Welcome to my Mame@Home project which is the development and construction of my own Arcade machine for use with MAME.
This page is a collection of pictures as I develop my machine and explain how I do things (with lots of pics ;-) There are quiet a lot of pictures so it will take a little bit to load (depending on your Internet speed). Most sites tend to show the finished product. I am aiming to show how I do things and why so other people can learn from it and not make the same mistakes I do (not that I've made too many on this) and maybe get some ideas along the way.
The Beast (Before and After)
My Arcade Machine. The left picture if how it looked after I got it and replaced the front coin mechs with a full lockable door. I drilled in two extra holes for buttons on the angled piece under the control panel and put on some cheep contact covering oWnto the control panel (after putting in some newer buttons). At this point it was a true arcade machine which I converted to JAMMA and was running 'Cadash' which picked I up for a few dollars. I also put on some casters to allow the machine to be wheeled around the house if needed..
The right picture is in finsihed product with all the new veneer, varnish , new control panel and running a computer instead of the arcade board. It also has the new perspex covering but its that clear you really can't see it.
(Perspex is a clear plastic (3mm thick) for those who don't know it.
(I just love the way the carpet comes up with 2 totally different colours in these photos (it is green). My Camera must be NTSC.. Not the Same Colour Twice ;-)
Previously I started work on putting some wood veneer on the sides of the machine (only got one side done as I lost interest in it at that point. This was before I thought about making it into a Mame machine). On the left side you have the scratched and chipped Formica and on the right side some nice veneer. I will be giving it a coat of varnish before the project is finished.
These 2 pictures show the guts of the 'arcade' machine before I stated ripping everything out and starting from scratch.
The bottom section contains 3 arcade boards (Cadash, Green Beret and Pitfall II) plus a heap of other rubbish.
The top has a hinged roof where the speaker (mono) sits. It also has the 'Arcade Classics' marquee which I plan to remove and replace with a fluro kit at some point to give a back lit sign and a custom logo.
Needs a good clean as you can see from all the dust..
Oh My God.. I've just had my stomach pumped!
This is the machine totally gutted out with the exception of the switch mode power supply I put in for the original refit when I converted the 'arcade' machine to JAMMA. I've removed the monitor support aswell as I will be fitting a 15" multisync monitor into the machine.
'Griffen' my cat, jumping over the removed entrails..
Spent a little time making up a nice woodgrain mask to sit around the monitor. I need to get some new perspex cut as the original piece that came with the machine is well, not so good.
I used floor tiles (sticky plastic ones) for the covering which gives it a nice shiny woodgrain look but is quiet tough to scratches and wear. Only cost me $3 aswell.
It now has 2 joysticks (8 way) for Robotron (my fav game) aswell as 5 buttons for player 1. I am sticking to a single player machine as A) it is not big enough for 2 sets of everything and B) I prefer a single player machine. The extra buttons are for Credit, P1 and P2 Start. The row of 6 red square buttons are for TAB, ESC, ENTER, F3 (reset), F2 (Service) and ~ (Adjust) (in that order)
I chose 5 buttons as that allows me to play defender but as I am not interested in playing 'Street Fighter' so didn't bother with a 6 button setup.
It also has a spare button position for anything I decided to add in the future.
I also have some buttons on the underneath side of the joystick panel. Currently the chipboard is very damaged but will look nice when covered with the veneer.
I'm still making up my mind if I like these buttons or not.. Might replace them with the same type on the main panel.
From what you can see from the finished machine picture. I only ended up with 3 buttons on this panel.
Put the Veneer on the Door and gave it and one of the sides a coat of Estapol Gloss Varnish. Will be sanding it down and giving it another coat tonight.. Didn't take too long to vanish but putting on the veneer on the door was hard work.. I forgot how painful it is. Looks really nice but a real pain to get it all aligned and stretched.
Also painted the edges of the door matt back.. better than raw MDF.
Here are some shots of veneering the second side of the machine.. For those who don't know what veneer is, it is basically a very thing slice of wood with glue on the back.. you iron it on with a house iron (a old one if you have one (like I do)). I dropped this iron about 9 years ago and it is still spitting out little peices of plastic out of the bottom when you shake it.
Put on the kick plate which I will be painting Matt Black.
The back of the machine which is painted matt black. It has a new barrel lock and the top of the machine veneered and varnished.
(Not that you get so see this end that much ;-)
Internal Power Wiring
I spent a bit of time (like I always do) just putting in the power board and master power switch. This allows me to turn off everything that will be in the machine (CPU, Monitor, Fluro, etc..) with a single switch accessible from the front of the machine. (So I don't have to turn it off at the wall). I left in the old switch mode power supply just incase I need it in the future for anything (plus it looks good ;-)
I used my night light power tester ;-) to ensure it all worked properly.
As you can see with all the crimps, connectors, guides etc.. I am a very tidy person.. I plan to make the entire machine like this with everything in its proper place. (Quiet anal I know but you might aswell do it right)
Mounting the Monitor
I used some angled metal backets to screw it onto the side of the case. The right hand side picture shows one of the supports free standing (so to speak) so I made a perfect cut as she was tight.
The monitor is free standing on a brick at the moment. I was very fortunate and had a brick which was just the right thickness so when I tiled the monitor forward, it sat just under the monitor mask (by 1mm). I then aligned the front monitor support, marked it, pulled the monitor out and screwed the support into place.. I then put the monitor back and put on the back rail, by pushing it up hard against the monitor and screwing it down.
Here is the monitor fully supported by the support rails and no brick ;-)
The monitor is locked in solid at this point but can still be removed by lifting it up.. It can be positioned left and right aswell but the supports keep it quiet stable so I don't think I will need any side braces.
Can never have enough screws holding things down.. Only used a few on the Jarrah side as you can basically snap the screw head off as you put it in unless you pilot them in first.
Well here is the top down view without and with the monitor mask/joy panel. You can see the white of the monitor for now but I will be getting some silicone remover to clean up the plastic and then paint it in matt black. You need to use the cleaner to remove the mould release solvent they use when they inject the plastic into the casting, or the paint will just bubble up and peel off over time.
It will look a lot better when the new perspex cover is in and holding things down.
THE COMPUTER / SOFTWARE
Well I better mention something about the setup I plan to put into the machine.
I have already set up the hard drives for the Mame roms and am using 'GLauncher' (link) as my front end as it looks super cool, plays mp3s and isn't too hacky.. I has also put 'ArcadeOS' on the machine aswell just in case I ever need it.. I am running a pure DOS box for this exercise.
The Machine I am putting it onto is as such
Basically my old machine when I upgraded to my new Athlon system (though I had to find a oldish Harddrive (thanks to my dad for that)) and a hacky sound card (it was free).
I am using Mame version 37 Beta 8.. Quiet old but I have a full set of verified roms for it and it plays everything I want to play. Mame is so huge these days it's quiet hard to keep up on a dial up modem ;-(
Currently I have only set up Mame but might think about putting some console emulators in there aswell (Atari 2600, Sega etc..)
For the joystick/control panel I am using the keyboard hack. As I am only having a single player setup it won't be a problem (have already tested for ghosted keys and everything has lots of karma for everything else (ie. it works)). I have a old 'real' clicker keyboard where I can solder the wires onto (though I had to get a DIN to PS2 convertor for it)
Well here is my old machine put into a nice cheep case
This case is actually for a Pentium 4 but they work on ATX boards providing you just ignore the extra power cables.
Nice pic of the Golden Orb cooler for the P3. Pity you
can't see it when the power supply is in
Cables neatly tucked away.
The the case inside the machine and plugged in. Still haven't turned it on at this point.
The keyboard is just resting underneath the monitor but it isn't actually a bad spot for it.. Will see what I can do with it when It has all the cables coming out of it for all the joystick/buttons.
When everything is finished I will tidy up the cables for real.
As you can see it's a tight fit for the machine but it fits. (Just ;-)
The Moment of truth..
And it worked first time.. (Mind you I've put together more than my fair share of machines for people). Here are 2 shots of the main menu (courteously of glauncher ) and the machine running Robotron (basically the point of the entire exercise ;-)
The Monitor works perfectly at this angle and didn't seem to suffer any heat problems at this point. Mind you the back of the machine is still open. It might get a little warmer when the back is on but not by much I think. Can always put in a fan into the back of the machine if needed.
The Joystick panel is just for show at the moment as it isn't wired up yet. ;-(
WIRING THE JOYSTICK PANEL
A word or warning.. you need a HEAP of wire for wiring up a joysick panel. Unlike 'Arcade' games there is no real common gound as such (ok if you really spent a day understanding the keyboard matrix then you might find some common items) so everything needs 2 wires.
Here are the key mapping I am using.. All have been tested for Ghosted keys (Joystick with buttons, and joystick with joystick). This is basically the Mame default except I am using O for Joy 2 up instead of the default 'I'. This allows me to enter 'OK' for mame games my moving the second joystick up and down.
And the Bottom Button Panel (just above the Door)
I have also wired up the spare button postions for both button areas though these are not fixed to any key ;-) as such, but they can be mapped in with minimal fuss
And the actual wiring for the joystick panel (the lower panel is wired up the same)
There are 46 wires just for the top panel. I terminated everything in Molex plugs so I can remove the controller if need be. Each plug is marked to allow for easy matching with it's other half. It took about 3 hours to wire up but each connector is crimped and soldered.
Here are and before and after shots of wiring up the keyboard. It took quiet a while to do it but is was fun.. I tested everything as I went and It worked first time when plugged into the actual machine.
I cut a hole in the back of the keyboard plastic to let all the wires out and it allowed me to screw it back together afterwards to give a complete keyboard and not some hack.. I was very happy with it to say the least.
I got a cheep 6 Watt Amplifier from Jaycar (electronics store).. It's made by some guy call 'Tung Tung' ;-). It takes in the low impedance sound card output and pumps it up to be driven by a speaker. Runs off anywhere between 4 and 16 volt. So looks like I will be using my switch mode power supply after all.
Got the sound card mounted and wired up in the machine.. It works very well as has good sound output.
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