I’m about to put up various Jamma adapters on Ebay. I spent a lot of effort and time into these. I wanted to produce a fairly extensive set of adapters, that were generally better designed, smaller, more functional and most importantly more affordable than what’s out there today.
I did something similar back in the mid 1990s, but that was before Ebay was useful and other e-commerce sites made it easy to sell them. We ended up selling them at arcade auctions and through newsgroups for very little profit and it was a fairly painful process. Even though we used local fabbing services, the quality had to be kept at the bare minimum. Putting on silkscreen or even solder mask raised the production costs so much that it was impossible to recover the costs.
We started off making adapters for games we had, and tried to sell those to cover production costs of the next batch. Of course, collector tastes vary, and we were always being asked for adapters that we didn’t have, for boards we didn’t own. The demand just wasn’t strong. It was difficult justifying the purchase of an adapter when the board could cost about as much or just a bit more. This was at a time when arcade operators were trying to dump their games for cheap and I was trying to survive off of student loans.
In the end, while we did end up selling a bunch and barely covered costs of production, it just wasn’t worthwhile to continue. Back then production costs were very high compared to what they are today, parts and tools were expensive, and prototyping services virtually non existent. We ended up spending a lot of time etching prototype boards in our bathtubs and drilling and soldering all the vias by hand. Don’t have many good memories of that unfortunately.
So here we are again, 20 years later. I want to finish what I started.
Also, the world is a completely different place. I see an increasing trend with arcade board collecting. Based on the prices at least, the demand seems to be much stronger. An arcade game pcb today may sell for 10 times what it would sell for in the 1990s. Production costs are probably 3-4 times lower depending where you go, prototyping services are cheap and readily available, good design tools can be had for free. It makes much more sense to do this now. I can lower the cost and increase quality. If you’ve ever built an adapter by hand, cut the wires to just the right length, soldered them between the edge connector and the fingerboard, and you did a remotely decent job, you know it can be time consuming. If you value your time at all, have a look at what I’m offering here and I’m sure you’ll agree this is the way to go.
So, I spent the last few weeks designing about 20 different types of JAMMA adapters for the most common games based on VAPS statistics. Some are already available out there, some are completely new designs that no one has done. As far as the existing ones go, I am convinced these are better, and will be a fraction of the cost. I think they are unbeatable quality and price, I doubt anyone can do better for less.
Check out the JAMMA Adapters page for more details.