I’m going to be making a supergun because I hate MAME and want to get into the arcade hobby so I can play Vampire Savior and AvP properly. Never attempted one before, so I’m looking for help from those who’ve made them and some people who want to team up and post progress in the thread-- sort of make one big gang worklog to keep everyone motivated and share helpful hints along the way.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the 3 key components are a proper power supply, an RGB to component/VGA/other video format converter, and running a sound line, right? I don’t know quite where to start, any help in pointing me towards a good tutorial or informative arcade hobbyist forum would be much appreciated.
Subscribing. I can’t tell if you’ve already got your plans laid out or not. Holler if you have any questions; there are tons of options for about everything. I haven’t done a supergun by itself but I have consolized MVS boards before.
@Toodles: I am a complete beginner when it comes to these, I was just hoping to get enough interest from people who want to tackle this for the first time so we can team up and help each other out along the way. Of course advice from Super Gun vets would be most welcome! I’m still in the preparation phase-- I have my first CPS-2 B board on the way, Alien Vs. Predator, am getting an A board as soon as possible, power source, etc. Hopefully I’ll be able to start tinkering in 2 weeks.
My first project is going to be a bare-bones SG housed in something simple-- real basic, like those [media=youtube]A5OmdFXFBHY"[/media] on youtube.
SAZAE!! Thanks for the link, this will definitely get me started on the right foot.
It paints a pretty good picture of what goes into a Supergun. Am I correct in observing that the blue strip in the middle is the Jamma harness? And that it is basically the hub for everything involved-- or where everything will be wired into-- power supply, controls, sound, video?
Video is the hardest part, but a JROK or Neobitz would do the job nicely and takes care of the hardest part of a fully home built SG, assuming they can support the video interface you want to use (Component, SVideo, composite, whatever). Audio is pretty much already done if its meant for CPS-2 boards, since they have stereo RCA jacks on them already. Power is the next hardest part since you need a power supply that can provide +5v and +12 volt (-5 isn’t needed by CPS2 and Neo boards). Most folks either grab a specific Jameco power supply and wire up a matching circular connector on the SG. Using a computer power supply or arcade power supply is also an option. You’ll of course need a CPS2 kick harness ($15 from jammaboards.com; its worth getting from there since their full JAMMA harnesses are just $10) Next up is controls; you could hard wire controllers if you wanted, or use a DB-15 or similar connector to make detachable controllers, or use a pair of my FGW Converters to make it accept PSX, Saturn or SNES controllers.
Add a shit ton of wire, some work making it all install into your case cleanly, and the rest is just connecting points together.
this really isn’t that hard. I know the first time I attempted something like this I was worried about amps on the wires, whether or not I’ll try the board etc…
Basically get a real arcade power supply (from happ, lizardlick doesn’t matter)
Get a pre wired jamma harness (its not difficult to wire up your own, but why bother if someone already did all the work for you)
and something to convert the standard rgb video to ntsc/pal (JROK, Neoblitz, one of those that upscales and outputs in vga).
and follow the jamma chart on what each pin/wires goes and connect them all.
Though if you get a real arcade power supply you’ll need to either hack a PC cable, or get one thats prehacked, or get something like this LL Power Entry Module 6A, w/EMI (just wire up the connections on the back to the powersupply, mount it to the box and plug in a regular pc power cord. Its up to you, just test out your wiring on the power supply by itself before you hook it up to the jamma harness. If you miswired it you could see sparks and blow a fuse (happened to me my first time but otherwise it was smooth sailing).
Audio you really don’t need to worry about. Since your using cps2 and they have onboard RCA audio plugs. If you want to wire up audio for future games that don’t have that option its still simple. Wire the audio lines from the jamma harness directly to an rca plug. Obviously make sure the TV set is turned low and the game audio is turned low otherwise you might blow the speakers on your tv (pc speakers).
It does try to get the idea across, but if you’re going for a CPS2 specific SG, then you can ignore all of that audio stuff in the upper right (Phono jack, the DPDT and resistor setup). The power LED and Service switches are optional and can be ignored, the test switch can be ignored (there’s one on the CPS2 board itself), and the coin switches are usually routed to the controllers for Select. (the ones going to Select buttons on the controllers would change the selected game in multislot MVS boards only. It’s silly to do it that way.) The controllers are mostly right but the spot where the D buttons are isn’t used on CPS2.
Instead of tearing your hair out looking at that and getting overwhelmed at the differences between different JAMMA implementations, grab a operators manual for AvP and VS from Raz’s site: CPS-2 Shock
Take a good moment to soak in the harness pinouts. The Jamma harness (and the kick harness) will be the center of your project, your root, where everything spans out. The entire job of building a SG is understand each of the used wires in those two harness, and connecting them to something that gets the job done. For the power wires, that’s getting it to a power supply. Video to video encoder. Controller wires to either a dedicated stick, a custom jack for connecting a dedicated stick or converter for standard controllers. Other ‘control’ buttons like service and test if you want can go to a button on the SG.
Look over the harness diagrams, mark off the ones that will be cut short and not go to anything. Then go through each one until you’re certain what device in the SG it goes to. After that, it’s pretty connect the dots, as far as wiring goes. Far more time and care is usually spent in trying to cleanly cram all of that into the smallest box possible.
Awesome! This would help out a lot of people who may have friends over playing arcade games using familiar controllers. I cannot use google for the life of me to find basic information on your FGW converters. Do you know where I can find more about these converters? When I am starting to work again and living at my own place, I may want to make an RGB supergun so I can hook it up to my XRGB-2 setup to my HDTV.
There are a few video encoders out there but I highly recommend you go with a NeoBitz. A JROK is good but when you want the colors to really pop and look their absolute best over S-Video or component you can’t beat the NeoBitz. It’s what I have in my supergun and games like Metal Slug look amazing while when I had one with a JROK in it everything looked good but had this washed out appearance to it. You can go either way, just my opinion.
They’re a little too technical and niche for them to go out to LizardLick, at least in my opinion. I’ve been selling them directly. The price for a kit ($15) and how to order is all listed in the first post of the Cthulhu thread. If you’d like to see the welcome sheet to get a better idea of what you’d be getting into, its located here: http://godlikecontrols.com/download/converterwelcome2.pdf
I don’t think you were implying that JROK & Neobitz perform video upscaling, but for the sake of those who don’t know any better, the JROK & Neobitz do not upscale to VGA resolution. JROK and Neobitz can output component video, but component is not necessarily HD (240p for most of your arcade gear). For upscaling, the XRGB series of upscalers is fairly popular amongst supergun enthusiasts.
Yeah, I have one of those, too. I’ve used it enough to know that it works (was actually testing it for a customer’s application), but would like to spend more time with it in regards to it’s output quality compared to my XRGB2+.
Thanks for the buzz guys, and the info on the upscaling doodads. For now I’m going to keep it easy and stick with component (Neobitz/JROK-- leaning towards Neobitz at Sazae’s suggestion), since I’ll be playing my CPS-2 stuff on a cheap secondhand TV for now anyway. But just to satisfy my curiosity, how much more complicated would it be to go with one of the upscaling options?-- possibly stupid subquestion, is the upscaling device something used in addition to a video encoder, or a standalone device used that performs the same function only at a higher resolution?
As far as B boards, it’s probably a good bet to assume that any used board I get is on the verge of suicide, ya? Never replaced a battery on one before, and I really don’t want to get my Supergun up and running only to have my boards kick it after a month.
Unless you make your encoder from scratch this is really hard to mess up. This is just playing “connect the dots” between your JAMMA harness and various connectors for controls, power supply etc. My first supergun was my first big electronics-from-scratch project and it came out just fine.
BTW if you’re looking to cheap out you can try a few shortcuts, there’s some Namco RGB->NTSC PCBs used in their big projection cabinets, they’re pretty cheap on eBay. You can use a PC PSU, which you could likely scavenge for free. And if you have a stick for whatever system, adding a NeoGeo (or whatever) connector to it is easy and straightforward.
An upscaler would just take the place of the video encoder and double the resolution. An XRGB unit would only require a cable to run the RGBS lines from the JAMMA harness to the 21-Pin RGB socket on the unit. That board Tonepoet linked to would be about the same situation (make a cable or just solder wires directly to it).
Yah, that’s the safest bet. When I get a new B board I power it on to make sure everything works and then swap the battery. As much as I do my best to keep them alive (I swap the batteries out about every 5 years and haven’t lost one yet), it’s nice to know that you can always reprogram your EEPROMs w/ Phoenix ver. if any of your boards ever die.