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Author Topic: Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?  (Read 2077 times)

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CanadianRyGuy

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Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?
« on: January 04, 2020, 11:25:41 am »
Hey Everyone,
Been really enjoying following this forum even if a lot of the technical aspects kind of go over my head lol

Canít wait to see the final fruits of the labour of some of the projects that are in the works, maybe someone not so technical like myself can finally build an arcade shooter of their dreams!

Anyways, back to my question, I bought an arcade Cab a few years back that had been converted to a Big buck hunter. I have no intention of using the gun with the arcade board, are there ways of converting it for use with a PC? Or should I just sell it and put that towards something else.

Thanks!
Ryan

Zebra

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Re: Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2020, 01:59:28 pm »
There are a few ways of doing it depending on your budget, skill-level and available time.

Firstly, there are two types of gun used for big buck hunter. You need to know what you have as they use different tech. The old crt cabs used real light guns and the newer Big Buck HD cabs use IR guns with sensors around the monitor bezel. I'll assume you have real light guns for this response and that you intend to use a CRT for your PC based cab. If you don't, none of this applies.

I used a USB2Gun I/O board from an America's Army cab to use arcade light guns on a Windows PC. The Big Buck PCBs are essentially just PCs too and their light gun I/O boards connect via a regular USB cable and take sync from a vga cable. As far as I know, nobody has tried a Big Buck I/O on a regular Windows or Linux PC. You should try it. If it works, it will show up as an analog controller in Windows and you'll be able to use the Big Buck shotguns in Mame as a plug in n play solution.

If the big buck I/O doesn't work on your PC directly, set it up to run with your Big Buck PCB. Then use a 0-5v volt meter while waving the gun across the screen to find where on the I/O board it outputs the analog X Y signal. Connect the black connector on the volt meter to ground on the board and use the red wire to find the 0-5v. If you find the X Y wiper, you can connect it to your PC as an analog controller using a UHID (from Ultimarc) or as a mouse with an Arduino.

Another option is to find an old USB Act Labs gun on ebay. This is easily the most accurate PC light gun solution and the easiest to use. You can use it out the box or you can wire the sensor from the Big Buck guns to the Act Labs PCB. Just cut off the end of the hose that plugs into the I/O and connect ground, signal and 5v from the big buck gun sensor to ground, signal and 5v on the act labs PCB. You'll find them on the 3 sensor pins. Then connect trigger and ground to the act labs trigger and the pump / reload button and ground to button two on the Act labs PCB.

You can also use a Guncon 2 with the drivers (you can download from this site). It's the same process as for the Act labs gun except for needing special drivers.

CanadianRyGuy

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Re: Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2020, 10:02:01 am »
Hey Zebra,

Thanks for the reply.

You are correct in that my cab was an original TMNT that was used for Buck Hunter and that I converted back to TMNT, so the Buck Hunter stuff was extra.

Looking at the PCB for my Buck Hunter, I don't see USB being used anywhere. The gun connects to the board via a 6-pronged connector. I don't see a seperate I/O board either, just the main board and what looks like a video card with VGA going to the main board.
Same as this one:

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Re: Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2020, 08:34:54 pm »
Hey Zebra,

Thanks for the reply.

You are correct in that my cab was an original TMNT that was used for Buck Hunter and that I converted back to TMNT, so the Buck Hunter stuff was extra.

Looking at the PCB for my Buck Hunter, I don't see USB being used anywhere. The gun connects to the board via a 6-pronged connector. I don't see a seperate I/O board either, just the main board and what looks like a video card with VGA going to the main board.
Same as this one:


Ah, looks like you've got one of the older ones that connects the I/O via some kid of IDC or parallel port.

Not the end of the world. Connect everything and find ground and connect it to the black side of a 0-5v analog volt meter. Connect another cable to the red side to test each of the pins on that connector to see if you can find the X and Y wiper. When you touch it with the red cable, the needle on the volt meter will swing back and forward as you wave a light gun at the screen.

I'm doing the same now for a Guncon 3. When you find the right pin the needle with move like this:



If you find the X Y analog output pins, you can connect them to a PC using an Apac or UHID. This is worth a try before you get busy with one of the other options. Another and probably better process would be to find a pin out diagram on that board. The work may have already been done for you. It's info that is usually provided in the manual on the connection diagrams at the back.

bimm25e

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Re: Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2020, 01:01:07 pm »
Quote

If you find the X Y analog output pins, you can connect them to a PC using an Apac or UHID. This is worth a try before you get busy with one of the other options. Another and probably better process would be to find a pin out diagram on that board. The work may have already been done for you. It's info that is usually provided in the manual on the connection diagrams at the back.


You're saying I can plug a buck hunter shotgun into,an A-PAC to get lightguns to work on a pc outputting 640x480 on a CRT?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 01:03:43 pm by bimm25e »

Zebra

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Re: Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2020, 08:16:52 pm »
Quote

If you find the X Y analog output pins, you can connect them to a PC using an Apac or UHID. This is worth a try before you get busy with one of the other options. Another and probably better process would be to find a pin out diagram on that board. The work may have already been done for you. It's info that is usually provided in the manual on the connection diagrams at the back.


You're saying I can plug a buck hunter shotgun into,an A-PAC to get lightguns to work on a pc outputting 640x480 on a CRT?

You wouldn't connect the guns directly. You would connect the guns to the I/O board and the X Y wiper pins on the I/O to an Apac or UHID. This will work on any gun I/O that outputs a regular analog 0-5v for each axis. Not all I/O boards do this though.

I haven't tried a Big Buck hunter I/O board myself. You'd have to do some testing with a volt meter to see if you can find pins that swing between 0v and 5v when you aim the guns at the screen.

On the later big buck gun I/O boards, the output goes via a USB encoder so, the 0-5v for each axis for has to be taken before that USB chip in the circuit.


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Re: Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2020, 08:26:40 pm »
Translation:  Maybe

I'm not familiar enough with that older board to tell you for certain one way or another either. 

bimm25e

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Re: Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2020, 12:02:16 pm »
Quote

If you find the X Y analog output pins, you can connect them to a PC using an Apac or UHID. This is worth a try before you get busy with one of the other options. Another and probably better process would be to find a pin out diagram on that board. The work may have already been done for you. It's info that is usually provided in the manual on the connection diagrams at the back.


You're saying I can plug a buck hunter shotgun into,an A-PAC to get lightguns to work on a pc outputting 640x480 on a CRT?

You wouldn't connect the guns directly. You would connect the guns to the I/O board and the X Y wiper pins on the I/O to an Apac or UHID. This will work on any gun I/O that outputs a regular analog 0-5v for each axis. Not all I/O boards do this though.

I haven't tried a Big Buck hunter I/O board myself. You'd have to do some testing with a volt meter to see if you can find pins that swing between 0v and 5v when you aim the guns at the screen.

On the later big buck gun I/O boards, the output goes via a USB encoder so, the 0-5v for each axis for has to be taken before that USB chip in the circuit.


Ahhh, i get it. Haha it sounds like i could do this with a jamma board even instead of an I/O card.  Very interesting....

Zebra

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Re: Convert Buck Hunter Shotgun for Mame?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2020, 01:10:17 pm »
Quote

If you find the X Y analog output pins, you can connect them to a PC using an Apac or UHID. This is worth a try before you get busy with one of the other options. Another and probably better process would be to find a pin out diagram on that board. The work may have already been done for you. It's info that is usually provided in the manual on the connection diagrams at the back.


You're saying I can plug a buck hunter shotgun into,an A-PAC to get lightguns to work on a pc outputting 640x480 on a CRT?

You wouldn't connect the guns directly. You would connect the guns to the I/O board and the X Y wiper pins on the I/O to an Apac or UHID. This will work on any gun I/O that outputs a regular analog 0-5v for each axis. Not all I/O boards do this though.

I haven't tried a Big Buck hunter I/O board myself. You'd have to do some testing with a volt meter to see if you can find pins that swing between 0v and 5v when you aim the guns at the screen.

On the later big buck gun I/O boards, the output goes via a USB encoder so, the 0-5v for each axis for has to be taken before that USB chip in the circuit.


Ahhh, i get it. Haha it sounds like i could do this with a jamma board even instead of an I/O card.  Very interesting....

Jamma boards only output digital buttons so there is no way to connect guns to an Apac or UHID via a Jamma edge. Jamma PCBs use seperate (or built in) I/O boards for light guns, positional guns, race wheels, track balls etc and, they connect to dedicated headers on the PCB, not via the Jamma edge.

The JVS standard that replaced Jamma has analog inputs on the JVS control board but they still use separate I/O boards for guns. Think of the gun I/O pcb as being instead of the PCB inside a guncon 2 or an Aimtrak. An arcade light gun typically just has the photo diode inside the shell. The I/O board has all the processing chips. You can't bypass it.

The big question in terms of an arcade gun's compatibility with an Apac or UHID is what type of analog signal the gun board outputs. Any gun boards made for later JVS PCBs will likely work because a JVS control board expects a regular 0-5v for each axis just like an Apac and UHID. My USB2Gun is similar, except it essentially already has a built-in Apac (aka a USB encoder). My Star Trek gun I/O board outputs a regular analog signal via an older parallel port so it can work with a small hack.

To my knowledge, there hasn't been enough (or any) testing of other light gun I/O pcbs. It's possible that some use an I2C / "digital pot" like a Wii remote but I doubt it. From what I've seen, there is no reason to think the ones mentioned above are unique. I think there is a good chance that an analog signal can be pulled from Sega type 1 (real light gun) I/O boards because some of those games can use both type 1 and type 2. There are good reasons to think Raw Thrills gun boards also use generic analog signals.

If anyone here happens to test another gun I/O, please post the results. It's always good to have more options and to avoid buying boards that definitely don't work...