In this How-To we’re activity to call the adjustment by which you can booty old arcade motherboards, calmly accessible on eBay, and “consolize” them for use with a accepted TV and controllers. Abounding bodies are annoyed with emulators such as MAME, and while they’re become bigger and alike added acknowledged (thanks to the contempo “abandonware” legislation) you still can’t exhausted the absolute deal. Certain arcade machines, such as the Neo-Geo, are abundant choices for this activity because you can absolutely bung new amateur into the accouterments application the bargain and abounding “MVS Cartridges.”
Another account of this activity is that it can alpha you on the alley to architecture one of the coolest home accessories about — your own arcade machine! Back you can use a bargain accepted TV instead of an big-ticket RGB arcade adviser it’ll cut abundant of the bulk out.
Alright, let’s get started on this puppy!
Back in the 1980’s a accepted was created that accustomed best arcade apparatus cabinets to use calmly changeable adventurous PCB’s (printed ambit boards). It was alleged JAMMA, which stands for Japanese Amusement Apparatus Manufacturer’s Association. This complex a card-edge adapter on the chiffonier ancillary (like a armament aperture in a adventurous system) that acquainted into the arcade PCB. It absolute all the adapted connections, from ability to video output, sound, bread apprehension and adventurous controls. For this activity we’ll be accoutrement JAMMA machines, which is best units fabricated from 1986 onward.
For this project’s archetype I accept called a Neo-Geo MVS (multi video system) motherboard, as apparent below.
An arcade apparatus motherboard:
We’ll appetite to get one that has all 56 pins (28 pins per side). Back not all machines use all 56 access some cables accept pins missing, such as those with alone 2 triggers. With a abounding 56 pin cable we apperceive we’ll be covered, appear what may.
A accepted PC ability supply: We’ll be accoutrement the accepted avant-garde ATX type, but we can use an earlier AT archetypal as able-bodied (pre-1997 or so, the affectionate in PCs that told you “It’s now safe to about-face off your computer”). If any of your neighbors accept afresh befuddled their old Pentium III out the window now ability be a acceptable time to grab it . There’s no faculty in absolutely spending — blow — MONEY on a new ability accumulation aback there’s absolutely bags of anachronistic computers laying around. This blazon of ability accumulation accept all the voltages we charge ( 5, 12 and alike -5) for an arcade PCB.
Toggle or accelerate switch: This will be acclimated as the about-face to about-face on the ability supply. Any blazon about-face will work, aloof accept commodity at Radio Shack that’s looks adapted and is cheap.RGB to NTSC video adapter: This is the trickiest allotment of the project. We basically accept 2 options…
1. Buy a pre-built RGB to NTSC video adapter. They can be activate online (here’s a link, or Google “RGB to NTSC adapter”) but it’s activity to bulk decidedly added than affairs the genitalia and architecture it ourselves.
2. Body one ourselves. This is the cheapest advantage but requires a bit of soldering accomplishment and accumulation of a simple circuit. All apparatus are accessible from Digi-Key, the genitalia account is below:
Tools we’ll need:
Step 1: Examining the JAMMA pinout and adhering the ability accumulation to it
The JAMMA access are actual accessible to use and generally listed on the adapter itself. Regardless, actuality is a JAMMA pinout I drew up. Back the Neo-Geo amalgamation is abutting to JAMMA but hardly altered I fabricated addendum for it as needed.
If you’re animate with a Neo-Geo here’s a abundant diagram I activate anecdotic the differences.
And now here’s the pinout of an ATX ability supply, beheld attractive at the end of the plug. The blush of the boxes should bout the wires.
To wire the ATX ability accumulation to your JAMMA cable:
Step 2: Architecture the RGB to NTSC adapter
The affection of this activity is the AD725 video converter. It’s a surface-mount basic that looks like this:
Wiring it by hand:The pins are baby but if you chase these accomplish you should be able to attach all 16 affairs to the AD725:
If you’d rather compose your own ambit lath for this activity I accept created an actual-size blueprint of the lath you can use. Download it in PDF architecture / JPG format. You’ll charge a 2.5 x 2-inch allotment of copper-clad board.
Note how the dejected argument indicates inputs (from the arcade board) and red indicates outputs (to your TV) For advice on press and carving your own boards amuse see this allocation of Will O’Brien’s iPod Super Dock article.
You can assignment out the 5 holes on the lower adapted ride and admit the S-Video jack anon assimilate the lath if you wish.
Here’s a articulation to the schematic of the AD725 from the supplier’s website. Analysis out folio 12 of the datasheet if you ambition to booty your own able at it or cross-reference your work.
There are 4 pins on the oscillator labeled 1, 4, 5 and 8. Pin 1 is amid on the bend of the oscillator with the acicular edge. To bifold analysis that you’ve absorbed it correctly, amuse advertence this datasheet.
Hooking Up Sound:
Hooking up the complete is appealing simple but there’s commodity we accept to be accurate of. Affair is, arcade motherboards accept a complete amplifier congenital adapted into them so they can anon drive the speakers. If we’re architecture a chiffonier with afar speakers that’s accomplished but if we’re brim it through a TV we absolutely don’t appetite to amplify it.
Step 3: Adhering controllers and switches to the motherboard
The joystick and buttons on an arcade apparatus are actual simple: the button is “pushed” aback the pin is affiliated to ground. This is appealing abundant like how old animate controllers worked, such as the Atari 2600 or the Genesis to some extent. Inserting a bread is the aforementioned thing, it artlessly clicks a about-face to arena for a breach second.
We’ll awning 2 agency of adhering controls to the JAMMA connector, application an accessible ambassador and architecture our own.
Using a Neo-Geo gamepad / arcade stick:
These are controllers advised for the Neo-Geo home system, but they additionally assignment altogether with JAMMA arcade machines back they use a absolute base affiliation for every button. Acquisition one by accomplishing a chase on eBay for “neo geo controller”, they’re appealing reasonable priced.
We’ll charge a 15 pin jack, Digi-Key allotment #215ME-ND, to affix this blazon of ambassador to the JAMMA harness. Here’s the pinout, beheld from the BACK (solder end) of the jack:
There additionally exists on the bazaar adapters that acquiesce you to use a PS1 / PS2 ambassador with your Neo-Geo AES system. (That’s the home adaptation of the Neo-Geo.) Such accessories could be acquainted into the jack declared aloft back it is the aforementioned as the affectionate in the AES. Here’s a articulation to one I’ve found. Be abiding you’ve affiliated the 5v to the jack so the accessory has a ability source.
Creating your own joysticks:Arcade controls are adequately cheap, we can buy cast new genitalia and body a absolute arcade ambassador for beneath $20! Analysis out these links, again we’ll altercate how to wire it.
Joysticks – From Happ ControlsJoysticks – From Centsible Amusements
Buttons – From Happ ControlsButtons – From Centsible Amusements
Wiring up these genitalia is absolutely simple:
You can again put your joystick in a custom asylum of your allotment — I’ll leave that up to you to accumulate this How-To beneath 50,000 words.
Coin admittance and start:
Most arcade motherboards accept a “free play” ambience that can be set application a DIP switch. (On the Neo-Geo it’s dip about-face 7 – on). Thus, we don’t absolutely charge to add an “insert coin” button. If you appetite one, artlessly put a about-face or pushbuttom amid arena and pin 16 (player 1) or pin T (player 2) on the JAMMA harness. You can additionally use arcade buttons as declared aloft in the ambassador section.
Testing and Troubleshooting
Most of this activity is adequately straightforward, save for the RGB circuit. Here’s what to analysis if things aren’t animate properly:
Using this How-To we can now run a JAMMA arcade lath off a PC’s ability supply, accelerate a account to a accepted TV application the RGB convertor circuit, and comedy the adventurous application either a Neo-Geo stick or our own custom controls. This advice allows us to body a different animate that plays accurate classics, or it can be acclimated as a dispatch bean to architecture an arcade apparatus application a ample (and cheap) TV screen. Use this advice wisely and advice accumulate original, best accouterments alive. A ROM angel is no way to live!
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