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Author Topic: Ultimate n00b here. Just impulse bought a cabinet from Craigslist!  (Read 623 times)

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jtb1987

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No going back now!

I've been wanting to do this or a long time and I finally took the jump. I want to convert an arcade cabinet I bought from CL into a mame cabinet.
The cabinet I believe was originally a Midway Mortal Kombat cabinet that was turned into Tekken 3 - it seems to still work.

I didn't want to put together an IKEA type cabinet together and I didn't have the know how/means to build a cabinet from scratch. So I went with purchasing an existing machine with intentions of not screwing everything up too bad.

I would love to get some general tips/pointers/advice to get started.

What I want in the end:

1. A nice looking cabinet, I want to do what I can to repair/refurbish the cabinet so it looks as nice as it can (it looks like the sides are particle board *yikes*), maybe adding graphics on the side and a new marquee with lighting
2. I want a decent computer that will emulate the majority of games, even 3d fighters like Tekken. Would like to have the hyperspin front end.
3. Would love to use the original CRT monitor that came with it but am willing to be realistic with my abilities in getting it to work. I'm intimidated about what I would need to do to accomplish this, but I'm also intimidated by having to find a decent LCD, find a way to mount it and finding a way to buy or create a custom bezel that would come out looking good.
4. Would like to have nice, loud clear sound
5. Would like to, and also figure, that I will need to replace the entire control panel. Definitely need advice here. I see there are options to buy kits, build your own from scratch. I would like to have a new control panel with an optimized, general layout to fit the needs for two players for most games. I would love for it to have LED lighted buttons...I also like the idea of it being protected ultimately with plexi glass and a cool graphic underneath.
6. Would like to have working coin doors that start games

I've been reading and to be honest, I'm a bit overwhelmed. Right now I guess I'm focused on reading tutorials on how to safely discharge the monitor, that's how bad I'm going to be at this.

I'm trying to read/learn as much as I can but still haven't gotten my bearings yet. Would be really open for suggestions on order of operations, things I should focus on, mistakes I still have a chance to avoid, words of wisdom, anything that would point this very inexperienced, guided by nostalgia noob in the right direction. Attached are some images of what I've gotten myself into!

Thanks for any direction as I embark on this journey!

yamatetsu

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The wiki would be a good (and often overlooked) starting point. You'll find lots of useful info there.

If you want to do your own control panel, you might want to visit http://www.slagcoin.com. You can find lots of info and button layouts there.

If you want to do your own bezel, take a look at the 2$ bezel. It's easy to do and looks fairly good, especially when hidden behind smoked plexi/glass.

General advice : Take your time. Do things step by step. Don't worry about everything at once. Don't plan too far ahead, you probably will do some things differently than planned (or not at all). Before doing anything permanent, post your ideas here. The folks here will help you to prevent making mistakes.

Oh, and welcome to the forum !

                   Completed your project? Post about it here!

ppv

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Hey there! Welcome!

I would say something real obvious upfront. Get the book. Really. It's a must read still and you have great pointers in there. It's perfect for  the noob. I know it helped me as the only part of all this I am comfortable with is the software part. So GET THE BOOK! :angry:

The wise men and women here will surely chime in with really excellent tips, so here are some general advice:

I am a boring old ---fudgesicle---, so I will recommend you read some more: for starters read the "Restorations" sub-forum. In your case, having bought a used cab, this would be the place to start to rejuvenate your cab and dealing with the control panel.

Really do try and keep that CRT in there, it will be worth it. You'll need a special vid card for that though, I cannot tell you more.

It's also a good idea to know how things get done from scratch, so peruse the "projects announcements" sub-forum. You will find *A  LOT* of info in there. really.

I would steer clear of Hyperspin, especially if your are not too proficient with the whole emulation scene. It's a beast to configure. It may be flashy, but it will suck *A LOT* of you time. I suggest Attract Mode http://attractmode.org/.

And if you want to emulate recent 3d brawlers too, you will need a fairly powerful computer. At the very least an i3 with a good card, but emulation drive more processor than video card, so the higher the better.
Keep in mind, not everything is emulated yet, and some are not emulated correctly.

Going the lcd route will restrict the choices you can make because your cab is already built. you will need to find an Lcd sceen in the 4:3 format (it will be used) that will fit your cab dimensions.

That's from the top of my head. Follow yamametsu's advice too: take your time. Do it right and do it justice.
 



Doing arcades, the cheap@ss way!
First Project : ttp://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,151071.0.html
Next one : The Token Muncher [urlhttp://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,135417.0.html[/url]

rovingmind

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Welcome to the Arcade.  As everyone says, get the book.  Then read some more in the forum.  There are more options now for adaptors to hook up the joysticks and buttons than were when the book was published so peruse the forum.  Plus there are also more options for trackball and functional guns for the shooting games. 

I'm not running one but the video card your looking for is ArcadeVGA as a search term to look into that. 

I agree with PPV on not jumping right into Hyperspin.   For an initial feel (if you havn't already) use the graphical version of mame initially.  Then bounce to the command line version with a frontend later.  You'll have less headaches while testing and deciding which frontend you wish to use.

If you have parts left over (ie the original boards) there is the buy-sell-trade section of the forum as well.

Then there are jukebox options, virtual pinball, emulating nintendo on that cabinet using the arcade controls..........................
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!

Malenko

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If I had to guess, I'd say thats an MK3 cab.  I'd start by stripping the paint: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,145236.msg1510193.html

1. If you strip the sides and you have either Raiden or Shao Kahn and Sindel on the side, you'll have cool side art and an instant theme
2. minimum i3 , but I'd suggest an older i5 for when you run other emulators. Ive never built a new PC for a MAME cab, Im king of the left-overs
3. using the arcade monitor will give you the best results but it raises the difficulty curve. a 28" LCD fits perfectly in a midway cab

4. put some nice desktop speakers in the the speaker area and a small sub in the bottom of the cab
5. take the CP wood to Lowes or Home Depot and have them cut you a few, its just a couple bolts holding it in place, you dont need to replace the whole CP box, just the top piece of wood.
6. Working mechs are over rated. if your cab already has them, just wire up the switches to an IPAC/JPAC


As for the monitor discharge, dont let the fear mongers scare you. Just unplug the cab, get all the metal out of your pockers, run a wire from the chassis frame to a flat head screw driver, put 1 hand in your pocket and slide the screw driver under the anode cap.  Ive discharged dozens, most barely even pop.   So now my questions for you:

Game work?
Did it come with the PCB so you know it works or were you just told it works?
Is it still wired for JAMMA? If so, and the monitor works, I'd suggest a JPAC. Save you a lot of wiring and adds an extra protection layer for the monitor (blocks bad signals)
You have any electrical, wood repair, bondo, wiring, or computer configuration experience?

Lastly, where abouts are you located?
2014 Standup UCA Runner Up
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Yenome

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I agree with the others keep the CRT. I had one in the cab i had gotten and thought the monitor was bad, turns out most likely it was the power supply. course by then i had done away with the monitor and used a CRT TV. If you do go with an LCD you could always get a 42" and turn it vertically and get about a 25" 4:3 screen area. I as well think that is the mk3 cab almost looks like i can see the 3 under the paint in the pics. As for control panel i would use the current one as a template and cut wood to match, then do two players with 6 buttons ea. I have found most standard layout is two players 6 buttons and a trackball, sometimes a spinner too.  If you're from the USA you could do the street fighter layout. I would suggest you try out the sega layout from slagcoin. It has a slight curve to it that fits the hand better for longer plays, I also believe it is or close to the layout used by most of the commercial arcade sticks. you could even make test control panels out of card board and try the straight 6 layout or any others before getting something in wood done.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 02:39:05 am by Yenome »
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jtb1987

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Wow thank you everyone for the responses!

I'm going to take everyone's advice and so some more reading/research before doing anything too hands on. Starting the wiki, then browsing the restoration forum.

A couple of questions based on the super helpful responses I've gotten so far:

1. ) I understand that if I want a PC to emulate some of the 3d type games (like Tekken), I'll need a powerful CPU i5 or older i7 and I noted from @ppv that I'll need a pretty decent GPU (any specific recommendations)? My question is, if I intend to try to use an Arcade VGA, coupled with the JPAC (so that I can reuse the existing CRT monitor) - how does the GPU and Arcade VGA play with one another? Do they just both co-exist in the PC?

2.) If I do go the connecting with a JPAC board from Ultramarc route - is there any existing tutorials I can reference on how to wire it step by step? Does it outline what can be removed from the cabinet totally vs. what needs to stay inside in order to be wired to the JPAC and then to PC?

3.) I'm a little confused on the recommendations for the screens. My goal is first to see if I can use the existing CRT. The original game/screen still works with this cab. However, for whatever reason that route doesn't work out, I'll go the LCD path. I understand from reading so far that it's not possible to find a larger 4:3 lcd monitor. So, I could either just use a widescreen 28"LCD such as what @Malenko suggests, or, it sounds like I could purchase a large LCD monitor (42"), mount it vertically and I can "kind of" recreate an almost 4:3, 25" screen as per @Yenome suggests. Pros and cons of each approach?

4.) Any existing tutorials on mounting LCDs if I have to go that route?

5.) I noted from @Malenko, I could potentially just have to redo the top part of the CP. Any suggestions on how you go about also getting a plexi glass cover? What works the best to protect your control panel from usage and age after you've done the work to build it (I assumed plexiglass would be a good solution, but do not know the cost/difficulty).

6.) Additional questions on the CP: I noted from @Yenome a 6 button layout for each player is a good bet. I also read somewhere that people like the "Neo geo layout", which is 7 buttons per player? Can I get a sense of what games I wouldn't be able to play if I only had the 6 buttons? I love the neo geo games and really hope I can play them eventually on this thing.

7.) Regarding @Malenkos questions on any wood working ability...I have none lol!. Here is what I believe I know so far:
   a.) The cabinet is an original MK machine made out of particle board
   b.) I can see the original MK graphics through some parts of the black paint
   c.) There are some dings and scratches on the cab, so I'm not sure I'd be happy with just stripping the paint and using the original graphics, I'd like to     address some of these dings/dents. Also the bottom corners show some damage and some areas where the t-molding goes are a cracked/splintered a little

Is it it even worth it to spend the time to strip the paint if I'm going to try to Bondo and sand over these dings and scratches? Assuming I use Bondo, is it ok to sand over the exiting paint/graphics? Any benefit of stripping the original paint first? Any thoughts on the type of sanding tool I should use, along with sand paper grade? Once I'm able to address all dents/dings/splinters - what is the best way to try to get the sides looking nicely done - would it be just priming, sanding, priming, sanding, paint? Or would it just look better to order and put new graphics on the sides?

Btw @Malenko, I'm from North Carolina here...

Whew, that turned out to be a lot of questions, understand if too much to answer here. I'm off to the wiki to build up a better base knowledge. My final next question would be, does this attached image suffice as a safe enough "discharge tool"? Understood that I would clamp the free end to the monitor base, take my other hand and put it behind my back and then use the screw driver to touch the anode. Once I'm confident I've done that, I'm free to touch/tinker all stuff inside the cab?

Thanks guys for all of the really great, insightful replies!!!

ed12

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the foremost thing U MUST DO IS MAKE UP YOUR MIND....
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ie :  mame ? yes or no ?
ie: game pad style ?  yes or no >>6-8<< buttons

the cabinet is easy
strip >search the forms<
bondo is your bud here >for cars<
sand paper >alot of dif grit<

start there

think of it this way
u have the cabinet

ed
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Yenome

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Wow thank you everyone for the responses!

I'm going to take everyone's advice and so some more reading/research before doing anything too hands on. Starting the wiki, then browsing the restoration forum.

A couple of questions based on the super helpful responses I've gotten so far:

1. ) I understand that if I want a PC to emulate some of the 3d type games (like Tekken), I'll need a powerful CPU i5 or older i7 and I noted from @ppv that I'll need a pretty decent GPU (any specific recommendations)? My question is, if I intend to try to use an Arcade VGA, coupled with the JPAC (so that I can reuse the existing CRT monitor) - how does the GPU and Arcade VGA play with one another? Do they just both co-exist in the PC?


2.) If I do go the connecting with a JPAC board from Ultramarc route - is there any existing tutorials I can reference on how to wire it step by step? Does it outline what can be removed from the cabinet totally vs. what needs to stay inside in order to be wired to the JPAC and then to PC?

3.) I'm a little confused on the recommendations for the screens. My goal is first to see if I can use the existing CRT. The original game/screen still works with this cab. However, for whatever reason that route doesn't work out, I'll go the LCD path. I understand from reading so far that it's not possible to find a larger 4:3 lcd monitor. So, I could either just use a widescreen 28"LCD such as what @Malenko suggests, or, it sounds like I could purchase a large LCD monitor (42"), mount it vertically and I can "kind of" recreate an almost 4:3, 25" screen as per @Yenome suggests. Pros and cons of each approach?

4.) Any existing tutorials on mounting LCDs if I have to go that route?

5.) I noted from @Malenko, I could potentially just have to redo the top part of the CP. Any suggestions on how you go about also getting a plexi glass cover? What works the best to protect your control panel from usage and age after you've done the work to build it (I assumed plexiglass would be a good solution, but do not know the cost/difficulty).

6.) Additional questions on the CP: I noted from @Yenome a 6 button layout for each player is a good bet. I also read somewhere that people like the "Neo geo layout", which is 7 buttons per player? Can I get a sense of what games I wouldn't be able to play if I only had the 6 buttons? I love the neo geo games and really hope I can play them eventually on this thing.

7.) Regarding @Malenkos questions on any wood working ability...I have none lol!. Here is what I believe I know so far:
   a.) The cabinet is an original MK machine made out of particle board
   b.) I can see the original MK graphics through some parts of the black paint
   c.) There are some dings and scratches on the cab, so I'm not sure I'd be happy with just stripping the paint and using the original graphics, I'd like to     address some of these dings/dents. Also the bottom corners show some damage and some areas where the t-molding goes are a cracked/splintered a little

Is it it even worth it to spend the time to strip the paint if I'm going to try to Bondo and sand over these dings and scratches? Assuming I use Bondo, is it ok to sand over the exiting paint/graphics? Any benefit of stripping the original paint first? Any thoughts on the type of sanding tool I should use, along with sand paper grade? Once I'm able to address all dents/dings/splinters - what is the best way to try to get the sides looking nicely done - would it be just priming, sanding, priming, sanding, paint? Or would it just look better to order and put new graphics on the sides?

Btw @Malenko, I'm from North Carolina here...

Whew, that turned out to be a lot of questions, understand if too much to answer here. I'm off to the wiki to build up a better base knowledge. My final next question would be, does this attached image suffice as a safe enough "discharge tool"? Understood that I would clamp the free end to the monitor base, take my other hand and put it behind my back and then use the screw driver to touch the anode. Once I'm confident I've done that, I'm free to touch/tinker all stuff inside the cab?

Thanks guys for all of the really great, insightful replies!!!

1. I dont see the need for a powerful Gfx card as mame wont use it for emulation it will be used for an overlay, i would think a recent $50 card would work just fine. the cpu is the biggest part of the emulation since it has to do all the work of recreating everything.

2. There is guides just google "control panel wiring" lots of videos and guides showing step by step. It is a simple matter of two wires per button one for the signal and one for ground. The ground wire can be daisy chained between all the buttons and sticks.

3. the CRT will give perfect or closer to arcade picture with the right video card and drivers, LCD is cheaper per inch and lighter with less power consumption.

4. most cabinets have the two boards on the inside for the monitor just run one board across this with holes or a wall mount attached for the LCD since most are VESA compatible.

5. You can buy a sheet cut the correct size from lowes or home depot. If you have tools you would copy your control panel template to the plexi and drill the holes out your self. would recommend drilling a hole and then dremel the rest to the correct size, or using a forstner drill bit and going slow.

6. I like the neo geo games as well my self. so i give you two options to go with you can do the 6 buttons layout and use buttons 1 2 3 and 4. so top three will have your index middle and ring finger and use thumb on button 4, Or you can copy the neo geo home controller layout still using the straight 6 buttons layout. *= buttons not used in layout

123   34*
4**   12*

7. IF you dont want to use the original Gfx i would remove all the paint and gfx, bondo and sand where needed then order new print gfx. If this cabinet is an MK cabinet i feel there is enough of them running around to strip this one bare and fix the dents and scratches in the wood.

I am also in North Carolina, Live in Charlotte near north lake mall, Let me know if your close id be happy to take a day and talk shop and go over what ive learned from the fellas here and from my own mistakes.
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Malenko

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1)Just for MAME an older i5 is fine , if youre going to use an ArcadeVGA with the JPAC, thats going to be your GPU only worry about getting a different card if youre going to go the LCD route. So to echo what Ed12 said, you have to decide the path before you start planning for and buying parts.

2) If the cab is already wired for JAMMA, you just plug the JAMMA edge connector into the JPAC and that makes both sticks, the coin mechs, the start buttons, and the top 3 action buttons wired already. You would just have the daisy chain off the existing ground to the new buttons, and run a wire from the jpac's clearly labeled screw terminals to each button. The definition of mega easy.

3) If youre going to use existing CRT, dont worry about it. I have also mounted a 36" CRT vertically in a KI2 cab, just to add to options :)

Gist is, the CRT is going to look the most arcade accurate but the LCD would be easier to set up.

4)cut a piece of wood the same width as the inside of your cab (25" if memory serves) that is about 4" tall and 1/2" thick. find the center and drill 4 holes matching the VESA layout of whatever monitor you buy. Mount with vesa screws. use 2 L brackets to mount to the cab.  Look at how Haruman mounts LCDs to his bartop kits, same idea.

5) Lowes and Home Depot cut plexiglass, take the old one in and they'll clone it. Costs about $10 per cut sheet and they'll cut it for you.

6) You can play Neogeo with 6 buttons, some people use the top row for BCD and the first button on the bottom row for A. I use the 7 button layout but instead of using the top row for JAMMA games I use the ABC part of the lower neogeo row for my default jamma layout.

7) Judging by the piece of black paint missing its definitely an MK3 cab.  I only take out the dings and dents for restorations where replacement art is available. There no shame in having some arcade "patina" as long as the cab is structurally sound. But if you arent a fan of MK I understand wanting to strip it. If you are an MK fan, just get a MK3 marquee and get the 7 button MK3 CPO printed out for you. MK3 cabs dont have paint for side art its more like vinyl. Citrustrip will eat through it if you leave it on long enough.

That discharge tool should be fine, but you should wear rubber soled shoes when you do. Barefoot is a no no.  But you only need to discharge it if you're removing the chassis from the tube, if you're just going to remove the entire monitor from the cab just disconnect the power and pull it.



2014 Standup UCA Runner Up
2015 Restoration UCA Winner

Latest project:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,150902.0.html
RedheadKingPinball aka GingerBalls

  
 

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