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Author Topic: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?  (Read 7150 times)

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Luka

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VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« on: August 09, 2012, 06:11:01 pm »
Hello everyone I'm hoping someone here could help me out pretty please. Right I have a fully working Videomaster arcade cabinet which is currently running a Neo-Geo 1 Slot and works great, what I trying to do is hook up a PC with Mame and get it to run with all the controls, coin mech and screen from the cabinet. I just purchased these two convertors:

PC to Jamma Converter
- http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/120847093112?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2648

&

VGA to CGA Converter - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/110798005832?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2648

I have got the Mame PC ready to roll but I have come to a stumbling block with the convertors, I can't figure out where power cables connect too? I don't know if they connect to the PC PSU and you have to splice some molex cables or they connect straight to arcade cabinets PSU (which looks like this - http://www.gremlinsolutions.co.uk/gremimages/jammapowersupplysuper.jpg )?

Here is a image of the cables I'm puzzled by:

http://i50.tinypic.com/347v7zb.jpg

I have contacted the seller because I didn't get sent any instructions also all the questions I ask he doesn't answer them properly. I was wondering if anyone knows on what I have to do to get this all up and running?

Many thanks in advance to everyone that can help me :angel:

krick

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 01:25:02 am »
You probably should have spent more time reading and asking questions here before buying anything.

I think you are going to be VERY disappointed with the output from the hardware you purchased, especially the VGA to CGA converter.  What you really want is to have the video card in your PC generate true 15KHz signals for the monitor.  If you use the hardware you purchased to run MAME at normal PC resolutions and then send it through a video converter, it's going to look like blurry crap, to put it bluntly.


Here's what I think you need...

1) Ultimarc J-PAC - connects your video and controls to the PC using the existing JAMMA harness in your cabinet.

2a) Ultimarc ArcadeVGA 3000 video card - allows your PC to output 15KHz low-res signals for an arcade monitor.  Comes with custom Ultimarc video drivers.

2b) An ATI Radeon 4xxx series video card + modified drivers (called CRT_EmuDriver.  See my signature for info.)

You only need either 2a _OR_ 2b, not both.
2a is easier to set up, but it supports less video resolutions.
2b is harder to set up, but it supports many, many more video resolutions.

3) You're also going to need some sort of audio amplifier to push the PC audio through the existing cabinet speakers.  There's no simple plug and play solution for this but most people take a cheap pair of PC speakers and hack them up and use the amplifier board.   Here's what I did...
http://mame.3feetunder.com/pcspeakerhack/

Finally, you should run a custom build of MAME that's designed for an arcade cabinet.  The two choices that come to mind are:

1) CabMAME - you need to generate INI files for each game using a utility like Gavin Benson's Avres.
2) GroovyMAME - generates resolution info on the fly, so no need to generate individual INI files for each game.

I think GroovyMAME is the best choice of the two, but it takes more work to set it up and get it working optimally.


For further reading, check out the post I made in this thread...
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,121859.0.html
Hantarex Polo 15KHz
Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 2GB (GCN)
GroovyMAME 0.197.017h_d3d9ex
CRT Emudriver & CRT Tools 2.0 beta 13 (Crimson 16.2.1 for GCN cards)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.8GHz
ASUS Z87M-PLUS Motherboard

Luka

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 03:42:56 am »
I feel ever so gutted now :'( I have just pretty much blown 60 on these items gettting them all the way from USA. Now that I have these naff devices I might aswell see how bad it works. Krick or anyone else are you able to tell me what to do with those power cables I have shown in the image above please?

Thank you very much Krick for all your information about J-Pac/ArcadeVGA I did look at that when I started but I wanted to try and do it cheap just incase it goes wrong, but I guess thats backfired and you get what you pay for :(

If I do get this up and running and it is as crap as you say it is I'll sell on the parts and save up for the proper gear.

krick

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 11:48:18 am »
I'm not sure but those power cables probably need +5v from the PC power supply.  Check out the documentation or look for markings on the boards themselves.

Assuming it's +5v, you can tap power from your PC power supply on one of the Molex drive connectors.

If you want nice looking output as cheaply as possible, you could pick up an older ATI Radeon X300 based card.  They're pretty cheap on Ebay.  They work with the modified CRT_EmuDriver too.

There's some useful information in this thread...
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,121728.0.html

Looking at the ebay auction you linked, that PC to JAMMA card comes with a VGA cable that you can hook directly to a Radeon X300 if you're using the modified CRT_EmuDriver drivers.

EDIT:  Did that JAMMA adapter thing come with software?  It plugs into the PC parallel port, so you'd have to have some sort of software running that listens for input on the parallel port and translates it into MAME inputs.

For comparison, the J-PAC plugs into the PC keyboard port (or optionally USB) and the PC sees it as a keyboard.  It's pre-programmed so that the arcade controls map to the normal MAME keyboard presses so that there's very little setup involved.

EDIT AGAIN:  I found this thread that may prove interesting.  This guy appears to have the same (or very similar) part and it's DOS-only...
http://www.mameworld.info/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Number=287829
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 12:03:13 pm by krick »
Hantarex Polo 15KHz
Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 2GB (GCN)
GroovyMAME 0.197.017h_d3d9ex
CRT Emudriver & CRT Tools 2.0 beta 13 (Crimson 16.2.1 for GCN cards)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.8GHz
ASUS Z87M-PLUS Motherboard

Luka

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 07:11:18 pm »
The convertors came with no instructions or software, I asked the seller about the power cables and all he said was this "yellow is 12vdc and red is 5vdc". I did manage to find a manual online but still not much use to me ( http://www.arcadomaniashop.com/WebRoot/Store/Shops/es115644_ArcadomaniaShop/4EF2/1002/0B1A/9533/CAB4/50ED/8960/355A/PC_to_JAMMA_Manual.English.pdf ) Mine is the same as the image in the PDF but mine hasnt got a molex connection, just  2 bare blank cables (like in the picture I posted above).

I wish I never brought this thing now  :banghead:

MonMotha

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2012, 01:14:30 am »
Haha, that thing's worthless.  Its design absolutely requires drivers of some sort, but they don't include any, don't tell you where you can get them, and they don't provide any information for you to write your own.  What are you supposed to do, reverse engineer the thing?

I know I've seen the design before, so you can probably find something for it.  IIRC, it was originally design by somebody either in Brazil or Spain, so you're not going to find a ton of English documentation.  You can probably make it work with Windows, but I don't know that anybody has any pre-cooked software to do it.

The design is very simplistic.  I think it's basically just some buffers hooked up to the parallel port, and you use the handshaking lines to select which one's active then do a data read, but don't hold me to that.  It's probably going to be harder to stuff the inputs back into the Windows input subsystem (so they show up as keypresses, joypad, etc.) than to write a little program to hammer the thing and poll for the data.  I guess if you were particularly masochistic, you could write a WDM keyboard driver to talk to it, but I hope you know what you're doing or like BSODs if you go that route.

Honestly, it's probably worthless for your application.  I'd just get a JPAC or similar.  I've got a JAMMA keyboard encoder design if you want a different option, but it's not nearly so cheap (it does a lot more than a JPAC, but you probably don't need any of the extra features).  You could also build a breakout harness using a JAMMA fingerboard and hook up to a Keywiz, GP-WIZ, IPAC, etc.

Luka

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2012, 03:43:30 am »
Thanks for the information MonMotha, I completely regret getting these pieces of crap now :-[ I saw a Youtube video with someone who has the same device and he shows you had to install some software called "Snes Pad" or something, the video was spanish so didn't help much. I don't have any programing knowledge other than HTML so I wouldn't be making any software for it. I think the way it works is it has preset commands for the inputs from the Jamma harness for example a credit being registers and send a keystroke of #3 to the PC. I'm just trying my hardest to get them powered up and then try and work out the problems, but to be honest I'm at my witts end with these pieces of rubbish. Major lession learnt, don't be a cheap ass when it comes to buying arcade stuff  :lol

rCadeGaming

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2012, 09:16:17 pm »
I think you are going to be VERY disappointed with the output from the hardware you purchased, especially the VGA to CGA converter.  What you really want is to have the video card in your PC generate true 15KHz signals for the monitor.  If you use the hardware you purchased to run MAME at normal PC resolutions and then send it through a video converter, it's going to look like blurry crap, to put it bluntly.

Agreed.  What you'll end up with is the native resolution upscaled to 640x480 by MAME, then downscaled to 320x240 by the converter.  Information is lost twice. 

The problem is that classic arcade games generally don't run at a native resolution of exactly 320x240, but at something around that.  If the native resolution was exactly 320x240, scaling would be 1 to 1 and present no problems, but almost no games at all run at exactly that.

You need to be running the native resolution from MAME all the way through to the monitor with no scaling.  If you're currently running NEO-GEO then you know what great low-res looks like, and this is what's needed to get it from MAME.

Here's what I think you need...

1) Ultimarc J-PAC - connects your video and controls to the PC using the existing JAMMA harness in your cabinet.

2a) Ultimarc ArcadeVGA 3000 video card - allows your PC to output 15KHz low-res signals for an arcade monitor.  Comes with custom Ultimarc video drivers.

2b) An ATI Radeon 4xxx series video card + modified drivers (called CRT_EmuDriver.  See my signature for info.)

You only need either 2a _OR_ 2b, not both.
2a is easier to set up, but it supports less video resolutions.
2b is harder to set up, but it supports many, many more video resolutions.

Agreed, especially about an ArcadeVGA being the much less flexible option.  In addition to CRT_EmuDriver, I would also suggest Soft15kHz and a compatible graphics card.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 09:20:20 pm by rCadeGaming »

Luka

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2012, 05:47:57 am »
Alrighty then I'm gonna drop the CGA Convertor and try and work out something with this  "CRT_EmuDriver" only thing is that leads to more problems:

1, I currently only have a Geforce 7600 GS Graphics Card installed, also as far as I'm aware it is a AGP card not PCI-E as the mobo inside this MAME PC is rather old ( http://www.pcchips.com.tw/PCCWebSite/Products/ProductsDetail.aspx?detailid=343&CategoryID=1&DetailName=Specification&MenuID=7&LanID=0 )I rescued this PC from my parents when I upgraded them to there current PC, so I know I could of gone and done a fresh build but I didn't expect to run into so many problems :(

2, Just had a look on good old ebay for an AGP Radeon card ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?LH_ItemCondition=4&_sop=1&_sacat=0&_nkw=radeon+agp&LH_PrefLoc=1) and by the looks of it the X300-X600, HD 4xxx cards are all PCI-E so I'm screwed as all the other ones I guess have issues with the CRT EmuDriver.

Do you guys think it's a dead loss and I should sell on the bits I have currently got and save up for some proper bits like J-Pac/ArcadeVGA or even go for one of the xxx in one mini systems?

Thank you very much everyone for you all helping me out, you guys are asweome one here.

krick

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2012, 10:51:16 am »
Alrighty then I'm gonna drop the CGA Convertor and try and work out something with this  "CRT_EmuDriver" only thing is that leads to more problems:

1, I currently only have a Geforce 7600 GS Graphics Card installed, also as far as I'm aware it is a AGP card not PCI-E as the mobo inside this MAME PC is rather old. I rescued this PC from my parents when I upgraded them to there current PC, so I know I could of gone and done a fresh build but I didn't expect to run into so many problems :(

2, Just had a look on good old ebay for an AGP Radeon card and by the looks of it the X300-X600, HD 4xxx cards are all PCI-E so I'm screwed as all the other ones I guess have issues with the CRT EmuDriver.


CRT_EmuDriver works with AGP cards.  I think that the most recommended AGP card is the Radeon 9250, which should be plentiful on Ebay.  I just suggested two PCIe cards because I assumed you were using a newer computer.

If you have a GeForce card, you might want to investigate Soft15KHz instead of CRT_EmuDriver as Soft15KHz works with most older Nvidia cards.  More info...

http://wiki.arcadecontrols.com/wiki/Custom_display_modes_%28Windows%29_-_Soft-15khz
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,66402.0.html


Regardless of which way you go with the video, you should definitely get a J-PAC from Ultimarc to connect your arcade controls to the PC.  When you purchase it, I recommend getting the PS/2 cable rather than the USB, but that's a personal preference.  Ultimarc is in the UK, by the way.

http://www.ultimarc.com/jpac.html
Hantarex Polo 15KHz
Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 2GB (GCN)
GroovyMAME 0.197.017h_d3d9ex
CRT Emudriver & CRT Tools 2.0 beta 13 (Crimson 16.2.1 for GCN cards)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.8GHz
ASUS Z87M-PLUS Motherboard

rCadeGaming

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Re: VGA to CGA Newbie Help?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2012, 05:57:17 pm »
If you have a GeForce card, you might want to investigate Soft15KHz instead of CRT_EmuDriver as Soft15KHz works with most older Nvidia cards.

Yup.  Your current card is listed as compatible with Soft15kHz:

http://community.arcadeinfo.de/showthread.php?7925-Getestete-Grafikkarten/page3

Don't waste your money on an ArcadeVGA, your current card + Soft15kHz + powerstrip will be much more capable.

  
 

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