More JAMMA adapters yet again!

I’ve been running low on existing adapter boards as they’ve been selling quite well. Since I had to reorder these, it made sense to expand the order to include alongside some of the other adapter types I’ve been working on recently.

I put aside the JAMMA TestCard and the Minigun work for a couple of days to finish up the design for these adapters, and while they’re in production, the plan was to  switch back and work on the code for the TestCard and the Minigun again.

This type of efficiency is so unlike me.

So now, while I wait for the order to arrive, I am back working on the TestCard again. Given how the libraries I’m trying to write will be reused in later projects, the TestCard makes it easy to test the code before it gets reused elsewhere.

The new adapters have now left the fabrication process and are on the way. In the new batch we have:

  • Midway Space Invaders

This unique adapter will not only convert the composite video to JAMMA compatible RGB video but also create a virtual color overlay that simulates the original cellophane overlay that was used in the original arcade machines. This adapter is for the Midway board variant. I’ll create a Taito version as well as soon as I get my hands on a Taito SI board.

  • Orca Type B

For orca boards like Espial, Vastar, Zodiack and others. This is a redo of an adapter that I made in the last batch which had the pin order swapped left to right. That’s what I get for not double checking my design!

  • Data East Cassette

For Data East boards that used the cassette system pinout. This includes games like BurgerTime and Bump’n’Jump on either the cassette type boards or the plain rom based pcbs.

  • SNK Type B

For boards like ASO, Alpha Mission, Gladiator and others. This is a different pinout used by the Rockola games and in Vanguard.

  • Gallag

For the awseome and quite popular bootleg of Namco’s Galaga game. I believe there are a lot more of these than the original Galaga pcbs. At least I keep running into those a lot more.

There are also some redesigned adapters in this batch like the Namco Galaga adapter what just simply hell to assemble. I sold as many of the original Galaga adapters to break even, and then immediately redesigned it.

I think the new version will be quite a bit better, at least I’m a lot more happy with it.

With this batch of adapters, I believe this puts the total number of adapter designs to around 35. Not bad for about a year of spare time work.

With every new batch, I’m moving closer and closer to the end of this project, and at this point the next adapters in my sights are going to be for the Nintendo Playchoice systems and Exidy boards.

However, if you have any JAMMA adapter requests that you would like me to make, you can message me through here, and if the board is relatively popular I will likely put in on my list.

I now need to update the JAMMA Adapter project page which is quite out of date. For a more recent list, please check my Ebay listings here.

Rasperry Pi to JAMMA project link is live again

This is long overdue… I know.

I really wanted to get some info out on this project, but just never found the motivation to do it. Recently though, I’ve been getting many questions regarding the progress so I figured it’s probably a good time to post some information now.

While this work is progressing quite well, it is a rather complex project and it’s taking time. There are also options I’m exploring as well, as the design is being tested. There is a chance to simplify the audio section as the cost of control response. I haven’t completed the audio work yet and don’t know if it’s going to be worthwhile. This is probably the last piece in the puzzle before the design is finalized.

As I’m exploring options, I’ve been looking at the possibility of making something like this for the Orange Pi as well. This may or may not be possible. I mean, it is most likely possible as technically most things are, but I don’t know if I can deliver good video quality at a low enough cost and complexity. I may need to experiment a little.

Orange Pi would be ideal for this project, as it’s lower cost, readily available and has significantly better performance than the Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately, unlike the Raspberry Pi, it doesn’t have the capability of outputting video over the gpio headers, not out of the box at least. I think though, that it may be possible to sacrifice the performance of one of the four CPU cores of the Orange Pi, and via some additional circuitry, bit-bang the low res video out. I will experiment with this for a bit and report back on it later.

Anyway, before I digress any further, here’s the link to the project page.


More JAMMA adapters? Yes!

As I mentioned in the last post, there are several new adapter boards that I received last week. Here’s a pic of these assembled:

So far, the following of these have been tested:

Orca A adapter has been tested with Crazy Kong and Changes and it seems to work perfectly.

Nichibutsu adapter has been tested with MagMax, and other than a weird issue where pushing the player 1 button 2 causes the game the speed up, everything seems to fine.

Toaplan was tested with Tiger Heli and no issues found.

Jaleco was tested with Exerion and works great.

I still need to dig out boards the I have to test these more, but I’ll be listing them on Ebay as soon as I feel confident they work as expected.

Raspberry Pi to JAMMA board, more adapters, more new projects.

Not that I’m complaining or anything, but the whole JAMMA adapter thing has got me overwhelmed a bit. I could not imagine it would keep me as busy as it has for the last couple of months. Actually it’s quite motivating because these adapters have been very well received and as a result I’ve been working on a few more to add to the list. As of right now, I’ve made 31 distinct JAMMA adapters, and I’m planning to do at least a few more in the next couple of months.

The last batch of adapter boards pictured above, has arrived about a week ago. This batch consists of the following new adapters:

  • Jaleco (Exerion, City Connection, etc…)
  • Toaplan (Tiger Heli, Guardian, etc…)
  • Nichibutsu (MagMax, Terra Cresta, etc…)
  • SNK / Rockola (Vanguard, Nibbler, etc…)
  • Orca A (Congorilla, Changes, etc…)
  • Orca B (Espial, Vastar, etc…)

I’ve been trying to dig through my collection of boards to find some to test these with, and as that happens I’ll make periodic updates.

I’ve also designed the PCB prototypes for three new projects:

  • Minigun – a mini supergun adapter that allows you to play your JAMMA game on a tv using component (not RGB) video output and 6 button genesis compatible controllers.
  • JAMMA Mate – a helper adapter for button macros, autofire, voltage readings and power monitor, auto coin / freeplay, video sync converter, internal coin counters, etc..
  •  JAMMA Test Board – a battery powered board to allow for testing of monitor sound and power components and controls inside of a JAMMA cabinet.

You can see these are the red pcbs in the picture above. At this point I haven’t been able to do anything with those other than give them a quick inspection to make sure they look alright.

Finally my Rasberry Pi board project is moving along. I’ve got it working and usable to a certain extent but not without issues. The project is proving quite doable and it appears to be moving forward faster than even I imagined. I would say, in a couple of months I may be testing the final prototype and soon after that it will be available for sale.

For now here’s some crappy pics of the board in action in my dark basement, but I’ll post new info on this project, along with proper pics later.


Project Updates

I haven’t made any updates here for a while, but I have been working on a number of projects in the mean time.

I created a few additional JAMMA adapters. The total number of adapters is now about 25. Most aren’t listed here due to the fact that I lost the site again and wasn’t in the mood to restore it, but the ones that have been thoroughly tested have already been listed on Ebay.

This project is mostly completed. I’m now mostly creating adapters for games that have a unique pinout, but I’m only doing this for games that are very popular, or games that I really enjoy. I would like to design maybe 5 more and then I’ll only create new ones if necessary, every so often.

I’ve also been working on the logic analyzer adapters. The second set of prototypes is looking good (first wasn’t good due to a pretty serious design flaw). I’ll be posting more info on these as I test them. I got a new Tektronix unit for which I’ll be making these as well, in addition to the Agilents.

Finally, I have been working on a Rasperry PI to JAMMA board. The first prototype board is done, and I’ve done some work on the kernel drivers for he controls and custom sound hardware. This will be my focus going forward.

Screenshot of the prototype Pi to JAMMA board from designspark.

Thanks to all that have purchased my adapters in the last few month or provided feedback or help with testing.

Site lost again!

For the second time in the last 4 months or so, Cloud at Cost has lost my VM and was unable to recover it. It’s starting to get on my nerves.

In a way, not a big loss since I think I had everything backed up this time and I already scripted the recovery process, but it still took a few hours of my time that I could have spent elsewhere.

I have many updates planned, but I will make a separate update about that.

Website Lost Again, Dammit Cloud at Cost!

I lost the site in late July when I was on vacation, and wasn’t quick enough to respond and fix it. When I got back it was too late for the recovery. It was all gone!

The last backup was from early May, so I lost all the content that I added in those three months. I was in the process of adding the lost content to the site slowly… when it happened again!

This time I had a fairly recent backup, and I didn’t wait too long to try to fix it… but unfortunately it didn’t help. Cloud at cost lost my VM and didn’t seem to eager to restore it. This is seriously demotivating…

Sorry once again about all the dead links, I’ll get around to it eventually.

In the mean time I’m creating a backup after every update and have scripted the recovery process so I should be ready for the next time I have to do this, which I feel is going to happen sooner than I would like it.

Falcon adapters… popular but painful

I’m currently working on designing a Falcon class JAMMA adapter. Let’s just say that it isn’t easy with all the variety in the games out there.

I’ve got at least a dozen PCBs that use some variant of this pinout. This includes original Falcon games, bootleg games from Sega, Konami, Irem and Namco. I didn’t expect to see it being that widely used, and only realized this when I started to look into it.

I still haven’t decided on what the final end product will look like, but most likely there will be two main Falcon adapters, plus maybe another one for games that don’t quite fit the class, such as Make Trax and Eyes / Ms. Pacman bootleg that are flipped. I really don’t want people to connect these backwards and fry their games… or my own.

Just a subset of all the falcon type pinouts…

More information will be available when I figure it all out…

Lost the Website!

It’s been a while since the last update.

Unfortunately I’ve been having problems with my web host. For some time now I was having problems with the virtual machine. Initially it had some data corruption, then I lost access to it, and eventually the VM went down completely. I was on vacation at that time so I didn’t pursue it, but when I got back it turned out that the VM was lost and could not recovered. At least the support staff was quick to tell me that.

I’ve been able to recover the site from an old backup, but I’ve lost a bit of information that was posted earlier and will have to repost it. Not looking forward to that.

Lesson to be learned? Need to back it up after every change, or at least more often.  I’m not letting this happen again, and with the web host that I’m using, it’s very likely that I will be having issues.

Another JAMMA Adapter Batch Arrived

Just received another set of JAMMA adapter boards!

Some of these are enhanced versions of existing adapters that I designed a while back, and some are new.

The important one here is the Nintendo adapter. This one is a brand new design that I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks. It includes a high speed, low cost video inverter and audio amp. This adapter has video selection jumpers for normal or inverted video selection and a jumper for audio amplification, which means that it can be used with both the Nintendo and the bootleg versions of games like DK and DK Jr. Bootleg versions typically output non-inverted video and have their own sound amplification.

Included in the batch are also the new Namco Pacman and Galaxian adapters which used to be a single adapter before. I split these apart, and the reason for that, was to support bootleg video and audio configurations. I tested both and they seem to work perfectly with my boards. There is also a new Namco Galaga adapter in the batch, and an improved version of the Irem adapter.

Finally I got a new set of 44 pin and 36 pin universal adapters. These exist to simplify the assembly procedure for games with a lower pin count.

Maybe one or two more batches, and I’ll have a fairly complete set of Jamma adapters and will probably be done with these for a while. The next set on the to do list are a Falcon set (I have many versions of Make Trax and bootleg Ms. Pacs), a Nintendo VS adapter and possibly a Playchoice 10 if I can locate one cheap.

I will be soon be listing these on eBay, and as always, it will be for a very, very good price, so stay tuned for that.

More info on each adapter will be available shortly in the project section.