Hi Lads! I’m delighted to be part of this forum, nice to meet ye!
So I’m looking to get into the hobby of building arcade cabinets and collecting PCBs (mainly the JAMMA stuff). I’ve extensively looked up the How To videos on YouTube and feel I have a theoretical handle of it – of course actually doing it will be another.
To start off my aim is to build a miniature JAMMA cab, and as I think about it I find myself with some queries that I was hoping to find help with.
Size / Dimensions – what would ye reckon the ideal dimensions would be to have a cabinet that is relatively small or portable, but can fit in the electronics, screen, board, power supply and the coin mech comfortably? I know that boards come in all shapes and sizes but I’m reckoning the approximate 20W x 20D x 20H of a standard bar-top may be a bit small… (let’s pretend I’m looking to fit a Mortal Kombat, WWF Wrestlemania or a CPS2 board in there as they’re on the larger and thicker side of the PCB scale).
Acquiring PCBs - I know there’s Ebay, but depending on the game the prices can get pretty crazy. I’m looking to start with a Tekken 2 and that comes in fairly reasonable but other games not so much. Is there anyone that does trades for instance?
So that’s the start of it. I’ll update the thread if I think of anything else.
I look forward to hearing people’s insight on these and any other tips ye may have on this stuff.
If you want a good example of a large board going inside a small cab to see how dimensions can be pushed, a CPS2 board in a Capcom Cute is a good example.
Can just about get one in there. They're really tiny cabs with a 19 inch monitor. (unfortunately really expensive at about 2.5k now)
That's about as small as you can really go with that size board.
PCB wise, you've unfortunately come to the game when things have gotten mental
I collected them for years but had to give up 2-3 years ago because the cost of items has gone off the charts. beyond what I am willing to pay.
Super common stuff like Tekken 2, SoulEdge/Calibur and Neo Geo MVS boards can be had for cheap enough, but by and large games are just mad money now. Especially anything capcom related.
Meant to say, for buying arcade games, join the forum arcadeotaku.com. They've a really great for sale section that always has interesting bits and pieces popping up.
Dont think any of the lads on here that made bartops ever made them Jamma compatible? Think they all ran PCs etc in there with Roms and Frontends. Not that i can remember anyways, you would be hard pushed to get a mortal kombat 2 board in a bartop, especially with the sound board being separate to the main PCB. You might squeeze a SF2 board in there alright or one of those multigame boards.
I sold most of my PCBs off as well, i never played them to be honest and the value had gone up a good bit so was better off selling them. only have a few left, like O1s1n said the prices are crazy these days!
Edit : sorry just realized you said miniature jamma cab and not bartop!!
I've a mini jamma cab in the works,
been in the works for years.
Get yourself a jamma psu and loom,a pandoras box and a scart crt tv .
You'll be able to get that up and running without doing any wood work.
Then make up a control panel and wire that.
I've built cabs and owned real ones.
Its the little details that make the real ones better and Its worth the expense (see my DK build thread)
Metal brackets,coin doors,casters,speaker grills etc etc all add up rapidly .
That DK cabinet owns me 1000 in materials alone but It was worth it !
I suppose the big question is, if you're going to spend a fortune on building one, why not go the real deal instead? (Unless of course you want something expensive like a DK)
scratch builds are fun if you're diy minded, but yeah I'd keep them for the rarer type cabs really.
I build myself a Cabaret Donkey Kong cab a while back (part 2&3 are on the channel) and enjoyed every part of the process :
there's a few resources online for dimensions for most cabs. I like the cabaret/mini cabs though , in my limited space, it means an extra couple of cabs overall.
I suggested on the to Cork Retro and Emulation facebook group that Kev might be able to make a bartop that would stand on top of a base to make it more portable.
With a hole cut into the base of the bartop to feed the cables through.
Can you get short Jamma extension cables so it would make all the wiring easily detachable?
That way it would be simply a case of plugging out the extension cable and he could move the cabinet in 2 parts.
Surely theres a way of doing it?
I'm not too familiar with the wiring involved myself.
That breakout board for the control panel would be ideal.
You would just need some other breakout for the monitor and the speakers.
Welcome to the world of arcade cabinets.
I would also join www.Ukvac.com
I have two cabs and its a learning curve but i really enjoy it.
If you are going to scratch build and cannot decide what size, ask yourself will it be 1 player or 2 player.
Also ow many buttons per player and screensize.
This will change the size of the cabinet instantly.
I made my bartop JAMMA compatible, would need the use of a CGA->VGA to truly make it plug/playish though. A multi-cart like a '60-in-1' would easily fit
I'm well aware of the CGA > VGA converter. My plan is to use that with a 4:3 computer monitor.
One little question on it, because different YouTube videos suggest slightly differing connections with it - where do you put the converter's 5v and ground wires? What way do you manage it?
Because one video I saw suggests putting them into the JAMMA PSU (in which case I wonder is that in addition to or instead of the JAMMA Harness 5v?), another suggests putting the 5v and ground from the JAMMA Harness into the converter and another video put it into the 12v.
Pardon my denseness.
for some reason I can't even fathom now, I found this confusing too when I started getting into arcade cabs.
so you connect your mains supply (220-240v) into a switching power supply.
The switching power suppy outputs 12v, 5v and -5v (and ground) and you connect these to your jamma harness (pins 1 to 6 and A to F)
The harness plugs into your jamma board.
it's that simple
most games don't need -5v tbh (the only one I have that needs it is Double Dragon) so you can actually use a standard PC PSU too instead of a regular arcade switching PSU if you want.
TVs that have a scart input can be used for monitor, provided the PCB has a vertical alignment pot on the PCB which unfortunately you can't know from looking at it (I know for sure that philips 14inch TVs don't have a vertical pot)