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Author Topic: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame  (Read 1177 times)

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zzaz3

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Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« on: June 25, 2009, 12:55:14 am »
Alright, I can't find anybody who wants to buy my make trax from me and I'm not much of a fan myself.  So, despite the warnings I've received I'm going to try and convert my Make Trax into a MAME cabinet.

Since this is my first time to do this and I have a low budget, so I have a few questions.

- How should I go about converting the control panel into a wider two-player panel?

- What kind of monitor do you recommend I use?  I'm not sure what size I'll be able to fit in it or if I should use a TV or a arcade monitor.

- What type of joystick/buttons would you recommend?

- My cabinet is pac-man style.  You have to tilt your head down to see the screen.  Is there any way I could adjust the screen to be closer to eye level?

- Is it 'really' that bad to MAME a working cabinet?


Sorry if any of these questions are in the FAQ somewhere.  I couldn't find them in there.  Thanks a head of time. :applaud:

cmoses

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2009, 11:46:36 am »
From my short time in the hobby, about a year, and the experiences I have gained in that short time I offer up the following opinions for what they are worth.

I originally found a Taito cabinet when looking for my first cabinet to MAME.  Not exactly the same as your cabinet but similar in design and related issues.  It was a smaller sized cabinet that originally had a 19" vertical monitor installed.  It was originally a 1 player game that had been converted into a 1943 Battle of Midway.  It had a small 2 player control panel with a joystick and 2 buttons for each person.  It also had the more laid down monitor.  I did start down the road to MAMEing this cabinet, but soon realized that it was a good cabinet to get my feet wet, but would not really give me all that I wanted.  Before making any radical changes I opted to find a better starting point for my project.   

Now to answer your questions based on my experiences.

1. Converting a small control panel is very difficult, it either requires major modification to your cabinet or making compromises that you may ultimately regret.

2. I went with a 20" LCD mounted horizontally originally, but was never really satisfied with it.  If you are thinking about a larger monitor you will be restricted by the cabinet and have to make modifications.  Also I think arcade monitors are the best option.

3. I went with U360 joysticks and Happ buttons and have been very pleased.

4. Once again if you are thinking about changing the angle of your monitor it will probably require major modifications.  Creating new monitor mounts and determining they angle will be a difficult task.

5. You will always get the don't MAME a cabinet that is working or in good shape, especially if you are planning to radically change it.  If you are making minor changes that can easily be changed back, then it is more acceptable.  Based on some of your questions, I think your will need to make radical changes to accomplish your goal.

So I found a better cabinet to MAME.  I went out and found a Mortal Kombat II cabinet by Midway.  It had already been painted black and been converted to a NFL Blitz by someone else.  It fulfilled all my needs, it had a 4 player control panel, which would allow me to make a very comfortable 2 player control panel with all the items I wanted (joysticks, buttons, trackball, spinner).  It did not have a monitor, but the cabinet would accept a 25" or 27" arcade monitor and would be more eye level and upright.  I also wasn't destroying anything as it had already been converted and these cabinets are very plentiful. 

So I would really take a look at the cabinet and figure out what your plans are before making a decision.  Really figure out what size control panel you want, what controls you want on it, what monitor your want and what size, then figure out if that is the best cabinet to be using.  It sounds like that cabinet will require significant work to get the end result you are looking for.

Hope these insights help you.


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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2009, 12:07:08 pm »
Where did you advertise? Just here? Post on Craigslist, Kijiji, Ebay...

The reason not to MAME is:

- Artwork intact and looks good
- Complete and WORKING machine
- Working monitor

You want:
- Bigger control panel
- Different monitor
- Possibly custom art?

There are $50 "empties" everywhere all the time. Why gut a $200+ machine when all you need is a $50 shell?

On the other hand, some people "tastefully" MAME, meaning, they set up all the hardware in the cabinet in a way that just "bypasses" the original wiring, etc, use a replacement control panel and keep the original on the side, and original monitor, etc... so everything can be very easily returned back to original state. But it doesn't sound like you'd be happy with the 19" it has now.


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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2009, 12:08:39 pm »
A Midway cabinet "converted" with a larger 2 player panel will look completely asstastic. DO NOT DO IT.  If you MUST MAME that cab,  make it a 1 player 19" cab and keep the same dimensions for the CP.

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2009, 01:28:23 pm »
From my short time in the hobby, about a year, and the experiences I have gained in that short time I offer up the following opinions for what they are worth.

I originally found a Taito cabinet when looking for my first cabinet to MAME.  Not exactly the same as your cabinet but similar in design and related issues.  It was a smaller sized cabinet that originally had a 19" vertical monitor installed.  It was originally a 1 player game that had been converted into a 1943 Battle of Midway.  It had a small 2 player control panel with a joystick and 2 buttons for each person.  It also had the more laid down monitor.  I did start down the road to MAMEing this cabinet, but soon realized that it was a good cabinet to get my feet wet, but would not really give me all that I wanted.  Before making any radical changes I opted to find a better starting point for my project.   

Now to answer your questions based on my experiences.

1. Converting a small control panel is very difficult, it either requires major modification to your cabinet or making compromises that you may ultimately regret.

2. I went with a 20" LCD mounted horizontally originally, but was never really satisfied with it.  If you are thinking about a larger monitor you will be restricted by the cabinet and have to make modifications.  Also I think arcade monitors are the best option.

3. I went with U360 joysticks and Happ buttons and have been very pleased.

4. Once again if you are thinking about changing the angle of your monitor it will probably require major modifications.  Creating new monitor mounts and determining they angle will be a difficult task.

5. You will always get the don't MAME a cabinet that is working or in good shape, especially if you are planning to radically change it.  If you are making minor changes that can easily be changed back, then it is more acceptable.  Based on some of your questions, I think your will need to make radical changes to accomplish your goal.

So I found a better cabinet to MAME.  I went out and found a Mortal Kombat II cabinet by Midway.  It had already been painted black and been converted to a NFL Blitz by someone else.  It fulfilled all my needs, it had a 4 player control panel, which would allow me to make a very comfortable 2 player control panel with all the items I wanted (joysticks, buttons, trackball, spinner).  It did not have a monitor, but the cabinet would accept a 25" or 27" arcade monitor and would be more eye level and upright.  I also wasn't destroying anything as it had already been converted and these cabinets are very plentiful. 

So I would really take a look at the cabinet and figure out what your plans are before making a decision.  Really figure out what size control panel you want, what controls you want on it, what monitor your want and what size, then figure out if that is the best cabinet to be using.  It sounds like that cabinet will require significant work to get the end result you are looking for.

Hope these insights help you.



Your right, you cabinet sounds almost identical to mine.  I'm dentally not going to try to MAME this cabinet.  At least not the way I originally planed to.

So where did you find your Mortal Combat cabinet?  How much did you pay for it?  I've been looking for a cheap cabinet that I could MAME, but I can't find one any where.  The only reason I bought the Make Trax is because it was the only cabinet I could find as such a good cost.


Where did you advertise? Just here? Post on Craigslist, Kijiji, Ebay...

The reason not to MAME is:

- Artwork intact and looks good
- Complete and WORKING machine
- Working monitor

You want:
- Bigger control panel
- Different monitor
- Possibly custom art?

There are $50 "empties" everywhere all the time. Why gut a $200+ machine when all you need is a $50 shell?

On the other hand, some people "tastefully" MAME, meaning, they set up all the hardware in the cabinet in a way that just "bypasses" the original wiring, etc, use a replacement control panel and keep the original on the side, and original monitor, etc... so everything can be very easily returned back to original state. But it doesn't sound like you'd be happy with the 19" it has now.





I have it up on craigslist.  For some reason I cant use Kijiji.  Every time I try to make a post it says I have violated the rules somehow.  But thanks for the reminder, I forgot to check there for cabinets.  I found a Tekken 2 cabinet for sale in my area that I might try to buy.

I kinda like the classic art designs, so no custom art for me.  Where can I find these 'empties'?!  I've looked everywhere for something like that and I can't find one. 


I think I might try and 'tastefully' MAME my cabinet just for game like frogger or pac-man.  That'll keep me satisfied until I can find someone who wants to buy my cabinet or until I find a empty one for sale.  Any tips on how to do this?!

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2009, 02:12:15 pm »

There are $50 "empties" everywhere all the time. Why gut a $200+ machine when all you need is a $50 shell?


This is NOT true about everywhere.  I for one can verify this for the Austin area.  All areas are not created equal when it comes to availability of cabinets.  I actually began looking for a cabinet last year in May and it was August before I was able to get one.  They are few and far between in Austin and when one becomes available they go quickly and often for more than they originally asked for in the ad.  I lucked out on my Taito cabinet, just happened to see the posting on Craigslist right after it posted.  Told the guy in the email I would take it no questions asked.  I had seen so many others slip away I was desperate.   

As far as my second cabinet, the Mortal Kombat II, I found it through a local guy that was planning to use it in a project.  He hadn't gotten around to it and I bought it from him.  It was basically a working NFL Blitz without a monitor.  I sold the board, hard drive and joysticks out of the cabinet to recoup some of the cost.  In the end the cabinet cost about $100 after the sale of the items I wasn't going to use.   

Now I was willing to pay a little more for it because I knew it would fit all my needs.  So I was very happy with it and am glad I decided to go with the bigger one. 

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2009, 02:59:52 pm »
FWIW, in the Seattle area you can find empties for anywhere from free to $100.  Some people think they are worth nothing and others think they are gold.  Not sure why there's such a discrepancy since they are all typically gutted cabs with useless artwork and a lot of work needed.

I was lucky enough to obtain 2 Atari cabs for my two machines for free.  They both had solid exteriors for the most part, so they didn't take that much work to get going again.  One of them I got by transporting a working cab for a friend, so it wasn't exactly advertised for free, but anyway...

If you wait long enough, something might pop up.  If you don't want to wait, there's cabs available almost everywhere for an affordable price.

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2009, 05:14:14 pm »
I guess this means I'll have to learn to be patient.   :hissy:  Maybe I'll get lucky and find something on craigslist soon.  In the mean time, I'm gonna try and make the most of my Make Trax.

Anyone know how to get the monitor in my machine working with a PC?  It's not JAMMA, so I'm lost.  Also, the buttons on the Make Trax are different than any other ones I've seen.  I don't know what the pinouts are.   :dunno

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2009, 05:55:18 pm »
- Is it 'really' that bad to MAME a working cabinet?

Yes.

I do recognize that you have tried to sell the cabinet and would ask that you be more patient -- it's a LOUSY cab to MAME -- you won't be happy with the result.

As for getting an arcade monitor working with a PC, see the wiki for ArcadeVGA or Soft15k.
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zzaz3

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2009, 06:11:45 pm »
Is there any possible was I could get games like frogger or pac-man running on my cabinet without having to fork up any cash?  I'm pretty cheap and don't have much cash to spend on things like multipac or ArcadeVGA.

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2009, 09:45:02 am »
Is there any possible was I could get games like frogger or pac-man running on my cabinet without having to fork up any cash?  I'm pretty cheap and don't have much cash to spend on things like multipac or ArcadeVGA.

Well, there are ways...sure.  I'm an extreme cheapskate.  I learned how to do stuff cheaply - but still good.

I'm unfamiliar with the boardset of a Make Trax, but if it's like the other Williams games there isn't an edge connector harness.  That's too bad because I'm working on a solution that plugs into most edge connectors and you don't have to modify any of the cabinet wiring.

No matter what you do it's going to cost a few bucks, it's unavoidable.  Be patient, write down ideas, bounce them off us to see how feasible it is.  Whatever you've got in mind, some idiot (cough*me*cough) has probably tried it.  Then once you have a plan in mind, go forth.

If you were closer, that MT would be in my storage space already, with a trade.

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2009, 12:21:20 pm »
Another thing to look out for is auctions. I don't know if they have them in your area, but I picked up a gutted Williams cab (originally Robotron, but converted to at least 3 other games in its lifetime) for about 10 bucks from Super Auctions. They had everything from newer fully working cabs to empty gutted cabs. Being a former Robotron cab worked out good, because it's a horizontal game, and it was wide enough for 2 players (same width as Joust). I have 2 joysticks and 3 buttons per player, plus 2 start buttons, and it's not too crowded.

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2009, 02:50:58 pm »
dude, I JUST PM you about buying it, what do you mean you can't find anyone?
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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2009, 03:09:42 pm »
Haha, I guess I wasn't patient enough.  Looks like I'll be able to sell it after all.  Thanks for the PM!

I guess now I just need to start looking arcade for an empty cab.  One step closer to getting a MAME.   :cheers:

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2009, 03:13:36 pm »
Yeah, it's about a 2 hour trip, so I need to figure out a way to do...
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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2009, 10:30:03 pm »
Are you receiving my PMs?  Because I they aren't appearing in my outbox when I send them.

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2009, 01:26:46 am »
Yup I am.  I'm looking into things.  The problem is, I have other game options, also 2hrs away and looks like I can only make one trip...
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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2009, 01:37:44 am »
No worries.  I have another guy who wants to buy it if you'd rather buy the other cab.  Your choice.

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Re: Coverting Make Trax into 2-player Mame
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2009, 10:08:37 am »
Yeah, you should go with the other guy, the other place I'm looking at has 3 cabs I want so I think I'm heading that way, well, if I'm able to even get a truck for the trip.  Good luck with your sale.

Hey, since your final goal is a MAME cab, I will be selling my Trysyinc monitor and Arcade VGA card soon though, if you are interested.
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