brandorf.com The everyday ramblings of one nerd.

The Computer

So what do I have running under the hood of this bad boy? The truth of the matter may shock many of you young people.

450mhz AMD k6-2
128mb PC100 SDRAM
ATI Rage 3D II (Video Card)
Sound Blaster 16 PCI
540Mb Western Digital Hard Disk
Hagstrom LP24 Keyboard Encoder.

You read that correctly! 540 Megabytes! But then again, I'm not even using 1/3 of that capacity. Ahh the glory of DOS.

Originally, I was using Fraggal's Boot CD to take care of the setup of all the software, it automatically installs and sets up your sound card, AdvanceMAME, and ArcadeOS, which is a graphical front end. Well it turns out that AdvanceMAME is a HUGE pain in the ass to set up and have it run correctly, (it has 50 billion config options, because it was designed so you could run MAME on a real arcade monitor or television. Eventually I deleted everything and just used plain MAME version .37b17, which was the last official build to be K6 optimized, and ArcadeOS. Later I switched to a more recent version of DOS mame that was compiled to K6 by a kind soul. You can get that here.

I'd like to mention a little bit about the keyboard controller. I'm using the LP24 from Hagstrom Electronics, I don't know if this is an issue with other keyboard encoders like the I-PAC, but make sure that the control panel and any metal components that the encoder is attached to are electrically grounded, in a wooden cabinet with a metal CP, even small amounts of static electricity can travel down the button wires and confuse the encoder, either making you re-upload the configuration to the device or restart the machine.

Try as I might, it just wasn't feasible to get this junk to run off of an Arcade power supply. Most arcade supplies just aren't powerful enough to run a computer, so I just used a standard PC AT power supply that I had handy. I will mention that AT motherboards are nice as they use a hardware power switch, so it's possible to have one switch power your entire cabinet. You can do this with an ATX machine, but it takes more work. Luckily I was able to run the coin door lights from the PC supply as well.

 

It’s important to get the computer working before you install it into the cabinet, here it is being set up. Sound is provided by a pair of Pioneer 6″x 9″ speakers driven by a Clarion Booster-Equalizer acquired by a friend in a junkyard pull.
I wanted to make sure EVERYTHING worked the way I wanted before I mounted everything inside the cabinet. Looks weird now, but as you can see, it plays Gyruss well. Here’s a down the throat shot of all the parts. Along the bottom of the cabinet is the PC and amp power supplies, on the left side is the Hard drive/floppy frame, and against the wall facing us is the Keyboard encoder. The two florescent lights are powered by an AC adapter plugged into the power strip at the bottom.
A closeup of the computer as it is mounted in the cab. I took the drive frame from the old case I has originally and mounted the Hard and floppy drives in it. The motherboard is mounted with PCB feet from Bob Roberts, the expansion cards are currently free standing, ideally I would find some way to hold them in place permanently. This is the Hagstrom encoder and Clarion Equalizer/Booster. I spent a little more money on the custom headers supplied by hagstrom, but it made wiring a snap!
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