Wow… 2020 has been an interesting year so far. From the threats of war, to the COVID outbreak, the tension now reaches a boiling point with the riots in the US. Hopefully we will all stay healthy, fix what’s wrong and overcome our differences and resume our normal boring lives… but this isn’t a political blog.
Many of my projects were supposed to be completed now, but with these hiccups resulting in delayed production and shipping, I’m once again behind.
Things are moving forward though. Here’s an update:
Raspberry Pi to JAMMA adapter – Currently in beta testing with a number of people. Still early to call, but I’m waiting of feedback on some functionality issues, and reliability data.
JAMMA Test Card – In beta testing as well. No major issues reported. Will probably be going into production soon.
JAMMA Mate – Issues with the latest hardware design, may need to back to fabrication for another revision. Very close to being completed.
As this was going on, I decided to make arcade cabinet adapters. A lot of people have asked me for these, and here we are. These are basically the opposite of a JAMMA adapter. Instead of converting non JAMMA games to be playable on a JAMMA setup, these will allow you to play your JAMMA boards in one the non JAMMA cabinets listed below.
Many have already been completed and some have been properly tested are ready to be sold. Here’s a list of what’s here and the status:
Capcom – tested
Sega System 8 – tested
Sega System 16 – tested
Konami – tested
Data East – tested
Tehkan – testing
Taito – beta testing
Irem – testing
Universal Mr. Do – design completed
Namco Galaga – design completed
Nintendo – design completed
Also, three generic type cabinet adapters have been designed to wire up your own cabinet adapter. These will allow you to use you JAMMA game in practicly any cabinet with either a 36, 44 or 56 pin harness.
I decided to spend the last couple of days working on completing the IC Pin Label / Sticker project and it is now online.
The tool will allow you to create an IC or a connector pinout label, on your label printer or a regular household printer, that will actually fit! The tool needs your printer’s DPI, pin list and pin spacing and it will generate any arbitrary pinout label. When printing you will need to disable scaling and print actual size for the label to fit.
Two sets of images can be created. A single image for small label makers, or tiled version for larger label maker (4×6″ or larger) so that labels can be fully utilized.
Once you create a label you can bookmark the URL and reprint it when needed without having to recreate it each time.
There is also a pretty comprehensive list of already predefined devices for you to use here. These can be edited before the labels are created.
There is a couple of bugs and missing functionality that still needs to be dealt with but 95%+ of the work has been done. Not bad for a couple of day’s effort.
People have been asking me about the current projects that I’ve posted about here. Here’s a more detailed look at where things are with the projects that are work in progress or not currently available:
Major Arcade Projects:
PJ – Pi to Jamma – mostly tested working, last revision in fabrication
JammaTest – mostly tested working, last revision in fabrication
JammaMate – mostly tested working, last revision in fabrication
JammaMinigun – working on video conversion issues, release unknown at this point.
JAMMA Adapters – Here’s a list of the adapters that are work in progress and status:
Midway Space Invaders – avaliable at limited quantities
Alpha Denshi – available but unlisted
Gottlieb – testing (need Qbert sound and Krull / Mad Planets pcb)
Rally-X – available but unlisted
Taito – available but unlisted
Tecfri – available but unlisted
Atari DigDug – testing (my Digdug board is busted)
Nintendo Playchoice 10 Single – tested working
Nichibutsu A (Frisky Tom, Seicross, Radical Radial) – tested working
Taiyo – available but unlisted
Bagman – in fabrication
Taito Space Invaders – in fabrication
Miscellaneous Arcade – Projects for the modular supergun or misc arcade boards.
JAMMA Generic Adapter PCB – available but unlisted
Fingerboard – available but unlisted
JAMMA to Headers – available but unlisted
Genesis Controller Module – available but unlisted
Arcade Monitor Tester – last revision in fabrication
VGA Monitor Dongle – last revision in fabrication
TV Tester – last revision in fabrication
Logic Analyzer Probes – I have had difficulty manufacturing these while making them reasonable priced. As a result I am not selling these at the moment until I come up with a good strategy on how to do this. May involve gettin a pick and place machine and making them myself.
Reflow Oven Controller – available, contact me for details
As you can see I piled a bunch of outstanding stuff with the goal of wrapping up most of these at the end of the year. While most of these are completed and ready to be released it will take the next few weeks (January and February) to document everything and get it out there. Stay tuned for more info.
I ended up buying a few arcade cabinets recently. These were a bulk purchase that were sitting in a barn for too long. I’ll spare you the details.
This was in preparation for setting up my gameroom in the new place, and to give me something to do over the winter and spring. In the end, I ended up trading some of these cabinets and plan to restore the rest. In the process I made a video on a Wei Ya Chinese monitor chassis that decided to put into one on these cabs.
I also pretty much perfected my monitor testers (featured in the video) that I’ve been working on for the last few months, and I think these are ready to go. The last hardware updates have been sent to the PCB fabrication place and I’m just waiting for the boards to come back to start putting the final product together.
I’ll update this page with more information soon. There has been a number of new developments on various projects that I haven’t had a chance to document yet.
I have submitted a couple of new adapter designs and they are currently in production. With these two new designs, I have now created exactly 50 unique designs that cover approximately 500 unique PCBs. This took about 2 years, so that averages about one new adapter every two weeks. Not too bad considering all the other stuff going on.
The two new adapters are:
Taiyo – for games like Chinese Hero and Shanghai Kid
Nichibutsu Type A – for Frisky Tom, Seicross, Radical Radial
A few more designs and the project is pretty much completed. On the immediate to do list we now have:
Atari – for the most popular Atari games. Unfortunately most of those are unique
Taito Space Invaders – to complement the Midway boardset
Zaccaria – for some old faves like Money Money and Jackrabbit
Bally MCR – for Tapper, Tron and the other Midway games
Bally Sente SAC – For Night Stocker, Hat Trick, etc…
… and maybe a few others that are not on the top of my mind. After that it’s requests only, for not uncommon games.
I’ve been in the field, testing these dongles, make sure they perform as intended. This mainly involves going thrifting and plugging these things into TVs and monitors while curious people stop to look at me like I’m up to something . It combines two things that I like, looking for electronics and playing with electronics.
It turns out that the VGA dongle is a little too big to fit a small percentage of the monitors. The TV monitor dongle needs to have its RCA jacks relocated for easier connection.
While working on this, I decided to create a similar board for arcade monitor testing, which may come in handy when testing arcade monitors in the field. Hardware and software is similar across the 3 devices.
More info on the project can be found here. The project page will have more information on these, and will be updated when these become available.
If you have been following my blog, you know that I’ve been building a single board supergun device which I named the Minigun. Project page can be found here.
While I’ve been developing this product, I realized that there may be a need for a simplified device, or rather a set of smaller, distinct components that can be easily integrated together to create a supergun like device that is customized to the user’s need.
This became very apparent when I began to build an arcade / JAMMA test rig for my new lab. A test rig may not require fancy features like autofire or button mapping, but may require the ability to output video in several formats, or more than one way to add controls to a game.
The result of this is a set of boards that can be easily connected via inexpensive dupont cables, that create the required functionality. The current set of boards include:
JAMMA to pin headers board – this is the hub of the system. Plenty of 2.54mm dupont headers allow other boards to be connected. Screw in headers for power rails for easy power supply.
RGB to Component board – allows RGB video to be displayed on a 240p capable TV that can accept component video.
RGB to Composite / S-Video board – allows RGB video to be displayed on a TV that can accept Composite and S-Video signals. Due to the difficulty in creating proper chroma signals from non standard arcade RGB video, this may not be viable for all arcade boards and televisions.
DB9 controller board. Allows you to use a DB9 joystick or Sega genesis controllers as inputs.
USB controller board. Allows you to use a USB joystick as your inputs.
Pick and chose the functionality you need and connect the boards together to create a custom test rig or supergun device.
These boards will eventually be sold either as already assembled or low cost DIY kits. More information on this project will be available soon.
As I’ve been building a test rig in my new lab, I recognized the need for JAMMA fingerboards and generic JAMMA adapter boards.
Normally I’m against this type of stuff. I used to build adapters the old fashioned way with fingerboards, an edge connector and some wire, and I hated every minute of it. Not only is it time consuming, but the results end up looking ugly and have a tendency to break over time.
So why do this when I already have an awesome set of universal JAMMA adapters? It turns out that building a JAMMA extension harness is impossible without a decent fingerboard. For quick testing and prototyping, it helps to have a bunch of low cost boards available that can be abused and recycled time after time.
I’m going to make these available as a low cost DIY option for when it’s not practical to use a more expensive matrix style JAMMA adapter.
More to come on these soon. I’m a bit backlogged at the moment and don’t have the cycles to handle any more new orders.