Mame cabinet (build your own)

Discussion in 'Tech' started by ivwshane, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. ivwshane

    ivwshane We are all old school!

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    So I've decided that for next year I'm going to build a mame arcade cabinet.
    Right now I'm just doing some research and I've already hit my first snag. I have an overall idea for what I want to do but the one thing that is throwing me off is the monitor.

    On one hand I'd like to go with a lcd pc monitor for better control and picture quality when using windows, less heat, and it will use less power. Also using a pc monitor will make connecting the pc that much easier. The cons are that the largest I could go is 21" and I'd really like to have a 25" screen.

    My next option would be a tube based tv. This would be relatively cheap and I could find one in the 25" range. It would also create a pretty realistic arcade picture. However, the tv would require some work with regards to having it be able to turn on when the arcade machine goes on and to have it automatically change to the correct input.

    The last option would be an actual arcade monitor. 25" screens aren't too hard to come by and the price would be less than a lcd but more than a tv. The only concern I have is how to connect it to the pc and how bad/good it would look when running windows.

    Anyone have some first/second hand experience? I know that there are a ton of websites out there for this but it's easier to narrow your options down and then search.
  2. cnewsome

    cnewsome New Member

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    I've built 2 MAME cabinets and I used identical parts in each. I had the same "TV/PC Monitor/Arcade Monitor" issues when deciding which direction to go.

    I went with a 27" Toshiba TV and I am VERY pleased. I picked the TV up at BestBuy for $250 (this was in 2005) and for the size, there was no way I could get a monitor even near that size for the money.

    Main Reasons for picking the TV:
    1. Size
    2. More realistic look to games (monitors are too clear)
    3. Price

    I am using an ATI video card and have it connected via S-Video to the TV. It auto detects the TV and sends the signal to it - no problem.

    The coolest thing is that I bought a "Bits Ltd Smart Strip" (found here: BITS LTD :: SMARTSHOP) and it turns on the TV (marquee lighting, speaker power, etc) whenever the PC is turned on. The way it works is that you plug a master item (PC in this example) into the specified outlet and plug in your slave items (TV, lights, etc) into the other outlets. Another tip with the Smart Strip is that if you have your PC set to hibernate, it will shut off all power (lights, tv, pc) and when you are ready to play a game, you can wake the entire MAME cabinet just by pressing one of the buttons you mount near the joystick - this is easier than opening the cabinet to push the power on the PC.

    Check out one of my MAME cabinets: Heavy Metal Arcade Cabinet - MAME

    I apologize for the lack of good info on the page, I need to add the kind of tips that I just typed here. This is the cabinet that I designed for a friend.

    If you have any questions about how to do something with the cabinet, just let me know. :)

    -Chris
  3. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

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  4. MSP

    MSP Haunting a dead forum...

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    That is incredible. I was going to make some recommendations but having seen this I'm going to STFU. Listen to Cnewsome! :)

    Here was my lone experiment with Mame cabinets, and it's pales in comparison:

    [​IMG]
  5. SoulAssassin

    SoulAssassin Car Ramrod

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    Damn that sounds like a good idea. I should really check into doing this before summer hits (need a project)...Do you connect these to the internet at all for new Mame downloads/what software is used for the mame?
  6. ivwshane

    ivwshane We are all old school!

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    Thanks for the info!!

    Did you de-case the tv?

    I was thinking about going the tv route as well and this is the one I'm looking at:
    Buy the Samsung 27" Tube HDTV and other Tube TVs at circuitcity.com
  7. ivwshane

    ivwshane We are all old school!

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    Also with the coin door did you use a real coin door or just a dummy door?

    If you used a dummy door, did it come with lighted coin slot or did you have to add that yourself?
  8. cnewsome

    cnewsome New Member

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    Mame cabinet

    I used a Happ Coin Door (from Happ - Distributor and Manufacturer of Parts for the Gaming, Amusement, Industrial, Vending and Interactive Industries.) and I wired it into the keyboard encoder (Ultimarc, the Ultimate in Arcade Controls. ) so that when you drop a quarter in, it triggers the same keypress that MAME recognizes as an "inserted coin" - typically the 5 key.

    Nope, I put the whole TV in there. The front glass on the cabinet is smoked glass from a local glass cutter - I masked off a square roughly the size of the screen and painted the unmasked portion of the glass with black paint. This is the inside surface of the smoked glass and the black area became the bezel. It hides the case of the TV.

    Check out Build Your Own Arcade Controls - Step up to real gaming excitement! - be sure to go to the Msg Boards because there is a ton of good info on there.

    I'd like to make a touch screen jukebox next, but it'll probably be a while before I can work on it. Maybe I can have a Summer project too :D

    The TV I bought was a Toshiba 27A34. You can still find it online for about $220. The Samsung is probably an awesome TV, but if you can save a couple hundred bucks that's a good thing because you can use the extra money on other components (coin door, spinner, trackball, etc). Another thing is that the Samsung is a wide format TV and I don't know how retrogames would look stretched to 16:9. The older games were 4:3 - so a 4:3 TV may look better. Not really sure, but that's my thought.
  9. cnewsome

    cnewsome New Member

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    I started with the command line version of MAME, but grew tired of it and switched to Mame32. It is very Windows looking, but gets the jobs done.

    I've used different front ends to load the emulators, but I'm now experimenting with Maximus Arcade - it is pretty cool.

    I downloaded a lot of ROMS years ago, but then I found a "burner" - this is someone that "sells" you multiple DVDs of ROMs for basically the price of the media. Check out: http://www.us-lazarus.com/
  10. ivwshane

    ivwshane We are all old school!

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    That samsung is actually a 4:3 tv and is high def with component in!!

    I've actually made several posts at byoac and I get very few answers from that place:( They have a lot of good info though.


    What I was thinking of doing was getting the fake coin doors from happ and making it so when you press the coin return button it registers as a inserted coin (as opposed to actually inserting a coin). If I can do this with a fake door as opposed to a real one I could save a little money.

    As for the screen though, I don't mind spending the money on it if it's going to create a good experience, not only for emulation but for windows when I want to use it for other things (music player, pc games etc).
  11. cnewsome

    cnewsome New Member

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    Your coin door idea would work out fine - even though I bought a fully working coor door, I never use it. I just push the coin button near the joysticks.

    Good idea with the TV - you could get a video/audio switcher and hook other devices to it that call for HD. This would leave the PC hooked up via S-video and give you other input options as well.

    Like you said, good info on BYOAC's site, but it's hard to get good responses at times.

    If you need to bounce ideas off somebody, let me know and I'll share any info I have.
  12. Torx

    Torx Indigenous Nudist

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    duuuuudde... this thread is winnar.

    if you start building, make sure you take plenty of pics..
    ive been puttin off building one myself for quite some time now..
    i just dont have the space.

    the guys on SYSTM had a mame cabinet build series last month or so, it came out looking like shit but the premise is pretty good to follow through on..
    you should check it out.
  13. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

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    Damn, a new poster with something useful to add!

    Stick around cnewsome :)
  14. ivwshane

    ivwshane We are all old school!

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    That's what got me into this. I watched their episode and saw how crappy they did that I feel compelled to do a good one on their behalf:p

    Progress is slow, mainly because you have to know what components you are going to use first so you can plan out your design. Add to that this crappy weather we are having and the fact that I have been pretty busy lately means progress will be slow.

    I'll definitely be taking pics of my progress.
  15. GOG427

    GOG427 Free Mustache Rides...

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  16. Torx

    Torx Indigenous Nudist

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    they mentioned a book that they used to follow through on their buildup, but i cant remember the name of it.. i think it had some great information about building mame cabs, might check your local book store
  17. tex

    tex jive turkey

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    holy shit
    HEAVY METAL
  18. mistawiskas

    mistawiskas kik n a and takin names

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    Great results on your cabinet/system Cnewsome. It sure looks real proffesional. Welcome to T3D.
  19. ivwshane

    ivwshane We are all old school!

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    Just a little update.

    I've picked up a 27" 4:3 hdtv. I don't have the right cable to connect it to my computer yet but I've taken it apart already to see how feasible it would be to mount in a cabinet without the casing.

    cnewsome do you have any input on this (or anyone else for that matter)?

    Picasa Web Albums - ivwshane - mame cab
  20. funkgab

    funkgab Junior Member

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    looks good, but hdtv for a cabinet? are you actually gonna put plexiglass in front of it?
  21. Torx

    Torx Indigenous Nudist

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    please be careful with the tv, thats the last thing we need is you relative to come on here and say you died from arcing the back.. lol
  22. MSP

    MSP Haunting a dead forum...

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    No doubt. Those things pack quite a lot of juice even when they're turned off, be sure you know how to discharge it safely!
  23. ivwshane

    ivwshane We are all old school!

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    I believe I will actually have smoked tempered glass on it. The front bezel will also be removed, I had to leave it on for support reasons.


    Now that I have the tv I can start doing the actual designing.

    Here is the design I'm going with:
    LuSiD's Arcade Flashback
  24. funkgab

    funkgab Junior Member

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  25. ivwshane

    ivwshane We are all old school!

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