Mar
02
2005
1

MAME – Hindsight

No matter how well you plan something, it will never go quite as planned, or after its done you’ll find a better or easier way of doing it. In my case, there are a number of ‘time wasters’ and things I’ld change. In the order of importance to me (either lots of time wasted, money I could have saved, or something I could have done for a better result).

1. Don’t bother with Windows or DOS. I liked glaunch as a front end but had numerous problems with sound card compatibility due to the allegro library it uses. I ended up using AdvanceCD on a hard drive – it works a treat!

2. Move the damn hand holds on the back panel down about 5 inches. I was rushing when I cut the vents and hence they allow light into the screen area. The idea of them was so they could be used as grips for moving it and as vents to let hot air out – they look good, but just should have been a little lower.

3. Don’t try to put glass around the joysticks/buttons. Each of the buttons clamps the glass and the joysticks put numerous stresses on it, not to mention already being weakened from all the holes. In the end, I believe the black perspex looked better than the glass.

4. Dented chrome is hard to panelbeat. I brought my cabinet with a bad dent in a piece of chromed steel. It needs replacing, but I’m having trouble finding a replacement. I gave it a bit of a panelbeat and it went from looking about 2/10 to 7.5/10.

5. Take your time

Written by John in: MAME |
Feb
26
2005
0

MAME – Completion

I was determined to complete the cabinet today as this evening we were having people over for bithday celebrations. I made a mounting bracket out of plate steel for the hard drive. I mounted the power supply the easiest way i knew how (Opened it up, removed pcb, screwed bottom half of case to cabinet then replaced pcb and top of case).

I made some vent holes in the back panel I made for the cabinet and at the bottom left corner I fitted a cooling fan to suck air from outside and blow it directly over the motherboard. I masked off the area around the screen and painted it all black. Once dry I masked off the front of the screen and painted the sides of the glass tube and metal mounts black. After fitting the screen into the cabinet, it looked awesome.

To make transport easier (and safer from breakages), I can remove the back panel and take out the monitor and hard drive within a minute.


Rear view

(Almost) Finished cabinet.

The machine went well with lots of people commenting on it. I only need to design and fit a surround for around the screen. This isn’t overly urgent as with the tinted glass and lots of black paint, very little can be seen.

Written by John in: MAME |
Feb
22
2005
0

MAME – Have Locks, will secure

I picked up the locks from a locksmith. I decided not to spend the money on the radial locks with the round keys as the price was fairly high. I ended up paying $20 each for the locks from Armstrong Locksmiths. I definitely do not recommend this company as they are almost double the 2nd highest price I was quoted. I only used them as they were on the way to work.

I repainted the coinbox door and the coin mechanism door and fitted the new locks. They look a million bucks!

Written by John in: MAME |
Feb
19
2005
0

MAME – Glass 0, Perspex 1

I got the perspex on Friday – They managed to get me black perspex so it doesn’t even need painting. I fitted the perspex and it looks awesome – so shiny! I finished taking the computer apart and mounted the everything but the power supply and hard drive.


PC partly installed

Shiny black perspex

Its all starting to come together now. I really only need to finish mounting the pc, cut some vent holes in my back panel and paint around the monitor.

I will get out to a lock smiths during the week and pick up some locks for the coin doors.

Written by John in: MAME |
Feb
15
2005
0

MAME – Progress Photos

I finally got around to mounting the Subwoofer/Amp and taking a photo of the cracked glass. My perspex should be ready on friday which will rock.


The cracked glass 🙁

Subwoofer in place

The subwoofer vent will be vented out through the back panel I have made. The left hand speaker is causing issues with the monitor – strange as the right hand speaker is actually closer and not causing problems

Written by John in: MAME |
Feb
07
2005
0

MAME – Broken Dreams

Damm! The glass in the control panel broke. I guess by sanding it, I caused a fracture which overnight spread across the piece of glass. Maybe I’ll take the glaziers advice and use perspex instead… oh well, we learn from our mistakes.

I started to take the computer apart, its stripped down to the motherboard, two cards, power supply and the hard drive. I think I will fit the hard drive into removable drive bay to make it easy to remove to update the roms on it. I keep thinking I should just screw the motherboard into the wood, after all, wood is an insulator. Something within me keeps telling me to do the job properly or not at all so I will have to find some standoffs to mount the motherboard on.

Written by John in: MAME |
Feb
06
2005
0

MAME – New sound and grinding the glass

I brought a high speed handheld grinder/engraver, a poor mans dremel to grind the edges of the glass around the joysticks. After about 1 hour of griding the glass looked great. I fitted it into the cabinet and started playing. At this point I still haven’t painted the back of the glass black but it looks great.

I brought a new set of speakers, complete with a subwoofer. Only problem is that the volume through linux is low compared with in dos or windows. I’ve ordered a preamp circuit from jaycar which will lift the output from the soundcard a little (knowing my luck, too much!). I took the speakers apart and fitted them into the top of the cabinet and took the subwoofer apart. I want to keep the sub woofer in its box as it keeps the mains power parts away from hands and the sub needs an enclosure to work properly – I took the sub apart and extended the volume control onto a long lead so it can be mounted in the side of the cabinet.

I made a back for the cabinet out of 12mm ply. I wanted a perfect fit so it ended up requiring a fair bit of sanding and filing to get the right fit. Its now been painted black and is waiting for me to drill vent holes and mount fans into it.

I got out some black and cream enamel paint and started touching up all the areas on the cabinet where the finish isn’t quite 100%. One more coat on these areas and the cabinet will look brand new from 3 feet away.

Written by John in: MAME |
Feb
03
2005
0

MAME – Glass has arrived

I ordered glass to replace the perspex in my cabinet and it is now sitting in my garage. Its a big piece of tinted glass to cover the screen and a clear piece with heaps of holes for the button area. The piece with the buttons in it will be painted black on the back. I wanted glass for around the buttons because it is a lot shinier than perspex and feels nice and cold when you are playing.


Glass not yet painted

Tinted glass in place

I need to sand the holes for the joysticks a little as the joysticks have metal shafts and in some positions the shaft *just* touches the edge of the hole – this could cause chipping so needs to be fixed.

Written by John in: MAME |
Feb
01
2005
0

MAME – Software and Hardware decisions

After a little more experimenting, I have found that the slow PC I was going to use is too slow except for the basic games such as Galaga, PacMan and DonkeyKong – I’ve decided to use the slower computer on the older cabinet and run only 4 or 5 retro games with a single joystick and single button game.

I’ve taken down my home server, a 2.5GHz celeron and gifted it to the project.

I have been playing around with OS’ and after spending a *LOT* (read 2am nights about 5 days in a row) of time with MSDOS and FreeDOS and having problems (The game menu I wanted to use is called game launcher but this uses the Allegro lib which isn’t too good at supporting soundblaster cards), I have gone the way of the Penguin (linux) and am now using a modified version of AdvanceCD on a Hard Drive. AdvanceCD uses AdvanceMenu as the front end which is very configurable and runs AdvanceMame to run the games.

Written by John in: MAME |
Jan
29
2005
0

MAME – Destroying a Perfectly Good Monitor

I got out my tools and took my 20″ monitor out of its case ready to be placed in my cabinet. By complete fluke the monitor had mounting lugs in the 4 corners and so was very easy to mount in a piece of 12mm plywood. I also mounted my ipac on the back of the button panel and wired it up to all the controls – this means that I have a nice tidy ps2 cable going to the computer. I can’t wait to start playing on this beast.


The mess of wires

It’s In

After mounting the monitor in the cabinet, the speakers that came with it were distorting the image on the monitor so I’ll have to go out and buy some better shielded speakers.

I also hooked up the coin mechanism to the ipac – everything seems to be working so far.

Written by John in: MAME |