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Project: 'Troy's Arcade' - Scratch Build Mini-ITX MAME... Page 5

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    I had to figure out a way to mount the Ipac2 controller to the bottom of the arcade controls panel, below shows what I came up with.  I made a board tray out of some scrap aluminum, drilled four holes and implemented the same spacers and board mounting technique that I've used on my last four projects, the whole thing will be attached with Velcro.

    The micro switches on the joysticks and bottoms of each button have three contact points - a normally closed position, normally open position and a ground.  I used the normally open contact and wired each micro switch to its corresponding location on the Ipac2 board.

    Next I piggy backed the ground wire to all of the switches for each player side and wired them to the ground point on the Ipac2 controller board.  While I was at it I tidied it all up and then ran the USB cables to the Ipac2 and Matrix Orbital display.

    I have a bad habit of not ever letting good enough be good enough, the hardware I had would have worked fine but I decided to beef up and change everything out.  Below shows the upgrade - a Zotac mini-ITX motherboard with GeForce 7050, a Celeron 2.0 GHz dual core processor, 2GB of Crucial DDR2 667 memory, a 350W micro-ATX power supply and lastly a 320GB Western Digital hard drive.

    Since I am no longer using the IDE adapted 16GB compact flash in this project I had to come up with a mounting method for the larger hard drive.  Good old aluminum angle and plastic spacers to the rescue, below shows what I came up with, it's a perfect fit.

    I also had to come up with a way to mount the larger power supply in a different location, again I used aluminum angle that was cut, filed and drilled to fit... alum-angle is awesome.

    Mounting the new power supply meant having to relocate the mother board, I drilled four new holes and problem solved.  With all the hardware installed it's time to fire it up and install WindowsXP, drivers, updates and MAME32.

    After the operating system and programs were installed it was time to throw it together for a test run.  Below shows my 10 year old buddy BJ tearing up some R-type, after playing around twenty or so other games I asked him what he thought and he told me "Every kid should have one of these."... true that.

    Hands on testing of my own revealed a major design flaw that needed to be addressed, the plexi sheet that the speakers rest on sits flat horizontally (see above picture) so it is hard for an adult to view the upper most parts of the screen while standing and playing.  Changing the angle (see below) fixes the problem and also the speaker output is better directed forward instead of straight down.

    To plug (hide) the four bolt holes that opened up when the angle of the speaker panel changed I used some black plastic auto panel fasteners that I got from my local hardware store.

    I had to cut back the pointy end of the auto panel fasteners so that they would sit flush on the inside of the acrylic panel, they do a pretty nice hole plugging job.

   Changing up the angle also means the $23.90 marquee from is now the wrong size and will not work.

    The arcade needed a new marquee and it only took a couple attempts before I came up with something I liked even better than the last one.  Once my design was double checked and finalized I uploaded it to

    The new and improved marquee cost $19.35 shipped, it arrived in three days and it looks absolutely fantastic straight out of the tube.

    Below shows the marquee LED strip lighting and the white acrylic reflector panel which is held in place by small pieces of Velcro attached to the speakers.

    I cut two pieces of acrylic to size and sandwiched the printed marquee graphic between them and bolted it all down.  An on/off switch was attached to the power for the marquee lighting, mouse over the image below to light up the marquee.

    Time for a little two player hands on testing, which calls for multiple games of Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo followed by a few rounds of Capcom Vs. Marvel.  The result - two out of two kids agree that my arcade machine rocks.

    After looking more closely at the freshly installed marquee I decided that the shiny bolts looked rather half-assed.  Changing over to auto panel fasteners required making new side attachment pieces and drilling a couple more holes in the marquee, but the end result was totally worth it.

    The silver bolts sticking out all over the sides looked out of place, so I masked off the entire thing and spray painted them all flat black.

    I had originally planned on putting side panel artwork onto my arcade, but I like the clean look of it without side art better... for now anyway.  My MAME project is officially finished, everyone that has played it agrees that it is one of my coolest builds to date.

    There were a few things about my arcade that bothered me, firstly there were three power cords coming out of it.  The 6" black extension cord in the picture below is half of how I solved that.  The second thing that bugged me were all the flat slot bolt heads holding it together, they will all be replaced with black oxide carriage bolts.  Lastly, I found black one and two player buttons to replace the buttons that are currently there.

    One by one I removed the flat head bolts and washers and replaced them with the carriage bolts, no small chore.  The reflection of camera flash off the carriage bolts doesn't give a true look at how well they blend with the black acrylic, in reality they are perfect and make the build look really professional.

    I mentioned above that the 6" black extension cord was half of how I turned three power cords into one, the other half is shown below... It is a five grounded outlet surge suppressor and with all three cords connected it just barely fit inside.

    I didn't want to have to reposition the power supply just to hide the power cable to it so I re-route it back into the case.  The on/off switch in the picture controls the marquee lighting, below it are two USB 2.0 ports and below those is the power button.

    Last but not least the player one and player two push buttons... they really set the whole thing right.  The two black push buttons that were removed will be repurposed into my new arcade project that is currently underway.

Stay Tuned...

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