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Author Topic: WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work  (Read 940 times)

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Jimbo

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WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work
« on: August 09, 2018, 07:58:08 am »
A few years ago, I donated my first build, an upright cab with rotating CRT (thread here), to my workplace.  It wasn't getting used that much at home and we needed the space.  We have 50 employees at work and it gets a daily hammering now which is great.  There's a real competitive spirit with highscores changing all the time on a multitude of games. :)

Before:



After:





Over time, with lots of use, the joysticks frequently started seizing up and stopped working.  It was a pain to keep running out of coins and having to empty the coin box out all the time.  The CP looked ugly as it was unfinished, and nobody ever used the trackball.  4-way games were very popular but there was no 4-way dedicated stick.

Other issues were that it was running on Windows 7 (unhidden) and there were issues with resolution changes meaning I had to run the frontend (MALA) in low resolution instead of 640x480 (interlaced) which would give a better frontend UI with videos etc.  I had an ArcadeVGA card which I knew I could improve upon by running groovymame instead with a supported ATI card.

So I decided to replace the CP with a new one, with the following goals: -

 - Better joysticks...  The U360s were OK, but I'd recently tried the Dominux8's and they felt so good I had to have them. We rarely played anything that required analogue sticks anyway.
 - Coin buttons for P1 and P2 to save all the coin replenish crap...  Don't get me wrong, as a semi-purist I like inserting coins, but at work nobody else cares about such things - it's just a hassle.
 - Replace trackball with 4-way joystick.  Clearly Pac-man and others were the most popular so I added a 4-way Pac-Pro leaf joystick to the middle of the new CP.
 - Detachable... The new panel connects to the cab via a single USB cable.  There's a panel-mounted USB socket on the back, and the whole thing mounts on to the cab via brass inserts from below, so the entire CP can be taken off very easily and used as a standalone CP.
 - Make it look better than it did before, some nice artwork to fit the theme of the cab!
 - Buttons with leaf switches replacing the micro-leaf's I had from Ultimarc, just... well... because :)

Other changes: -
 - Windows 7 replaced with Arch Linux running GroovyArcade/GroovyMame
 - ArcadeVGA card replaced with an ATI X600
 - Frontend changed from MaLa to AttractMode as part of GroovyArcade
 - New Marquee

I went with a metal control panel top, because it made mounting the joysticks so much easier.  I got some 2mm thick mild steel off ebay and measured out and punched centre holes from my sketchup design.  Then for speed I cheated and took it to a local company to cut the holes and bend the panel.  The panel is mounted to the base box via small brass inserts and all the controls and the IPAC are connected to the metal panel, so I can easily take the whole top off for maintenance...







On the back is the USB connector so this can be used as a standalone CP too. It's very heavy!



It mounts onto the cab using the brass inserts on the bottom panel of the CP: -



Very happy with how it's turned out and everyone loves the new updates.  They don't notice *all* the subtle differences (groovymame vs arcadevga for example, leaf switches vs micro-leaf, etc), but the new joysticks are a hit.  Some even use the dedicated 4-way!  The cab now boots up in 3 seconds with GroovyArcade and the frontend is nice and slick with videos etc. Nobody asks me to empty the coin tray any more, and I can tweak the setup/installed games via SSH easily from my desk... so all-in-all it's a complete win! :)

Mike A

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Re: WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 08:06:21 am »
Nice work. It is good to see a cab getting regular use.

Drnick

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Re: WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 08:17:32 am »
A very nice choice of upgrades to your machine :) Looks good and nice to hear it gets a lot of use.  :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:  Maybe I should donate my bartop to work for a while, at least that way it would get some use.  I really should get round to installing the leafs into it.  We even have a spare standing desk I could put it on.

Jimbo

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Re: WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2018, 09:16:39 am »
A very nice choice of upgrades to your machine :) Looks good and nice to hear it gets a lot of use.  :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:  Maybe I should donate my bartop to work for a while, at least that way it would get some use.  I really should get round to installing the leafs into it.  We even have a spare standing desk I could put it on.

Go for it... but only if you're not too precious about it.  If you've built it like a brick sh**house and it'll stand up to constant physical abuse... then there shouldn't be a problem! :)

javeryh

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Re: WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2018, 09:39:32 am »
Wow - fantastic upgrades!  It must be awesome seeing your cab get played at work and enjoyed by so many people.  I like that you made changes based on people's playing habits (ditching the trackball and adding the 4-way).   :cheers:

yotsuya

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Re: WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2018, 09:48:40 am »
Looks great! Love the CP art design
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Jimbo

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Re: WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2018, 10:11:16 am »
Thanks guys - yes it's been a hit at work.  It clearly wasn't ready for the "industrial" use it got, but so far the new upgrades are holding up to some pretty aggressive play :)

DaOld Man

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Re: WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 09:36:36 am »
Great job Jimbo, and I only have one question:
Is your place hiring?

Jimbo

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Re: WFD Arcade - Refurbing/Updating my first build for Work
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2018, 03:59:30 pm »
Great job Jimbo, and I only have one question:
Is your place hiring?

:D  Staff retention has increased since the new panel was installed.... just sayin' ;)