sega Megadrive scart cable but I had issues with it so left it for spares.

I had a few spare PCB mounted Scart sockets so I got some new wire and hooked one of those up to the harness and BINGO! Worked first try! So my Syncing issue seems to be down to a dodgy scart plug. It must be the way I hooked up the ground links or something inside the plug, but for now that suckers being relegated to the back of the box!

Heres my little 'test area' I.E. my living room haha.




While I had the harness and game up and running I got my heat shrink heated onto the resistors and I hot glued the wires on the Scart Plug and Potentiometers into place. I decided to do it while it was up and running so I could keep checking that the wiring was still all in place. The last thing I wanted was to hot glue the wires etc and then come to check it all and when turning it on I'd glued a broken wire or something.

Full of beans I headed off to the machine and quickly hooked the power supply up to the harness along with my Supergun scart lead to the TV and KAPOW!! The thing is running perfectly now. Stable, bright image and full of awesomeness!! :-D IT. LIVES.!!!!



From here on out I got to work tidying up the harness in the back of the cabinet. Screwing into place the game power supply and finding neat ways to put the power strip into the machine and where to mount my RGB pots.

As I continued to work I took progress video's instead of photos so I have no more photos for this post but I've uploaded the videos to Youtube so here is my dorky voice walking you through the rest of my days progress.

PART ONE:


PART TWO:


PART THREE:


As you can see in the videos I've gotten sound working, the harness routed through the machine and both Players controls set up and working! A freakin arcade machine! :-D

I must admit that I feel very proud of my progress with this project! Never in my wildest dreams as a kid playing arcades every chance I could did I think I would have an arcade machine of my own! And here it is. :-D It still needs a lot of work to finish it off but the bulk is done, it works. So next is polishing really.

I'm going to be making a CPS2 compatible kick-harness next and then drilling the extra button holes into the metal control panel. Sorting out the marquee light and cleaning up the glass and coin door as well as mounting it back to the machine.

I'll be putting up another update on this project soon :-D

catch you later

Porl''

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

SEGA DREAMCAST INTERNAL VGA MOD

Howdy!!!

Man I must be back into the blog posting big time haha! So many posts in one week!

Anyway, this morning I made a very quick video showing the Dreamcast I modded the other month. I'd been meaning to post about how I did it but thought this morning that I would make a quick video instead and show it working etc.

Its a bit of a rambling video as I did it as soon as I woke up this morning so excuse the stupid throat clearing. I was still drinking my morning cup of tea so I wasn't fully up and running yet haha.



I recommend trying this mod out if your thinking of running it on a monitor and don't want to splash out the cash for the VGA cables. The components really are so much cheaper. And use the Kynar wire that Mmmoneky uses as you will get the tight case to fit back together a lot easier. :-)

Catch you later

Porl''