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Author Topic: Mini Driving Cab - Outrun Theme  (Read 417 times)

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mike5im5

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Mini Driving Cab - Outrun Theme
« on: March 09, 2017, 01:08:38 pm »
Just finishing a mini driving cabinet as a surprise gift for a friend. It's been one of the trickier projects for several reasons. A few details below:

Details:
 - Construction from chipboard (I found this gripped the t-moulding better than mdf) and plexiglass which was bent to shape for front and back of the machine
 - Powered by a broken dell e4300 laptop from eBay (screen was busted)
 - 10inch 4:3 lcd screen from Amazon
 - Thrustmaster Challenge Steering wheel and pedals from eBay
 - Re-positioned on/off switch
 - Autohotkey scripts for controlling volume with L1 + Padels
 - JoyToKey to map controls for various emulators plus the steering wheel d-pad and buttons emulate mouse in windows
 - Autohotkey scripts to bring up on-screen keyboard
 - Hyperspin Frontend with many custom game themes
 - Custom batch and HTA scripts to run games with splash screen containing controls/instructions
 - H2Seq to map the gears to sequencial paddles
 - 5v LED strip to backlight Marquee
 - Printed artwork using vinyl and my inkjet printer

Challenges
 - Controls. I played with several options including making my own wheel with potentiometer. My favourite controls where actually a customised PS3 steering wheel accessory with a DS3 gamepad. Using the internal giroscope for the steering. This gave excellent accuracy with very little dead zone. However, I decided to go with the small (aprox 8 inch) thrustmaster challenge wheel as this gave the best aesthetic. Also this being a gift, it's the most robust solution. I'll definately be using the DS3 method in my next mini driving cabinet though. PSX controls were mapped using the NECon plugin.

 - Screen. I wanted a 4:3 screen to give proper retro appeal. However, powering this from the old laptop was going to be the biggest challenge. In other projects I've used a 7inch screen which can run off 5v from the USB. The 2 issues with this is I felt the screen looked a little small and the laptop didn't have HDMI and therefore I needed and additional vga->hdmi converter. Given the space and available usb available, I opted for a 10inch display which runs on 12v. I then set to work with my multi-meter trying to find a suitable rail on the laptop motherboard for power. This was pretty fruitless and getting power from the battery connection looked my only solution. Also this would mean I would have to separately turn on/off the laptop and screen. Then I had a stroke of luck, the LCD backlight control board for the original broken screen had a 19v supply available. Using a variable step down buck I was able to convert this to 12v! This means the new screen turns on/off with the laptop.

 - Cooling. Originally the plan was to remove the motherboard entirely from the case and mount inside. However I found the components can run pretty hot on these ultra portable laptops. The fans are designed to pull air through the existing casing so I decided to leave most of this intact and mount it sideways in the back of the machine. There was JUST enough room for this. The power button was removed and mounted just below the marquee. I would have preferred it else where but couldn't find any suitable longer ribbon cable.

Games

 - Mame Classics including Final Lap (1-3), Grand prix star, Outrun, Chase HQ, Special Criminal Investigations, Iron Man Stewart Off Road Racing, Super Sprint and Virtua Racing.
 - SEGA Model2 - Daytona USA, Sega Rally, Touring Cars, Super GT 24, OverRev and ManxTT
 - PC Games - Crazy Taxi 3, Outrun 2 Coast 2 Coast
 - Playstation - Ridge Racer Hi-Spec, Rage Racer, Ridge Racer Type4, Colin McRae Rally 2.0 and Wipeout 2097

Overall I'm pretty happy with the final product. One of the coolest features given it's built on a laptop is it's completely portable and will run for 2-4 hours on battery. Also link play works for model2 (yet to try Outrun2 but this could also work). I hope my mate appreciates the effort (gonna be hard to let this one go)!

More pics to follow...





ugleymatt

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Re: Mini Driving Cab - Outrun Theme
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2017, 06:22:26 pm »
Well that is just fantastic!!!

leapinlew

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Re: Mini Driving Cab - Outrun Theme
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2017, 07:46:20 pm »
Looks good. I'm curious what front end you use. How does Super Sprint play with that wheel?

firedance

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Re: Mini Driving Cab - Outrun Theme
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2017, 12:40:30 am »
looks like hyperspin front end :)

Hawkeye71

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Re: Mini Driving Cab - Outrun Theme
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2017, 03:07:29 am »
. How does Super Sprint play with that wheel?

Yes I'm wondering that. And Pole Position if that's the old school arcade one under there.

mike5im5

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Re: Mini Driving Cab - Outrun Theme
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2017, 06:03:34 am »
Looks good. I'm curious what front end you use. How does Super Sprint play with that wheel?

I've tweaked the analog settings and played around a bit and I would say it plays "acceptable" and at least as good if not better than any joystick/thumbstick options. Obviously not as good as a proper 360 wheel you can spin. I was happy with that as although the original arcade controls were great (spinning the wheels, grabbing at the right point etc). A lot of my memories of playing supersprint was from the Atari ST port so kinda used to timing turns with digital controls. As an "all in one" it works. But no perfect substitute for dedicated game controls. Same goes for Pole position and Road Blasters.

Wheel is really great for model2 and PC games however, even given it's small size and lack of FF. Also titles like Colin McRae 2.0 work really well with that NeCon setup. GT2 and RR games not quite so perfect. But still very playable.

I think it's all a balance and I could easily spend more time refining it.

Hawkeye71

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Re: Mini Driving Cab - Outrun Theme
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2017, 12:45:07 pm »
Well well. I'll have a play with my 270 then. I assumed it wasn't possible from comments I read.

Beautiful cab there.

  
 

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