Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Plug: Part 1

I am about to try and hack a SmartStrip by basically cutting off the plug and wiring it to a different plug/electric socket. I want to achieve a "finished" look on the outside of my cabinet as well as be able to disconnect the power cord if I feel like it. Plus, I've never done something like this before and I'm always up for learning something new.

I'm not quite sure how to do this yet but I will post my progress as I go. Anyway, there are three wires coming out of the plug thingy and (presumably) three wires in the SmartStrip after I cut off the plug - I'm just not sure which wire from the plug connects with which wire from the SmartStrip. Check out the pics:

Kind of boring but I'm at the tedious part of the project now... oh well.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Master Plan

The plans are here! Well, I finally dug them out of the garage and brought them to work so I could scan them and post them here. The dimensions aren't exact but they are close enough, I guess. I wanted an "80%" cabinet so I downloaded the Ms. Pac-man plans from Jakobud's site and shrunk all the dimensions using my slick math skills. I didn't cut things out perfectly due to the weird conversions (like 80% of 1/16" is kind of tough to measure) but it came out great anyway.

Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at

Enjoy even though imageshack totally blows with these tiny thumbnails but it's the only way I could figure out how to host the files so they are readable. Note that I didn't actually use the CRT monitor shown on the last page but the dimensions of the Dell LCD I ended up going with are scribbled on there somewhere - I know, real scientific.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Minor Progress and a "To-Do" List

OK, after a month of nothing I think I'm back for real.

I completed the computer build and got (most) everything working. I had a bit of trouble with the video card because if it was connected to the motherboard it would default everything to the DVI-out port so I had to buy a DVI-VGA plug converter thingy. I installed Windows XP Professional and it seems to be operating pretty fast (much faster than my old Gateway).

I loaded up MAME and MaLa really quick last night, tweaked the settings for a vertical layout and the games seem to be running in full screen!!!! FINALLY!!! Tonight I plan to finish the computer setup on the cabinet.

I have to:
  1. Compile a version of MAME that can save high scores and disables the warning screens
  2. Get the fatfingers MaLa plugin working properly (for the Ultimarc 360 joystick)
  3. Create a solid vertical gamelist
  4. Set the computer to boot straight to MaLa
Once this is done all I'll have to do to finish is:
  1. Cut hole in back of the cabinet and install the exterior plug
  2. Splice new plug to SmartStrip
  3. Wire the computer power button to a button on the cabinet somewhere
  4. Wire the coin door
  5. Touch-up paint
  6. Apply vinyl button decals
  7. Figure out a way to control the volume of everything

That's only like an afternoon's worth of work!

In other (not so) exciting news, I've actually made the executive decision to NOT use the side art that I had printed. It's a waste of $50 but everyone who has seen the sideart in person (held in place by tape) has said the cabinet looks better without it and I tend to agree. I love the art and it came out great but I think that for this project less is more and I'll be better off without it.

I really want to finish this thing so I can start the next one (I hope my wife isn't reading this...).