This was a cab that I got from a local guy after it had been gutted. The paint was peeling badly, worse than the pictures show, but the cabinet was solid and the graphics acceptable. I didn't feel that it was worth a restoration effort so I started the conversion to Mame. I won't convert a cabinet that is worth restoration. This cab was built on the cheap. The interface was done with a joystick hack which certainly saves money but it has its limitations.
Pictures of the way I got it-
It came with the origanel power supply and wiring harnesses. I stripped that stuff out, sanded the paint, cleaned the coin door and painted the cab with some leftover paint I had. I also printed a Marquee on a wide inkjet at worl and cut some plexi to hold the Marquee in place. I was lucky that the marquee holder, the glass and coin door were all there. Both coin mechs work but one needs a the switch replaced.
There was a lot of talk on the message boards at BYOAC (Build Your Own Arcade Controls) http://arcadecontrols.com about hacking joypads. That site is the definitive resource on the internet for building arcade controls. Since this was only going to be a one player panel and I had already done 2 Ipacs I thought I'd give it a try. The sidewinder is supposed to be easy to hack so I ordered a few. I fried the first PCB I tried to solder on so I had my brother do the soldering on the secound one. I had ordered 3 just in case. With shipping they were $5 a peice. In theory much cheaper than a key wiz from Groovy Game Gear, http://groovygamegear.com, interface. The keywiz is a far better and easier to use interface but the sidewinder is cheap. If you can't afford the keywiz this is a viable alternative if you can solder and its much better tha a keyboard hack. I wrecked the first PCB while soldering it. I had my brother solder the secound PCB. Its not pretty but its working. I don't think it was worth the hassle that was involved plus you lose a lot of functionality. I could have almost bought a Ipac for what it ended up costing me. True the soldering iron can be used for other projects but those other projects aren't likely to be joypad or keyboard hacks.
It took me about 2 hours plus 2 trips to the store (I didn't get flux at first) and 45 minutes at my brothers house. I also burned 2 of my fingers. I think I'll buy a key wiz for the next one.
I built the control panel with 3/8's plywood, covered it with vinyl and overlayed the top with 1/8 plexi. I used a t-stick from Ultimarc, http://www.ultimarc.com, its a joystick that switches from 4/8 way via a toggle switch on the side. I can reach the toggle from the coin door. I really like the action of this joystick, especially in 4 way mode. I went with a 4 button layout plus player 1 and 2, a credit button and 2 administrative buttons. One is exit, I didn't know what to do with the other so I made it pause. I have other functions that can be accessed via button combinations. The sidewinder actually 14 inputs so I have one more that I didn't wire to anything. For a bezel I marked the monitor screen on the glass and then taped off the monitor area and Sprayed the back of the glass black. For the very edges of the monitor that were showing I used black electrical tape. It looks really clean and this has got to be one of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to do a bezel.
The Cabinet is turned on and off via a power strip with a remote button mounted on top of the cab. The black button next to it is to shut the PC down. Once the PC is shut down you can turn off the power strip. When you turn on the power strip the PC automatically boots up. I'd like to hack this power strip to use a relay from the PC and I will be able to power up and down with the single arcade button.
I used an old 20" PC monitor. It barely fits inside the cab. I built the monitor frame so that the monitor could easily be removed for transportation. Plus the cab is in my basement so taking that 70lbs out for the trip up the stairs is helpfull.
This is the completed cab runinng Windows XP and Mame32 on an AMD 950mhz thunderbird with a Asus A7V motherboard, 20 gb hard drive and 1gb of PC133 ram.I used the default sidewinder XP driver which doesn't give you mapping to keyboard inputs. I chose not to load Joy2key or similar program because I was able to do everything I wanted to do with out it.-
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