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Author Topic: My first cabinet: gift for my brother - ALL DONE -- **FEATURED ON N.P.R.** :-)  (Read 47706 times)

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metahacker

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hi,

i am quite the newb to this scene and this forum in particular.  but i have begun work on a cabinet project... so, i thought i'd start a thread :)

ever since i first heard about mame cabinets, i've always thought they were quite the amazing idea and wanted to build one.  sounds familiar, right ? :)
well..  i have kicked around the idea for quite some time... and one of my oldest friends (and now coworker) was actually the maintainer of the x-box port of mame for some time.. and ended up building a cab himself after x-arcade gave him a demo unit for testing.  it was quite the wonderful hack.   i had enjoyed playing it many times, but it wasn't until the night that my brother came into town and we had a SF2 tournament with some other guys.... that i realized how amazing the whole "homebrew cabinet experience" was :) it felt like "old times" in our childhood years ago.... :)  a nice feeling.  fun.


what i find so wonderful (and inspiring) about these types of projects...and the other related projects that many of you work on here... is how they tend to combine a very vast base of skills.. and require 'design thinking' at many levels, not just technical. 

there is the aesthetic of the cabinet itself, the usability of the hardware and software....... how everything is laid out.. all the interactions of all the various moving parts all the way from base mechanical and electrical level to more complex hardware/software.  all the compromises, and decisions that must be made along the way to end up with a quality usable product in the end.  it's quite challenging and interesting. 

as a practice, it relies on audio/video knowledge, software integration/development, pc building, knowledge and appreciation of vintage arcades .. their history, their design and implementation specifics, the 'experience design' driving them... carpentry... electrical/mechanical engineering... but, most importantly it requires a level of "art" .. there is a purely creative sense to it... in that it is rather free form if you can somehow manage the alchemy to mix all this knowledge and such a disparate collection of things together to just birth something beautiful and wonderful and alive out of just a pile of parts and wood/glass/metal.   builder manifest. 

it is quite an 'ultimate hack' for these reasons.    and i find that its very inspiring to watch all you extremely gifted creatives out there doing such wonderful work.


anyways.

so, i have been working on a cabinet for my little brother as a bit of a christmas/birthday present.   


the design requirements are as follows:

- appear an arcade machine that has been taken and had its brains hacked out
- support simultaneous 4 player game play (as my brother would say, "2 is awesome but 4 is a party.")
- support console emulation
- play widest possible range of titles properly
- maintain authenticity
- maintain simplicity but boldness
- short build time with focus of time spent being pc/control/AV related


so, I decided that finding a gutted cabinet was the way to go.  the "patina" of authenticity from being used in an arcade will be more than welcome, it will be cheap, quick and produce good results.

I ended up with this...

nfl blitz 99, 4 player, gutted

i wish i had taken pictures of the place i got it from... they had, well, quite the large arcade warehouse/graveyard.  it was beautiful.  they needed to clear some space and i ended up striking quite the deal for this gutted blitz cab. 


i went to go pick this cab up, knowing i was getting a cab for myself. 

but i knew that it would be my brother's ultimate fantasy in his life to ... well, live the dreams we both  had as children (and i'm sure many of you as well :) )...... :)

1. "have an arcade with all the games, and unlimited quarters"
2. "have a nintendo with all the games"

SO, i ended up picking up TWO cabs.  :)

and, well, decided to build the one for my bro first.



it was some form of midway cab as well.  it had been converted multiple times.  it was a buck hunter game at one point, a trackball bowling game (world tournament, i think), and some 6 button fighter type game as well.  it came empty and totally stripped.  i picked up the blitz cp 'just in case it would become useful', monitor/marquee glass and bezel to add to it. 

total investment at. this point about $200 :).



here are some pics of the cabs.


they pretty gutted aside from PSUs.   1 cp had 3 x sticks, the other 4 x sticks.  i had contemplated re-using the 49-ways.



this cp is a tome of the machines former life .. showing (from the other side via overlay covered cutouts and such) how it was at least 3 games (buckhunter,bowling,fighter).



i had to haggle a bit to get the glass included :)


i really love this about this midway cabinet design.....one of many nice things about it, the full metal mesh over the speaker panel.




i found rather interesting.... i wasn't quite sure what to make of it... this is the inside of the coin box, where the bins go.... i took a close look and noticed this...............

strange right? was midway 'recycling' cabs?  this appears to be OEM



WEEKEND 1

The first weekend I have it home.... I figured I'd take a break and let it sit and think about it for a week...

Well, my uncle comes by and innocently asks "where's that old Zenith TV you said you were saving?"

:)... And well, instantly that's the invitation to begin hacking.  Screw waiting and pondering :)

"Let's prototype."

I dig up the old Zenith 27" , from the attic, .... and yes I had been saving it for this very occasion :)




So, I gutted it.


Then I did some of this kind of stuff.



And, basically, using a combination of the TV case OEM braces... and cabinet OEM monitor mounts... some drilling, some cutting, some grinding.... end up with this:





I took the PCBs off and mounted them inside the cab.    And I took a board and cut it to size to make a frame for the cardboard "anti-death-shield" (i.e. to keep poking heads of little punks away from the 30,000V... including me.)

I wired the TV's spkr amp into the OEM cab speakers and slapped an old 400MHz PC from the attic in there...  I slapped the thing back together...


Well, I find enough parts in the 'parts bin' to breath life into this 400MHz.. and quickly install XP + MAME onto it ... and I hook up some old Microsoft something or other gamepad joystick thinger... and I play pac-man and some others :)

And, well, I'm sold.  The first prototype is working.  I can play games, I have sound, I have picture.  This serves as V1.0.  I now have a baseline and some experience.

Here's what I learn:

- the zenith aint gonna cut it, composite input sucks.  need some way to get a much more "authentic" picture.  not willing to compromise here.
- 'regular' speakers are just fine.  re-using the tv amp is a really fun clean hack.   but testing out my new computer speakers... well, ken's dragon punch is just that much more fun when its loud as all hell and has a touch of thundering bass.
- even that small task of hacking together a 'test' mame cab in a weekend, involves lots of tedious work.  having things that plug together easily will help.
- all these parts.  all this hacking.  oh my... this is going to be fun.

Now it's time to iterate.

(continued...)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 02:24:25 am by metahacker »

metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2007, 11:47:43 pm »
well, i decide on a couple things.  and i come up with some base specs:

av
- samsung 27" slimfit flat crt (refurb)
- klipsch 2.1 + oem midway speakers in frankenstein config

cp
- slikstik quad 'blank'
- happ buttons for start + coin + 'admin', black color
- 4 x ultimarc ultrastik 360
- 7 x action buttons per player
  ggg electric ice buttons
  ggg rgb led boards
  ggg 'micro-leaf' switches
- 4 x ggg ledwiz
- ggg turbo twist 2 usb spinner w/ black knob + flywheel
- ggg ice-t trackball (usb betson imperial 3" w/ rgb led)
- ultimarc ipac for admin/knob/coin buttons


pc
- core 2 duo 2.66 ghz E6750
- asus nvidia 7600gs 512m (passively cooled)
- 650i chipset
- scythe ninja 'tower cooler'
- enermax 500W psu, w/ modular cabling
- ocz reaper hpc ddr2 800
- hitachi 750gb (klipsch has me thinking: mp3 jukebox....)
- smartbits powerstrip

cabinet
- smoked plexi, no monitor bezel
- ggg novamatrix white led marquee light
- all black for now.....



"start the real build"

so, the zenith gets ripped out.  it started going on the fritz shortly before being removed anyway....
back to square 1 basically.

so, i get my grubby little hands on this pretty little thing.  fresh out of the box (refurb).


the whole part about it being slim and flat... well i dont know how hot i am about that. 

but i will tell you what i am fired up about...

ahh yes, component input.  the requisite.

a little experimentation has shown that nvidia 7-series + soft15Khz + component output can produce some very interesting results.


so, anyways.  what good is our new gadget unless we take it apart?




so, i do a little more fabrication.  make adjustments for the new mounting of this particular crt.

brackets on one set ... and grinding on the other set. 

and also distract myself with bright shiny pretty leds.


i re-use the stock flourescent bulb's bracket...and relocate it a bit farther back in the cab (to let the wide angle led's do their thing ... )



so, anyways, i stick this fancy new samsung thinger in there.


i was a little worried it would be a bit high or low.  but in the end, i think the height of the screen came out peeeeeeerfect.

i also mounted up the stock pcb-holder from the tv case...


and secure the board to it using the oem screw holes etc...




and, well, i asked a colleague... who does museum exhibits.... if he "had any smoked glass or plexi laying around" :) ... and well, this appeared:


don't mind the camera flash.  u dont actually see any bracketry guts and such hanging around in there through the smoke.  even with the lights on in the room and such (as long as the back of the cab has a cover). 

and, well, component input rocks.




and, well, not exactly the best pic.. but like i said nvidia 7 series + soft15KHz + component input can make for some interesting results.... the nv gf8 series doesn't seem to allow going to those low res's though... and the ati 2600hd i tried after this testing w/ a nv gf7 was doing some funny stuff on the component out stage when using soft15khz and auto-res directdraw mode...


not the best pic.... but it's got some arcade pixel type action going on :) .. this is with a test pc.. with an athlon 2200 + nvidia geforce 7600gs agp.... etc



so, the tv is pretty much done.  i tweak some settings.  go into the service mode... enable some things that are disabled ... tweak the convergence ... and set the thing to auto turn on when ac power is applied :) so that it will auto-switch later on once i add the smartbits strip.


« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 10:10:50 pm by metahacker »

The Chugnut

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2007, 09:39:06 am »
Nice work mate! Coming along nicely. Red on black is going to look mean.

Awesome camper too  :o

metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2007, 10:25:01 am »
thank ya

 :)

« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 10:27:22 am by alexdog69 »

metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2007, 10:42:56 am »
"Control Panel"

so, well i get my hands on this thing.



and I start monkeying around a little....


at this point i had only ordered 1 of the u360s "for testing" .. and i had taken one of the 7 blitz 49-ways out to check it out.... and was also experimenting with 1-led-per-button.... and hadnt gotten the rgb leds yet.


i thought that the 1 led approach in the ggg-ice buttons didnt make any sense..it seemed too kludgey/tweaky of an install....  and the intensity levels of the 3 colors of leds i had picked didnt seem to quite match.... so i ditched that idea and decided to go full bore with the rgb led's after all.   i figured the rgb's made for a cleaner and more functional install.... since the color/intensity could be varied in software and they came on nice little pcb's that snapped in.

so, i end up with 28 of these things.




and, well,  i start setting up the cp.





the cp has a cut out that works for a happ 3" but the  betson trackball is not fitting exactly.

this makes me take some time and look at things a bit....

i decide to turn this thing into some uber high ball.  so i leave the top cover off, make some nylon spacers to set the base so its just low enough to not hit those ggg upgraded stainless steel encoder wheels .. or the pcbs inside .. and mount the thing directly to the Happ steel plate .... and make some 'adjustments' to the cp underside cut out using a dremel....




and ... well, the cherry's on the main player buttons get substituted .. with these uber little guys (love them) ...




« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 10:44:32 am by alexdog69 »

metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2007, 10:53:16 am »
so, I get my hands on some Ultimarc UltraStik 360s



and proceed to , of course, take them apart ...


i put the "stiffer" springs from ultimarc on them ... i think these are the mediums ... but i stretch them to match the height of the standard soft spring (to make it a bit  stiffer) ...

I also lube em up with some Amsoil synthetic universal grease... (little tip on these things, lubing the metal washer that sits on the plastic underneath seems to make them feel quite a bit smoother..... not just the main 'ball cup' like this pic)


so, i start wiring stuff up.


i love how the u360 is its own little self contained install.  1 usb coming out and it has the little harness that i wire to all the buttons.  great product.  and the feel of the thing is amazing.


And, well, after some wiring....


it's alive :)

and ... what's this ? :)





metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2007, 11:14:44 am »
Oh, and here is the 'secret' to making a TT2 (or just about any other little free spinning bearing riding spinner) the uber arkanoid spinner that it was designed to be :)



i think the 'token top' knob they sell actually has a felt washer on it out of the box ...

and speaking of felt,
i ended up putting it on the bottom of the sanwa dust washers


now the U360s are utterly silent (!!)


i ended up going with the cocktail ball tops on them and the short (stock) shafts .. i tried the longer shafts .. and i loved the std size red ball tops ..
but the U360s with SHORT shaft, STIFF spring [stretched], COCKTAIL ball..... just have such an uber feel...its soooo great...
its like the perfect blend of a 'ball top' and 'bat top' feel .. and the whole inductive pickup system with just a spring on the shaft .... oh i love them :)



if anyone knows where to find these sanwa cocktail-size balltops in red , let me know ... :)


« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 11:21:00 am by alexdog69 »

metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2007, 11:34:21 am »
"pc"

pile of parts....

yeah.

this ati was my original 'spec' for the pc.

but it ended up pissing me off, so i went back to my old friend...nvidia. 
swapped it to this:


i started thinking ... well, a simple mp3 jukebox mode would be cool too,

so, might as well put a 750gb hdd and enable cifs/smb file sharing on this thing,


2gb ram.  going for a 'crazy looking heatsink' thing whenever possible on this pc =)


like i was saying........ :)

and, well, these choices will hopefully leave me the option of going passively cooled on everything except for the psu which has its big quiet 120mm in it.
but i am gonna try things with 2 x 120mm blowing on the main system first ... and see how some of these CHD games respond to having the machine overclocked .. im running a E6600 2.4 at 3.4 GHz as my personal machine ...  so i wanted to not rule anything out with the mame cab pc ... in case i could somehow manage to get the stock nfl blitz to be playable :)   i thought there would be some nice irony to it.  and then i wouldnt have to worry about getting a substitute project64/chankcast blitz going for my bro :)




modular PSU to keep things tidy.


started slapping things together... and no this will not have a 'case'.. that's wimpy [and costs more] :)  'real' arcade machines have the pcbs mounted to a board and/or holder , right? :-) heh.   (jk pc cases are fine by me. its nice to be able to take the machine out 4 service.  but i wanted to do mine this way)


this pc sitting next to it , is somewhat of the inspiration .. if u notice the choice of heat sink / ram in each ;)  scythe infinity + hcp reaper 1066 in the machine on the right .. scythe ninja + hpc reaper 800 on the left ..


so, i bench test the system a bit... install some tiny xp platinum 2... and this wonderful little front end............ :)

i had played with MALA, Mamewah, etc before...and kinda settled on this one as being the most appropriate for my needs.


so, yeah, got that set up.

and well, to make things a bit more sturdy.... a pc case was hacked to pieces to create a 'tray' :)

and i bolted the board back into the cab .. the way it came originally ...



since i'm going the smoked plexi / no bezel route ... im pondering some lighting ideas to make the "cool-looking-pc-guts" a very subtle "feature" of the "cabinet experience" somehow .... so u can see something that looks a bit like "a mad scientist contraption" , if you peer down through the plexi at the right angle ... 

so yeah.  its up.



« Last Edit: October 27, 2007, 11:43:06 am by alexdog69 »

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2007, 11:42:23 am »
I love your intro.  This hobby definitely involves a wide variety of media/materials.  The cool part is you can pick & choose what aspects you want to explore.

You mentioned you can hardly see the brackets behind the smoked Plexiglas.  You might consider masking off the glass then hitting everything around it with a spot of flat black spray paint.  I did this on my Xcelerator project and it really helped.

A friend of mine used Plexiglas on the front of a machine he designed at work (non-arcade).  The front got so scratched up after about a year, that he had to replace it with glass.  Free is a great price, but a comparable piece of 3/16" tempered glass cost around $25, won't scratch, and can handle slams, smacks, and other abuse.

Any plans for artwork?  Theme?

Great progress.

metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2007, 05:28:01 pm »
flat black'ing all the non crt glass stuff in front is a good idea i will try to work that in.

as for the plexi vs glass.  yeah, i dont think the plexi a very good choice for the screen.. marquee would be ok.  i'd like to change it at some point. 

as for the appearance .. i was thinking to keep it predominantly black .. with the smoked face etc .. considering chrome or brushed metal t-molding.  i do have a couple ideas for some art but i have to decide which direction i'm going with first. 

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2007, 06:31:58 pm »
I like your heat sinks.   Worth making a window in your cab and lighting the MB with some leds to show off that hardware.


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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2007, 12:01:52 am »
My gut reaction to the shape of that cabinet is that all the corners look too hard and sharp.  But after reading about your component choices and watching your progress I realized that a cabinet with soft corners would simply not do for a project where no other corners have been cut.  Very nice stuff, you're on your way to a great machine if you ask me. 

 :cheers:

metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2008, 12:07:44 am »
alright well i think its time to update this thread :)

funny thing how all progress in documenting the project seemed to halt once the cab hits a certain level of ..... usability :)

thanks for the inspiring comments & tips btw



« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 12:09:29 am by metahacker »

metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2008, 12:40:06 am »
ok so i'll just continue right along. and try to catch this thread back up with reality :)

i picked up one of these.




i used some 'foam tape' to mount the "wii sensor bar" style units on the top and bottom of the crt tube ... and painted the front side of the tape black to hide it (white stands out through the tinted cover) ...   sorry no pic of that.  pretty standard affair.

and, well, one of our first testers of the 'mostly finished cab' appears :)


he seems to think it is working rather well :)  at least well enough to kick ---my bottom--- in this arcade skeet shoot game.


and we discover the most horrible arcade game ever:)....CHILLER....but that's another story.

things about this ems top gun .. getting it set up was a bit tricky .. running it thru a USB hub into another USB hub .. bad idea.    not that doing that is ever too great an idea in general :) .. usb extension cable fixes this quickly .. the device can be a bit buggy if you boot with it connected btw .. so if you're experiencing weirdness try disconnecting it .. and connecting it only when needed .. (i have it setup for doing this anyway so as to save on the sensor bar lifespan......having it plugged in all the time would wear them out prematurely)..

Anyways at the end of the day ... after tweaking etc .. the EMS Top gun still gets 2 thumbs up. 


.....

so at this point.... i have a pretty decent sound set up in the cab ... 2 mint Midway OEM arcade speakers ... powered by a a Klipsch ProMedia 2.1  amp/subwoofer combo unit ...

so i get two ideas ..

i decide to mount the sub/volume control to the coin door .. since it seems to be something 'service oriented' .. there are volume keys on the CP so it should only be used mostly for set + forget for setting the levels

turns out to be very handy.

but ... really the real upgrade with the audio comes in this next mod.

i started with the klipsch 2.1 system ... which is rather nice .. but IMO weak mid range drivers .. very small paper cone woofers ..

and out of 'conveniance' i default to using the midway speakers since they are drop in mount ...

well, i start ... doing what any good hacker does ... taking things apart ...

and i find these wonderful little cross overs (and tweeters....) inside the klipsch 2.1 satellites ...



and i decide... well, wouldn't it be nice to have the best of both worlds.

have the heavy duty perfect condition midway woofers as mids .. and the super-bright always-a-pleasure Klipsch tweeters ... combined ...


so, well, 2 small holes get drilled in here .. one for each tweeter.

(no pic, post-drilling, sry)

and well ... how do i say it? these things really scream now.  and the sound quality is great. 
i am actually blown away by how loud this cabinet is... and how good it sounds.

heh.. and i've always been into hifi a/v stuff so ... as anyone who knows me (or who rode in my 140dB cadillac "back in the old days when i was young and wild") can tell you, ive been around enough systems to have a good reference point for "LOUD" .. :)

so suffice to say klipsch 2.1 really is a nice building block for a GREAT arcade cab stereo system.   just please change the woofers if u wanna crank it :)

also i fitted some 'polyfill' padding to the back of the woofers...just to help them a bit.

...


one more thing .. while cleaning up wiring i also added these wonderful 90 deg RCA elbows to the TV's board .. to ease the strain on the PCB's RCA connectors for the component cables ..



« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 08:31:10 am by metahacker »

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2008, 12:57:08 am »
so .. continuing right along ...

CP is basically in a finished state at this point.   200+ frickin wires that had to be run and all.... 4 U360 w/ 7 buttons connected each, 4 LED Wiz, 28 RGB LEDs on the buttons + micro-leaf switches, GGG ICE-T 3" TB w/ RGB LED, GGG spinner, Admin buttons w/ cherry switches on an IPAC-2, etc.


so i start thinking about mounts... and i use these wonderful spring clip clamps from GGG....



and use some small pieces of wood (glued/screwed into the stock cp support braces on the front of the cab) to shim the CP box up a bit to the stock midway height again ....
(no pic of this, but im sure u can imagine :))... and cover the outside of the spacer wood with black vinyl.... they are not very visible...but if someone wants to take a peak down there it is definitely not an eye sore as it now matches :)
 
i get 2 powered(!) usb hubs for the cp :) (quite the deal on newegg btw....rosewill 7pt). 

and i mount them up on velcro ...

(dont mind the messy looking IDE ribbon cable in there, that goes away later :).)

and i try my best to tidy up the wiring in the cab ... so there isnt power cables + AV + USB wires going every which way.  just going.... a couple ways :)


and i put my Bitstrip smart power in there as well ..

as well as one of these wonderful Buffalo units ...

this allows the cab PC itself to use regular RJ45 ethernet ...  and not worry about any wireless cards, wireless drivers, wireless access points, or any related quirks. 
the buffalo is just a dedicated little client that connects to its preconfigured WAP and then bridges to ethernet. 
nice and simple and appliance like, as it should be.  and off loads work from the cab as well.

at this point the PC config has become rather settled as well.

i achieved a successful overclock of approx ~1ghz extra from its rated speed....
bringing the 2.66 GHZ (e6750) to 3.6 GHz speed ... 100 % stable as proven by running ORTHOS for a week straight ;-)


the only special care it needed was a 120mm fan mounted onto the video card ... to aim directly at the asus mobo's chipset heatsink.


there is actually no fan "on" the CPU ... the tower cooler, with the 'excess' air moving around from blowing at the NB chipset .. keeps the CPU well under 45C even after running 100% load on both cores for over 24 hours ...




« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 08:32:13 am by metahacker »

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2008, 01:17:14 am »
under the cp i now have this small 'shelf' created after setting up the spacers ...

i placed a USB 4 port min hub in there .. as well as the 5V connector for the EMS Top Gun sensor bars ... so as to allow disconnecting the power easily ... (to preserve life as they are known to have a finite life span) ...

this also becomes the 'keyboard shelf'

and no, it is not a fancy drawer.  this cab is a gift for someone else.  my motto is : the party's over as soon as the keyboard comes out.
so it shouldnt need to be used at all if i've done my job properly :)  altho i do find the drawers you all do ..... quite slick.

oh yeah.  and there is some purple cold cathode thing that lights up when the bass hits or something :)
that thing gets moved off the under side of the CP into the cab tho .. so as to VERY subtly illuminate the PC guts through the smoked GLASS (oh, did i mention.... the plexi got switched out for some extra thick extra dark tempered glass...... per the recommendation of someone on this thread earlier.....and quite an upgrade that was.. plexi's nice and all but glass is the only sane choice for the screen cover..... plexi marquees are just fine).

oh and .. well

things start getting rather finalized ...

i take some odd chassis piece for holding drives, from a Dell SFF pc (the green plastic in the bottom of this pic below) .. and shave it down so it can sit flat .. screw that in place .. then place the HDD inside a silicone 'jacket' that i have...... from this kit to 'temporarily convert an internal hdd to external/portable' ..... ... and use the dell SFF piece as a "friction mount" for the hdd... as, with the jacket, it now will stay in place by simply inserting it into the green bracket .. and i put some heavy duty velcro in the mix .. and this allows the IDE DVD-R to mount on top of it all .. so we have this nice little drive sandwhich.  ( i know ... i know ... Looks ODD right? :).... It's quite sturdy actually ! .. and quiets the hdd + dvd drive ;) )


the IDE DVDR also gets a IDE->SATA dongle that i had laying around...in order to get rid of that nasty looking fat IDE ribbon cable.. and go to a simple clean SATA cable...

as you can see a bit in this pic.




also the subwoofer gets about 4 of these little L bracket things added to it ... to keep it from , well... launching itself during transport and such.


also, HERE'S A FUN TIP....

Putting a nice fat MOUSE PAD under your subwoofer before you crank down on the L brackets to hold it in place(!!)....can seem to improve sound quality and help prevent certain types of rattles/unwanted vibration :-)

credit for this particular idea goes to my house mate ... "hey why dont you stick a ...... MOUSE PAD!!!!! under that thing, if you're gonna mount it" :)

hah . brilliant suggestion i thought :)  i was actually rather pleased with the result .. it was not simply hack-kludge-placebo either :) albeit subtle.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 08:32:25 am by metahacker »

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2008, 01:36:00 am »
So.

This is when it really started getting fun.   getting to the more 'finishing' oriented details.


So.... I got this GREAT set of decals ...  from Pongo
( if you want some too they are here: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=64645.0 )

and start.. well,  sticking them all over stuff :)

here are all the buttons across the top of the panel .. (only other buttons are the 4 * 7-btn sf2/neogeo layouts)


3P start, 3P credit, EXIT, 1P start, 1P credit


VOLUME down/up, PAUSE (also used as shift for some 'advanced' keys;)), the modded GGG-TT Spinner, action button, mouse left/right btns


2P start, 2P credit, "service" button (F2 ... shifted is TAB for MAME settings .. which noone knows except its owner basically) .. and 4P start .. 4P credit

all the black buttons except for the 1 action button next to the spinner ... are connected to the IPAC-2 .. and use cherry microswitches ...
the 1 action button next to the spinner .. is wired to Player 1's U360 button #1 .. and uses a micro-leaf switch ..

so basically the only admin buttons are:

exit, vol down/up, pause .. and an unmarked button for service (F2) ..

the volume keys work off the "volume autohotkey" app ...
and the pause key acts as a shift .. so shift+exit = reset (F3), shift+service = mame config (TAB)

pretty simple.  regular people seem quite capable of understanding it quickly.  and no one has to hit any weird multi-button combinations.




also i got a little creative .. and made this recessed power button to fit into the cut out that was previously used for the "buck hunter" shot gun lightgun harness when this was living its life as a converted shooter cab ....


basically black + red happ buttons combined .. with a power decal ... in a metal cap that i drilled a button hole in, pressed into the cab ... and painted the lip black on (dont tell anyone --- this is actually a cap from a tea bottle :).. ) ...

the 'washer' to retain it on the back side is a molded cap from a 4 gallon water jug :)

:)

there are 2 happ springs inside the button (instead of just 1) .. as well as a special shim i made to go into the cherry microswitch ... both of which serve the purpose of making the power button have a different feel than a regular push button ... so its impossible to hit by accident with your knee ... the activation is still positive and nice just very firm before it clicks.

oh and for good measure i throw a headphone jack icon on the klipsch headphone bypass port ... in case anyone wants to use it for whatever reason :)

silly.  i was getting bored and wanted to do 1 last sticker :).


also i got sick of the boring black cocktail-size ball tops .. and go back to the OG red big sanwa tops.



oh.... and what's this peaking out of the corner of this pic ?

oh yeah :) that would be the brushed metal t-molding :-)  (its real metal too .. thin gauge wrapped over hard plastic t-molding .. excellent quality ... WAY better than the stuff i got from some other places... if anyone wants some the guys email is GPostonMB at aol-DOT-com .. found him on ebay  )

anyways .. more on that later :)

« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 08:32:36 am by metahacker »

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2008, 02:01:50 am »
well....

Lots of fun things happened at this point.  I had all the CP sorted, the display sorted, the audio sorted .. at this point it was .... like i said, the fun stuff, --- "finishing details"


Somehow all these magical emulators ended up on the cabinet .. thanks to some crazy guy's tinkering :) ..



so, basically

mame (my custom build exe w/ some minor source edits to remove annoyances + special GCC options) - 0.120 complete rom set + chds
atari 2600 (stella) - complete set
nintendo nes (virtuanes) - "nointro"  complete set (this doesnt mean it has no intro...nointro is the group who released it)
nintendo snes (zsnes) - "nointro" complete set
nintendo n64 (project64v1.7) - goodmerged set , hand cleaned incompat roms
sega master system (kega-fusion) - goodmerged set
sega genesis (kega-fusion) - goodmerged set
sega dreamcast (chankast+nulldc) - (not sure how many images off the top of my head... but all "gone through by hand"..made self bootable/tested for compat/suckyness/etc)
pc games - mugen - 'everything vs everything', 'legends edition', 'the duel' (mk vs sf), 'queen of fighters' (hentai XXX sillyness.), GUITAR HERO 3!, house of the dead 1, 2 & 3
pinball - big giant set of genuine arcade repro tables no 'originals'

and ...
well, with all these emus .. and all these roms :)

the LEDs started coming in very handy.....

For example,

SNES config


N64 config


Sega Master System and NES 8-bit


Genesis/32X (top 3 are dim ... since they are 'optional' as 6 btn controller isnt always used .. but 3 btn is.)


Dreamcast


VPinball (green is plunger, yellows are flippers...joystick is bump)


And so forth and so o n.....


The MAME stuff loads the colors of the game's original control panael buttons...  i.e. so for SF2 you get the 2 * (red + yellow + blue)...etc

Headkaze's plugin rocks for this.

It's REALLY Cool... you scroll through the game list and the buttons change color to match each game :)


also, i put Randy's LuminAudio-WIP on here... and wrote some very simple wrapper scripts so they could be invoked from the cab front end menus using the regular controls... etc... no mouse.....

these let it have cool sound based 'visualization' using the LEDs...
great for guitar hero...or mp3 jukebox mode..or what have you.....





also at this point ... the newfound addiction known as Guitar Hero 3..... somehow convinces me that the machine MUST have an NVidia 8-series ... so I end up with this BFG 8600GTS (over clocked.... of course)...

(you can see it peaking out from behind that 120mm........ my "get the air moving around inside this cabinet" fan.... which incidentally keeps the video card fan from ever spinning up.  thus keeping the whole machine rather silent with 2 120mm's total in the system....... and a joyous complete LACK of typical pc 60/ 80mm whining fan loud annoyingness. ....... the psu is also 120mm.... so .. all in all its VERY quiet.
 

« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 08:32:48 am by metahacker »

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2008, 02:16:18 am »
so ........... WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE ?????


ART ????


OH Look at this /???


ALL DONE ARE WE ????

well, gosh.


Oh... and just for that added touch.

Let's say the machine is OFF....... you know, everything's off..  marquee, monitor, PC, speakers..... everything.


And you walk up and hit the power button....
Suddenly the monitor, marquee, speakers all come on.....

And this is the first thing you see :)


AHH yes, the wonders of patching your BIOS update dump file before flashing it :)


We have this wonderful 1 bit per pixel version of the marquee :) ...
It could have used more colors ... but... we're going for a certain "effect" here (the "Multi stage marquee boot loader")

So .. once the machine POSTs in the BIOS ... it goes straight to the Windows boot kernel... NTOSKRNL
which will produce this .... (instead of the regular silly Windows XP screen)

this is now a 4bpp (16 color) image ... again, could have used more colors.  but wanted the thing to 'build up'

directly after which it hits the LOGONUI.EXE in Windows ("Welcome" / Login screen... which have been hacked as well, of course.. and auto-login etc)

Now you finally see the full color version.....


After which.. a 'pulse' goes through the LED buttons across the panel from left to right ... and the front end comes to life ...
which uses then a dark version of the marquee image as its background :)



the front end is GameEx.... and its been pretty stripped down theme wise so its just the bare menus with snaps / logos as the backgrounds. 
nice clean Segoe UI font taken from Vista etc.... The snap backgrounds are key as just about everything/every rom on the machine has an AVI video snap file to go with it... :-)

GameEx multimedia features enabled .. MP3 jukebox with auto-cd-ripper enabled for dvd-rom drive, internet radio, DVD player , etc

Windows file shares set up so my brother can dump his videos / music on there and play them etc ...

And all the emulator stuff we've all come to know/love/expect...

Oh, did I mention that GameEx is the bomb ?  ;-)


« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 08:34:41 am by metahacker »

metahacker

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2008, 02:23:34 am »
Oh Yeah... The cabinet was featured on NPR.

They have this show on gaming called "Press Start."    They've been taking some special interest in MAME / arcades lately ...


here's some info about that.


interview
http://podcastdownload.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/960/510066/17451249/ALTNPRPRESS_17451249.mp3

pics
http://picasaweb.google.com/kyle.orland/MAMECabinet

youtube

[youtube]DeJfLzxl_jI[/youtube]

show details
http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=5421669


Shortly after this interview ...  I then proceeded to load the thing up into a Penske box truck .. and drive it from Washington DC.... to Los Angeles, California .....
as in....across the country:)....in about ~2 days..... to give my brother his Christmas present ;-)

And suffice to say... he enjoyed it :) and we definitely spent the break reliving childhood memories :).

I kinda miss it.  I might have to build another one :)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 08:34:51 am by metahacker »

dmworking247

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That is definately one of the nicest examples I've ever seen of a 4 player cabinet. Its still a huge CP, but its got class.

Great T-molding, lighting, excellent bios/boot screen mods and LED effects.

Well done all 'round.

MazzMn

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I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy....  :notworthy:
Awesome job! Kudos!

I didn't realize black 1-4 player buttons were an option, where did you find those?
Your posts made me realize I may need another admin button or two, didn't add one for volume or F3.  I like the idea of a handy volume and I was trying to get away without the F3..some Williams games seem to require it.

metahacker

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thanks everyone. :) :)




I didn't realize black 1-4 player buttons were an option, where did you find those?

i got those by taking the standard happ black buttons.. and using this decal kit
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=64645.0

although, if you just want the 1/2/3/4P start buttons and nothing else you could try these from lizard lick. 

http://www.lizardlickamusements.com/pages/pushbuttons.shtml


Quote
Your posts made me realize I may need another admin button or two, didn't add one for volume or F3.  I like the idea of a handy volume and I was trying to get away without the F3..some Williams games seem to require it.

you can also use a spinner  to control volume which is neat...
there is an app posted on the forums here called (IIRC) cabvol.. you can hold a key and spin your spinner/trackball to change volume.  its pretty neat.
i tried it, but ended up with the buttons for simplicity .... expecting a new user to know " hold this key while spinning the spinner " for volume .. i thought was a bit much when i wanted maximum 'newb friendliness'  in this particular application.... but its a really cool way to do volume.

and yeah i noticed that a lot of games (i.e. midway ... nba jam, mortal kombat, etc)  seem to need u to go into the service menu and turn the volume up the first time you load them ... things like that make that key more of a necessity than a luxury sometimes



aszurom

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In my short time lurking here, that's definitely the most intense level of detail I've witnessed.  Dope indeed.

BORIStheBLADE

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I like what you did with the buttons lights. Nice Cab. :applaud:

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Very classy job on the cab for your Bro.   Sill love the heat sinks.


grbgemen

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very sweet looking cab. 

one thing i wanted to point out is that in a few of the pictures, i noticed the ram for you computer is installed incorrectly.  isn't the ram supposed to go in the same colored slots to enable dual channel?

metahacker

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very sweet looking cab. 

one thing i wanted to point out is that in a few of the pictures, i noticed the ram for you computer is installed incorrectly.  isn't the ram supposed to go in the same colored slots to enable dual channel?

well, despite the fact that the ram is NVidia SLI approved and supports EPP ... the NV 650i mobo did not always  seem to like POST'ing with the ram running dual channel.  when its in single channel, it is fine every time.  i was a bit disappointed actually since the same hpc reaper (1066 instead of 800) ram in my 680i machine works fine in dual channel.   the reduced memory I/O does not seem to provide any bottle neck that is holding the machine back in any of its designated functions, though.

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Cool job man....
Very good write up too..
 :applaud: :applaud: :applaud:

metahacker

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thanks all for the positive comments.

i wanted to make sure i threw a few shout outs in here:

Randy / GGG - Your products are top notch.  Without your LEDs/buttons/LED controllers/Trackball this cab wouldn't be half as cool
http://www.groovygamegear.com

GameEx author Tom Speirs & the gameex community, especially HeadKaze and his wonderful LEDwiz plugin
http://gameex.net

EMDKAY - Thanks for the great work getting the marquee on vinyl...
http://www.emdkay.net

Andy / Ultimarc - Everything you make is just outstanding.... especially the U360 and the IPAC :)
http://www.ultimarc.com

Pongo - your decals really set the admin buttons off
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=64645.0

Slikstik - thank you soooo much for the great empty control panel box, im sorry you guys were having problems managing the business 
http://www.mameroom.com/webstore/productinfo_UAII.asp (not sure where else to link to since this is the only ref i see to the new operation)

Saint - your book really got the ball rolling for me .. i read it all (450-something pages) in one day :) i had always THOUGHT about a mame cab... but that book really kicked things off for me.
http://www.amazon.com/Project-Arcade-Build-Your-Machine/dp/0764556169/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202184507&sr=8-1

Jarrad - Your work on the bomb ass marquee really set everything off.  Thanks for putting the crown jewel on this piece.  big time.  for real.   3-P style, son.
Expecting big things from you in 08-09.

also thanks to Paul, Dr. Mike, Brandon, Musa, Mo, Eod, Nick H, Matt C, Sam G, James H, Mark M, Andy S, Dave P, Gregg N, Jeff E, Ash, Sean, Ross, Rudy .. and good ol' UNCLE G  !

and thanks to my new friend RALPH for putting this silly thing on NPR.

And of course all of you wonderful folks here at this terrific forum.  I wouldn't have pulled off this wonderful little adventure without being inspired by all of you.  As one member said here, special thanks to all those who were helping me, whether they knew it or not :-)

« Last Edit: February 04, 2008, 11:49:46 pm by metahacker »

mrserv0n

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Cab looks real good, you have some nice front end additions that tie it together. Very good write up on it too, these are always fun to refer to for inspiration and ideas when others need help.
Good Job


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dang man that cab is amazing!! love what all you have done with it. I want to start on mine but thinking about all the work its going to take to tweak it out makes me put it off longer and longer haha..
Neil

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WOW... if I had built that there is no way I could've parted with it... brother or not :D

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Wow.  :o Glad I waited for all the pics to load in this thread. Well worth it. Unbelievable!  :cheers:
Carved Signs, Custom Gameroom Signs, and Arcade Game Decor and now CNC MACHINES by Melissa Jones

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Re: My first cabinet: 4 player - gift for my brother.
« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2008, 11:35:48 am »
thank ya

 :)



Lucky. You need to make it a shorty. Wheelies galore!

Amazing build. Amazing.

ivwshane

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Nice work!

How many led-wiz's did it take to light up all the buttons and how hard was that to get configured?


I wasn't planing on using lighted buttons but having them light up certain colors and buttons based on the game or system you are playing is awesome!

ratzz

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Great project build, not much left out here! And well documented.

Nice work fella  :cheers: :cheers: :applaud: :cheers: :cheers:

metahacker

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Nice work!

How many led-wiz's did it take to light up all the buttons and how hard was that to get configured?


I wasn't planing on using lighted buttons but having them light up certain colors and buttons based on the game or system you are playing is awesome!

i used 4 of them. 1 for each player with the trackball on p2. 

each led wiz has 32 inputs.  each rgb led takes 3.  with 7 buttons per player that is 21 inputs.    then another 3 for the 4 rgb led's in the trackball.

you could run 4 * 7 + trackball off 1 ledwiz (29 inputs) if you used single color leds..

also the p1+p2 ledwiz are wired in B,G,R order and the p3+p4 are in R,G,B order ... this makes the p1+p2 and p3+p4 appear as pairs (blue vs red) when using the non-turbo modes in luminaudio
« Last Edit: March 02, 2008, 02:58:50 am by metahacker »

metahacker

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you could theoretically use 3 to light everything but i thought the wiring would be bit all over the place ... and luminaudio would response strangely since, as far as i can tell , its basically emitting certain patterns on 1 to 32 mirrored across all controllers .. so having them #'d different between players might be strange (or cool)

illtww

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 :notworthy: :notworthy:

This thing is PIMP!!!


I have a 7300GT.. Looking at getting a samsung tv. 

What resolution you running with component out?  640x480?