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Author Topic: My 29inch CRT standup cabinet  (Read 1045 times)

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GIRFT1

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My 29inch CRT standup cabinet
« on: November 16, 2020, 07:21:27 pm »
Hi
I would like to share my build project with this group as i have spent so many hours /days/weeks viewing the forums and learnt such a huge amount from its members. I first discovered MAME about 15 years ago and enjoyed being reminded of my youth - donkey kong, track and field, Raiden, street fighter. Life got in the way until I began thinking again about building my own cabinet for retro gaming.
I have limited computer / electrical  knowledge and didn't own a windows PC until 4 months ago, however I am keen to learn and know where to find help.
So about 9 months ago I began planning the build and buying some of the bits that I (thought) I would need.

I knew i would only be satisfied with the project if it had a 15 kHz CRT monitor so I figured I would try and buy as much glass space as possible and waited patiently for a 29inch sony crt to appear on ebay. I wanted a 29inch because i wanted to play vertical games and thought that would give the best fit. I bought a sony trinitron 29 inch 4:3 (KVA2942U) which is a "Super" trinitron - still not really sure what that means - i couldn't find very much information about this tv on the internet but now i'm fairly sure it is not a 100Hz model and thats about it. These units are very heavy!! This sat in my garage until i found a PC.





The PC i chose form ebay was a win10/ i5 / 256ssd / 1TB hd / and it came with an nvidia card which i swapped for and AMD R9 380 graphics card. I now know think this level card was unnecessary - i thought it would help with Bigbox front end use - but appreciate now that this is probably not the case. If i could choose again i would have gone for a faster processor instead of a better graphics card. I then began trying to connect the PC to my CRT. This link was crucial to my basic understanding of how and why and I read this many times - https://www.aussiearcade.com/forum/arcade/m-a-m-e-emulation-projects-and-discussion/89704-a-guide-to-connecting-your-windows-pc-to-an-sd-crt-tv-pvm-or-arcade-monitor

I found an old SCART cable and created a VGA (screw terminals) socket  to SCART . After a bit more research I found that connecting one of the SCART pins to a 12v supply (from an unused PC molex connector) will make the tv power up on the correct AV channel without the need to reach for the remote. My old TV seemed to work fairly well, there is some geometry distortion - but i only noticed this when looking at a test pattern. The one thing that did cause me concern was the amount of flickering present especially when looking at large areas of white against dark colours. This however is not a problem when viewing 240p games and only really problematic when viewing webpages on 480x680. It may well be that all crt's suffer from this and i just hadn't seen a crt picture for so long i had forgotten. Setting up the CRT with CRT Emudriver was fairly easy and some of my problems were down to me not reading the guides properly- this one was also very helpful - https://cdcruze.com/2019/03/retroarch-and-crt-emudriver-setup-guide/

I then began looking into the software. I choose Launch box and payed for a year's worth of Big Box. I wasn't that hugely impressed with launch box form a visual point of view, however with BigBox applied the system it looks great and functions really well! I wanted to be able to play some early console games NES/SNES so spent some time with Retroarch (here  I lost many weeks!!!) and it was the most frustrating step of the project so far. I found retroarch kept messing up with the TV resolutions after the games had finished - I still feel I've a long way to go and perhaps stand alone emulators without retroarch are the way to go.

I finally got the the software setup at least part of the way there and began wanting to move on to the next step. I decided that i would decase the CRT - it somehow felt a much more professional way to do the project rather than simply placing the tv in the cabinet with its plastic bezel.
The TV was filthy inside with 25 years buildup of dirt and dust. I took lots and lots of photographs before i started to disassemble it prior to cleaning and even then there were points when i thought i wouldn't be able to put it back together again. I had read that you can place the circuit boards in a dishwasher - i wasn't brave enough and simply washed them in warm water under  the tap. I left them in an airing cupboard for a week or so before connecting them back up. The worst part was removing the anode cap from the tube I thought i had damaged the glass despite being very careful.

With the tube face down on a table i built a wooden frame around it - the tv i was using had four very sturdy brackets on each corner so it was fairly straight forward. I then made a tray for the chassis and strengthened  the construct with two metal struts.

Then came the moment of truth - i reattached the anode cap, applied some new silicone grease and ------- i couldn't believe  it powered up and i was able to view the tv menu - result!!!!  :)





bobbyb13

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Re: My 29inch CRT standup cabinet
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2020, 02:33:12 am »
You'll be stoked you did the extra work to get a CRT in there!
Well done.
Now just don't mess it up with a frankenpanel
 :lol
Why'd you kick me?
Where's your brain?

GIRFT1

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Re: My 29inch CRT standup cabinet
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2020, 04:57:05 pm »
Hopefully No Frankenpanel - although I can see how they might  happen by accident - keep adding thinking it will give a better experience. 2 player only possibly 4 admin buttons (plus player start and coin) -some might say this is part way there. At the moment im looking for reasons not to put a trackball on. I have noticed that the majority of projects on here seem to have one installed. I didn't play many arcade games all those years ago with a trackball.

MiteWiseacre

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Re: My 29inch CRT standup cabinet
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2020, 02:00:57 am »
  Very good progress! I find the trackball most useful for navigating Windows, occasionally for a game. If you solve running console emulators in 240p let me know.

Cynicaster

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Re: My 29inch CRT standup cabinet
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2020, 10:59:01 am »

I then began looking into the software. I choose Launch box and payed for a year's worth of Big Box. I wasn't that hugely impressed with launch box form a visual point of view, however with BigBox applied the system it looks great and functions really well! I wanted to be able to play some early console games NES/SNES so spent some time with Retroarch (here  I lost many weeks!!!) and it was the most frustrating step of the project so far. I found retroarch kept messing up with the TV resolutions after the games had finished - I still feel I've a long way to go and perhaps stand alone emulators without retroarch are the way to go.


I run Bigbox as the front end solution for my living room console emu PC and I love it.  It strikes a great balance between usability and gloss and it runs fine on pretty low-powered systems (even an old Intel Atom based tablet I have). 

As for Retroarch, I feel your pain.  Overall it's a great project and I'm grateful to have it available, but it's got some idiosyncrasies that can be frustrating to say the least.  Video resolution seems to be a particularly weird area for Retroarch, as I too struggled with it for hours before just giving up.  I was trying to run RA on an old PC with NVIDIA video card and it worked like a champ on PC monitors and older 1080p TVs, but when I hooked the same PC up to my 4k TV via HDMI, RA kept trying to force the resolution higher which caused all games to stutter and become unplayable.  I'd go in and edit the CFG files and manually save, but the next time I'd load RA, it would revert to the  higher resolution and I'd have to manually change it again.  I believe it has to do with the "gl" video driver or something like that, I don't know - like I said, I just threw in the towel and moved the rig over to a 1080 TV where it is running fine. 

 

GIRFT1

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Re: My 29inch CRT standup cabinet
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2020, 11:32:41 am »
Ive spent some time looking for cabinet designs that are similar to what i wanted to achieve. Eventually I found a silhouette that was close and imported it to Sketchup. The payed trail version was better than the free version as it lacks a fair amount of  functionality but it still gave me an idea for sizes and angles.


GIRFT1

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Re: My 29inch CRT standup cabinet
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2020, 11:46:34 am »
The final design for the sides changed a fair amount between sketchup and marking the outline up on wood. I kept changing the angles until I was happy. I used various mugs/bowls/kitchen utensils to draw the curves. I went to a local arcade and measured the control panel heights and distance from monitor to controls. I aimed for a 100cm mid CP height. Ive now realised that using a 29inch monitor may have the disadvantage of being slightly too big as the player must be at a minimum distance away from the screen this then begins to dictate other distances/angles and shape of the cabinet.

This image is  fairly close to the actual cutline that was marked up on the wood. I still haven't decided how the CP will sit on the cabinet.

GIRFT1

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Re: My 29inch CRT standup cabinet
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2021, 11:53:20 am »
Some delay in progress over Christmas. Also had an incident with my new router - the motor housing cracked when trying to remove a stuck router bit, it was reputable make and the company have now repaired the router with minimal fuss. I had bought a 1/4 inch palm router and in retrospect a 1/2 inch plunge router would have been a better buy for this project.

Ive decided on MDF with a black wood effect laminate. After looking at the quality of 18mm mdf in large uk DIY stores I wasn't impressed - edges seem very soft. I therefore went to a kitchen manufacturer and bought some pieces of "deep router MDF" the sheets are heavy and i had originally planned to route in channels for the back/ front and top panels  to slot into the side panels - however im now not convinced this is necessary and ive yet to see a build on this forum using this method. Despite the weight the mdf sheets look very sturdy and imreally pleased with the quality.

Cutting the first side went well i used a circular saw and a jigsaw with a new blade for the curves. I was surprised at how well the jigsaw cut the MDF with care it would be perfectly possible to use only the jigsaw but the circular saw definitely mad the straight cuts easier (and more fun)  :D.

The second side was made by drawing round the first side onto a fresh sheet of MDF and rough cutting (within 5mm) the second side. Then the two pieces were firmly clamped together and a flush cutting router used to create an identical copy. Well almost - I didnt take care which direction i was moving the router (there is clearly a right way and a wrong way) the wrong way can cause the bit to grab the wood and create a divot. Fortunately the T moulding will cover it up.

I havent quite decided how the CP will sit on the cabinet yet so the CP support section will be changed in time.

Standing both sides vertical was a great moment as i could see the shape of the cabinet for the first time.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 12:22:53 pm by GIRFT1 »

GIRFT1

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Re: My 29inch CRT standup cabinet
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2021, 06:56:30 pm »
Started to build the base.I think having two recessed wheels at the back would allow me to manoeuvre the cab around the garage more easily and adjust its position in its final resting place. I was planning on two static adjustable feet at the front. The wheels should only add about 1cm to the overall height and allow for some downlighting to be fitted if i decide to.
Ive chosen wheels that many other projects  seem to have used on this forum. - for example Flynns arcade - http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,135116.msg1443363.html#msg1443363

During the routing I managed to break the router - probably my fault by using a bit with not enough shank to get the the depth i was after. The collet therefore some how became stuck and the motor housing cracked after attempting to remove the bit.

« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 07:02:29 pm by GIRFT1 »