This is a standard arcade cabinet restoration/conversion to MAME emulator. However, in addition to an arcade emulator, multiple pre 2001 console emulators will also run on a mega drive built by TiptonWare. Here is a demo by TiptonWare explaining how the rig works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWAepjvwijw
First step in creating a MAME, find a donor cabinet. This all started when I found some dude on craigslist selling cabinets for 50 bucks. So my bud Dan and I jumped in his truck and headed out to pick up Steel Gunner.
Pro Tip #1: These cabinets are SO heavy. Bring a dolly and also measure all your doorways to make sure it will fit where ever you’re planning on taking it.
Pro Tip #2: Secure cabinet with more than one tie-down strap.
This cabinet is going to live in the office game area. Here it is sitting next to Street Fighter.
This didn’t work, so we’re going to replace it with an LCD.
I’m going to install an X-Arcade tank stick that my good friend Justin donated to this project.
I threw in a 24 inch LCD to test out the mirrored display setup. It worked really well, but I couldn’t find anywhere on the internet how to reverse the display (or output) of Windows. To my knowledge, the only option is to rotate the output, not reverse it. There wasn’t enough room to do a double mirror set up, so I just ended up ditching the whole mirror rig.
Replaced all the Plexiglas.
Some quick measurements.
The donated tankstick was one of the original set of controls that X-Arcade released. The PCB board used PS2 to connect as a keyboard. I ordered a newer version that was equipped with USB. The computer running the emulator does not have PS2 ports.
The computer started to overheat, so I added a few fans and a air-duct.
Here are two mounts to hold the computer in place during transport. Also, I wanted to new control surface to be flush and snug with the original game surface. So I cut a thin piece of MDF to cover the whole control surface.
Here the surface is painted.
Here the computer mounts and air duct is installed.
Testing the new surface fit.
Drilling out the holes for the controls. I used the original X-Arcade top as a guide to ensure perfect placement of each button.
Here is the new surface. Flush with the new controls.
I re-routed the computer’s power switch to the top of the game. This is the same location of the power switch on Street Fighter. This is a simple way to shut down the system without a keyboard and mouse. Windows is set to power down with one press of the power button. This is also great for resetting the game. If anything goes wrong, press once to power down, then once more to start back up. The arcade software is set to launch on boot. There are also buttons mapped to restart the arcade software.
This little red light signals that the tankstick has power and is not in program mode.
Here are the buttons inside the cabinet. I was dreading re-installing all these buttons to the new control surface. I figured I would have to stick my head inside the coin door and try to install each button one by one in the right order. But then, I realize that the way I designed the new surface made it easily installable and removable. I was able to install all the buttons on the new surface while sitting comfortably at a desk. Then install the new surface containing all the buttons and wires already to go.
This project was way more involved than I thought it was going to be. Almost every step required re-engineering of the original ideas. Then, new solutions required re-thinking completed steps. Almost everything had to be replaced on this cabinet, monitor, computer, Plexiglas, LEDs, speakers, controls, and fans.