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Author Topic: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab  (Read 26693 times)

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theCoder

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TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« on: August 09, 2007, 04:12:24 am »
Well it's been a few months since completing my last project, so…

A few weeks ago I got a call from a local arcade machine guy.  He had a gutted ThunderBlade cab for sale, $35.  The wood was in good shape and included a coin door & a very beat up analog joystick.  I picked it up primarily because it is very short and narrow (5.5 ft tall by 22 inches wide.)  Relatively small, unlike my last monster project.  I've always wanted to make a dedicated vertical cab and this is what I'm starting out with. 

It is serial #2810 and had a lifetime play count of 16,011.  I'm not sure how much this thing cost back in 1987 when it came out, but for a machine to only take in around $4,000 in 20 years, no wonder it was gutted out and sold for scrap.  In cleaning it out I found 4 quarters, one dime, and one penny.

Project title:  TimeSink
Why?  A timesink according to dictionary.com is:  A project or activity that consumes unbounded amounts of time.  That pretty much sums it up.  It will be a timesink during construction, and possibly a timesink for years to come in play.

A few pictures to start things off…

1)  Stock photo from klov.com
2)  My 6' 2" son looking down on the cab
3)  Front panel in rough shape

theCoder

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2007, 04:59:08 am »
Plexiglas Lighting Effect
One thing I want to do on this project is add green light accents in various places.  In a class I had in school, we studied fiber optics and played with side lighting Plexiglas with LEDs.  Today I built a prototype.  It’s pretty easy to do.

Steps involved:

1)   Pick up a scrap piece of 3/8” (or thicker) Plexiglas from your local glass shop.

2)   Route a straight 3/8” slot.  In my case, there were a few imperfections from the router jumping, but it will be taken care of later.

3)   Cut a piece of Plexiglas the length of the slot, and wide enough so that when it is flush with the front surface, approximately 1” sticks out the back.  In theory, you want the front surface rough, and all other surfaces very smooth.  Apparently the light reflects off the smooth surfaces, keeping more light inside until it hits the roughed up front surface, where it leaves the Plexiglas.  I didn’t polish the sides on my prototype.  The front surface is rough though.

4)   Apply liberal amounts of Bondo to the slot and insert the Plexiglas.

5)   Adjust the Plexiglas so that approximately 1/32” sticks out the front.  Make sure the Bondo completely fills the arc at the ends of the slot and where the Plexiglas touches the wood.

6)   Sand the front surface flat once the Bondo dries.

7)   Drill two slip fit holes for two LED’s.  You can experiment with the angle, but I seem to remember that something a little less than 90 degrees works best.  You get “hot spots” if you point the LED’s straight out the front.

8 )    Rough up the front lens of the LED’s with sandpaper.  This makes the light spread more, reducing hot spots.

9)   Wire up your LEDs.  In my case, I used 50 ohm resistors with a 5 vdc power supply.  My cab will likely have 12 vdc available, so the resistors will need to be different.  Long lead to positive.  If you forget the resistor, you get a very bright light for about 10 milliseconds, then the magic smoke escapes.  Make sure the lights work before moving to next step.

10)   Epoxy the LEDs in the holes.  It is important that you fill the holes completely with epoxy before inserting the LEDs.  Air pockets will impede the light transfer into the Plexiglas. <edit - not true, not that important to fill completely>

11)   Paint the surrounding surface and Plexiglas to shape the light.  If you mess up you can always wipe it off.  If you really mess up, you can sand it down again.

<edit>
Edits based on further experimentation.  Check out additional post below.  Much more learnings.  No polish required, don't side light, point led's straight at the face spaced fairly close (3/4") together.
<end of edit>

Enjoy…

theCoder


Zero_Hour

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2007, 05:07:01 am »
Cool cab to work with, but I have to say the lighting should put it in a class of its own. Great write up of the how-to.  :cheers:
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leapinlew

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2007, 07:39:14 am »
ahhh, here we go again eh? Very nice write up on the lighting.

Sure building the cab is cool - but what games are in your future?

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2007, 09:54:39 am »
Great idea - the only thing I would change is to perhaps use sockets for the LED's - I would want a way to replace them if they burn out. I can't wait to see how you incorporate this into your cab design...

 :applaud:

Neilyboy

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2007, 11:48:30 am »
Beautiful man!!! Very awesome light job there. I always wanted to do something with the 200 uv leds I bought awhile ago but never could think of anything other than lighting a big piece of plex and sandblasting away certain parts to make it look like an etched neon bar light or something like that. Very creative man.

Neil

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2007, 03:41:04 pm »
Love the led idea.  Gonna start a jukebox soon enough and was planning on using an ledwiz with the new sound reactive program.  Using lighted strips with the plexi would look sweet on it.

How bright is it with two leds, cameras often lack the ability to really show lights well?  How long a piece of plexi would they difuse across before getting dim?
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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2007, 03:53:04 pm »
Crap.  Now I have to think about how to incorporate this in my next cab (assuming I can get a free hour or two away from changing diapers to start working on it).

Awesome work as usual Coder.   :cheers:

theCoder

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2007, 07:48:19 pm »
Thanks for the complements.  Just having a little fun.

If anyone else uses this technique, please post your results (here, there, somewhere).  I'm interested in different approaches to increase the intensity and minimize the hot spots.

...what games are in your future?
My favorites menu will include:
  Donkey Kong
  Tempest
  Ms Pac-man
  Dig Dug
  Qix
  Zaxxon
  Q*Bert
  Arkanoid
  Frogger
  Space Invaders

About a month ago,  javeryh started a thread about favorite vertical games.  That inspired me to do some research.   The resultant list is a spreadsheet of vertical games, sorted by popularity as voted on by members of mameworld.net.  I trimmed out the porn and duplicates, getting the list down to about 200.  Doing this work got me thinking about vertical cabs, then a cab dropped out of the sky, and here I go again.  The list is attached below.

Great idea - the only thing I would change is to perhaps use sockets for the LEDs - I would want a way to replace them if they burn out.
Do you have problems with LEDs burning out?  Its never happened to me (after I burn up a few getting the right resistor that is).  I wonder if it would impact the light strength?  I haven't done much experimentation with it.

How bright is it with two leds, cameras often lack the ability to really show lights well?  How long a piece of plexi would they difuse across before getting dim?
The image is pretty true to life.  The picture was taken in my kitchen with all lights on, no flash.  It is not nearly as bright as a neon sign; not even as bright as a bulb.  You can definitely tell it is a light source and not just bright paint.  Notice the reflection on the table in picture #7.  This is my first prototype so I'm hopeful that I/we can find the important parameters to make it better.  With that said, I'm using two green (duh..) 700 mcd 5mm LEDs.  The piece of Plexiglas is around 4" long.  It is brighter at the ends near the LEDs.  The brightness in the center is bright enough to see in daylight.  Unless I change something, I will probably need one LED every 1-3 inches.  I am hopeful, however, that there is some simple thing that can be done to light an entire 12" bar or so with only 2 LEDs.  The issue is going to be getting a more consistant glow over the entire length.  I've got some more playing around to do. 

Crap.  Now I have to think about how to incorporate this in my next cab (assuming I can get a free hour or two away from changing diapers to start working on it).

Awesome work as usual Coder.   :cheers:
Thanks.  Again, just enjoying the technical/creative outlet.  Work these days is not what it used to be.  Regarding the diapers, better you then me partner.  I've already done my duty.

psychotech

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2007, 08:27:02 pm »
:)

First of all, thanks for the great write up on the plexi lighting!

And yeah, the cab looks nice enough as it is. Like the original speaker placement.., with another two speakers a bit higher that cab could be really loud (Jukebox material ;) ).

Still, come on !?!

No BOMBJACK on your shortlist of vertical games ;)

Anyway, all the best with the build/conversion, I'll be following this thread for sure.

psychotech

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2007, 10:56:26 pm »
Well thanks to you Coder!!!
Now I have to find a way to integrate that lighting to my cab...
I really have to stop reading other's thread ...  else I'll never finish it  :banghead:

...
(assuming I can get a free hour or two away from changing diapers to start working on it)
...
And thanks Javeryh to make me realize I have to be done with the cab by the end of November
where I'll be in the same situation as you  ;D

Jay

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2007, 03:11:48 pm »
Monitor & Controls

Monitor:  I picked up a 19” ViewSonic flat panel LCD off eBay for $145 delivered.  It showed up 2 days ago.  Within 20 minutes, I was ripping into the case to remove the large heavy base.  My wife thought I was nuts.  I’ve got a spare 21” CRT laying around I could use.  It would fit, but it would be tight, and the neck would stick out the back.  I’m also trying to keep the weight down.  I’m saving about 50 pounds by going this route.
The LCD is pretty fast and bright (8 ms, 700:1 contrast) and should work out well. 

Joystick & Buttons:  My controls showed up yesterday.  I’m using a Mag-Stik Plus (top switchable 4/8 way) with a green ball-top.  Andy at Ultimarc.com has some cool new chrome ringed lightable buttons I’m going to try on this project.  The front lense comes off, and you can put in your own back-lit artwork/text.  I got 3 green, 3 white, and one red.

Spinner:  Tornado USB.  I bought this for the Partybox project, but didn’t have the room for it.  I can’t wait to play again Tempest with a real spinner.

I also just bought 100 5mm and 100 3mm ultra-bright green LEDs off ebay.  With shipping they were about $0.07 each.  They claim the 5mm ones are 13,000 mcd (brightness).  The ones I experimented with are 700.  Do you think the Plexiglas will glow a bit brighter?  Lots to play with…

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2007, 03:40:18 pm »
Wow, your project name is really close to one I did some artwork for way back when. If AlexC is OK with it, I could send the artwork for you to use/adapt for yours. FWIW

Project mega thread HERE

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2007, 04:39:02 pm »
OMG i *love* the lighting idea ... thank you for describing it in such details!


I'll definitely follow this one.
Good luck with everything!

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2007, 05:06:34 pm »
I was going to suggest you get your LEDs from GGG as thier's are over 1,000mcd but you scored some nice ones. 

Pixel that is a cool marquee.  If you get the ok from AlexC I'd change the blue to green as that seams to be Coder's main color.

TTFN :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2007, 08:37:19 pm »
Try using a reflective material to prevent the light from going in towards the cab.
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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2007, 01:34:00 am »
Wow, your project name is really close to one I did some artwork for way back when. If AlexC is OK with it, I could send the artwork for you to use/adapt for yours. FWIW
That would be awesome.  I'm playing with some designs, but always appreciate seeing how others more skilled than I go about doing something.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2007, 01:42:03 am »
Clipping the Wings
The original CP was very high.  The profile had two "tabs" that ran flush with the CP.  With the CP gone, they are going to be a difficult to deal with, so they have to go.  I cut them off with a circular saw.  I also bondo'ed over all the holes and hit it with a quick coat of paint.  I'll do a much more through paint job later.  I also mounted some wheels on to aid in moving it around.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2007, 01:42:57 am »
I love the name :)

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2007, 02:20:43 am »
I love the name :)
Thanks.  Back at you... Artifact is a great name for a cab as well.  I had been knocking this name around for a long time, but it didn't make sense on my two previous projects.  It feels right for this one.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2007, 11:01:36 pm »
CP Box
Today I built the extension to hold the control panel.  Nothing exciting here.  The bottom comes off with 3 screws to provide access to the CP.  I used the biggest round-over bit I have to get nice rounded edges.  I wanted to keep it inside the cab profile and as shallow as I could get away with.  It is 20.5” wide by 5.5” deep.  I’m thinking about putting the power switch, volume pot, and credit button on the angled surface below the CP (at arrow on 2nd picture).  This will keep things in reach but slightly out of sight.  I could put them on the vertical surface as well.  Recommendations?

I also routed a long slit in the front for one of my lighting effects.  I doubt I will be able to figure out how to light an entire strip, so I’ll probably put in 3 to 5 pieces with little gaps between.  This step will have to wait for my 2 bags of LEDs to come in (Ebay, shipped from Hong Kong.)   Then I can experiment a little more.

Any recommendations on how to get a router to keep from grabbing & kicking?  I’m having a terrible time with it as you can see in the 4th picture.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2007, 07:08:52 pm »
I Love the lighting idea

Would frosted or semi opaque plexi diffuse the the light a bit more? (get rid of the hot spots)

would painting the back side of the plexi black keep all the light coming out the front, or dose it need those sides to reflect off of?

« Last Edit: August 12, 2007, 07:22:17 pm by Bender »

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2007, 01:29:50 am »
I Love the lighting idea

Would frosted or semi opaque plexi diffuse the the light a bit more? (get rid of the hot spots)

would painting the back side of the plexi black keep all the light coming out the front, or dose it need those sides to reflect off of?
Thanks.  According to my internet searching, a frosted surface will diffuse the light, both when it enters and exists the Plexiglas.  I'm not sure about painting it black.  I think the best way to keep the light inside is to polish the edge, the opposite of a frosted edge.  I've got a lot of long strips to put in, and really need to get in some quality experimentation time.  I have a few ideas, but am waiting for the bulk shipment of LEDs to show up.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2007, 01:33:14 am »
Monitor Bezel and Mounting
I wanted to include a fancy bezel with the LCD monitor, but was stumped at how to mount it.  The design I came up with involves two pieces of plywood, one with an opening ¼” wider than the monitor surface, and another with an opening 1” bigger than that.  With a fancy profile bit on my router, I routed both pieces.  When placed together, they form a cool window frame effect.

I’m using ¾” plywood left over from the Xcelerator project.  Plywood is probably not the best choice for something like this, but it is already paid for.  To address the small tares and voids, I mixed a bunch of Elmer’s wood putty with a bit of water to make a paste, the consistency of drywall mud.  I then smeared it all over the routed surfaces.  Once dried, I sanded it all down.  All of the divots are gone and the surfaces are pretty smooth.

To mount the LCD, I first held the monitor in place, and positioned it while my son marked the back with a marker.  I then put the assembly face down, and screwed in small blocks.  This will hold it in place on the plane of the wood.  I needed to come up with a way to hold the LCD against the wood, without crushing the plastic.  To deal with that, I decided to use a strip of plumbers tape (metal strapping) and a 2” thick piece of foam rubber.  It just needs to put enough pressure to keep it firm against the wood.  When it is ready to be installed for good, I’ll probably lay down a small bead of silicon between the LCD plastic and wood.  This should keep it from vibrating.

I’m planning on putting one or more vertical Plexiglas light effects along the sides of the bezel.  Then the whole thing will be covered with a sheet of smoked tempered glass.

Comments?  Questions?

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2007, 10:30:01 am »
This cab is going to be bling city with all the lighting effects you are planning.  On the router chatter I have the same problem.  I read someplace that you want to do these types of cuts in multiple passes with each pass digging deeper into the wood.  Also use a higher speed on your router if you have that ability.  Mine is a variable speed and it had more chatter when the speed setting was low.

TTFN and keep up the good ideas. :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2007, 10:34:05 am »
Wow Coder - you really do amazing work.  I like the bezel - frame those arcade games like works of art!  You are moving at a pretty good clip too - keep it up!   :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2007, 11:19:19 am »
This cab is going to be bling city with all the lighting effects you are planning. 
Not my intention, but thanks.  I'm just thinking about one thin shaped line along each side of the monitor and one on the front of the CP.  I'm really just looking for an accent, not bling per se.  Sometimes less is more.

On the router chatter I have the same problem.  I read someplace that you want to do these types of cuts in multiple passes with each pass digging deeper into the wood.  Also use a higher speed on your router if you have that ability.  Mine is a variable speed and it had more chatter when the speed setting was low.
Less material at higher RPM.  I should have known that.  I'll give it a try when I route the slots on the bezel.  Thanks for the recommendation.

Wow Coder - you really do amazing work.  I like the bezel - frame those arcade games like works of art!
Thanks.  Now if I could just convince my boss.  My wife isn't fooled.  You wouldn't be that impressed if you saw the pile of test pieces and how much bondo/putty I've got covering up my mistakes.   I'd go broke doing this for a living.

You are moving at a pretty good clip...
We're having a big BBQ in two weeks.  I was hoping to get it done by then, but I probably shouldn't rush it.  There is a lot of house/yard work to take care of as well. Perhaps showing it off mid-cycle will be impressive/educational.   The Xcelerator and Partybox cabs are up and running should be keep the kids (and young people too) entertained.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2007, 04:56:20 pm »
Cool bezel! I love the multilayered look.
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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2007, 04:33:39 am »
Initial Experiment – LED Smoothness
I ran the first of what will likely be a number of experiments to characterize the effects that can be controlled with LED lit Plexiglas.  The “knobs” we have to play with are many, but in this experiment, I wanted to see what the difference was between using a stock, polished LED and a sanded roughed up one.  My thought was the sanded one would eliminate the hotspot problem.

In the first picture, you can see the raw difference in light diffusion.  The light is more spread out with the sanded LED, but the hotspot at the LED appears to be larger.  The light is more directed with the smooth, untouched LED.

The second picture is a side-by-side comparison of the two different LEDs in the same piece of Plexiglas.  With the sanded LED, the hotspot is less intense, but it is larger.  More importantly, notice the length that the light travels.  If you put your right thumb over the bright spot, and your left one at a point where the light seems to fade off, you can see the smooth LED lights up the Plexiglas farther (about 3/4” farther under these conditions, or somewhere around 50%.)  So sanding the LED does reduce the intensity of the hotspot, but it makes it bigger and kills so much of the lighting effect to make it a bad choice compared to the stock polished LED.  Also look at the intensity of the reflection on the left edge.  It is definitely brighter on the smooth LED version.  Hum.  Now if I could only get rid of the hot spot and reflect some of that light off the sides. 

One thing I learned was that to do this kind of experiment, you need to control the environmental lighting, camera settings, distances, and angles.

I'm thinking of experimenting with:  LED hole type (thru vs. blind), glue vs. no glue, LED angle into the Plexiglas, polished vs. rough face, polished vs. rough sides, angled sides, viewing angles.

Anything else come to mind?

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2007, 08:37:18 am »
use a silver spray paint on all surfaces of the plexi except where you want the light to show.  Then point the LED into one of the painted surfaces.  My assumption is that the spray paint will act like a mirror.  Eventually the light will have to leave the unpainted side nicely diffused.

TTFN and Good Luck with your experiments.
Kaytrim

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2007, 03:51:24 am »
Lit Plexiglas Experiments
My objective was to find the magic combination of parameters that would provide the most consistent light through Plexiglas.  After about 20 different experiments, over 40 photographs in controlled lighting environment, I think I've got it.  Some of the crazy, and not so crazy ideas are discussed here.  If you want to skip to the punch line, read the last couple of paragraph.  Things I tried include: 

LED Interface with the Plexiglas
   Tight hole vs. loose hole
   Blind hole vs. through hole
   Epoxy vs. no Epoxy
None of these showed any significant difference.  The through hole was a bit better, but not much.

Angles
   90, 75, 45 degrees toward the viewing surface
   45 degrees away from the viewing surface (bouncing off back side)
Of these, the 45 degree toward the viewing surface showed the most promise.

Polished vs. Smooth
This was very revealing.  The light will bounce off (stay inside) if the angle of incidence was less than around 50 degrees.  It caused lots of hotspots and was hard to control.  It would be very bright in one spot, but would be almost completely dark ¼” away depending on the geometry.  The convex shapes made this less apparent, but it was still too harsh.  On the other hand, the roughed up surfaces caused the light to distribute more evenly but was not as bright.  For both the polished and rough surfaces, putting a piece of tin foil on the surface made things slightly (maybe 10%) brighter.

I also tried roughing up the surface of the LED's.  This made the light much more distributed, reducing the hotspot effect, but brought down the brightness.

Custom Shapes:
Lots of crazy stuff was tried.  Concave top surface, convex top surface, rounded corners, 45 degree corners, mushroom shape with light aimed toward the back, etc, etc. etc.  In all, I made 16 different test pieces.  Of all the parameters played with, the shapes had the greatest effect at changing the light characteristics.

Conditions:
I rigged up a couple of pieces of black construction paper; one vertical, taped to a box, and another horizontal, taped to the table.  I made small corner stops for the Plexiglas and camera.  This made each shot very consistent regarding the distance and image size.  It was handy for merging the images together for comparison.  Each piece of Plexiglas was 3/8” thick by 2” by 4”.  In all cases, the Plexiglas protective paper remained on the sides.  I used the same LED for most all of the experiments.

I kept notes in a notebook.  Each shot was numbered, and documented in a fairly crude manor.  In general it included the picture id, polish/none, test piece #, and/or other attribute.  On a red stick-um I wrote the picture id to know which picture was which.

Conclusion:
I was not completely satisfied with any of the results.  A couple of the custom shapes came close to getting an evenly distributed light.  But they were finely tuned geometrically.  I was concerned about how to scale it.  For example, I wanted to be able to make a 2 inch light, or maybe a 2 foot light.  The custom geometry approach was not going to scale well.  I was thinking about putting LED’s every couple of inches, but that would lead to hotspots.  I could put a bunch of sanded down LED’s about 4 inches away from the back, and it would be consistent, but would not be practical to mount. 

On a whim, I tried putting the LED’s ¾” apart.  Perfect, well almost.  After all this time in the shop with compasses, sanders, Forstner bits, etc, the best result came from bruit force.  A simple line of evenly spaced LED’s ¾” apart.  Looking straight on you could barely make out the different light sources (much less than any other test).  This went away by lightly sanding each of the LED’s.  The light defused a bit more causing a lot of overlap between the LED’s light.  Sure, I lost a little intensity by sanding them down, but with a whole lot more LED’s, it is VERY bright. 

Best Results:
For a 2” thick slab with a rough sanded face, rough sanded LED’s epoxied in ¾” apart.  Holes drilled about ¼” deep using a #9 bit.  If using a thinner slab, you might want to mount the LED’s a little closer together to avoid hotspots.

I took a lot of photos of the process, but will not bore you with the details.  A few choice ones are presented below.

1)   Polished vs. rough 45 degree backside piece.  The brighter one was from the polished piece.
2)   The set-up
3)   Various custom shapes attempted
4,5)   The best resulting experiment.  The right side is a little dim, but it is because I only had 7 LED’s wired up, but needed an 8th in the last hole.

With these experiments complete, I can prep some Plexiglas pieces and get them mounted in the CP and Bezel.  Now back to your regularly scheduled cab build.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2007, 04:03:08 am »
I kept notes in a notebook.  Each shot was numbered, and documented in a fairly crude manor.

Based on your post, I think you have a much more strict definition of crude than most people do.  :P

Very nice write up. I think the whole project is going to look cool, but this aspect of it is just awesome.
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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #32 on: August 18, 2007, 06:07:29 pm »
Today I did something I should have done years ago.  I picked up a new router table.  This thing is great.  It allows you to do detailed router work, with 1/10th the hassle of setup and fixturing.  Good stuff.  I used it to route the slots on the bezel for the Plexiglas lighting effect.  I followed Kaytrims advice and made each cut in two passes.  One at half depth, the other all the way through.  Much nicer.

My new LED’s got in yesterday.  Wholly cow, these things are bright.  Check out the comparison picture.  I can run these things with 4 times the resistor value they are supposed to (per a LED/Calculator at http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz ) and they are still way brighter than the others.  I picked up two sets of 100 at $7.00 each.  One set is 8000 mcd (brightness) and 3mm diameter.  The others are 13,000 mcd and 5mm diameter.  I should have plenty of green LED’s to last me a while.

Because the new LED's are so much brighter than the others, they were causing more hotspots.  I found two additional things that reduce hotspots.  1)  Sand the front lens of the LED flat and rough up all the way around the sides.  2)  Sand the long flat surface of the Plexiglas as well.  The small scratches helps to diffuse the light when it bounces on the surface.  The hotspots reduced significantly when I did this.

Other minor progress... I picked up the parts to make a PC switched front access single power button and ordered the front glass and marquee glass.

Next…well, lots of stuff, most notably getting the Plexiglas installed in the wood.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #33 on: August 18, 2007, 09:45:54 pm »
Glad that double pass worked out for you on those slots.  Those new LEDs are real bright too, 13,000mcd WOW :dizzy:

Good choice on getting that table.  I wouldn't be able to do the things with my custom sticks without one.

TTFN
Kaytrim

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #34 on: August 18, 2007, 09:59:50 pm »
This project is so out of my league.  I love it! 

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #35 on: August 19, 2007, 01:15:18 am »
This project is so out of my league.  I love it! 
Thanks, but... come on man.  If it's the lighting thing, you can handle it.  Just give it try.  It will cost you less than $10 and a few hours of playing around time.

1)   Go to local glass shop and get $4.00 remnant piece of 3/8" Plexiglas
2)   Go to local Radioshack and pick up a $2.00 package of LED's and a $2.00 package of 350 ohm resistors.  Or better yet, pick up a bag of them off eBay for a fraction of the per-piece price.
3)   Cut a 3/8" slot in wood with a router.  If you don't own one, they are cheap at your local pawn shop.
4)   Cut Plexiglas a little shorter than routed slot, approximately 1.5 to 2" wide.
5)   Rough sand all Plexiglas surfaces.
6)   Mark off and drill holes 1/4" deep on 3/4" centers.
7)   Bondo Plexiglas into wood with just a little sticking out the front.
8)   Sand front surface smooth.
9)   Sand face of LED's flat and sand edges until frosted
10) Solder resistors to LED's.  It doesn't matter which side, just be consistent.
11) Insert LED's into holes and touch each with a drop of glue.
12) Wire short end of LED's to ground & long end to +12 of a dc transformer.
13) Bask in the glow.

<edit - corrected resistor value for 12 vdc.  If using 5vdc, resistor value would be somewhere around 50 ohms>

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #36 on: August 19, 2007, 01:17:06 am »
First draft CP artwork 
The background is a space shot from a NASA image website.  I’m putting the admin buttons on the vertical surface just below the monitor.  Text or no text?  Other recommendations?

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #37 on: August 19, 2007, 02:15:45 am »
The first one without the name Time Sink on it. Perhaps an instruction card in the middle of the artwork?

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #38 on: August 19, 2007, 02:17:32 am »
The more I think about it...

Are you a left handed spinner kind of guy? Tempest was setup for a right handed spinner control. I always played arkanoid with my right hand as well. I just don't have the control with my left hand to work a spinner.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #39 on: August 19, 2007, 07:54:27 am »
This project is really coming along.  I would love to get a router table but I haven't won the wife over with my wood working.  I do it all in the garage (Sawdust City) and she is the only one who parks in there.  :laugh2:

Those LED's are amazing.  Are you going with one color or hooking up some kind of LED Wiz to it for effects?

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #40 on: August 19, 2007, 09:54:48 am »
Great stuff  :)

The CP drafts just make me think about these shapes  :o
http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/61PJCEFQ9XL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg

And yes, the first one without text..

 :cheers:

psychotech

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #41 on: August 19, 2007, 11:46:13 am »
The more I think about it...

Are you a left handed spinner kind of guy? Tempest was setup for a right handed spinner control. I always played arkanoid with my right hand as well. I just don't have the control with my left hand to work a spinner.
Donkey Kong was one of my first games I really spent a lot of time with.  I also played a bunch of Tron and Disks of Tron in those early days.  I think that wired my brain for buttons-right, control-left.  I loved Tempest, but it always felt weird using my right hand for the spinner. 

More importantly, my right wrist is showing signs of age.  Way back when, I was heavily involved in skateboarding (pools, pipes & half-pipes, none of the flat lander stuff).  We didn't do the gonzo moves done today, but I could do a pretty mean one foot out tail tap.  (But I digress).  Years of high impact wipe-outs have trashed my right wrist.  Using a mouse 4+ hours a day at work is also taking its toll.  This is the primary reason why I don't like fighting style games.  Too much slamming of buttons with the right hand. 

I set up the Partybox with Joystick on left, Trackball on right, buttons center.  It feels great for traditional JS games.  But after a couple of games of bowling my right wrist starts to hurt.  This time I'll try JS and spinner on left.  If that doesn't work out, I guess I'll just have to make another cab.



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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #42 on: August 19, 2007, 12:07:30 pm »
This project is really coming along.  I would love to get a router table but I haven't won the wife over with my wood working.  I do it all in the garage (Sawdust City) and she is the only one who parks in there.  :laugh2:

Those LED's are amazing.  Are you going with one color or hooking up some kind of LED Wiz to it for effects?
Thanks.  I usually pick up the stuff (tools) when she is not around.  It quietly shows up.  I'm picking up one to two tools a month in an attempt to ween myself from my friends fully stocked wood shop.

No multicolored LED's on this project.  The tricolor LED's look cool, but not on my first time out.  I really like the idea of using a LED Wiz, but $50 is a bit too expensive for the features it provides.  I'd rather spend twice that much picking up a ROM burner and figuring out how to program and wire one by myself.  Does anyone have any experience with those small PIC kits?

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #43 on: August 19, 2007, 09:07:55 pm »
Single Pushbutton Power Control
On my PC based cabs (Oldschool and Partybox) I had a switch controlling a power strip, and a momentary button controlling the PC.  The operation is a bit clunky, hit switch, press button to start;  press button, wait for OS to shut down, hit switch to shut down.  Not the best.  You veteran cab builders have probably done this before, but its new to me so...

Based on a good tutorial at: http://home.bendcable.com/werstlein/  I made a PC switched power supply.  The bottom plug is always hot.  The PC is plugged into it.  The PC on/off button is routed to the outside of the cab.  A relay switches power to the other plug when the PC is on.  All other devices are powered from a strip attached to the second plug.  When off, pressing the power button (PC on/off button) turns on the PC, which turns on the PC power supply, which energizes the coil of the relay, which switches on the power strip, which turns on everything else.  When you press the button again, the PC shuts down, killing power to the relay, which kills power to everything else.  Good stuff.   

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #44 on: August 19, 2007, 10:05:46 pm »
That's a cool solution  :cheers:

Still, I'd prefer to use a "smartstrip". As much as I like to hack things, it's still my preferred method for one button power control. Cheap and, in my experience, reliable. Plug the PC as the master and everything powers on as soon as the PC power on/off is pushed ..likewise, as soon as the PC powers off (through software or by the PB) everything else is switched off too.



All my cabs have these. Instant one button power on/off solution...

psychotech

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #45 on: August 21, 2007, 02:34:05 am »
That's a cool solution  :cheers:

Still, I'd prefer to use a "smartstrip". As much as I like to hack things, it's still my preferred method for one button power control. Cheap and, in my experience, reliable. Plug the PC as the master and everything powers on as soon as the PC power on/off is pushed ..likewise, as soon as the PC powers off (through software or by the PB) everything else is switched off too.



All my cabs have these. Instant one button power on/off solution...

psychotech
Very nice.  Today I went looking for one of these.  None of the 5 stores I went to had one.  On-line, I found one for $41 + $12 shipping.  Apparently the maker is pretty proud of their patent.  I'll proceed with my hacked version for now.  Perhaps by the time I build my next cab the price will come down a bit.  Am I just being too cheap, or are they less expensive in your country?

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #46 on: August 21, 2007, 02:36:22 am »
I just posted some draft copies of my marquee in the Artwork section.  Thanks for any comments or recommendations.

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=70346.0

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #47 on: August 21, 2007, 09:20:52 am »
On-line, I found one for $41 + $12 shipping.  Apparently the maker is pretty proud of their patent.  I'll proceed with my hacked version for now.  Perhaps by the time I build my next cab the price will come down a bit.  Am I just being too cheap, or are they less expensive in your country?

I paid 9.95€ (about $13) for the one pictured at a local store.. though I've seen them sold for as much as 34.90€. Oh, something seems to be cheaper here, that's a first  ;D

About the marquee, I vote for number 5 ...but maybe with a slightly different (easier?) font.

(Maybe something like the Babylon font @ http://www.fontseek.com/cgi-bin/fsearch.pl?search=babylon)

Just a thought...

psychotech

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #48 on: August 23, 2007, 11:34:34 am »
I paid 9.95€ (about $13) for the one pictured at a local store..
I'd pay that in a heartbeat.  They are not readily available at my local "stuff mart" yet here in the US.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #49 on: August 23, 2007, 11:45:18 am »
I'm having lunch tomorrow with a guy that (among other things) gets paid to make cool blinky LED stuff.  He works for a local company that makes slot machines.  I'm hoping to come away with some LED control ideas and/or promise of future working meetings. 

I could buy a LED Wiz, but I'm into this hobby for the learning's.  I barely got through Electronics class in school, but my motivation is higher now.  It sure would be cool to know how to do advanced timer/sequencer type electric circuits.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #50 on: August 25, 2007, 01:25:34 am »
I met with the electrical hardware guru today.  He had a lot of great ideas, most of which I will never have the time or brains to get to.  In the mean time, he pointed me to www.microchip.com for a free development environment and tutorials.  If I can just get a simple circuit that will gently pulse an LED on & off I'll be satisfied.  Hopefully that will just be a start of more sophisticated things to come.

In the mean time, I'm zeroing in on the marquee artwork.   I think it symbolizes the idea behind the project title "Time Sink".  Thanks to those on the artwork forum for their input.  Comments?


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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #51 on: August 25, 2007, 11:09:57 am »
I met with the electrical hardware guru today.  He had a lot of great ideas, most of which I will never have the time or brains to get to.  In the mean time, he pointed me to www.microchip.com for a free development environment and tutorials.  If I can just get a simple circuit that will gently pulse an LED on & off I'll be satisfied.  Hopefully that will just be a start of more sophisticated things to come.

In the mean time, I'm zeroing in on the marquee artwork.   I think it symbolizes the idea behind the project title "Time Sink".  Thanks to those on the artwork forum for their input.  Comments?



"Consumer of all excess time" looks like it might be difficult to read? Or perhaps it's hard to gauge the scale from the thumbnail shot. How tall will those letters be when it's all said and done?

I'm not a big fan of that catch phrase for your cabinet. I kind of like it with just the name and the clock slipping into the vortex.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #52 on: August 25, 2007, 01:35:21 pm »
In the mean time, I'm zeroing in on the marquee artwork.   I think it symbolizes the idea behind the project title "Time Sink".  Thanks to those on the artwork forum for their input.  Comments?

Now I think you are on the right track with the art.  I think it would look really cool if you freehanded the words "Time Sink" so that they looked like they were getting sucked into the vortex... like the clock.  I'd also ditch the slogan like lew said - "Time Sink" says it all.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #53 on: August 25, 2007, 04:01:29 pm »
Now that is what I was talking about coder.  I like the warping effect you did to the watch.  The subtitle effect you did is also right in line with the watch.  It is also easily readable though a slightly larger font might be an idea to consider.

TTFN
Kaytrim

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #54 on: August 25, 2007, 05:51:05 pm »
nice work with the home built circuit. thanks for the link too i had lost it.

i currently own a smartstrip but the us version is pretty large. at least twice as wide as a regular power strip and about the same length. its really bulky for what i need. i like the simple smaller solution that you have done here.

great work.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #55 on: August 31, 2007, 03:09:29 am »
nice work with the home built circuit. thanks for the link too i had lost it.
i currently own a smartstrip but the us version is pretty large. at least twice as wide as a regular power strip and about the same length. its really bulky for what i need. i like the simple smaller solution that you have done here.
great work.
Apparently the first guy to write this up put the relay directly into the power strip.  Now that's compact.

Thanks for the input on the artwork.  Based on your feedback, I've dropped the tag line.  I also tried "twisting" the main words into the vortex, but in all versions, it is too hard to read. 

Not much tangable progress.  I've been playing with PIC programming to get something going with the light sequencer and artwork.  This is going to take a while.

My glass came in today.  I got the front & back pieces for the marquee.  I can't believe how cheap glass is.  The back piece is frosted, and the front is clear.  Both cost me a whopping $5.50.  For the monitor piece I went with gray tinted & tempered glass.  It is a bit more expensive than Plexiglas ($27), but it won't scratch.  The tempering makes the glass 7x stronger.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately??) they forgot to use tinted glass.  They are making me a new one now.  The good news is they let me keep the non-tinted piece.  I've never had a cab with tinted glass.  If I don't like it, I can go with the non-tinted piece. 

Any comments on tinted vs. non-tinted glass?  I'm going to have both options for no extra money.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #56 on: August 31, 2007, 09:13:38 am »
I really like the look of tinted glass.  It softens the image and makes everything look smoother...

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #57 on: August 31, 2007, 09:54:01 am »
Tinted glass for me too.  I like the touches on the watch you keep adding but this time it looks like it is being pulled in two directions when there is only one gravitational source.

Looking forward to seeing some build pics.

TTFN

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #58 on: August 31, 2007, 08:39:04 pm »
Side Lit Engraved Plexiglas
In addition to creating structured light on this project, I also wanted to experiment with the engraving feature of my friends CNC machine.  I'm going to put a side lit logo just below the monitor.   It will include the words “Time Sink” and a vortex like swirl.  This should look pretty cool gently pulsating from dark to bright green.

The first picture shows a number of trials.  The plastic was just melting at high speeds and slow feeds.  I got good results at very low RPM (around 50) and around 10 fpm feed.  In most cases, cleaning the burrs off created small scratches.  The best results were achieved using an angled engraving tip and just dragging it across the surface.  The second picture shows the raw piece of plastic on my desk.  The third picture is more like what it will look like when installed.  I need to make more progress on the control electronics to make it pulse.

psychotech

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #59 on: August 31, 2007, 08:59:01 pm »
That's simply awesome!

You're the Man  :notworthy:

psychotech

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #60 on: August 31, 2007, 10:59:22 pm »
That is so sick it's cool :dizzy:

TTFN

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #61 on: August 31, 2007, 11:38:56 pm »
I also wanted to experiment with the engraving feature of my friends CNC machine. 
Any chance your friend needs another friend  ;D

That side lit plexi is a really nice addition!!!

Jay  :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #62 on: September 01, 2007, 04:28:17 pm »
I also wanted to experiment with the engraving feature of my friends CNC machine.
Any chance your friend needs another friend  ;D
I'm sure he'd be your friend.  Just call before you come over.

This morning I squeaked in a little time.   The wires of the marquee light were just dangling down when I got it.   I wired it to an extra cord I had laying around.  Hot/White to the skinny plug side (US).  Cross fingers, plug in.  No pops or smoke.  But no light.  It has a little fuse that just needed to be tightened down.  Ah, the light...

I also lined the light box with crinkled tin foil.  Hopefully this will distribute the light around a bit and minimize the hotspot you usually get in the center.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #63 on: September 01, 2007, 05:23:12 pm »
Please help me out.    I am so glad I found this post.

I want to have a pexiglass frame stick out 1/2" around my coin door with a LED back light. I was going to sandwich it between the cab and coin door. My goal is to have the edge of the plexi at a 45 degree angle and have it glow like I saw on some cutom speakers.

So I want to sand the 45 angle around the edges if that is the part i want to glow? :dunno 
They treated me like an animal and that's what I became.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #64 on: September 01, 2007, 07:32:12 pm »
Text or no text?  Other recommendations?

I'd go with the 2nd one, but I would change the text to be in the "grid plane" instead of "vertical" and I would drop the shadow.  I think it would give a better perspective...

Looking good!  :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #65 on: September 01, 2007, 11:40:07 pm »
Please help me out.    I am so glad I found this post.

I want to have a pexiglass frame stick out 1/2" around my coin door with a LED back light. I was going to sandwich it between the cab and coin door. My goal is to have the edge of the plexi at a 45 degree angle and have it glow like I saw on some cutom speakers.

So I want to sand the 45 angle around the edges if that is the part i want to glow? :dunno 
Yes.  The color will show through on any scratches in the Plexiglas.  So make sure to rough up the 45 degree surface with 100 to 300 grit sandpaper.  The original smooth surface will show very little light (compared to the roughed surface).  You mentioned having it stick out 1/2".  I'd recommend making it stick out as little as possible to avoid the smooth surface getting scratched.  I'd also use a power tool to get the angle.  Assuming you will have rounded corners, I'd probably go with a router with a angled bit instead of a table saw. 

You might consider a small diameter round-over instead of a 45 degree and rough up all of the exposed surface.  Something to experiment with.  My local glass shop has a bin of Plexiglas remnants.  The CNC experiments were done on a small portion of a 8" x 36" x 1/8" remnant that cost me $2.00.  My initial LED lighting experiments and final pieces for the light strips were done with a $10.00 remnant. 

You might want to pick up a piece and make some trial pieces.  I learned a lot when I did. 

Great idea on lighting around the coin door.  Make sure to post your results somewhere.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #66 on: September 02, 2007, 12:39:30 am »
Love the bling and clean craftsmanship... watching with interest.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #67 on: September 02, 2007, 06:15:53 pm »
Thanks for the info thecoder.
I'm going to have a plastic shop cut the frame and Ill sand the edges. I guess I will reduce the amount it sticks out to 1/4. :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:
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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #68 on: September 03, 2007, 09:25:35 pm »
Sound & Volume Pot
Today I picked up a 2.1 amp and hacked the volume pot.  It is a cheap 30 watt system I picked up at StuffMart.  I was originally planning on using a little 4 watt amp from Goodwill.  But hey, what's another $25 to get another decent mp3 player in the house?  It's nowhere like the 230 watt boomer I've got in the Xcelerator driving cab, but based on previous parties I've had, it will be occupied nonstop with driving games… no time for Led Zeppelin.

De-soldering is a pain.  I needed to get the volume pot off the PCB, and solder it back with about 2 feet of wire in-line.  Using thin gauge stranded wire as a wick; I got most all of the solder off.  I also used a sucker to get some as well.  To get the last of it, I would blow really hard on it (boy did I set myself up with that one).  When complete, the bass did not work, and one of the tweeters was scratchy.  The scratchy tweeter was from a single strand of wire under the pot intermittently shorting to the frame.  The problem with the bass took me a bit longer and a jewelers loop to find.  When I blew on the molten solder, some of the splatter landed on the board and shorted two joints. 

I'm thinking the bass speaker box should be mounted firmly against the side to maximize the sound transmission.  But it comes with large spongy feet.  I've seen people just setting theirs in the bottom and others bolted theirs to the front.  Any recommendations on mounting the bass speaker box in the cab? 

Here I sit, writing this entry, listening to Houses of the Holy cranked on my new, volume knob hacked amp.  All is right in the world.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #69 on: September 08, 2007, 04:28:10 am »
Getting closer on the artwork.  Here's the latest marquee and matching CP.  The black thing (center-left) is the spinner.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #70 on: September 08, 2007, 10:20:52 am »
 :o Coder I am amazed at your skills with this art.  The tie in with the CP and marquee are execellent.  Are you going to do side art like this as well?

Wish I had the time to learn how to do this it would sure come in handy with my Kustom Sticks.

TTFN
Kaytrim

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #71 on: September 08, 2007, 08:44:30 pm »
:o Coder I am amazed at your skills with this art.  The tie in with the CP and marquee are execellent.  Are you going to do side art like this as well?

Wish I had the time to learn how to do this it would sure come in handy with my Kustom Sticks.

TTFN
Kaytrim
Thanks.  I just fake it.  There are a lot of guys on this forum that can make Photoshop sing and dance.  Yes, I am going to do side art as well.  I'm going to get it done at the same time I do the side art for the Xcelerator project.

I've always wanted to be able to do cool looking computer art.  I set out to learn Photoshop on the Partybox project.  Like I said, I'm no expert, but what I do know I got from doing one 20 minute tutorial a night for a few months.  There are tons of them available on the web.  If you truly want to learn it, commit to it and put in the time.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #72 on: September 08, 2007, 08:51:51 pm »
CP Light Bar Installation
Today I glued in the Plexiglas bar into the front edge of the CP.  All went smooth.  After the Bondo dried, I sanded it flush to the wood surface.  Then I went over some of the rough spots and end grain with a sloppy mixture of wood putty.  The day (daylight) ended with a coat of paint on the CP and bezel pieces.  Tonight comes the first of many LED wiring jobs.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #73 on: September 08, 2007, 08:59:44 pm »
That is quite a mess there but it is all for the good. :cheers:  Strange what you think will take an hour or so takes all day. :dizzy:

TTFN

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #74 on: September 08, 2007, 09:58:17 pm »
You realize we'll all be stealing this great idea soon, right?  :D

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #75 on: September 12, 2007, 04:11:04 am »
You realize we'll all be stealing this great idea soon, right?  :D

Glad to contribute.  Let me know if you have any questions.

If you're thinking about stealing that idea, how about...

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #76 on: September 12, 2007, 04:15:13 am »
Alternating Color Power Button
As long as I’ve got bags of cheap LED’s now lying around, I decided to do something lighting related with the cab power button.  The cab needs to be simple to turn on & off, no instructions required is the goal.  A blinking green light on an otherwise dead machine screams, “Push me to start.”  And while the system is on, a red light typically means stop.  I want it to be green when the power is off and red when the power is on.  The switched power supply will have an “always on” power strip, and an “on only when PC is on” power strip.  The cab power button will be wired to the PC on/off button.  The PC energized relay controlling the switched strip has an extra set of contacts.  The green led will be connected to the normally closed contacts, and the red led will be connected to the normally open contacts.  When the PC is off, the relay will not be energized, providing current to the green LED.  When the PC is on the red LED will be lit. 

<< edit - after lots of thought and forum input, it will pulse red when off, and be steady green when on.  Also, it will have the universal power symbol (circle with verticle line) instead of the text "POWER".  >>

I’m in the process of learning how to make my own low-budget PIC controller / circuit to slowly pulsate both LED’s.  The PIC code is roughed in and compiles.  Now I just need to design a circuit around it and debug it all.  Lots of trial/error and fried components to come in my future.  I’d probably save a LOT of time (and perhaps money when all is said and done) just purchasing an LED WIZ from Randy at GroovyGameGear.com, but where’s the fun in that?   

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #77 on: September 15, 2007, 02:37:18 am »
Marquee Installation – Needs Work

Today I installed the marquee artwork/glass.  The artwork is sandwiched between two pieces of glass.  The back piece is textured to diffuse the light and the front piece is clear.  Right away I noticed three problems.

1)   The corner supports are blocking the light.  Others have solved this by shaving off most of the supports at an angle.  This problem wasn't apparent to me until I turned on the light.  A little Dremel work should solve this.
2)   The texture on the back piece of glass is too coarse.  The artwork has small pocks and shadows especially noticeable in the white areas.  I will replace this pane of glass with a piece with a frosted texture instead of a traditional shower door texture.  The good news is this sized glass is very cheap (around $4.00)
3)   The swirl detail around the letters is washed out.  I'll go in and increase the contrast a bit and have it reprinted.

It doesn't look nearly as good as I'd like.  Some rework is required.  Oh, well, lessons learned.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #78 on: September 17, 2007, 12:56:13 am »
<space>

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #79 on: September 17, 2007, 12:56:39 am »
<space2>

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #80 on: September 17, 2007, 01:00:24 am »
Side Lit Bezel
On this project I wanted to experiment with and use lighting in many different ways and places.  This post describes the effect of a small light border placed around the monitor. 

My inspiration came from 3 sources. 
1)   rackoon in a post asking for details to help him put a glow around his coin door.
2)   Pixelhugger in his non-lit but colored Plexiglas bezel on his Mission Control project.
3)   Myself, looking for new ways to exploit my newfound media of side-lit Plexiglas.

The bezel is made up of two pieces of ¾” plywood, with a side lit piece of 3/16” Plexiglas sandwiched between.  The wood is routed with a decorative router profile to give it a recessed picture frame look.  Approximately ¼” of sanded and roughed up Plexiglas is exposed between the two pieces of wood.

Rather than bloating this page with large images, they are commented here sequentially, with thumbnails below.  Well, maybe just one… the finished product.




LEDs_Resistors
This project needed a lot of LED’s soldered to resistors.  They were all soldered at once to reduce time, like a little production run.  The resistor and LED leads were cut to about ¾” in length.  Both were tinned with solder.  The two leads were held together with a clip and then heated up until the solder flowed.

Bezel_pre_wire
Slip fit holes for 3mm LEDs were drilled at around 30 degrees.  The angle helps increases the effective distance from LED to front edge, spreading the light more, therefore reducing hotspots.  The LEDs were spaced approximately 3” apart.  The LEDs are held in place with a small dab of hotglue in each hole.  On a few holes, I used too much.  It oozed past the edge and had to be trimmed with a razor blade to keep it from interfering with the sandwiched pieces of wood.  Before working with the LED’s, the entire front and back sides of the Plexiglas were roughed up to increase lit diffusion, reducing the amount of hotspot effect.

Wire_test
I really like this picture.  You can clearly see the angle that the light leaves the LED’s.  Notice the unlit section on the bottom.  Cool effect.   This picture was taken with a flash.

Wired
The LED’s, resistors, and wire were held close to the edge of the Plexiglas with small pieces of electrical tape.  Two separate wire runs were made; one covering the top & left edges, and the other covering the bottom & right.  I plan to control each LED individually with a custom circuit.  I want a “pulse” of hotspot slowly move around the bezel.  If I only wanted them on/off or pulsing together, only a positive and a ground wire would have been needed.  Instead, I used some 20-conductor ribbon cable.

Light_works
Radioactive Bezel.  Don’t stand too close if you plan on having more children.

Light_sandwich
The Plexiglas is sandwiched between two pieces of ¾” plywood.  All wires, LED’s and resistors had to fit in the same thickness of the Plexiglas (3/16”).  Special care was taken placing the screw holes.  Holes in Plexiglas significantly blocks light, causing deadspots and shadows.  The holes were placed between the LED’s and as close to the outer edge as possible.

Assembly
The Plexiglas was centered on the front piece of bezel plywood and held in place with a bunch of wood screws.  I could have gotten away with far fewer screws (2 in fact), because the real hold takes place when the two pieces of wood are screwed together.

Bezel_black
In a dark room, it gives off a bizarre green glow that bounces off the floor, ceiling, and walls.  This picture does not do it justice.  Because of the width of the lower piece of wood, the glow does not glare off the monitor when facing it.  The small square towards the bottom is a pocket to hold the side lit logo and artwork piece of Plexiglas.

Continued...

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #81 on: September 17, 2007, 01:00:45 am »
Bezel_black_corner
A close up shot of the effect in a dark surrounding. 

Bezel_corner
A close up shot of the effect in daylight.  This is a good representative shot of how bright it is in person.  You can also see the recessed picture frame look you get by using two pieces of decoratively routed wood.

Hotspots_and_glare
Unless there are LOTS of LED’s spaced very closely together on a wide strip of Plexiglas, there will be hotspots.  This picture shows how prevalent they as you look directly at the edge.  Also, the light is reflected off the monitor at this angle.  The hotspots and glare pretty much disappear at about a 45 degree angle.  This will not show to anyone playing a game, or someone besides them watching, as shown in the next picture.

Installed
The money shot.  This picture was taken outside in daylight with a light layer of clouds (notice the reflection in the marquee.)  It accurately represents how it looks in person.  It’s not too bright, but you can definitely tell it is actively lit, not just paint.  The bezel will sit behind a smoked piece of tempered glass, hiding most of the small paint and surface imperfections.

Up Next…
Same effect for the speakers.  This task is complete, just need to write it up.
Side Lit CNC’d Plexiglas piece to go in small window below monitor.
Custom Circuits to make the LED’s dance.  A first draft of the PIC code is written and the components are ordered.
Control panel LED’s, and components install.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #82 on: September 17, 2007, 02:44:01 am »
Pimp My Speakers

A while back, racoon made a post, asking for assistance on using side lit Plexiglas to put a glow around his coin door.  That inspired me to do this project, glowing speakers.  I’m sure it has been done before, but here is my take at it.

This is what the finished product looks like in diffused sunlight.  This picture was taken outside, in overcast daylight.  It is very representative of what it actually looks like in person. 



Progress pictures are commented below.

Plexiglas
The Plexiglas is 3/16” thick, made from a $14 remnant from my local glass shop.  Both the bezel and speaker projects were made from this one piece.  The outer profile was cut using a large hole boring bar tool.  The inner cut was made with a scroll saw.  The speaker is mounted to the Plexiglas, which in turn is bolted to the cab.  Both surfaces and the outer edge were roughed up with sand paper to increase the glowing effect.  The LED holes are slip fit for the 3mm diameter LED’s.  The holes needed to be on the inside, pointing to the outer edge.  It was tricky getting these holes drilled, because the drill could not get perpendicular with the edge.  They are drilled as best I could without going thought the side face.

Leds_glued
The LED’s are held in place with a small dab of hot glue, squirted into the hole.  Eight LED’s were strategically placed to get even light coverage.  The cover mounting holes were placed between the LED’s to minimize light blockage and shadows.

Wire_strip
This is an old trick my Father taught me.  Rather than making individual pieces of wire to make a ground loop, just strip back a little section in the middle of the wire.  This makes the soldering job MUCH easier, and is MUCH more reliable.

Wired
A long time ago I picked up a spool of 20 conductor ribbon cable at a local electronics surplus supply place.  The wiring was going to be busy enough with all that is going on, I’d hate to imagine having 7 additional wires to deal with.  The ribbon cable will also aid later on when I go to connect each one individually to the LED controller.  The wires are held in place with hot glue.

Pre_paint
The aliens have landed.  The light is way too strong, illuminating the tape, wire, LED’s, resistors, and everything else under the speaker cover.  Looks cool though.

Taped
To keep the light under control, I decided to paint the disk everywhere except at the exposed edges.  Electrical tape worked well to mask off the un-painted area.

Painted
This was a messy process.  Paint doesn’t stick very well to Plexiglas.  It also took a number of coats to cover up the light in all of the nooks and crannies.  Flat black spray paint was used.

Post_paint
This picture was taken with no flash.  In person, the lighting effect is a little brighter.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #83 on: September 17, 2007, 04:11:32 am »
Awesome Coder! Very nice.

 :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #84 on: September 17, 2007, 07:46:34 pm »
 :cheers:

What..? Maybe just:  :notworthy:

psychotech

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #85 on: September 17, 2007, 08:59:23 pm »
Some very cool stuff there Coder.

Oooh pretty lites... :dizzy: pretty...  :dizzy: lights...  :dizzy: ooooh




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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #86 on: September 18, 2007, 10:51:07 am »
Wow.  Is there nothing this guy cant do?  That looks really cool.

More pics of the entire cab (from different angles) please...

-D


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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #87 on: September 18, 2007, 07:00:03 pm »
Thanks guys...

Wow.  Is there nothing this guy cant do?  That looks really cool.
I'm honored, but there's lots of things I can't do.  The important thing is there are very few things I won't TRY, at least once.  What you don't see is the messed up Plexiglas disk, cut too small.  Or the messed up disk with the LED hole drilled all the way through.  Or the blown string of LED's when I hooked up a 12vdc power supply instead of 5vdc.  Or the blown CRT, transformer, amplifier, hard drive, etc.  Heck man, it took me 4 tries (and 4 $10 Xbox controllers) to get the reset button right on the Xcelerator project.  I've got more curiosity than brains some times.  A little knowledge, a whole lot of wreckless imagination, and a few bucks here and there can go a long way. 

More pics of the entire cab (from different angles) please...
There are a few original profile shots on page one if you are interested.  The only thing that's changed is the bezel.  I'd prefer to hold off until I get the CP box mounted.  Should be in a week or two.  Stay tuned.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #88 on: September 18, 2007, 07:04:54 pm »
Glad to hear that even guys with projects like yours have a run of broken stuff behind them.  I thought I was the only one who tore up more stuff than I fixed.

Great projects though man, you are taking to this hobby like a fish to water.

-D

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #89 on: September 18, 2007, 08:19:58 pm »
You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. ;)  Keep up the good work man.  Can't wait to see the CP all lit up.

TTFN

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #90 on: September 18, 2007, 08:24:39 pm »
and you can't spell omelette with only one t :laugh:
got COLOR codes from projects, post them here

add stuff to the uk wiki section

psychotech

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #91 on: September 19, 2007, 02:23:56 am »
and you can't spell omelette with only one t :laugh:

Actually, you can do both.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omelette

 >:D

Great stuff, L.

psychotech

PS. polaris, just try the forum spell checker with omelette ;)

PPS.  :laugh2:

PPPS. Well, I'm an S. So, nevermind.

javeryh

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #92 on: September 19, 2007, 11:07:06 am »
Glad to hear that even guys with projects like yours have a run of broken stuff behind them.  I thought I was the only one who tore up more stuff than I fixed.

I'll second this.  I can't seem to get anything right on my first try either.

Awesome work Coder!   :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #93 on: September 19, 2007, 09:29:15 pm »
Glad to hear that even guys with projects like yours have a run of broken stuff behind them.  I thought I was the only one who tore up more stuff than I fixed.

I'll second this.  I can't seem to get anything right on my first try either.

Awesome work Coder!   :cheers:

And I second this also!!!
My best shot was when I built my 5x2x4 vivarium in my workshop (basement) using only glue and biscuit and realize that it doesn't fit the stairway... :banghead:

Good job on the Led effects.
Everytime I see something new like this I try to see if I could incorporate it in my current project...

Jay  :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #94 on: September 19, 2007, 09:47:10 pm »
Nice. 

Did I say 'nice?'

Nice.

Does this introduce any glare on the screen?  helps when I read before asking questions. 

Nice.  ;D
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 09:50:13 pm by Santoro »

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #95 on: September 19, 2007, 09:51:27 pm »
I thought I was the only one who tore up more stuff than I fixed.

Oh no.  Not by a long shot.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #96 on: September 22, 2007, 01:26:25 pm »
Electronics Breadboard
Yesterday I put together a breadboard test bed to start playing with the LED control electronics on this project.  It is made from a small Radio Shack breadboard (PN 276-003, $8.00), and a 5vdc transformer.  The chips I’m using require between 2.5 – 5 volts to operate.  I picked up a small shaver transformer from Goodwill for $2.00.  The end is cut off, and small wires soldered on.  The wires are plugged into the + and – bars on the breadboard and taped in place.  Small breadboard, ready to use, $10.00.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #97 on: September 22, 2007, 06:45:03 pm »
Awesome! I cant wait till my Plexiglass sheet get here in the mail. :hissy:

You do great work thecoder. :notworthy:
They treated me like an animal and that's what I became.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #98 on: September 22, 2007, 11:16:13 pm »
Awesome! I cant wait till my Plexiglas sheet get here in the mail. :hissy:

You do great work thecoder. :notworthy:
Thanks for the complement, and the idea.  Without your post/question, I probably would not have thought to light up the speakers.  I hope the Plexiglas you ordered works out for you.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #99 on: September 22, 2007, 11:19:39 pm »
Front CP Light Bar
Yesterday & today I finished painting and wiring the CP LED bar.  Once everything was sanded smooth, the Plexiglas was masked off.  I used pin stripping tape because the Plexiglas is relatively thin.  The rounded corners were done by cutting half round pieces of masking tape.  After about 6 coats of flat black spray paint, off came the tape.  For the most part I’m pretty pleased.  The lines are straight and evenly spaced.  There is a little bit of a mess-up on the left side (leds_paint_closeup.jpg), but it is barely noticeable. 

The wiring was simple but tedious.  It took about 3 hours to prepare and wire up the 21 LEDs.  The grounds are wired together, and the hot leads have a resistor soldered to each.  Each LED is wired independently with a wide piece of ribbon cable.  Each connection is wrapped in electrical tape, then hot glued in place.  Controlling this light bar is really going to tax electronics skills.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #100 on: September 22, 2007, 11:27:57 pm »
Lots of progress this weekend.  In addition to completing the CP light bar, I managed to:

Finish the paint job
Mount the CP box
Mount the power button and volume pot
Clean and mount the front kick plate & rubber mat
Paint and mount the bottom edge metal trim
Install t-molding
Mount the Monitor/Bezel

It looks more complete than it truly is.  Lots of work remains.  But is now to the point where I can get it off the back porch and into the house. 

Zebidee

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #101 on: September 23, 2007, 11:33:57 am »
Bling Bling!  Looks perfect for almost any living room!   :cheers:
Check out my latest projects!


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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #102 on: September 23, 2007, 03:12:49 pm »
Mount the power button and volume pot

Bling blinb bling!!!!

I like ethey way you mounted the power+vol controls.

Jay  :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #103 on: September 23, 2007, 09:38:59 pm »
This is going to be one hot cab.  Keep it up. :cheers:

TTFN

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #104 on: September 24, 2007, 02:30:30 am »
Thanks again for the compliments.  I'm just having some fun here. 

Tonight I printed the inserts for the buttons.  Thanks to pod for posting his Photoshop file containing the images.  (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=71250.0)  I have attached the file in case his site ever goes dead.  I had to invert the images from white-on-black to black-on-white and change the text on a few.  The chrome rings around these buttons should look nice when surrounded by colored light.

Per recommendations on the main forum, the power button will pulse red when the cab is off, and be steady green when on.  This of course assumes I can get the PIC code/circuitry right.  It was a bit of a pain getting two LED's to fit inside the button, but they're in there.

On a side note… Halloween is coming up.  The mass produced cheap high-tech scary stuff (moving heads with blinking eyes, candy jars that play music when you walk by) is available in the stores now.  Lots of cool potential for inexpensive, hackable bling.  Motion detectors, motor control circuitry, blinking arrays of lights.  Think of the possibilities. 

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #105 on: September 24, 2007, 06:46:31 pm »
This of course assumes I can get the PIC code/circuitry right.

What are you trying to do, exactly?  Which PIC are you using?  One with interrupts? 

It was a bit of a pain getting two LED's to fit inside the button, but they're in there.

There are dual color LEDs with red and green....  Although perhaps they would have not been high enough brightness or wide enough viewing angle (was that important?)

Rick
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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #106 on: September 25, 2007, 12:33:42 am »
What are you trying to do, exactly?  Which PIC are you using?  One with interrupts? 
Actually, I'm trying to learn a new technology.  I barely understood my basic electronics class in school, and for the most part have only worked with current flow, switches, and resistors since then.  No gate logic or capacitors.  My soldering skills are very rough, and I'm looking for mental stimulus.  More to your question, I've got a number of things to light up.  Rather than just turning them on, I want them to pulsate, blink, and/or dance around.
Things that could be lit/controlled include:

1)  Coin door lights.  Maybe sequenced together, maybe separately. 
2)  Side lit engraved Plexiglas plate under the monitor.  This is going to look really cool lit up, definitely slowly pulsating. 
3)  On/Off power button.  It will be on steady green when an input is low, and pulse red when the input is high.  The input is associated with the power state of the cab.
4)  The lit push buttons.  I really haven't thought much about these.  I'd probably just have them on.  Having something dynamic driven by the OS may be cool, but I've got to make baby steps.  No serial logic to eeprom yet.
5)  8 LED side lit speaker Plexiglas dishes.  I'd like to be able to make them slowly go around in a circle, using PWM logic to make it smooth.
6)   Front CP lit bar.  There are 21 LEDs in there, and I'd like to be able to make them dance left & right.  Or maybe go from the outside in/inside out.
7)  Monitor/bezel lit accent.  Because this one will probably be annoying if it blinks, I'll probably just make it on, or maybe pulse very slowly.

It's probably too much bling for one cab to handle and I probably won't implement it all.  The way I've designed the code, it should be able to be disabled and have its behavior change from a simple push button (more on that when I write it up).

For the simple one or two led stuff, I picked up a rack of 12f675 chips.  They have a timer with interupt, run at 4 MHz, have 6 I/O, 1k program space, and 128 bytes of eeprom.  Ooooh, sounds like I know what I'm talking about.  (this is all new to me). 

For the bigger stuff, I'm going with 16F684 chips.  They have lots more stuff, but more importantly, they have 12 I/O and run much faster at 20 MHz.  A coworker of mine knows this stuff and helped me pick out the chips.

There are dual color LEDs with red and green....  Although perhaps they would have not been high enough brightness or wide enough viewing angle (was that important?)
I saw these in my research but decided to go with discrete ones.  My thought was the individual ones are simpler to work with and can be used in other applications. 

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #107 on: September 25, 2007, 11:58:14 pm »
Lots of cool stuff.

IMHO, you should use larger PICs.  Not for power for functions, but for I/O.  Not that you can't do it with smaller PICs, but it seems that it would be harder.  For example, with the front cp lit bar, there are 21 LEDs to run and that would require either additional logic or trying to coordinate actions between multiple processors.  A single 28 or 40 pin PIC could handle each LED directly (almost, see * below).  What I would do is run 4 (or 3 or 2) PICs -

1) controlling the coin door (2 LED channels), engraved plate (1), on/off button (2), and speaker rings (16)

2) front bar (21)

3) bezel (~30)

4) buttons (?)

If you didn't need/want individual LED control of the bezel, then it could be ran by #1, and then only three PICs would be needed.  And if you are only controlling admin buttons without expecting a FE to control them, you could run them by #1, too.  That would only require two PICs.  If you want your action buttons to do LEDWiz type things, then you'd probably be better off with a LEDWiz for those (but you could make your own if determined...)

I suppose that reducing the number of PICs to a minimum is not really necessary - I have a weird desire to optimize as much as possible.  But really it makes it easier to program as there is less to deal with in communicating between them.  The only downfall I see is that you already have other parts. 

A PIC at 4MHz should have no trouble driving those LEDs with full resolution independent fading on each while providing the necessary functions that you want.  Maybe running the PIC faster would help out, though...

* You are going to need drivers for the LEDs if your resistor choice causes them to draw more than 5-15mA each depending on the total number attached to a PIC.  The usual max current out of a I/O pin is 25mA, but there are also maximums for each port or port combinations and the entire device, so you can't have every I/O sourcing 25mA.  Honestly, it would have been better to wire the positive sides of the LEDs together and control via the grounds, but I doubt that you want to rewire!  (and it can be worked around).

Coin door lights - wire them seperate to the PIC, and then you can decide later (or change your mind easily) if they will be seq together or separately.

It may be cool if you could have the bezel rotate or pulse when in the FE, but quit when a game is selected.  Not sure how to do that without FE coding changes...

What stage of development is your source code in?  Are you interested in code suggestions?  Care to post it or send it to me?  Care for circuit suggestions/feedback?

Later,
Rick
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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #108 on: September 27, 2007, 05:11:22 am »
What stage of development is your source code in?  Are you interested in code suggestions?  Care to post it or send it to me?  Care for circuit suggestions/feedback?
Thanks for the input.  You bet, I'd love any suggestions/feedback you can provide.  PM sent.  More details including code and schematics below.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #109 on: September 27, 2007, 05:29:42 am »
LED Variable Blink Circuit
This writeup describes a simple circuit that blinks an LED in one of 8 different modes.  I will use copies of it to light up the Plexiglas logo and the coin door lights.  A slightly modified version will control the power on/off button. 

I'm no expert at this stuff.  This project was done primarily to keep my brain energized.  It took lots of internet searching and a bit of encouragement from a few acquaintances that have experience working with this technology.  There are a lot of folks on this forum that know this stuff a lot better than me.  I'm just writing it up here to pass on what I learned and hopefully encourage at least one of you to try something similar.   

Attached below are a schematic diagram of the circuit, a photo of the breadboard proof of concept, a few photos of the first draft PCB, a few photos of the device used to flash the chip that controls the circuit, and a zip file containing the source code for the project.  I've got some .mpg video files of it in action and will post them when I get them edited.

Finally, in this hobby I have an opportunity to actually write some code.  Not just a batch file here and there but real compiled C code with loops, a state machine, timers, enums, and other such fun.  It beats the heck out of working with Excel spreadsheets and giving Power Point presentations.

This project involved two technologies; PIC microcontrollers and the code that runs in them.  A PIC is a chip that has variable inputs and outputs, that you write code for, that is downloaded into the chip, and runs whenever power is supplied.  It stores the code and state variables (counters, parameters, scripts, etc.) even when the power is off.  Their primary purpose is to turn on and off outputs, based on the state of inputs or parameters.  PIC controllers are used in most all electronic toys these days, many kitchen appliances, and other cheap (and not so cheap) applications.  The code can be written in a variety of languages.  I chose to develop in C.

PIC controllers come in a variety of sizes.  The one I chose is one of the smaller ones available, a 12F675.  It runs at 4MHz, has 1 timer, 1k of program space, 128 bytes of eeprom (parameter storage), in an 8 pin package.  It also has 6 configurable input/output pins.  Most PIC chips are available in DIP and surface mount packages.  I used the DIP variety because they are through hole, and can be soldered by hand.

There are a lot of ways a light may be cycled on and off.  Not knowing which would look best in different settings, I decided to have a number of blink modes.  I also found that some modes look better when cycling fast, while others look better slow.  The circuit and code supports two user inputs, mode and frequency.  On the circuit they are selected with small pushbuttons.  As a button is pressed, the value increases until it hits it's maximum, then it cycles back around to the lowest value.  I could have avoided a lot of time, code, space, and dare I say money (oooh, 2 x $0.15 for pushbuttons)  by just hard-coding one mode and one frequency. 

For the most part, LEDs can only be on or off.  To get them to “dim” or have variable intensity, the power is cycled on/off very quickly.  This method is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).  The chip has one PWM circuit built in, but I chose to implement this feature in code instead of hardware.  In the code, the different blink modes are handled with a mode variable.  Each mode has a slightly different algorithm that controls how much time the LED is on and how much it is off. 

This device has 8 modes including:

sawtoothup      // gradual up, drop to off
sawtoothdown      // gradual down, jumps to all on
smooth         // gradual up, gradual down (pulsate – cool!)
blink         // on 50%, off 50%
blip_off      // quick on, variable duration off
blip_on      // quick off, variable duration on
all_on         // all on, variable brightness
all_off         // off

All modes except “all_off” use the frequency variable.  For the first 5 modes, it controls the speed at which the cycle takes place.  They range from several cycles per second (very annoying) to one cycle every 3-4 seconds.  The blip_off and blip_on modes have a very short on or off state, followed by a variable duration in the opposite state.  When slowed down, the blip_off mode  looks like a beacon on a radio tower or light house.  The all_on mode uses the frequency variable to control the overall intensity or brightness.

Both the mode and frequency variables are stored inside the chip every time a button is pressed.  The variables are stored in 2 of the 128 bytes of eeprom space in the chip.  When the circuit is powered up, an initialize function runs.  One thing this function does is read these two variables from eeprom.  The code/circuit remembers the configuration from when it ran last.  Good stuff.  I've always wondered how they pulled that off.

There is a lot of sample code available for programming PIC controllers.  The code used in this project was pieced together from examples, and code I put together.  If you are considering playing with this stuff, I'd recommend downloading lots of sample programs and studying how they work.  Mine is included below. 

The code on this project compiles to a whopping 400 bytes in size.  This compared to the last “real” application I wrote that compiled to just over 23 megs.  Given that the 12F675 has 1k of program space, I could stuff a lot more logic in there, control 3 more LED’s, expand the number and complexity of modes, or even implement a scripting language.

Once the code is written, it is downloaded into the chip.  The process is called “programming the chip” or “flashing the chip”.  There are lots of chip programmers available.  I'm using a $38.00 beginner's kit from Microchip.com.  It comes with a compiler and a PCB that you temporarily plug your chip into to flash.  The programmer has some built in LEDs, a pushbutton and a pot to test out your code.  The kit also comes with a couple of chips to start out with. 

After the code is downloaded to the chip, the circuit is bread boarded.  An input pin is considered “true” when it is shorted to ground.  Output pins provide 5vdc at a max current of around 20mA, enough to drive a couple of LEDs or several transistors that in turn can power numerous LEDs. 

Components
1   Microchip 12F675 chip   $1.05
1   86 ohm resistor      $0.04
1   Green LED         $0.14
2   PCB pushbuttons      $0.15
1   portion of prototype PCB   $0.50

Total:  $1.88 each
(minus shipping)

This project was really a blast!  It has kept me up way past midnight for many nights this week.  I haven't had this much fun in a very long time.  No smoke and fire.  I'm still on my first chip and LED.  That's a first.  My only mistake (besides neglecting my wife & kids at night, and being extremely tired at work in the mornings) was purchasing a bag of surface mount chips instead of through hole.  The vendor eagerly credited my account.

After this, I'll be building on my learning's and following rockin_rick's recommendation of moving up to a much bigger chip for the multi-LED control applications needed on this project.  Wish me luck.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #110 on: September 27, 2007, 07:32:39 am »
Thats building your own controls right there!  :applaud:

Nice work coder, I enjoyed reading that... now, pay attention to your family.  ;)

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #111 on: September 27, 2007, 08:02:04 pm »
Wow, it seems like you have a pretty good handle on this.  You are much farther along than I anticipated.  I don't code in C (but have a basic understanding), so I can't quite follow your code.  Seems like your complier must have commands for PWM so you don't have to code it yourself - thats handy.  I was expecting you to be coding that in assembler...  I'm not sure if the compiler can handle 20 channels of PWM all at once, but maybe?  Assembly yes, compiled ???  Maybe trying to add all of those LEDs to a big PIC won't work (with a complier).

Also noticed that your programmer can't handle PICs >18 pins?  Or can it?  Does it have ICSP?  Can you get/use an adapter for larger PICs (non-ICSP)?  I'm not familiar with that programmer...

Are you using internal weak pull-ups for the switches?  If not, do it (or use external pullups).  If your not and it's working OK, then you are lucky - it may end up causing problems when you move it to an electrically different environment.

Use a 0.1 mfd ceramic cap between the vdd and vss of the PIC as close as possible to the PIC.

I'd increase that LED current limiter to about 220 ohms.  With 86 ohms you are pulling about 30-35mA from the PIC.  Max is 25mA.  (VDD - LEDworkingvoltage) / resistor = AMPS drawn.  Assuming your LED has a working voltage of 2V, (5-2)/86 = 0.035A  (5-2)/220 = 0.014A  It may be working OK for now, but it is stressing the chip.

Things to remember - GP3 is input only.  If you set it to MCLR, use an external pull-up (say 10K) - don't let it float. 

Good job!
Rick
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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #112 on: September 28, 2007, 02:26:09 pm »
Wow, it seems like you have a pretty good handle on this.  You are much farther along than I anticipated.

Once I get into something its hard to let go.  Thanks for the input.  I believe the programmer can handle chips with more than 18 pins with an external cable.  If not, I'll pick up a different model.

Today I put together a video of the different blink modes.  To keep the file size down, a lot of quality was sacrificed.  If it comes up full screen, reduce the window size way down.  My finger in there is riding the frequency button, slowing down the mode for demo purposes.  In the last section I'm cycling through the different modes by pressing the mode button.  Any given mode behaves and/or looks very different at different frequencies.  I did not show the all_on or all_off modes.  I suspect you can imagine what they look like.

Blink Mode Video -> http://www.youtube.com/v/gyY5IjqmZj0 

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #113 on: September 28, 2007, 04:47:43 pm »
Nice job coder.   :applaud:

Are you actually able to control the LED's brightness?  I thought (since it's a diode) the light would be either just on or off.

Are you just modulating the frequency of the on/off pulses, or actually increasing the voltage level into the LED?
My Projects:
Suspended Animation Scratch-built Cab
Driveshaft Arcade Seat Platform

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #114 on: September 30, 2007, 02:36:50 am »
Side Lit Plexiglas Logo
Today I made and installed the side lit Plexiglas logo.  With my friend Jim's help, we engraved the words “Time Sink” in a piece of 3/16” Plexiglas.  Rather than cutting with a rotating end mill, we got the best results by just dragging a pointed tool across the surface.  The text was inverted and cut on the backside.  If the image is on the front, you get a bright reflection.  It works best if the image is on the back.

The Plexiglas has two small holes drilled in from the sides to hold two LEDs.  The LEDs are held in place with a dab of hot glue.  The Plexiglas is sandwiched between a piece of glass and black card stock.  The glass is facing out, reducing the chances of getting scratches in the Plexiglas.  I picked up a piece of 8x10 picture frame glass from StuffMart for $1.75 and a glass cutter for $7.  This was my first attempt at cutting glass and it went well.  There was a crack then break, but this time it was planned.  The three layers are held together with tape.

The entire assembly was mounted into the bezel.  I had previously routed out a pocket for it.  It is held in place with a generous dose of hot glue.  I rigged up my prototype light blinking circuit to see what it will look like.  You can't see it in the pictures, but it is slowly pulsing.

Today I also picked up the improved version of the marquee and mounted it.  It looks much better than the previous version.  I also mounted the on/off button.

All in all, it was a productive day.

theCoder

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #115 on: September 30, 2007, 12:27:52 pm »
Nice job coder.   :applaud: Are you actually able to control the LED's brightness?  I thought (since it's a diode) the light would be either just on or off.  Are you just modulating the frequency of the on/off pulses, or actually increasing the voltage level into the LED?

Thanks.  Regarding your question, refer to the writeup above.  PWM, not variable voltage. 

Dmod

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #116 on: September 30, 2007, 01:57:03 pm »
Very cool.  At least I'm not dumb... I just can't read.   :dizzy:

Seems like a cool effect could be created if you can gang all the player buttons together in parallel at the input to the PIC controller and use a counter to accumulate the number of button presses within a certain time interval... then gradually modulate the light intensity by the counter value.

For games like fighters, this would cause the machine to glow more intensely when the buttons are getting mashed without providing a strobe effect that could get annoying pretty quickly.

If I ever get around to implementing this, I think I would reserve the blink effects for one time events like coin drops or game selection from the GUI.

Thanks for all the documentation on this.


My Projects:
Suspended Animation Scratch-built Cab
Driveshaft Arcade Seat Platform

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #117 on: September 30, 2007, 05:55:10 pm »
Niiiiiiiiice.  :applaud:
Project mega thread HERE

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #118 on: October 02, 2007, 12:46:09 pm »
Cool!  I've been so engrossed in my own project... I haven't spent a great deal of time browsing projects...

This is really clever... I bet it looks even more incredible in real-life...

awesome stuff!
Happy Gaming!

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #119 on: October 07, 2007, 02:29:30 am »
This is really clever... I bet it looks even more incredible in real-life...
It is hard to photograph light well.  It is also hard to show the blinking lights.  My camera is pretty high res for photos, but very low for video.  I've made an attempt in the attached zip file.

We have ignition
It's quite a rats nest right now, but I've got my primary power system up and running.  This includes the circuit associated with lighting the power button.  I'm on my 3rd prototype of the custom circuit.  On EBay, there is a guy selling small 1” PCB’s for around 2 for a dollar delivered (in quantities of 25).  I also picked up a bunch of PCB solderable connector blocks.  This project is going to have at least 4 of these things in here, and I didn't want to have to solder the LED wires in.

The real white knuckle point was when I went to test out the 110 volt relay, running within 1/8” from the 12 vdc terminals coming from my PC.  Before ignition (so to speak) everything tested out OK with a volt meter.  No smoke or fire!!!!!  Worked first time.  Powering the PC (from the lighted pushbutton) powers the relay, which powers the power strip.  Good stuff.

I wish I could say the same for my blinking circuit.  It worked fine on my bench, but when plugged into the transformer I picked up from Goodwill, it got really hot.  The problem was in the transformer.  It was supposed to be 4.8 vdc, but was actually around 15vdc.  Unfortunately it fried the chip, and I had to build up another board.  This time, I had a chance to do a much better job of soldering and routing the wires.  In the course of testing out the new circuit, one of the LED wires coming out of the pushbutton broke.  Once I got that fixed, it now works.  It pulsates (slow on to slow off) red when off, the goes to steady green when on. 

Lots more to go, but at least I now have power inside the box. 

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #120 on: October 10, 2007, 02:16:25 am »
CPU Installed
Today I started mounting the electronics into the cab.  First, I added a large 12” shelf to mount all the LED circuits, amplifier, and IPac.  On my first cab, the electronics were mounted on a board, which was later attached to the side.  That made maintenance difficult.  I am hoping to get at all the wiring while sitting comfortably in a chair.  When complete, there will be 5 LED circuits, 1 amp, & 1 keyboard wedge with all associated wires mounted on that board.  It will be crowded when all is said and done but should work out well.

The PC, Subwoofer, and LED power supply are held in place with strapping tape (pliable lead based metal strips).  They should not move around if/when I put this thing in the back of a truck. 

Most all of the LED stuff is powered by a mondo 3 amp 5 vdc power supply I picked up at Goodwill for $5.00.  It is mounted on the right wall, below the shelf.  3 amps should be able to drive over 150 LED’s.  As it stands there is going to be around 60 in total.  The one circuit that will not be driven by this transformer is the always on, red/green power button.  It is run from a very small transformer plugged into the “always hot” power strip.  Power from the large transformer is wired into a black (ground) and a white (+5vdc) terminal block.  This should make wiring up the LED’s and circuits cleaner and less error prone.

There are two sets of custom wires connected to the PC.  The blue ones are attached to a PC power plug and supply 12 vdc to the power relay stuffed in the power plug box.  The small red/black - black/white wires are attached to the PC on/off pushbutton wire and go to the red/green power button on the front of the cab.

I took a stab at getting the OS to boot with no evidence of Windows.  Tomorrow I'm picking up an old PCI video card to see if the “two video cards, one monitor” trick hides the Manufacturer logo and BIOS boot messages.  The Windows logon screens, sounds, and message boxes are gone.  I still have an annoying flicker of M$ light blue on exit.  So far, I've got the power on time down to around 29 seconds; hoping to get to around 17-20 with more tuning.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #121 on: October 18, 2007, 02:06:43 am »
Hiding PC Evidence
One thing I hated about my first cab was you could tell it was driven by a Windows PC.  On this project I want to hide all evidence of the computer and its operating system.  There are a lot of good write-ups on the topic, and I tried most of what I could find, plus some more.  I’m glad to report that I’m almost completely there, and what I don’t have, I know what is needed.  For a clean boot you need to (in boot sequence order):

1)   Hide the motherboard manufacturer boot image
2)   Hide the BIOS boot text
3)   Hide the Windows Welcome screen
4)   Hide the mouse pointer
5)   Bypass the Windows logon screen
6)   Launch straight into the arcade menu, bypassing Explorer with its task bar, icons, and 5-15 seconds of load time.
7)   Optimize boot time (perhaps you should do this first??)

Hide Boot Image / BIOS
I was excited when I brought home a used PCI video card to try the two video card trick.  Little did I know, this trick only works if you have an existing AGP card.  It took me about an hour of screwing around with configurations/reboots before I read the instructions more carefully.  Unfortunately my PC does not have and AGP card, nor AGP slot. 

Plan B – Somehow delay turning on the Monitor.  This should work, the monitor is plugged into a power strip, controlled by a relay.  All I need to do is delay turning on the relay until the BIOS screen is gone.  Stretching waaaaaaay back in my schooling, I remember something about RC circuits.  If you put a capacitor in parallel with a device, it is basically a dead short to until it gets mostly charged, then current will flow to the other parts of the circuit.  A little Google later and I came up with a circuit.  The math didn’t seem to work out though.  Seconds (delay) = Farads (capacitance) X Ohms (resistance).  To get the 20 seconds or so I needed a capacitor the size of a beer can!  I picked up the biggest one StuffShack had to offer (200 uf), the biggest resistor they had (1M ohm pot) and gave it a go.  I could delay the lighting of an LED for about 4 seconds but a relay would not turn on at all.  I had too much resistance in the circuit.  After lots of fiddling around, research, and asking co-workers, it was back to the drawing board. 

Plan B’ – Build a custom circuit using my newfound skills with PIC controllers.  Yea, that’s it, beat it up with code.  The software took all of 15 minutes to hack from one of my LED controller projects.  I had a very small 5 vdc relay left over from the Xcelerator vibrating seat project.  The PIC could turn on the small relay, which could turn on the power strip relay.  The software was very simple.  2 states, Waiting (output=off) and DoneWaiting (output=on).  I soldered up the PIC, wiring the output to the relay, and a couple of wires for power and relay closure to the power strip relay.  No Go.  It took me a while to figure out that the PIC does not provide enough current to drive the small relay.  I then hacked in a small transistor, and fed the relay from that.  I was really surprised when it clicked on after about a 15 second delay.  Good stuff.  The circuit and small relay are powered from the 5 vdc side of a PC power connector (red & black).  The small relay provides 12 vdc (from PC, yellow & black) to the power strip relay that provides 110vac to the power strip/rest of the cab.  Once convinced that the whole thing was not going to burst into flames, I taped the circuit to the PC power connector to protect it. 

I wanted to put in a pot to provide a variable time delay, but it was late, and I didn’t have the patience to wait.  It is currently hard coded at around 15 seconds.  If I should be so lucky to get my boot time below that, perhaps I’ll revisit that decision.  Or maybe if someone is in the market…

Hide the Windows Welcome screen
Lots of write-ups on this.  Used  /noguiboot, set background color to black, and changed “how users log on”.

Hide Mouse Pointer
I was nervous about this one.  It is very hard navigating windows in the dark.  Rather than following the tutorials, setting the cursor to a completely invisible one, I created a custom cursor that was all black, with one grey pixel at the tip.  All of my cursors (registry hack) are set to this new cursor.  Now, on boot, if you’re looking for it, you see one grey pixel in the center of the black screen.  If needed, it is still there.  Once over a white window or other common app, the black shows up fine.

Bypass the Windows logon screen
Well documented hack:  Start/Run “control userpasswords2”.

Launch straight into the arcade menu
Again, lots of write-ups on this one.  This is the one step not yet completed.  I have yet to configure my menu (Mala).  Right now, it boots to Explorer, with the task bar minimized. 

Optimize Boot Time
After lots of research and hacking, I reduced the number of services down to about 9.  Deleted most all of the fonts, set system performance to “best”, etc, etc, etc.  This got the boot down to about 28 seconds.  The minlogon utility (hacked winlogon.exe from MS) brought it down to 22 seconds.  Unfortunately, this disabled the power button / Windows shutdown.  Not an option – revert back.  Bootvis (another MS utility) got it back down to around 22 seconds.  According to that utility, I’m launching Explorer at around 17 seconds into the sequence.  Hopefully, replacing Explorer with Mala will reduce the boot time even more.

theCoder

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #122 on: October 18, 2007, 02:07:50 am »
Internal Lighting
So many LEDs, so little time.  After hours a messing around inside the cab, fiddling with a household lamp to see what’s going on, I decided to wire in some lights inside the cab.  While on a buying spree a while back, I picked up a bag of high intensity white LEDs ($7 per bag of 100, delivered).  Wired to a switch mounted on the electronics board, three LEDs are mounted under the marquee, lighting the electronics board, and three LEDs are mounted under the electronics board, lighting the PC and power section.  Its probably overkill, but it should save my eyesight a little???  If nothing else, it looks cool in the dark.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #123 on: October 26, 2007, 06:14:26 pm »
Control Panel Work
Today I managed to get in some time on the project.  Lots of little things like rewiring for a different CPU, speaker adjustments & locktite, coin door adjustment, mounting an external fan, etc.  The most notable of which was the CP work.

We have a large format printer at work that works great for control panel artwork.  I taped the artwork down, center punched the holes, drilled for the JS, Spinner and 3 buttons.  After lots of Dremmel work to account for tight quarters and a few minor “oh, shoot”s it is getting pretty close. 

A while back I found Future Pinball and fell in love.  While the Forstner bits were out, I drilled the holes for the pinball buttons.  They turned out harder than I thought.  The JS on the left was close to the left edge and came down quite a bit.  Meanwhile the 3rd button on the right was close to the right edge.  It took a bit of time to figure out a location what would fit and still be comfortable.  Unfortunately the optimal location required two CP box screws to be removed.  The heads were just a bit in line with where the button holes were going.  The CP box is mounted well right now and I don't want to remove it.  This caused me to have to use a Philips insert with a pair of pliers to 1/4 turn by 1/4 turn back them out.  That took about 10 minutes each. 

The pictures show white pinball buttons, but they will be replaced with black ones.  I'm also using leaf switches everywhere instead of clickers.  They just feel right.

The last picture is of a bunch of resistors.  The fan was very loud at full speed.  I put a bunch of resistors in line to lower the voltage, dropping its speed, and therefore the noise.  There are two sets of three.  The two sets are in series, making the resistance around 120 ohms.  With just two resistors, they got VERY hot.  So I ganged up three in parallel to bring down the current in each.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #124 on: October 26, 2007, 09:14:14 pm »
I assume that the Plexiglas strip is what was getting in the way of your unscrewing.  It looks like it may have been too tight for this trick, but for future reference, if there's room you can take a small ratchet wrench with the appropriately sized socket for the screw tip and ratchet the screw out.  When there's not enough room for a screwdriver but enough room for the socket it's a definite time saver.

Your progress looks good.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #125 on: October 26, 2007, 11:05:22 pm »
The Plexiglas was in the way, as was some supporting wood blocks.  Even with the blocks hacked away with the Dremmel, it was a bear to get at.  I'm pretty sure I broke a few of the LED wires as well.  A very small ratchet would have helped out greatly.  Thanks.

jlfreund

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #126 on: October 27, 2007, 11:42:18 pm »
Can we get a sticky for this thread?  This cabinet gives kneivel a run for his money.  AWESOME-O.

AlexKidd

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #127 on: October 30, 2007, 01:54:13 am »
For setting up a monitor turn on delay you could look into hooking up to a serial port on the computer and have a small program that runs once windows is booted up and powers the relay to switch on the monitor.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #128 on: October 31, 2007, 01:46:42 am »
Can we get a sticky for this thread?  This cabinet gives kneivel a run for his money.  AWESOME-O.
No sticky please.  I'll condense the content when its done and post it in the "Examples" section for long term archive/access.  "A run for his money..."  I'm not racing, just curious, fearless, and enjoying geeking out with the different technologies.  Thanks for the compliment.

For setting up a monitor turn on delay you could look into hooking up to a serial port on the computer and have a small program that runs once windows is booted up and powers the relay to switch on the monitor.
Based on your skills, it would probably be a whole lot easier to control the timing with this approach (software) than what I came up with.  You could track down an always hot pin (DSR perhaps), have that drive a small transistor, which drives the power relay.  You'd still need to get power to drive the relay coil from something other than the serial port; perhaps from an extra 12vdc line from the PC.  Great idea.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #129 on: October 31, 2007, 08:05:26 am »
Can we get a sticky for this thread?  This cabinet gives kneivel a run for his money.  AWESOME-O.
No sticky please.  I'll condense the content when its done and post it in the "Examples" section for long term archive/access.  "A run for his money..."  I'm not racing, just curious, fearless, and enjoying geeking out with the different technologies.  Thanks for the compliment.

I say... I do think Coder is blushing.  ;)

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #130 on: November 10, 2007, 02:29:33 am »
Spinner Knob
I bought a spinner knob almost a year ago when I bought the spinner.  Unfortunately, now that I’m ready for it, it is nowhere to be found.  It’s probably safely stashed away in a secure place, yea, that’s it.  I’ll probably find it next week.

My friend Jim offered to make me a new one.  The one I lost had a large O-Ring around the perimeter that felt really nice feel.  I couldn’t find any O-Rings as large as the original, but did come up with two slightly smaller ones.  It is held in place with two small setscrews hidden under one of the O-rings.  While he was at it, Jim went ahead and engraved “Time Sink” in the top.  It is hard to see in the pictures, but it looks very cool and reflects light when spinning.  The polished aluminum matches the chrome of the JS rod and the chrome around the buttons. 

Control Panel Installed
I work for “major” printer and computer manufacturer.  About a year ago, they opened a “Product Experience” room on-site to demonstrate, promote, and basically let the employees abuse our printer and camera technologies.  In there are a couple of high end large format printers.  Never guess where I printed my CP artwork?  We recently came out with a large format pigment based ink (instead of dye) that is supposedly more resistant to water and UV damage.  The guy running the room was very excited to help.

Nothing fancy on the wiring.  Three buttons, one JS, and pre-wired USB spinner.  No connectors, all wires soldered, stapled down, and tied together.  Given the small number of wires, I’m going to skip using a quick connect (a D9 would have worked) and just run the wires straight to the I-Pac.  Lazy?  Perhaps.  But fewer joints to fail.  I’m using backlit chrome ringed buttons from Ultimarc and leaf spring switches throughout.

Before applying the artwork and t-molding, I spray painted the edges of the CP wood black to hide anything that might show through the Plexiglas or at the border with the t-molding.

Remaining…
·   Mount smoked glass
·   Mount & wire admin buttons
·   Pinball nudge system (should be cool…stay tuned)
·   I-Pac wiring
·   Finish OS, Menu, and Game setup
·   Dancing LED circuitry for speakers & bezel lights


Dmod

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #131 on: November 11, 2007, 12:31:47 am »
That spinner engraving is a really nice touch. 
My Projects:
Suspended Animation Scratch-built Cab
Driveshaft Arcade Seat Platform

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #132 on: November 11, 2007, 03:11:30 pm »
Here is an idea for your spinner.  Take a 1/8" thick piece of plexi and cut a circle to fit under the spinner, use a holesaw.  Spray one side of the plexi with silver paint and sand the heck out of the edge.  Then light it up with 2-4 LEDs from below.  That should give a nice glow from under the spinner knob. ;D

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #133 on: November 11, 2007, 07:28:13 pm »
That spinner engraving is a really nice touch. 
Jim is funny that way.  Why just make something, when you can make it over the top?  Nice friend to have. 

Here is an idea for your spinner.  Take a 1/8" thick piece of plexi and cut a circle to fit under the spinner, use a holesaw.  Spray one side of the plexi with silver paint and sand the heck out of the edge.  Then light it up with 2-4 LEDs from below.  That should give a nice glow from under the spinner knob. ;D

Good idea, thanks.  I think I'll pass though.  There is too much green light on this thing already.   The spinner is right in front of the side lit TimeSink Plexiglas window, and the engraved letters flicker green from the reflections when spinning.  I'll try to capture it in a video when I get all the lights working the way I want.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #134 on: November 22, 2007, 03:27:46 am »
Front End Menu
After many nights of messing around with OS settings, Mame and Future Pinball configurations, Mala setup, and Photoshop artwork, my computer is ready to go.  Attached is a screen shot of the menu.  I'm using a modified version of the VCP03 skin by tobu.  In addition to a select collection of vertical Mame games, I've loaded around 50 of the “better” Future Pinball titles.  They look good in the vertical orientation. 

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #135 on: November 23, 2007, 03:02:03 pm »
Very cool cabinet!  The more I read people's projects, the more pissed I get that I didn't hold off and buy a house with a garage!   :(
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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #136 on: November 25, 2007, 09:15:28 pm »
Wow.  Awesome work on the cabinet as usual.  I have a couple of comments and questions to ask.

First of all, because of your comments on this thread, I downloaded and installed Future Pinball.  What a cool little program that is.  Thanks for introducing me to it.  I have a dedicated vertical cabinet myself and I would like to add Future Pinball to the cab.  It seems like there are dozens of Future Pinball tables.  Some are great.  Others, not so much. 

What are a few good Future Pinball tables?  Can you attach your list of the "better" Future Pinball tables?
How do you load Future Pinball tables from Mala?

Thanks for the help.
-Dweebs


« Last Edit: November 25, 2007, 09:24:30 pm by dweebs0r »

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #137 on: November 27, 2007, 11:52:11 am »
Wow.  Awesome work on the cabinet as usual...  What are a few good Future Pinball tables?  Can you attach your list of the "better" Future Pinball tables?

Thanks.  I've got around 50 tables loaded.  I basically cherry picked them based on the ranking at http://fprelease.free.fr/?page=1   Once I found a couple of authors I liked, I downloaded all of their other tables.  In general, I like the originals better than remakes, with a few exceptions.  Some authors have some beautiful tables that do not play well.  Others have great playing tables with practically no graphics.  Anyway, the short list of my favorite tables includes:

Alien Poker (Graphics are a little low res, but the play is awesome.  Just like the original)
Cyclone
Dead Hunters
Fire Power (Another remake of a classic.  The background sound is just as annoying as ever)
Killer Klowns
Mission Impossible
Road Girls (Great play, but there's a little too much T&A for the wife & kids)
Sci-Fi Classic (Original by the makers of Future Pinball.  Great action).
Space Invaders II (Cool concept.  Moving targets to worry about)
Vortex (Fast action remake)


How do you load Future Pinball tables from Mala?

To get the tables working in Mala, I followed the instructions posted by SGT at: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=68419.0   This approach allows you to treat the tables like Mame roms, putting them all in the same emulator so you do not have to switch back & forth.  It also allows the Mala "Favorites" list to include both Mame games as well as Future Pinball tables.  One problem I had was the script does not support embedded spaces in the file names of the *.fpt files.  I had to remove spaces from the .fpt files to get them to work.

Good luck with it.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #138 on: December 02, 2007, 06:10:57 pm »
Operational
At work we do off-site team building activities every once and a while.  This time around, it was my turn to recommend the venue.  I was pleased when “gaming in my basement” was selected over paintball.  Nothing against paintball, but I really wanted an opportunity to show my coworkers these crazy arcade machines they've been hearing about for the past few years.

With that said, I got moving on a number of loose ends on the project.  The admin buttons are mounted in the front glass retainer.  The controls and lights are wired.  The CPU is complete and mounted.  The menu is configured, complete with a select set of vertical Mame games and Future Pinball tables.  It is fully operational.  I just spent about an hour playing the “War of the Worlds” table by Roney.  Oh, man…

All that remains is the pinball nudge system, making a custom circuit to make the LEDs on the front dance around, and mounting the to-be-delivered piece of smoked glass.

I found a nice place for it, right behind the Xcelerator driving cab.  Now, for the first time in several months, the basement is clean.  The wife is happy.  Bring on the party.

leapinlew

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #139 on: December 02, 2007, 06:19:58 pm »
awesome dude... it looks great!
 :applaud:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #140 on: December 02, 2007, 06:26:50 pm »
That fills out your little arcade nicely and looks good.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #141 on: December 02, 2007, 09:30:29 pm »
Looks great. 

The only thing I want more of in your threads are hi-res pictures.  Reading this forum reminds me of when I was a kid and I would look through Sears catalog (at the breasts in the bra section) to pick out all of the things I wanted one day.  I need more pics to satisfy my arcade craving.

-D

javeryh

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #142 on: December 03, 2007, 10:42:48 am »
woah, looking good... I'm wicked jealous of your gameroom...   :cheers:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #143 on: December 03, 2007, 04:47:17 pm »
Where did you get your strapping tape? I've walked all up and down Home Depot and cannot find the stuff. All they have is a water heater earthquake strap kit that costs nearly $20.

By the way, I love how the inside of your cab looks. Awesome stuff. I'm at that point of my install, putting the components in.  :applaud:

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #144 on: December 03, 2007, 09:06:00 pm »
Thanks for the compliments guys.

The only thing I want more of in your threads are hi-res pictures. 
I'm working with pretty high res pics to start from.  I arbitrarily picked 5x3" as a default save size to keep Saint from having to buy more spindles, and save on the upload/download speed.  I could easily bump up the sizes from here on, say 7x5.

woah, looking good... I'm wicked jealous of your gameroom...   :cheers:
Thanks.  I somehow stumbled upon this house that has a large 20 x 30 ft room in the basement.  Not pictured is the airhockey table (picture taken backed up against it), XBox station (small tv & a couple of floor chairs), and the dart board.  My wife is starting a business that will need 1/3 of the space.  The airhockey & xbox stuff will likely be the first to go.

Where did you get your strapping tape? I've walked all up and down Home Depot and cannot find the stuff.
I got mine at Home Depot.  It is in a roll, in a carboard/plastic package hanging on a peg.  Ask the old grizzly guy (not the young punk) in the orange apron.  I think it was around $4.00.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #145 on: December 03, 2007, 09:19:17 pm »
Speaking of Air Hockey... I won't own one again. They are fun to play, but super loud. I was happy to see mine go.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #146 on: December 04, 2007, 07:49:17 pm »
Speaking of Air Hockey... I won't own one again. They are fun to play, but super loud. I was happy to see mine go.
Not to mention the dings in the wall and the bruises on the chest from flying pucks.  I'll be glad when mine is gone as well.

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #147 on: February 06, 2008, 05:44:01 pm »
The chrome rings around these buttons should look nice when surrounded by colored light.

Hi theCoder, very interesting thread  :applaud:

I am currently trying to source light blue buttons, it looks like from the button picture that your buttons are light blue (with chrome surrounds). Are these the Ultralux ones? I also notice you have green tops with blue sides on the buttons? Is this because you couldn't source green ones? I am about to give up sourcing light blue ones, was thinking of going with clear ones and then putting a blue film on the top to make it blue - do you think this might work?

Ex
My kitchen cab is progressing here

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #148 on: February 06, 2008, 06:14:26 pm »

If anyone else uses this technique, please post your results (here, there, somewhere).  I'm interested in different approaches to increase the intensity and minimize the hot spots.

I Sort of did this.. My CP used CCFL lights on the edge of plexi to light up etchings, and my Spinner and Twisty grip use something similar to diffuse the light.  It seems that the lighting would end up more uniform if you did embed a CCFL - whcih you could do just be routing a slot in the edge of the plexi..

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=75411.0
“A government ... cannot have the right of altering itself. If it had, it would be arbitrary. It might make itself what it pleased; and wherever such a right is set up, it shews there is no constitution” - Thomas Paine, Rights of Man

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #149 on: August 11, 2009, 12:36:44 am »
My company forced me to move half way across the US to Austin Texas.  The movers dropped off my household goods a few days ago.  In the move, the hard drive in TimeSink crashed.  I probably should have mounted the computer on spongy rubber or something similar;  or better yet, taken the CPU out and had it properly packaged up.  At least I have a backup.  Or maybe I'll rebuild the computer from the OS up just for something to do.  I've lost my access to a nice wood shop (for now) but still have the means to rebuild a computer.

On a related note, I had to let the Xcelerator go.  My new home does not have a game room and the kids stopped playing it a while ago.  I had it on Craig's list for a few months but got no response.  It was a real drag, but I practically gave it away 2 days before the movers showed up for $250.  Ouch...

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #150 on: August 11, 2009, 04:58:07 am »
While on a buying spree a while back, I picked up a bag of high intensity white LEDs ($7 per bag of 100, delivered). 

i realize this was 2 years ago but do you remember where you got them?

100 white led's for 7 bucks is a steal.. im sure it's went up since then though.
Anyone got change for a dollar?
PLEASE HELP NEED Fastmame .70 and .9* releases

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Re: TimeSink - Dedicated Vertical Cab
« Reply #151 on: August 12, 2009, 04:40:29 pm »
While on a buying spree a while back, I picked up a bag of high intensity white LEDs ($7 per bag of 100, delivered). 

i realize this was 2 years ago but do you remember where you got them?

100 white led's for 7 bucks is a steal.. im sure it's went up since then though.
I got them off of ebay.  Lots of people have them there very cheap.

  
 

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