Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nintendo Serial Plate

When Nintendo originally manufactured their arcade cabinets, each one was given a unique model number stamped onto a serial plate which was screwed to the back of the cabinet right above the removable panel. Unfortunately, my cabinet did not come with one but leapinlew over at BYOAC told me he had an extra and he was kind enough to send it to me for FREE! Thanks buddy! Check it out:

For those that may be wondering, the serial plate measures 4" x 1-7/8" and is held in place by 4 small screws. Anyway, it's not a huge deal but this does add to the authenticity of the cabinet (at least to me) even though sharp eyes will notice that this particular serial plate came off of an original Popeye machine (based on the model number). It also appears to be a blank since there is no actual serial number listed. Maybe I'll stamp it with a #000001!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Video For Your Viewing Pleasure

Here she is in action!

It's Alive!!

Now the moment I've been waiting for - powering it on for the first time (and praying everything works!).

It did!

Here are some shots with the lights off - it is impossible to get a good picture but you get the idea. The marquee really pops and everything looks better than I imagined it.

I am VERY happy with the results. I still have a few very minor things left to do (software tweaking mostly and I also have to figure out a back door even though you can't see it) but this project is about 99% finished.

I'll post a video of it working when I get a chance and other miscellaneous stuff when it pops into my head.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Brains: Part 2

Next up was installing the computer - pretty easy stuff. I just placed it on a shelf that spans the two plywood supports as shown below.

Next, I screwed the motherboard to the shelf and then plugged everything in (hard drive, monitor, USB connections for the iPac, etc.). I don't have any pictures of this but it is pretty self-explanatory if you've made it this far.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Brains

Next up was getting all of the electrical components positioned and hooked up inside of this thing. First up was the SmartStrip. This is a "smart" powerstrip in that it can be set up to turn on a bunch of components when the one "hot" component is powered up. You plug the computer's main power cord into the "hot" outlet and everything else into the "switched" outlets. When the computer is turned on the monitor, marquee light and the speakers all turn on as well. It works great.

I decided to mount the SmartStrip on the side of the cabinet like this:

I had to raise it a little so the plug from the marquee light would reach an outlet on the SmartStrip. The plug of the SmartStrip will go out the back of the cabinet and into the wall just like in an original Donkey Kong machine.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wiring The Controls

The next thing I had to do was wire up the control panel. I'm using an ipac keyboard encoder to connect the buttons to the computer (the green thing on the left). I used some computer "feet" to secure the ipac in place underneath the control panel.

The ipac plugs into the computer via a USB cable and the microswitches on the buttons are wired to the nodes on the ipac. Everything is clearly labeled on the ipac and the default settings were perfect for my needs. The black wires are form the "COM" (common) pin on the microswitches and they are all daisy chained together (from button to button and into the ipac). The red wires are from the "NO" (normally open) pin on the microswitches and each one is individually wired to the ipac (to the default node on the ipac that corresponds to what I want the button to do).

The wiring from the hidden admin buttons was done the exact same way and you can see one of the microswitches in the top of the picture that I hooked up after the control panel was in place (by reaching through the coin door and placing the microswitch in the button - blind!).

This whole process couldn't be any easier! When I first started building these cabinets the wiring was the part that I was most intimidated by but it really is a snap.

More later.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Some More Side Art Pics

OK, time for some good pics! Here are some shots of the cab with the side art and bezel installed. I also put the computer inside and wired everything up (which I will detail in future posts). It's about 95% finished. The only thing left cosmetically is the decal above the CP on the black bar otherwise what you see is what you get.

Here's the punch list:
  1. laminate front bar above CP
  2. apply decal on front bar above CP
  3. remake back door (I made one already but it could be MUCH lighter)
  4. streamline computer boot-up
  5. figure out CabVol or some other volume app
  6. disable pop-up boxes (when I first boot, Mala loads and goes straight to DK but after I exit MaLa is no longer the top window and I need a mouse click to get it to respond again and it works fine from then on - annoying)
  7. Re-skin MaLa - I'm using the one from John's Arcade, which is great (I love the Games Played counter) but I want to tweak it a little and I have no idea how
  8. I also might make the black posterboard bezel to go around the monitor but honestly it is so dark in there it isn't necessary at all so I may skip it
That's it (I think). Anyway, check out the pics. It's pretty sweet.


I really love the way this has come together. It looks and plays exactly like a real Donkey Kong machine and it has 29 other classic games available to play. I'll post the gamelist eventually (I'm constantly tweaking it but I'm pretty settled on it for now).

More later!