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Scratch Build – In Progress Project: 'Troy's Arcade' - Scratch Build MAME Mod

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by ARTbyTROY, 4 Feb 2009.

  1. ARTbyTROY

    ARTbyTROY Mod it Til it Bleeds!

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    I decided to change up the monitor overlay acrylic panel a bit, the clear center section had to go. My reasoning - first it eliminates the reflection/glare it caused, second it fixes and prevents any existing or future scratches, and third if the screen itself ever needs to be cleaned the whole thing won't have to be torn apart now to do it.

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  2. mayhem

    mayhem Owner of Mayhems

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    like the nice simple styling ... very nice mate ...
     
  3. ARTbyTROY

    ARTbyTROY Mod it Til it Bleeds!

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    Changing things up seems to be a trend as this project gets closer to completion - with that said I have decided not to use the X-Gaming BYO arcade controller kit. It was really nice of X-Gaming to send me one to check out, but the convoluted connection method combined with the confusing mess of tabbed wiring and cryptic instruction set started me thinking that a pre-wired controller might be less than optimal for my needs.

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    The picture below however shows the single biggest reason why I am not going to use it, the wiring is just too short to work. Sure, I could modify the wiring by adding length to it, but the BYO arcade controller kit is supposed to be ready to go solution right out of the box and simply stated it kind of sucks.

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    Below shows the new plan - I bought an I-PAC2 arcade control interface, a wire stripper and a hundred pack of terminal connectors and I will wire it myself. I like that the I-PAC2 has a simpler single cable method of connecting to the PC over the X-Gaming controllers cables, but the best part is that the button and joystick wiring will be a lot cleaner using the I-PAC2 controller.

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  4. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    Now that's the way to do it! Roll your own wiring. Lengths made to fit and easier to tidy up.

    One suggestion from an old motorhead that has built a lot of car wiring harnesses - make a drawing and get the color codes down in a book or a piece of paper somewhere.

    Custom wiring is REALLY hard to debug without a chart. Maybe some really good progress pics would work now in the digital age.

    john
     
  5. mayhem

    mayhem Owner of Mayhems

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    May i suggest the I-Pac Mini stead - http://www.ultimarc.com/ipacve.html

    Its good value for money and if you need support andy who owns it is very good and all so its cheap.

    The x gaming stuff isnt to bad but not relay my preferred set of components for building arcade gear. The have good media hype but to be honest there not the best.

    All so if you what to keep wiring down to a bear minimum you could use the U-360 witch is USB based and you can wire in the Buttons directly as it will allow for 8 buttons and the 8th button can all so turned in to a shift key to allow a possible 14 buttons on a cp.

    This would give you the normal 6 buttons for mame and arcade play and then you could use the other buttons for 1 player start and 1 player coin. If you used the 1 Player start .

    The only thing with the u360 is that is doesn't feel as good as a switch 8 way sanwa as it doesn't have leaf switches and uses a magnet to control the digital engine.

    One of the advantages though and this is the big advantage is that the u360 can be programmed on the fly so that if you say move between pac man (4 way game) to say 1942 (8 way game) the joystick will change profiles to adapt for this. All so when in a windows desktop environment it will switch button 1 and 2 to left and right click of a mouse and the joy stick becomes a mouse.

    just a idea for you though.

    Ops lol just read you bought a ipac 2 lol ....
     
  6. ARTbyTROY

    ARTbyTROY Mod it Til it Bleeds!

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    Well, it's full on Winter now and I had to put away my distraction - time to bring this project back from the dead...

    I had to figure out a way to mount the Ipac2 controller to the bottom of the arcade controls panel, below shows what I came up with. I made a board tray out of some scrap aluminum, drilled four holes and implemented the same spacers and board mounting technique that I've used on my last four projects, the whole thing will be attached with Velcro.

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    The micro switches on the joysticks and bottom of each button have three contact points - a normally closed position, normally open position and a ground. I used the normally open contact and wired each micro switch to its corresponding location on the Ipac2 board.

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    Next, I piggy backed the ground wire to all of the switches for each player side and wired them to the ground point on the Ipac2 controller board. While I was at it I tidied it all up and then ran the USB cables to the Ipac2 and Matrix Orbital display.

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    I have a bad habit of never letting good enough be good enough, the hardware I had would have worked fine but I decided to beef up and change everything out. Below shows the upgrade - a Zotac mini-ITX motherboard with GeForce 7050, a Celeron 2.0 GHz dual core processor, 2GB of Crucial DDR2 667 memory, a 350W micro-ATX power supply and lastly a 320GB Western Digital hard drive.

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    Since I am no longer using the IDE adapted 16GB compact flash in this project I had to come up with a mounting method for the larger hard drive. Good old aluminum angle and plastic spacers to the rescue, below shows what I came up with, it's a perfect fit.

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    I also had to come up with a way to mount the larger power supply in a different location, again I used aluminum angle that was cut, filed and drilled to fit... alum-angle is awesome.

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    Mounting the new power supply meant having to relocate the mother board, I drilled four new holes and problem solved. With all the hardware installed it's time to fire it up and install WindowsXP, drivers, updates and MAME32.

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    After the operating system and programs were installed it was time to throw it together for a test run. Below shows my 10 year old buddy Brent tearing up some R-type, after playing around twenty or so other games I asked him what he thought and he told me "Every kid should have one of these."... true that.

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    Now that it is fully operational I have decided to kick things into high gear and get it finished, the one thing that it really needs is a marquee. I broke out the Photoshop and started designing, it only took two attempts before I came up with something I liked.

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    Once my design was set I uploaded it to MAMEMarquees.com, it cost $23.90 with shipping and a few days after placing my order a professionally printed, perfectly sized and totally sweet custom marquee was sitting in my mail box.

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  7. ARTbyTROY

    ARTbyTROY Mod it Til it Bleeds!

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    Hands on testing of my own revealed a major design flaw that needed to be addressed, the plexi sheet that the speakers rest on sits flat horizontally so it is hard for an adult to view the upper most parts of the screen while standing and playing. Changing the angle (see below) fixes the problem and also the speaker output is better directed forward instead of straight down.

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    To plug (hide) the four bolt holes that opened up when the angle of the speaker panel changed I used some black plastic auto panel fasteners that I got from my local hardware store.

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    I had to cut back the pointy end of the auto panel fasteners so that they would sit flush on the inside of the acrylic panel, they do a pretty nice hole plugging job.

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    Changing up the angle also meant the arcade needed a new marquee and it only took a couple attempts before I came up with something I liked even better than the last one. Once my design was double checked and finalized I uploaded it to GameOnGrafix.com.

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    The new and improved marquee cost $19.35 shipped, it arrived in three days and it looks absolutely fantastic straight out of the tube.

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    Below shows the marquee LED strip lighting and the white acrylic reflector panel which is held in place by small pieces of Velcro attached to the speakers.

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    I cut two pieces of acrylic to size and sandwiched the printed marquee graphic between them and bolted it all down. An on/off switch was attached to the power for the marquee lighting..

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    Time for a little two player hands on testing, which calls for multiple games of Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo followed by a few rounds of Capcom Vs. Marvel. The result - two out of two kids agree that my arcade machine rocks.

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    After looking more closely at the freshly installed marquee I decided that the shiny bolts looked rather half-assed. Changing over to auto panel fasteners required making new side attachment pieces and drilling a couple more holes in the marquee, but the end result was totally worth it.

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    The silver bolts sticking out all over the sides looked out of place, so I masked off the entire thing and spray painted them all flat black.

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    I had originally planned on putting side panel artwork onto my arcade, but I like the clean look of it without side art better... for now anyway. My MAME project is officially finished, everyone that has played it agrees that it is one of my coolest mods to date.

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  8. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    I feel so tempted to build one of these myself... very inspiring :D
     
  9. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    ^^ Completely agreed! Granted, I don't have the time for anything like this in the near future, but I am collecting bookmarks, and this project has made the list!
     
  10. ARTbyTROY

    ARTbyTROY Mod it Til it Bleeds!

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    If either of you decide to build one and want to follow my design I'd be happy to send you the Google SketchUp files.
     
  11. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Social distancing since 92

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    I've always wanted to build one!

    I've had some plans for like 6 months of a arcade that doubles as a jukebox with an lcd you cut down the size hugely so its something that could save space

    Thing is its so difficult to think of a good way to make something i would consider "clean cut" enough so that someone would come and say "Wow where did you get that arcade" instead of "What the hell is that big black tower? it looks like its falling over"

    Yours is something very clean and proffesional almost like its made for selling if you where a business
     
  12. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    Thanks man! I'll take you up on that when I'm ready!
     
  13. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    I'm tempted to build one and give it to one of my best friends who is crazy about arcade games :) Need to find the cash for it first, though :p
     

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