Friday, February 08, 2008

The Coin Door (Lights)

How could I forget about the coin door lights?!?!? No arcade machine is truly complete without lighting up the coin door return buttons. Shortly after getting the cabinet in a playable state, I got a message from theCoder over at BYOAC - he had put together two LEDs controlled by a circuit board and ran it all to a regular power plug. A few days later it arrived in the mail! All I had to do was plug it in and mount the lights behind the yellow coin return buttons. The only snag (if you could even call it that) was figuring out how to mount the LEDs so the light is evenly distributed. This really couldn't have been any easier and it looks great - especially when there no other lights in the room other than the marquee.

Unfortunately, the only pictures I have are of the installation and not the end result. Since the LEDs blink, there's no good way to show them off with a picture but I will make sure to highlight them when I film the 100% completed cabinet in action.

In this first picture you can see the green circuit board, the plug and the two white LEDs:

I used scotch tape (seriously) to secure both lights in place behind the coin return buttons in a place that seemed to evenly distribute the light. Pretty easy.

Thanks theCoder!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Coin Box

OK, I think we can agree that this is getting a bit tedious, right? I'm forcing myself to cross the finish line within the next week. I am about to have a few free days to work on my new project and I want this one to be complete or else I fear, much like my first project, it never will be (I'll finish it eventually!). Most of the time I used to spend working on these things has been getting sucked away because of Rock Band. I'm addicted.

Anyway, I finally put the coin box in the cabinet. There's no magic here - I took a cardboard box and wrapped it in duct tape to give it some added strength. Then I printed out the marquee and stuck it to the front for show. The only consideration was making sure it was big enough to catch quarters/tokens from both coin mechs. Here it is:

Try to contain yourselves.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Power Button

This is it! The final actual construction on the cabinet. It's about time.

One final thing that had been bothering me was the fact that I had to open the coin door to hit the power switch on the computer in order to turn everything on and off. I decided to relocate the power button from the front of my computer to the rear panel on the outside. It's out of sight but easy enough to press before and after a play session.

One consideration was that I wanted the button to be recessed in the panel - I think it looks nicer and whatever small chance there is that it will get pressed accidentally is greatly reduced. I had to come to terms with drilling through my awesome finish on the rear panel - oh well, it's necessary I guess.

Anyway, I wasn't sure about the placement of the button so I actually thought about it for quite some time. I wanted it to be out of the way, easily accessible and aesthetically pleasing in it's ultimate location. I think I achieved all three of these things. I decided to place the button towards the top of the cabinet because it would be easiest to press in that location.

The first thing I did was lay out the center for the button hole using some painter's tape (so as not to mark up the actual cabinet. I measured in from the right to the exact center of the power plug to line up the button hole (for aesthetics) and then measured down from the top the same distance and made a mark and tapped out the center with an awl:

Next, I drilled out the hole in two steps using forstner bits. The first one - 7/8" - was just larger than the overall diameter of the button at it's widest point and the second one - 1/2" - was the exact size you would drill if you were installing the button normally. Here is the resulting hole:

You can see the two different diameter holes here quite easily. Once installed, the button will be flush with the back panel. Next came the tricky part - wiring it up. I had to cut the two wires from the button on the computer case and splice in the two wires from the new button. Easier said than done due to the location of the button - I had to remove the marquee and feed the wires through the same narrow hole that the power cord from the marquee light was in. This took me almost an hour of trial and error until I finally got them in there. Check it out (also notice that I painted the inside of the hole because I'm super anal):

...and here's the button all wired up but not installed:

Here's the finished installation:

I am VERY happy with the way this worked out. The button is very easy to reach and it looks great - everything is tied into it. You press it once and the computer powers on, the marquee light comes on, the speakers power on and the LED coin door lights light up. The computer boots straight to whatever the last game played was. Press it again and everything shuts down. This definitely beats opening up the coin door and contorting my hand to reach the power button on the computer!