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Author Topic: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig  (Read 6594 times)

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romshark

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Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« on: April 13, 2021, 03:05:06 pm »
Since Iíve built Half-Shell, my number of real arcade PCBs has over doubled. Trust me, playing them on my cabinet, with the CRT, controls, coin door, ect. is still very awesome.

However, the need to be able to run the games outside the cabinet is growing. I have boards that need some repair, and working on them at the cabinet isnít cutting it. Even with a JAMMA extension loom, thereís no table to work on, and the lighting isnít very good.

While I donít see myself playing my arcade boards on a large modern TV (beyond the novelty of it), I could use it to play the games at my friends houses (itís easier than bringing a whole cabinet). It would also allow me to record or stream real arcade PCBs with my PC.

Working on the JammaPC (a Windows PC with a Jamma connector) would be easier too. The way I built it, the DVI port is near impossible to get a cable into (and I think since flashing the ATOM-15 edited BIOS, the DVI port isnít working anyway). So CGA out the JAMMA edge is the only way to get an image. With this testing rig, I could work on it, and leave a real game in my cabinet.

So, Iíve been gathering parts to build a self-contained, ďportableĒ (still required AC power) testing rig. The plan is to have everything to run a game in it, but have connectors for external displays, sound systems, and controllers.

Thus, the portable arcade testing rig / Supergun, now named project Voyager, has started. I came up with the name while at work (and thinking of Star Trek shows, but ďEnterpriseĒ doesnít seem to fit this project.)

The First Testing Rig

This build is not my first attempt at a ďSupergunĒ device. Back in 2009, I made a small, crappy box for testing JAMMA PCBs.



Featuring a cheap LCD screen (originally designed to snap on to a Nintendo GameCube, making it more portable), the display is washed out if not looking at it at the perfect angle. It even had a row of pixels not working before I re-purposed it for this project. Video is converted by a Jrok Encoder, allowing for composite, component, and S-Video out. Sticking out near the bottom, the Jrok has a composite cable running back inside to the LCD, but could be disconnected to make way for an external display. Sound was limited to a small speaker that stopped working, and I never bothered to fix it.

Powering the whole thing was an old PC power supply. Meaning it had no adjustable +5 volts, and no -5 volts. The mess of pushbuttons on the top allowed for complete navigation in game service, mimicking Test, coin buttons, Service, P1 joystick directions, start, and first 3 action buttons, plus P2 start and action button 1. The P2 buttons were included for service menus that needed them (example ďpress P1 and P2 Start to exitĒ). The mess of pushbuttons was not meant for actual gameplay. The side offers 2 15-pin connectors for hooking up external controllers (using my controller pinout), as well as a single coin counter for both players.

This box never worked very well and collected dust over the years. Parts will be scavenged for the new testing unit.

Part 0: Gathering the major components

Some of the parts I already have, but there were a few key things I needed. I started with the LCD. Purchased last year, I went with a VSDisplay 13.3Ē IPS LCD, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, purchased off Amazon.  This board takes both VGA and HDMI inputs. I know it's widescreen, but I think it still suits my needs at an acceptable price.



(Donít mind the red text at the bottom. Itís printed on the protective film thatís still on the screen).

Amazingly, I was testing it with the Naomi (which can output 31 or 15 Khz), and the LCD worked with both settings. I then tried it with my Simpsons board and the LCD worked directly with it.
I do still plan on having convertor boards for external displays anyway, so I do plan to use one for the LCD. The specs for the controller on Amazon donít mention 15 Khz or CGA, so I donít want to rely on that working with every game.

I picked up some thin speakers. Theyíre actually made by the same company as the LCD, and designed to plug into the LCD controller. I plan to hook the speakers up differently though (so I donít have to use an on screen display to adjust the volume.)



I also picked up a CGA to HDMI convertor. So in total I have the Jrok (outputs composite, component, and S-Video), a CGA to VGA convertor, and a CGA to HDMI convertor. For this project, I decided to use the VGA and HDMI boards, as those are the displays Iíd more likely use when working on boards. HDMI would also work with my Elgato video capture unit. I may still have a way to use the Jrok plugged in as an external unit to this setup, but the HDMI and VGA boards will be built in.



I looked for a case big enough for the LCD, and deep enough for the JAMMA power supply. I found this at Harbor Freight. I probably could have saved money by ordering online, but I wanted to get going on this project. The case just felt right anyway. The grey panels are screwed in and can be removed, making modifications a lot easier.

Oddly enough, I didnít even realize the case name was ďVoyagerĒ until after I came up with the project name.  I came up with that name separately, while thinking of the portability of this setup.



Before doing anything, I cut some cardboard the same size is the case innards. I then figured out a rough layout of the major components. Things are still subject to change at this state, and I realize I forgot things like the audio amplifier. Also little things, like the LCD will be centered, the speakers will be one on each side of the LCD, and the VGA / LCD boards will be lined up better. Still, I now had a plan. Oh, the empty space on the bottom one is for holding the controllers and the JAMMA harness.

romshark

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2021, 03:08:46 pm »
Part 1: High Voltage

I decided to start with the energy infrastructure, working first with the high voltage, then the low voltage sides.



After removing the lower inner liner, I cut out a hole and fit the power socket assembly. This all-in-one unit has the power input, illuminated power switch, and a spot for a fuse (plus a spare). This is actually the exact same type as I used in Half-Shell, as they came in a two-pack. I just had this one in my electronics parts storage until now.

Wires were soldered to the back (protected by heat-shrink insulation) to allow everything to work properly, and with enough wiring to get to the next part.




This setup is for the switches and sockets. Legs are on the front only, as the rear is screwed directly into the back of the case.



Next, I installed the E-stop button. Some people may be familiar with these as an emergency cutoff on industrial equipment. I myself am familiar from working in an assembly plant for 6 years. In the event of a problem, I (or anyone else) can slam that button in, shutting off power to the rest of the setup. Once the problem has been fixed, rotating the knob clockwise will cause it to pop back up, resetting the circuit. In case of an issue with a game, hopefully I can save any PCBs before the magic blue smoke is released.



I installed the Power supply, bolting the support feet to the inside of the case. I plan to secure it further once itís completely wired up. It shouldnít have an issue laying on that side, as inside thereís a solid plastic sheet blocking the vents on that side anyway (probably to insulate the board from the metal case). This is a Wei-Ya WY-03CM, and was one of two I ordered years ago (the other I used in Half-Shell).
The white wires coming out are from the potentiometer spot. I de-soldered the pot that adjusts the +5V, and will place it in a different spot.

Hard to see in this pic, but the PSU for the LCD screen is right below the arcade PSU, zip-tied in place.

Both PSUs are hard-wired to the switches in the upper-left. The top switch controls the LCD power, the bottom one switches between the arcade PSU, or the outlets next to it. The outlets are for systems that have their own power supply (my JammaPC and my Sega Naomi setup.)

I then soldered the potentiometer to the wires from the JAMMA PSU, mounting it to an old breadboard that had been used for other projects. I used a picture from before de-soldering to make sure I was going to the right pins (though worst case scenario the control would be backwards). I can trim down the breadboard in the future, and Iíll add quick-disconnects to the pot wires.

Now to prep for the big moment. I borrowed the backup fuse from Half-Shell (Iím sure I have more somewhere, but just took this one for now.) Tested the fuse with a meter to make sure it was good, and installed it in the power input assembly. Also took an old PC power cable and plugged it into Voyager.

Before plugging it into the wall, I used the continuity meter to check my connections, making sure there were no short circuits and that connections were working as expected. I found no shorts between any of the three pins with the switches in various positions.

So, I put a house wiring tester in the outlets and plugged Voyager into the wall. Everything worked perfectly.



So this ends the high-voltage section. Iíll make panels and use outlet covers to make things safer later, and I'll cut vent holes and add a small cooling fan for the power supply units. Next though, Iím going to work on the low-voltage infrastructure.

Zebidee

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2021, 12:23:09 am »
Cool project   8)
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romshark

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2021, 02:07:39 pm »
Work has been keeping me quite busy, so I havenít had as much chance to work on this as Iíd like. Still, Iím chugging along as I find time.

Also, despite me posting that the next part would be low voltage section, it turned out to be almost entirely about the physical structure.

In the last post, I forgot to mention the part about the inner lower panel. I found that, when the inner lower panel is removed, the lid doesnít close properly, and the latches didnít work right. So, I cut just the rim of the insert off. The rim has screws, so keeping it secure to the case was easy.



I used one of the dividers that came with the case to divide the power supply area. Also made a panel for the front of the high-voltage area, but Iím going to make another one that runs all the way to the divider.



I cut the original grey insert to fit the remaining lower area. This lower panel will hold the terminal blocks for wiring, then another panel will cover it to hold the JAMMA harness and controllers. The wood blocks are just placed on there at this point to get an idea of available height clearance.



Here, I secured a number of terminal blocks to handle every control, power, video, audio, and other connections. Zip ties were placed to make the wiring neater, and wooden dowels are to hold the upper panel above the terminal blocks. I also ran the wiring for the JAMMA power supply.

Notice a small L-bracket was added to hold the PSU divider wall to the inner base plate.




I had a panel of Kydex plastic that was perfect for covering the power supply area. I first cut some slots in the vertical ďribsĒ on the right side of the case, to the cover is held in place on the right side. Then I trimmed the other sides a bit to fit better.

I left a tab that fits in the box of the electrical outlet. I also trimmed the blue electrical box edge so that the cover tab fits into it, making the cover flush with the rest electrical box. The idea is that, when I put the outlet cover on, it will hold the Kydex cover in place.

In the future, parts of this cover will have some controls on it (like service, test, volume, coin meters).



I obtained a small fan. I plan to use it to move air through the power supply area, to help keep the two power supplies from overheating. I cut a hole in the front for the fan and matching grill (well, matching after some slight modifications). I also cut a hole in the back for an exhaust area, with another grill (no fan on the back tough.)



After getting some more Kydex from Amazon, I made a new, longer cover for the front of the high voltage area, and runs all the way to the power supply divider. Hard to see here, but this also has holes cut for 2 15 pin connectors. This will be for my controls.

I made a panel then that sits on top of the grey panel and blocks. Took some time cutting it down to fit, but this will create an area to hold my JAMMA harness and gamepad controllers. Eventually, I'll secure the panel to the wood dowels under it using screws.

The way this ended up reminds me of how the controllers on my Colecovision are stored and connected.



These are the controllers Iíll keep in the kit. Originally Sega Genesis (Megadrive) 6-button controllers, last year I cut out the circuit chip and original wiring, and hooked up 15-pin cables and connectors. The connectors are wired the same as my other arcade controllers, so these could be used with my other equipment too, like with Half-Shell in place of the control panel. This also means I can use my larger control panels directly with Voyager.

I can use these for testing purposes, but Iíll connect my real arcade external controls for actual playing. Though I guess it wouldnít hurt to get good at Tekken and Street Fighter with these as well.

-----------------------------

Thatís the point Iím up to right now.  Next, I need to make a cable for external powered boards (so when running systems with their own power, I can get the 5 and 12 volts to run the devices in Voyager itself.)

I also need to modify my JAMMA harness.  The one I bought lacks wiring for things like counters, and I want to beef up the 5 volt line on it.



MiteWiseacre

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2021, 04:45:52 pm »
This is a really cool project, Iím on board  :applaud:

romshark

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2021, 02:05:13 pm »
Glad a couple people like it so far. Probably some other lurkers here too (I can't complain. I look around a lot but don't post much either.)


This post starts with me modifying the JAMMA harness. I added another wire to the +5 Volt line, to help with the more power-hungry PCBs like my Capcom CPS2 system. I also added the missing wires for Tilt, coin meters, and coil lockout pins.

I then assembled a DB9 connector with wires for my ďkick harnessĒ connector, a 3-wire connector for the externally powered boards, and modified some 15-pin controller connectors (they had some wires missing / too short).



I then put everything together in the case. The kick harness, power cable, and JAMMA cable were wired to the correct screw terminals on the bottom board (I have an image on my PC to keep track of the connections). The 2 15-pin connectors are not wired to anything at this point.



After a bunch of planning, I modified the power supply area cover to hold various controls and test points. I first planned it out on cardboard, changing things until I had everything I wanted on there.



I installed the adjustment pot for the JAMMA power supply, using some small L-brackets and plastic push rivets.



I scored some lines with a box-cutter on the back of the panel. I used this to mark where the holes would be, to keep things lined up straight. I then drilled the holes to the correct sizes.



(this pic came out dark. It looks better when installed)
I added in the switches, terminal blocks, coin meters, and audio amp. The terminal bocks provide test points / connections for power, video, audio, and the other outputs (coin meters and coin lockouts).

Twin coin meters can verify if a board is properly incrementing them, and a switch disables the counters (to reduce interference if using the coin meter connection on the terminal blocks).

An audio amp (same model as I used in Half-Shell) is used here, as well as a regular potentiometer for bypassing the amp. A selector switch determines if the audio goes though the amp or the pot. A mono headphone jack is installed, which does cut off the built- in speakers when in use (once I install the speakers).

The buttons and levers on the bottom to the standard Service, Test, and Tilt functions, with the coin buttons below it. The Test has a toggle switch version as well, for games like Soul Edge and NBA JAM that require it.

Once I installed it into Voyager, I realized I forgot the EX button. This is a button on the back of Half-Shell for extra functions. Connected to a pin on my DB9 kick harness, this functions as a pause button on my JAMMA-PC board, and will function as a game switch on my Neo-Geo (once I get that working.) So, I got another button and added it above the Test lever, between the power source select switch and the 5V adjustment pot.

During this, I also installed the front intake fan. A small 12-volt fan, it's noisy. Hopefully it'll keep things a little cooler in there. I still need to put the back vent cover on.

I'll add labels to the controls closer to the project completion.



So no screen, but with some headphones, I could at least test by sound. So I grabbed the Simpsons, plugged in my headphones, andÖ.nothing. No sound was heard.
Puzzled, I grabbed TMNT1, which worked just fine. Attract sound came though both the amp and the passive volume ways. I then tried TMNT2, andÖno sound. What was going on?

After some thinking, I tested with a logic probe. Turns out, I had accidentally used a ďNormally ClosedĒ pushbutton for Test, so both Simpsons and TMNT2 were halted during boot by this. TMNT1 doesnít use the Test button, so it booted fine.

Swapping out the button for a Normally Open one (I really need to test, separate, and mark my bags of pushbuttons), I had audio on both TMNT1 and TMNT2. Still not on Simpsons though.
I put Simpsons in my Half-Shell cabinet, and got a ďBADĒ coming up on the startup test, and the system kept boot-looping. I put it aside to fix later, but thought about it at work last night. After work, I managed to get it fixed.

On some boards, holding Test while powering on clears the settings. I must have done a partial but not complete reset when Test was held low in Voyager. I did that complete reset last night (holding Test in until the "clear complete" message came up), and the Simpsons now works perfectly.

So the bottom half of Voyager is almost complete. I need to wire the 2 15-pin controller connectors (Iíll use my Sega Naomi for that, since it can use a VGA monitor as well as 15Khz.) I plan to look for Velcro straps (or similar) to hold wires and controllers in place too. Then it will be time to start the top part.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2021, 08:17:22 pm »


I installed the adjustment pot for the JAMMA power supply, using some small L-brackets and plastic push rivets.

Nice work!

This pot will flex and bend about somewhat, even with the triangle pin arrangement. You could improve that a bit by simply screwing a small bit of wood right behind the pot, so that it can't move.
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romshark

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2021, 08:50:31 pm »
Thanks for the tip. I'll look into making a small wood brace for it.

romshark

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2021, 03:28:04 pm »
When we last left off, Zebidee recommended I add some reinforcement to the back of the JAMMA power supply 5 volt adjustment potentiometer.

The problem I knew Iíd face was that the panel was now hard to remove. I cut the wires to length, and theyíd get stuck under the PSU divider wall. Also, Iím using stiff solid-core wire for the voltage source select switch (it was installed first, then the panel on top of it.) This also runs under the divider wall.
So at this stage of the build, I decided the problem of getting under the panel needed to be fixed, as I may need to get under there again in the future.

I undid the required wires from the terminal blocks, so that I could free the panel from the main unit.


Something I forgot to do before was install the rear vent cover. I added it using some PC fan screws. Thereís no fan on this side, itís just a vent cover. I slightly cracked the cover, but it should be fine.


I also modified the divider wall to keep wires from getting caught on it. The openings should still be below the terminal cover plate when installed.



Time to make that wood adjustment pot bracket. I cut a piece of wood to fit between the L-brackets, then used the moto-tool to hollow out a section for the top of the pot to fit in. Added one screw through the plastic panel to hold it together. The L-brackets keep it from twisting or anything under there.


While the panel was out, I decided to add something more elegant for the wires running to the (upcoming) upper panel. I scored a straight line on the back above the coin meters, and drilled holes at specific spaces. These are spaced out the same as a terminal block. So this should make a nice wire color effect going to a terminal block on the upper panel.


I lengthened some of the wires (using extra wire and heat shrink tubing). I then installed a zip tie mount in an open space on the bottom back of the panel. This uses adhesive, but Has an option to use a screw for a more secure mount. I used a nut and bolt to secure it to the panel, and cut the bolt flush with the nut with my moto-tool. Also made sure the bolt was ground down to prevent sharp edges. I then zip-tied all the wires to the mount.

I installed the panel back into the main unit of Voyager. I left some slack in the wire when connecting them to the terminal blocks, so the panel can easily be lifted up for maintenance. Used a continuity meter to check my connections were correct (especially the power connections).


I set up my Naomi and a monitor to wire up the controller ports. I used Marvel vs Capcom 2ís input test to connect and test the controllers to inputs.

So the bottom half is almost complete. To do to the bottom half:
-drill holes in the lower cover plate, to cover the terminal block area, and secure it with screws. I want to look into cable tie-downs to hold stuff in place too.
-trim the inside edges of the PSU panel. Thereís some overlap, and I can grind it down to look better.
-cut the covers for the switch and outlet to fit. Theyíre right next to each other, so they require some trimming.
-label the connections and controls on the PSU panel.

Itís time to really focus on the upper panel too.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2021, 05:25:12 pm »
This is fun to watch come together.

Love the form factor.
What's that watermelon doing there?

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2021, 11:54:24 am »
Work continues on this project, slow but (mostly) steady.

I put the cover plates for the high voltage areas (the power switches and outlets) in place. This required some cutting to get them to fit. As I said before, the large ďpower supplyĒ cover has a tab that fits in the electric socket area, and the cover holds it in place.




I did have to drill holes in the wood for the switch plate, so that the plate screws would go through. I just had to drill a small pilot hole, unscrew the switch unit and move it out of the way, and drill a larger hole that the screw will fit into.

At a later time, I want to paint the wood areas black. Iím holding off to see if thereís any other parts that need to be painted first though. Then I can paint everything at the same time.

Now that the PSU plate was held in the exact final position, I used my moto-tool to trim the inside edges flush with the walls below it.



Now for that wire cover plate. I have wood blocks to screw it into, but how to know where to drill the holes, if the plate makes the blocks impossible to see? I donít want to make a mistake and have to cut another plate, and the wood blocks aren't big to begin with (so my target drilling area is small).

I took anÖunusual method. I set up my laptop and a "Dobot Magician" robot arm with laser engraver attachment (this robotic engraver setup was used in previous arcade projects). This time though, I wasnít actually using it to engrave.



I set it up, making sure the laser was NOT focused and would not actually burn anything. With the plate removed, I moved the laser into position on the wood block. Then I would turn off the laser from the PC, and carefully put the plate in without moving anything. Turned the laser back on, and I had a marker for where to drill. Iíd drill a small pilot hole then, while turning the laser back off with my other hand (I donít want to accidentally engrave the back of my drill). Then have the robot move into position to mark the next screw.




And yes, I was wearing the special laser safety glasses the whole time.

Once the pilot holes were drilled, I removed the robot and laptop, and drilled the holes to the proper size for the selected screws.



Time to add some Velcro. I purchased some Velcro at Walmart (the type youíre supposed to sew on, not the sticky back type). Each strap is secured from both the top and bottom of the plate (it runs through notches I made.) So the bolt runs though the bottom Velcro part, the plate, then through the Velcro again. I then cleaned it off, secured the plate, and cut the straps to a nice length.



Hereís the straps in action, holding the controllers and JAMMA harness. This is just for testing, as I have to fit a power cable in there too. This should keep them from banging into my LCD screen and electronics during transport.



The whole thing with the controller storage and the ports in a dedicated pit area reminds me of my Colecovision.

The top-right part of the panel pushes in more than Iíd like, so I cut a small block and hot-glued it in place on the grey panel beneath it. That gives the upper panel more support there.



Thatís the latest. Iím going to focus on the upper panel (LCD screen and the electronics that go with it). The bottom still needs other things besides paint (like labels on the right panel, and other little touchups.) That will be done closer to project completion.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2021, 10:33:52 pm »
Lurker here.  Love this stuff.  I have an audio workbench and sometimes I like building test rigs and setups as much as I like working on the gear itself.  Nice job!

Mike
You can't truly know how something works until you've ruined it by taking it apart.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2021, 03:12:40 pm »
Getting close to finishing this project.  :cheers:

Hereís the upper panel, removed from the case.



Notice the holders for tools. Carefully cut those off, to make a flat surface to work with.

I decided to put the LCD mounts first, then put the other parts around it. I started by making wood standoffs, then cut some Kydex into ďLĒ brackets (more like squares with notches cut out). You can see these bits plus the wood prototype for the Kydex brackets here. Not shown are the bolts for the LCD mounts. I cut a slot on the ends to fit a screwdriver, so I can keep the bolt from moving when tightening the nuts later (the head of the bolts is behind the panel, where I can't get to once the panel is installed.



I figured out where to put the mounts, test fitted the LCD, and drilled the correct holes.



Note that the LCD has a sticker I put on to mark ďupĒ (when I was testing it once. Didn't want to mount it wrong), plus a piece of duct tape to mark the top center. These are on the protective shipping film on the screen, so it will all come off with the film later.

Now to mount the support electronics.



To the left and right of where the screen goes, there are small 8 ohm speakers (they look like the type youíd find in a laptop). They will be wired for mono though.
Bottom left is the CGI to HDMI convertor. Next is the LCD controller board. A terminal block is at the center bottom, which will connect just about everything to the main unit. Finally, the bottom right has the CGA to VGA convertor.

Also, two small wood standoffs were mounted to support the LCD from the back.

I wired everything up, including the VGA cables. This goes to a Y cable, which one end goes through a small VGA extension and to the LCD controller. The other end is open for external monitors. Cables and such were secured by zip ties.



On the main case, I used my moto-tool to grind down areas of the inside supports to allow cables to get though. This took some time, as I wanted to make sure that no cable got pinched. I had to grind down quite a bit for the VGA cables.

I bolted the top panel into place, put the screen in, and wired the top panel to the main unit. I tried some games, andÖdidnít get anything on the LCD for some of them. Street Fighter II gave me an image, but games like NBA JAM and vs Super Mario Bros (using a Mikes Arcade JAMMA adapter) wouldnít give me an image on the LCD or on an external VGA monitor. I did get an image on my HDMI TV though.
So, after some more testing, I removed the VGA splitter and cable, and I connected the LCD to the HDMI convertor instead using a short cable I had. So this should work for now.



Pulled off the protective film from the LCD, and mounted a plexiglass cover.



Voyager is fully functional now. I do still have to put labels for the controls, and a few other small things. Iíll post more photos when I have time to do a better ďphoto-shoot,Ē including different external screens. I plan to also keep this topic updated when I use it to set up or fix some of my PCBs.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2021, 07:36:10 pm »
Coming together nicely.

Very cool unit.
Maybe someday I can even understand what you can do with it!
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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2021, 09:08:02 pm »
It's mostly for working with boards outside my cabinet, when setting up or repairing them. There are some other uses too.

I'll post some uses and examples once I finish the unit completely.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2021, 09:52:27 pm »
Looks good, I need to revisit mine. Now that I have my 3D printer running, I can make some custom fit parts.


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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2021, 01:24:35 am »
Your work here inspired me Romshark - not to do a small "suitcade" rig, but to whip up a supergun for testing my arcade PCBs (10+ years in storage) with GreenAntz on component TV. Gave me a chance to see if there were any issues, mostly all very straightforward. It all works (and I posted a thread on this board). So thanks :D
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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2021, 01:16:07 pm »
Glad I inspired people to get their superguns built / working. Zebidee, yours looks pretty good. Unfortunately, the only TVs I have that support component are HD flat screens, so GreenAntz wonít help me much (not looking at modding my gaming CRT TV at this time).

Just a small update on this project. Between work and trying to get equipment working with my cable TV connection (meaning multiple calls to tech support and 2 trips to their facility to exchange equipment), there hasnít been a lot done with Voyager.

I did try out some more games and foundÖsome donít work with the HDMI converter. So before I continue, I want to try my LCD screen directly to the PCB video connections (something I found out works when testing the LCD screen when I got it.)

Once I make the necessary cable, Iím going to hook up my TV to the HDMI convertor, and a computer monitor to the VGA convertor. Then Iíll try all my JAMMA boards, and see what works (between HDMI, VGA, and LCD direct).

Iíll be sure to post my results here.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2021, 08:57:00 pm »
Very cool to have a single unit that would so easily be capable of testing across that many different types of screens.

Look forward to updates from both of you gentlemen!
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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2021, 01:44:05 am »
Glad I inspired people to get their superguns built / working. Zebidee, yours looks pretty good. Unfortunately, the only TVs I have that support component are HD flat screens, so GreenAntz wonít help me much (not looking at modding my gaming CRT TV at this time).

Thanks, but mine is primitive compared to what you are doing. It was only for testing my old boards and proof-of-concept purposes anyway (i.e. you can use GreenAntz for arcade PCBs with component TVs). I'll probably pull it apart and put it into a cab before long :D

Quote
I did try out some more games and foundÖsome donít work with the HDMI converter. So before I continue, I want to try my LCD screen directly to the PCB video connections (something I found out works when testing the LCD screen when I got it.)

Might be you need a scaler for the HDMI?

I'm pretty impressed with your LCD taking 15khz and 31khz input. I have an old ASUS LCD that seems to manage alright with 15khz too, but last time I got it out of mothballs and fired it up it wasn't syncing properly with anything. So I added it to the bottom of my list of jobs, something to look at when I have the time.
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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2021, 11:06:42 pm »
When I last posted, I needed to make a video cable to connect my LCD screen directly to the video connections from the JAMMA harness. After some time, I managed to get a working cable (I had done this before when testing the LCD, but I didnít have any pictures or data on the actual wiring.)

So today, I decided to test my video options with every JAMMA game I have.



The top left TV is connected by my HDMI convertor Ė a Mcbazel HD-VC9900-V1.1 that I bought off Amazon.com a few months ago.

The bottom left (smaller)TV is connected to a JROK RGB encoder, which I decided to wire up and try with the other equipment. This is the one I pulled out of my first test rig (Iíve had it since 2006 based on emails). This board does composite, component, and S-Video. Iím using S-Video in this setup.

In the Voyager unit sits the LCD, a VSDISPLAY 13.3Ē with controller board. The screen and controller board are just laying in there, since I had to pull them out for the rewiring. Note that there are no resistors on the cable, so the LCD screen is really bright. Iím just seeing if I get a stable picture on these screens, and can fiddle with the finer settings later.

And finally the monitor on the right is being driven by a Wei-Ya ACV-001 CGA to VGA Convertor . This board has dip switches, so the chart below will have switch setting listed if the board works with that game.

Those are the 4 display connections. Now to test the games.



So these results are interesting. The LCD direct fared the worst, followed by the HDMI. VGA did a bit better, but caused some issues with the LCD and my Capcom stuff.
 
Surprisingly, the JROK Encoder was near flawless. It only failed on NBA Jam, but so did everything else. Though in the chart above, I should have marked Neo-Geo for JROK as ďPartialĒ since it needs the other converters turned off.

An interesting side note: I also tried my JAMMA PC (a Windows 7 computer using CRT Emudriver and an Ultimarc JPAC) with it, and it worked for the most part. However, when I tried NBA Jam in MAME, the JROK behaved the exact same way as it did with the real PCB (rolling screen). I think this shows just how accurate Calamityís work on GroovyMAME and CRT Emudriver really is.

So my plan now is to remove the VGA adapter, and put the JROK adapter in. I plan to wire the LCD directly, once I get the resistors in that I ordered. I also plan to have the HDMI converter hooked up to the LCD as well, and use the LCD menu to switch inputs as needed. Between those two connections, I can do all my games on the LCD except Tekken 3 and NBA Jam.

I'll probably put the VGA convertor in a project box, so I can connect it temporarily to the terminal blocks when I need it. I would try the newer CGA to VGA board, but it looks like it's made by the same group that made my HDMI convertor, so it probably would handle the games the same way.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2021, 04:07:46 am »
Are you amping the video signal or using a powered switcher to run it out to all 4 devices simultaneously?

I'm worried that might be driving the video circuits of your PCBs too hard, supplying current to all four. PCBs are usually designed to output RGB at high levels, but even so ...

Those RGB signals will be terminated to ground at each device (typically 75 ohms) and that termination will be present so long as the video is plugged in (that is, without even turning them on).  Parallel termination to ground means you effectively get less than 75 ohms.

For example, if you have 4 devices with 75 ohm termination plugged in you'd be looking at effectively only 18.75 ohms termination total (=75/4). Therefore more current will be directed to ground. Therefore the PCB will try to pump out *more* current to keep the voltage the same and power draw will increase, because:

Voltage = Current * Resistance, and
Power (Watts) = Voltage * Current

This is why when pros run monitors in series from a single video input, like in a TV studio or for a video wall, they will turn off the termination on all the monitors except for the last one in the series (PVMs usually have a switch on the back for this).
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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2021, 01:29:09 pm »
I didn't know the boards would put out more power. I thought the pictures would just be more dim as more boards were added.

In actual use, I'd only run one or two devices at a time. Or would the other devices still put resistance on the line even when powered off (I'm guessing they would)?

Somewhere I do have an Ultimarc video amplifier that might work (I got it before going to the JPAC on my PC setup).

Or would a 4-pole switch be a better idea, to only send the signal to the desired device?

Edit: I ordered some 4PDT switches. I think I'll go that route.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2021, 06:24:50 pm »
I didn't know the boards would put out more power. I thought the pictures would just be more dim as more boards were added.

In actual use, I'd only run one or two devices at a time. Or would the other devices still put resistance on the line even when powered off (I'm guessing they would)?

Somewhere I do have an Ultimarc video amplifier that might work (I got it before going to the JPAC on my PC setup).

Or would a 4-pole switch be a better idea, to only send the signal to the desired device?

Edit: I ordered some 4PDT switches. I think I'll go that route.

How each PCB responds exactly I can't say, but something has to give - either the video amps draw more current, or the voltage drops, or more likely both. If you are testing with multiple screens plugged in, it may be part of the issues you sometimes see.

Maybe Scott (PL1) will see this and add his thoughts.

I reckon a 4-way switch or selector is the way to go too. Rather than several 4PDT switches, How about a single rotary selector 4P4T, something like this:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/4P4T-4-Pole-4-Position-2-Deck-Band-Channel-Rotary-Switch-Selector-with-Knob-/333123767044

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2021, 07:51:27 pm »
A 4 pole switch, so you're looking at switching the Red, Green, Blue, and sync lines, right? (ground lines always connected)

Thought about suggesting a 4P4T rotary or slide switch earlier, but before you order one be sure to check the datasheet to ensure that it is rated for the anticipated video/sync frequencies.

It sounds OK based on basic electrical theory, but I defer to the monitor/video experts regarding any possible practical considerations with this specific application.


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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2021, 05:16:33 am »
I ended up canceling the order for the toggle switches and ordered a rotary switch. I ordered it from Amazon (so it'll be delivered at the same time as some other stuff to the Amazon locker on Wednesday), and by coincidence it was the same type as Zebidee linked to on eBay (a Uxcell brand with included knob).

I can't find a datasheet on Uxcell stuff though. I've looked at other similar rotary switch datasheets on Mouser.com, Digikey.com, and Jameco.com, and don't see any mention about frequency. Only voltage and current limits. It's just as well, since the only frequency I know is 15Khz for CGA. I'm in new territory for frequency stuff. So, I'm going to try the one from Amazon and see if it works.

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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2021, 08:49:34 am »
I ended up canceling the order for the toggle switches and ordered a rotary switch. I ordered it from Amazon (so it'll be delivered at the same time as some other stuff to the Amazon locker on Wednesday), and by coincidence it was the same type as Zebidee linked to on eBay (a Uxcell brand with included knob).

I can't find a datasheet on Uxcell stuff though. I've looked at other similar rotary switch datasheets on Mouser.com, Digikey.com, and Jameco.com, and don't see any mention about frequency. Only voltage and current limits. It's just as well, since the only frequency I know is 15Khz for CGA. I'm in new territory for frequency stuff. So, I'm going to try the one from Amazon and see if it works.

Good decision! The rotary switch will look good and take up less space.

In terms of frequency, it will be fine. The one I linked mentioned TV application, looks good. Voltage and/or amps need to rated appropriately, and RGBs signals are all low voltage <5v, relatively low current, so again really nothing to worry about. Switches, by their nature, are about making (or breaking) connections. For this you could worry more about over-engineering it.
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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2021, 08:46:44 pm »
Itís been a while since I updated. Well, there was some delay.

First, the part arrived late. Somehow, Amazon put the order on the wrong truck, so it arrived two days late.



Then, I had to figure out how to mount the thing. The rotary switch is deeper than expected, and I wasnít sure it would fit in the upper part of the case. So I pondered this for a while before doing anything.

Also, the switch was hard to turn by hand. I was concerned that the whole unit would turn if I just mounted it by the shaft hole. The hole isnít even flat (keyed) on one side. So I experimented with removing the screws on the side on the switch, and seeing if I could get it back together working (the screws run through the entire switch, through many spacers and switch decks). It did work, so I decided to use those to mount the switch and keep the whole thing from rotating.

Digging through the spare parts bins, I found 4 bolts that would work for this project, and 8 nuts that fit. I then took a spare piece of Kydex plastic, and drilled holes for the switch shaft, switch screws, and 4 holes for the bolts to mount it to the main case panel.



 The notch in the top is for the speaker wire, as itíll be mounted right under the left speaker.

I then drilled the holes in the main panel, and used a moto-tool to make a hole for the switch to fit in. To make sure thereís enough clearance for the switch, I mounted the switch to the Kydex plate (using the screws holding the switch together). Then I mounted the plate to the panel, using a nut on each mounting bolt. Another nut on the back holds the whole thing to the main panel.

I also ground away the plastic structure on the case (behind the panel) where the switch goes.


(Pic is from after everything was put back together, but you get the idea).

I also removed the VGA convertor, and drilled holes for the JROK. The two use the same pinout for the RGB connector , so I didnít have to change that at all.



Now for the wiring. Iím only switching the R, G, B, and sync wires, and Iím wiring V-grounds together. I separated a terminal bock into a 4 and 8 position block, because I wasnít sure all the existing wires would reach to a 12 position block. I then mounted these on the back of the panel, behind the LCD area. The JROK wires run to the 4 block (left block in the below pic), and the other is for the LCD and HDMI connections.

Concerning the LCD, I took the 220 Ohm resistors, curled one end, cut off the excess past the curl, then soldered the wire to it. One resistor for R, one for B, and one for G. I then put heat-shrink over the solder joint and resistor, leaving most of the unsoldered side of the resistor exposed. The unsoldered side went into the terminal block. Jumping ahead, this produces a nice picture at the correct brightness level.



Wiring the switch wasnít too difficult, even without any documentation. If you scroll up and look at the switch, there are connectors that have a notch at the end. These are the common connections. Some time with a continuity meter, and I had all the wires for R, G, B, and sync soldered on. I made sure to mark the common wires (I used a black marker on the end of the common wires).

In the pic, you may notice some unused connections. These are for switch position 4, or ďoffĒ. This is for no load, in case I connect a video device to the external connectors.

I connected the wires to the terminal blocks, using the continuity meter to make sure all the connections worked for each switch position. Then I mounted the panel back into the main unit (had to grind away some plastic from the case to fit the terminal blocks), mounted the LCD screen, and wired the panelís main terminal block to the lower case.

During all this, I decided to mount the LCD controller board, so I can access the menus as needed.

So everything worked greatÖalmost. I did make one mistake.

You see, the VGA convertor board uses 12 volts. The JROK uses 5 volts. The first time I tried to use it, I saw some smoke. I immediately killed power, but it was too late. I was able to smell smoke near the board.
I changed the connection over to 5 volt. The board does give a picture, but itís only black and white on both composite and S-video (I do get color on component though).



I havenít removed the board for examination (as removing the LCD, undoing the wires, and such is a pain), but I donít think itís something I can fix. I plan on trying to buy a replacement from JROKs website.

So besides the JROK issue, Iím almost done with the project. I need to put some more labels on, then Iíll make a post giving a tour of Voyager, and how I plan to use it.


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Re: Voyager: a Portable Supergun / Testing Rig
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2021, 03:03:53 am »
Looks good - sorry to hear about your JROK unit.

You could always use a LM7805 voltage regulator unit to pull the 12v down to 5v for the JROK, while using the same power supply. The 7805 is very commonly used and cheaply available everywhere. Suggest you use it with bypass capacitors (ceramic 0.22 or 0.33uF on the input and 0.1uF on the output should be sufficient). I'm attaching a simple circuit diagram showing how to do it (I ripped it from somewhere on the 'net, there are countless examples if you do a search).

You could even avoid using any breadboard by building the LM7805 into a cable, though if you do so allow for a little heat dissipation (no need for heat sink with low current applications, but suggest you don't enclose the body by wrapping it up in insulation tape, heat shrink tubing or whatever).



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