Category Archive: 4) Electrical

Oct 06 2012

Lighting Effects

With its wood-tone laminate sides, the cabinet looks somewhat furniture-like when off. One of my stated goals for this project has been to have as close to a realistic arcade experience as possible when playing it.  What better to evoke the gaudiness and neon from an ’80’s arcade than LED lighting?

The lighting is actually pretty elaborate. I’ll break it down by type of lighting.

1) Button lighting.

The Control Panel player buttons have clear plungers with black surrounds. You can’t buy these, I made them from the parts of black and clear buttons.  To get a ‘frosted’ effect inside the buttons I put some scotch tape on top of the plunger springs and trimmed it prior to assembly.   I then drilled holes under the buttons and wired up RGB-Drive LED modules from Groovy Game Gear (GGG).   The RGB-Drive LEDs are wired up to two GGG LED-Wiz USB Lighting Controllers.  The LEDBlinky plugin for the MALA Front End controls the patterns.  It’s a very robust combination.

The Atari volcano buttons are also wired to the LEDWiz but they are using a single built in LED and need a resistor wired in series to step down the voltage appropriately.

Here is a preview.  Sorry for the clothes dryer racket in the background.

 

2) Cabinet Lighting

I ordered 16 feet of 5050 RGB LED Strip from eBay. You can cut this to the desired length then solder leads to the pieces.  There is a strip of LEDs across the top/back, and on the back sides of the cabinet.  These are driven by their own dedicated GGG LED-Wiz USB Lighting Controller.  At this time there is no way around buying a separate lighting controller if you want cabinet lighting.  Again, the LEDBLinky plugin for the MALA front end controls it all.

 

 

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Oct 02 2012

Glass Bezel and Light Gun Sensor

Here is the new and improved painted safety glass. It’s a thousand times better than the matteboard.. I am delighted with how it looks.  The monitor image seems to hover in the blackness of the glass.

 

 

Here you see how I mounted the Aimtrak LED Lightgun Sensor.

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The foam board bezel I was using just wasn’t doing it for me.  I could see it through the tinted safety glass and it looked homemade. To make a painted bezel, I masked off and painted on the back of the tinted glass.  The little notches are for the Aimtrak LEDs.

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Oct 02 2012

A Note on Sound

When complete, this machine will provide as close to the entire arcade experience as possible.  Part of that is Neon lights which will be discussed later. The other part is the electronic arcade ambient noise. The two speakers in the back will reflect arcade sounds subtly off the wall behind the cabinet for realism.  I accomplish this with TheShanMan’s Arcade Ambience App.  It uses a separate sound card to play the effects. I am using sounds from the Arcade Ambiance Project. I am specifically using the 1981 and 1983 files from the download section.

The Front speakers will play a random playlist of late 70’s and early 80’s pop while in the game menus, which will fade out when a game is started up.  When you quit the game, it fades up to the place you last left in the song.  This functionality is built into the MALA Front End I am using.  I highly suggest MALA.  It is extremely flexible and supports plugins that I will discuss later.

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Jun 02 2012

Computer Configuration

FOXCONN 6150K8MA-8EKRS Socket 939 Motherboard
AMD A64 X2 3800+ 2.0G Dual-Core CPU
ASUS DVD-E616A3T Reader
1GB Corsair RAM VS1GB400C3  (soon to be 3)
Saitek Eclipse Backlit Keyboard
Acer 5MS AL2017 20-” 4:3 LCD Monitor

It’s all mounted to the inside – no PC case.  I fabricated an aluminium bracket to secure the add-in cards.

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Here’s what I am using for the Computer.

Sep 02 2010

Long overdue update.

Slooow progress.
-I installed the Novamatrix LINX LED marquee light.
-The FE and MAME are configured and running.
-The cold cathode lighting is installed underneath.
Artwork and LED design/installation up next.
So a few personal notes.  Keep in mind my last cabinet had a huge W-G D9200 Arcade Monitor.  I was concerned about moving to a smaller screen.
1) Having now  played MAME on my first LCD cab I can say that it is much nicer than I thought it could be.  I played about 25 games without any overlay effects and I wasn’t thrilled as it looked too modern.  I then added the RGB_KB.PNG overlay and suddenly it felt very authentic. Additionally the significantly smaller LCD feels MORE authentic than the humongous arcade monitor I had used in my last cabinet.  Classic arcade games had small monitors.
2) This is also the first cabinet I have made or played since the MAME artwork engine was redone, and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised about how the sides of vertical games can be filled with cropped artwork.  The entire MAME experience has come a long way in the years since my last cabinet was built.
3) I highly recommend the GGGovamatrix LINX LED Marquee light.  I bought 2 extra segments and it was perfect.

Slooow progress this month.

-I installed the Novamatrix LINX LED marquee light.

-The FE and MAME are configured and running.

-The cold cathode lighting is installed underneath.

Artwork and LED design/installation up next.

So a few personal notes.  Keep in mind my last cabinet had a huge W-G D9200 Arcade Monitor.  I was concerned about moving to a smaller screen.

1) Having now  played MAME on my first LCD cab I can say that it is much nicer than I thought it could be.  I played about 25 games without any overlay effects and I wasn’t thrilled as it looked too modern.  I then added the RGB_KB.PNG overlay and suddenly it felt very authentic. Additionally the significantly smaller LCD feels MORE authentic than the humongous arcade monitor I had used in my last cabinet.  Classic arcade games had small monitors.

2) This is also the first cabinet I have made or played since the MAME artwork engine was redone, and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised about how the sides of vertical games can be filled with cropped artwork.  The entire MAME experience has come a long way in the years since my last cabinet was built.

3) I highly recommend the GGG Novamatrix LINX LED Marquee light.  I bought 2 extra segments and it was perfect.

Apr 04 2009

More parts – Volcano Switches, Spinner Knob

I am still working out the details of my control panel layout, but I know that I am going to use these – genuine Atari ‘volcano’ start buttons.  I ordered them from RAM Controls.  The switch is NOS (“New Old Stock” – 25 years old but never used) and the cones are high-quality reproductions.  I think these will complement the stainless token top spinner knob very nicely.

I got a kick out of the old hand-typed label too.

Here’s the Token Top spinner knob.  Of course it has one of my own nickel BYOAC tokens in it.  These are made by RandyT over at Groovygamegear.com.

Feb 21 2009

Laminate Sides Applied


It was a tad cold for it, but I took a chance and applied the laminate sides to the cabinet today.  Everything went great, and I also managed to create the speaker ‘panel.’  It will have a cloth covered grille over it so I wasn’t super fussy about the holes..

I know most people route the T-molding slot earlier in the process, but I tend to bang into the edges and mess up the slot so I do it later in the process.

Oct 11 2008

Electrical

I have a nice blue extension cord I will be using for the power.  It will be detachable from the cabinet using a power entry module (like the power input on the back o a PC.)  One of these connectors will be at the end of the extension cord to connect it to the cab.  I got all this from Mouser.