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chakoo

Bartop Adventures

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So i'm building a bartop (n64 cart for scale). It took a while to convince the wife on this one but I finally got the go a head a few weeks back and the wood kit arrived on monday. It will probably take me a few weeks/month to ultimately build this thing out but I thought it would be fun to post progress reports here as I go since I know a few have asked from time to time how to build a SuperGun (and in a way this will be pretty damn close to one).  So to kick things off, going to do a bit of Q & A.

 

Q: What kit did you buy?

A: It's the JAMMArCADE 2P wood kit sold by http://www.retrobuiltgames.com/ best known for the Porta-Pi arcade.

 

Q: What will it look like?

A: Subject to change but i'm considering it being a Capcom Impress style theme. So the shape of the image on the left with the theme/color/style of the right.

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Q: Why not a real arcade cabinet?

A: I have one, it's a capcom impress, it's getting old (needs a full restoration) and my wife doesn't like it sitting around so it sits in my storage locker. =(

 

Q: Why so small?
A: About as big as I could get away with, even the wife found this too bulky. =|

 

Q: Why not the 1P version?

A: He no longer sells that kit and the porta kits are too small  (The Jamma ones are slightly larger inside).

 

Q: Will it be powered by a raspberry pi?

A: Oh god no. The plan is to wire this up with interchangeable harnesses for Jamma & JVS. I bought this kit over the smaller units as it will have just barely enough space to internally house a small arcade PCB (Namco 11/12 or Capcom CPS3) inside but due to a cutout in the back I can pull the harness out the back and plug in a larger board outside the kit (like a  Naomi/CPS2).

Q: What games will you put in it?
A: Undecided and it will change around. I recently picked up a Tekken 1 & Street Fighter EX board since they'll be smaller to put inside. I also think I could possibly gut down a System 256 so I could run Tekken 5, Soul Calibur 2 or Gundam Vs (I own all 3 and bunch others for that system).

 

Q: Why?

A: I'm a huge arcade fan and I get sad I can't easily play my cabinet anymore. So I want a smaller unit sitting around at home. 

 

Q: Why only 1 button or what are you missing?
A: Before I buy all stick/button parts, I wanted to wait for the kit to arrive first and check sizing. The kit is kind of built for Happs buttons and the one I have is a Sanwa which is about 1.5mm bigger but now that I have the kit I can see that slightly enlarging the button holes should be just fine. I also still need to pick a color theme for the buttons. Capcom Impress doesn't have a consistent theme for colors and will mostly use a mix of standard Sanwa button colors which is less than the color options for Happs & Seimitsu offer. As for what i'm missing, connectors (I want to keep the wiring clean), 2nd player stick and remaining buttons, 2 speakers and amp (RBG didn't have these for sell outside a full kit) some nuts & bolts. The two boxes in the picture are the LCD and a Power PCB that will keep the power wiring cleaner.

 

 

Now to slowly take my time to build this. =/

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Minor Updates.

 

1) Tekken arrived. I think this board has been sitting around for years (covered in dust).

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2) I had a little free time yesterday so I thought I would try out the LCD panel plugged into my Namco System 246 via vga (Running Gundam Zaft 2). The game looks fantastic on it (display has a lot of settings including 16:9/4:3 options) and it's wicked bright.

 

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So since I had some free time this weekend I spent some time doing a test build, mostly to check out the size and space before starting on wiring but also the maker recommends you do this a few times before you start glueing everything together. It's actually good too because I started building the thing as whole from bottom to top which lead to some parts being hard to do and yet if I more did in sections it would be a lot easier to deal with. =/

 

Anyways on to the main point, this thing is actually very small in person, the photos will make it feel bigger then it actually is. This in general is great for space but bad in regards to arcade PCBs. It's going to be hard to fit some games inside, i'm still not entirely sure tekken is going to fit. 

 

Adult Wood Legos, lol (grabbed two blue happs buttons from another stick I have, still prefer sanwa as the button surface area is slightly bigger)

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Test build, n64 cart for scale

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Trying to see how best to mount the arcade pcb (on the bottom, on the back door, on the bottom again with no sides)

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So I think I'm going to have to try going with it mounted on the back. Next steps are to start on the wiring. I need to hunt down some good connecters (most arcades uses AMP connectors but I'm having a hell of a time tracking down a good place to buy them). Once wiring is good I'll start the gluing process (probably in a few months). 

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New Updates

 

Earlier in the week I spent a night grouping up the wires on the Jamma harness. So grouping all of Player1's wires, power, speakers, etc. It will make the cable easier to manage as I go forward.

 

On Saturday, I spent the morning soldering the power PCB block. I made a small error not realizing the green screw terminals could be slid into each other to make a larger block. So a bunch of mine on one side look kind of slanted. It will probably bother me enough in the future to desolder and resolder them back in properly but in the meantime it's flush and secure. 

 

Now today I decided to do a Jamma test. Now everything looks like a mess but that is because instead of powering my VGA PCB directly I used my old setup where I power my JVS IO which then powers the VGA board. Once start building wire connectors I'll do this properly and remove the JVS board. Yet with that said, the game runs and outputs to my monitor. The colors are off but my VGA cable is bad (need to find my other one) and I can't really get into service mode ATM to actually tune the VGA PCB color pots. 

 

Next steps, Order some AMP connectors to build out a proper harness, buy the sound amp i'm missing w/ speakers and then probably the buttons so I can get the wiring finished before gluing the cabinet together. 

 

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Skullomania arrives !!! (Street Fighter Ex)

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I also bought some cheap 2.5" speakers that I still needed. Unpictured I also bought another Sanwa stick and some buttons (sadly not all the buttons I want since the game shop only had 2 green & 2 yellow, I need 6 of each).

 

So only outstanding parts I still need are the rest of the buttons, still waiting for my sound amp to arrive (this week) and then I just need nuts & bolts for everything.

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I'm so eager to get cracking on this over the weekend. Thank goodness monday just happens to be a holiday here in canada. So I hope I can make a dent on the wiring this weekend.

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We have some cleaned up wiring !!! I was a little unsure about this due to how expensive the connecters ended up costing but seeing the results I'm loving it. Unpictured I have a player 1 input harness done. I know the cables look a little short but I have tons of extra length that will go into making extension cables soon. 

 

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Here is a photo with the power block cleaned up and properly wired for DC jacks. I'm also using a USB->DC jack cable to power the 15k->31k converter. Colors still look like shit. Unsure if it's just uncalibrated or limitation due to video plugging into the CGA plug. I might have to make a conversion cable to plug into the VGA port (I've got a spare hacked VGA cable around). Just unsure how to handle Sync when VGA line has 2 and Jamma only gives 1. 

 

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Some photos of me trying out the SF Ex board. Yeah I know it's stretched, I was playing with the upscaler to get the image to properly fit the display (See the offset tekken above). The LCD itself has a 4:3 mode I can turn on that will put it back to proper size. I'd rather use this setup since the upscaler won't be easily accessible but the LCD buttons will be since it mounts above the screen in the cabinet. 

 

I'm getting pretty close to the stage where I'll need to glue the shell together. Just need to wire the audio PCB next and finish off some parts for the button wiring (just holding off till I get a proper dremel bit to enlarge the button holes for Sanwa buttons (they're just slightly larger than Happs which this kit was built for).

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So you are using a VGA connection? What scaler are you using? What is the Displays Native Resolution? Yeah for me stretch is a deal breaker. I'm glad the display has a 4:3 mode. This project is exciting and has my continued interest. I am considering this paired up with a Mister or like you have it actual arcade boards.

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7 hours ago, Rodimus said:

So you are using a VGA connection? What scaler are you using? What is the Displays Native Resolution? Yeah for me stretch is a deal breaker. I'm glad the display has a 4:3 mode. This project is exciting and has my continued interest. I am considering this paired up with a Mister or like you have it actual arcade boards.

To the LCD It's VGA but from the PCB it goes through a 15khz -> 31Khz converter. These are simple cheap ones from china that are common in arcade configurations.  This is the one I use

https://retroactivearcade.ca/products/gbs8200-cga-rgb-to-vga-converter

 

The stretch again is not a product of the converter. I can change the shape of the image but instead of configuring a bad 4:3, I'm better off having the converter give a full size pass through and let the LCD constrain that to 4:3. Once the kit is fully put together I'll probably spend more time on dialing this in to make sure it produces the best possible image quality. 

 

The display is a 10.1" LCD with a native resolution of 1280x800.

http://www.retrobuiltgames.com/diy-kits-shop/arcade-parts/10-1inch-lcd/

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