Difficulty/cost of converting a JAMMA arcade cabinet to MAME or standard composite inputs?


So, I’ve come across a very enticing deal on a working Capcom vs SNK (1) arcade cabinet. Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted an full arcade, and this item is very affordable to me. Since I have never messed with the guts an arcade cabinet before, I would like to know how difficult it would be to add a MAME pc to the existing setup- I’ve found cheaper cabinet shells (sans any monitors or electronics) in my area, but the idea of having a working CvS1 cabinet in addition to a MAME cab (which I would have to add buttons to, since CvS1 used 4 buttons) sounds pretty bad ass at this price. Also, it looks like this cabinet has standard shitty American parts, probably Happ. How much work would be involved in changing the parts to Sanwa?


…And yes, I know about the Kraylix prefab cabinets. Those sound great, but this CvS cabinet is local at a fraction of the cost, with a working monitor and controls, not to mention all the JAMMA crap and the game itself.


How good are your wood working/ carpentry stills?

  1. A MAME PC would output video in VGA, HDMI, or even Composite/S-video (depending on your video card). JAMMA-based cabinets take in video in RGBS signals. Unless you can pull RGBS signals as output from your PC, you’ll have to find some lagless converter somehow; the most recommended ones are the Japanese XRGB series of converters, and those’ll run you $300-500.

  2. American Happ buttons fit in 1-1/8" (approx 28mm) holes, Sanwas fit in 30mm (approx 1-3/16"). You’ll need to enlarge the holes (using a guide/template), and probably thin the panel.
    Happ joysticks mount in 1/3" to 2/3" (8.5mm to 17mm) wood panels, Sanwa JLFs should be mounted 9mm below the top playing surface. Depending on how deep the Happ sticks are mounted, you may need to route the joystick side of the panel, as well as relocating the mounting bolts.
    Unfortunately, that’ll just get you Sanwa parts in the ultra-wide American button layout, which is not standard for Sanwa parts. That being said, your best bet is to redo the entire control panel completely.


Damn, that’s disappointing. Re-doing the control panel would be doable, but the video side of things would be cost prohibitive. I found an even cheaper working MAME cabinet in the area, I think I’ll just take that route. In case anyone else is interested in the CvS cabinet, here it is: http://columbus.craigslist.org/vgm/4244826221.html


Well you can always completely replace the monitor with one that is VGA compatible


Scan converters are cheap and easy, if you know what to look for. Hell, my Vewlix clone came with a RGB scan converter that ive been able to price for $40 on eBay. So, shame on you for even considering using composite or even s-video on that bad boy.


Yeah, but that would add cost, and unless I’m missing something, would also render the original game unplayable on it (sans some expensive converter). If I’m going to end up throwing buckets of additional money on top, I’d be better off getting a Kraylix or some other kit.

Edit- this response was to Darksakul, a $40 converter is no major added cost


This was more or less fueled quickly by finding that CvS cabinet. My intention has been to build or buy a cabinet for a long time now, but I wasn’t planning on making the jump for at least a couple more years, so I haven’t done my homework on the monitor side of the project yet.


If the American cab are similar to the American neo geo cabs then the sanwa jlw should be a direct replacement. I personally hate American layout.f I was to get a cab w/that layout I would route/cut out a large rectangular piece from the cp which would include both sticks and buttons and fabricate a metal cp with my button scheme and throw a plexi over it. Or if I was low on resources I would make a custom plexi with my layout but I would still try to center my stick holes with the existing stick holes. Then lay plexi over panel make where my buttons go. Then cut out the holes. I would use a thicker plexi this route. There are many ways to mod it. Some will look nice than others, but nobody will see unless the look under the cp.

I’m in the market for a neo geo cab to restore and then a American cab like the showcase which I would be doing something similar to what your doing. Haven’t done my homework on monitor issue yet. So ill pick up whatever ppl tell you.

Have you haggled on the asking price yet?


The J-PAC pc to jamma adapter or a similar product is what you are looking for.

As far as lag, no idea.


Composite would look absolute shit on an arcade monitor btw.


$395 is an ok price for that setup. I think $350 would be decent but $300 would be the price to pull the trigger without regrets. You have to remember that is a Naomi setup. So that setup alone is probably $275 if that comes with the Capcom IO board. Instead of investing in mame, i would suggest going with the Netboot route. All you need to buy is a Network Dimm w/ ethernet. This will allow you to play pretty much all the Naomi 1 games & Atomiswave.

If you really want mame & use japanese parts then its more trouble then its worth. Plus there is no need to destroy a perfectly working arcade cab to play fake games.


Way I see it is, if an arcade cab is working then do not gut it out.
Do your repair/ restore work on the cab. I would love to have a CvS cab for $300 -$375 in that condition.

Now if the arcade cab been beaten to the PCB is Trashed, then why not rip out the guts and rebuilt it in your own image.


Thanks for the advice, I’m still trying to get in contact with that seller and a few others with MAME cabinets in my area- I guess either nobody’s in a hurry to sell their stuff (I’m betting a few are being pushed into selling by their wives) or they’ve already been sold.

If I can get the CvS cab, I’ll use the JPAC to Jamma adapter and leave the PC outside of the case (unless I there’s ample room) rather than gutting it. There’s still the control panel issue, but I’d see if I could get used to the Happ stuff again before ripping it out- American parts and layouts (in actual arcade machines) were all that I had used until last year anyways, and drilling a couple more 28mm holes (or opening them all out to 30mm with the American layout) would be a pretty minor modification.


Does anyone here have experience with the Arcade VGA card? Seems like most of the MAME cabs I’m finding have LCD monitors, and I’m thinking that card would make older games look less shitty on one.


Shame on anyone who thinks their $40 scan converter isn’t going to lag multiple frames.


Shame on me? So, i take it you have experience with my cheap $40 scan converter? Gonbes GBS-8200 to be exact. ???


I have the Gonbes GBS-8200. At $40 it does the job, but it does not do the job that well. For many video sources you still need a sync cleaner on top of your Gonbes GBS-8200 and a plug adapter to accept what ever video source you are using. Most people also want to pick up a separate Scan Line Generator.
There Arcade Forge’s SLG-in-a-Box which is a modded Gonbes GBS-8200 or 8220 with Arcade Forge’s SLG and sync cleaner

The Gonbes GBS-8200 is riddled with issues, needs some rewiring to be used with scart, the image jitters alot, the image is blured and there alot of input lag.
There also alot of fiddling with the settings.

The other end of the spectrum you have the XRGB series of image processors which instead of tiring to scale the image, line doubles 240p video in almost real time.
I have the Gonbes GBS-8200, I also own a XRGB 2 Plus, which is worlds better then the Gonbes.

Keep in mind the XRGB series was designed for Japanese 21 pin input not Scart so a Jpn 21 pin to scart adaptermight be required. For the Frameister XRGB Mini, there is a tail end piece that gets either modded or replace with one compatible with scart.


Yep. Had it in my hand last night. Had to comfort it after it heard me bagging on it here.