Author Topic: supergun plus +  (Read 12604 times)

Offline Drakon

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supergun plus +
« on: December 01, 2008, 01:27:37 AM »
This's basically my only project worth documenting.  All other projects I usually complete in a weekend.  Yes I'm building a cheaper supergun solution.  Basically most of what needs to be done....is already done through other projects.  What makes my supergun unique?  Well most people have their gun completely encased into one unit.  This's wonderful if you only want to use it to play 3 button jamma games and do nothing else.  But if you're like me, you realize that a lot of the parts in a supergun can be used for other things to.  What other things?  Well here's an example, if you're a sega genesis player (like a lot of other people) you'll probably know that sega don't do s-video (but nintendo does, nintendo does what segadon't).  But hey, sega does rgb, and superguns have rgb to s-video conversion.  So why not have the encoder for use with my genesis as well?  And then there's stuff like neo geo or stuff that uses extra buttons and stereo sound and things that don't go through the jamma harness.  So basically instead of making some idiot proof supergun that's just one little box.  I'm making one that's got all the bits and pieces seperate so it can support other things.  Here's my progess so far....

Now when I started this I began at one of the most difficult parts of the project just to get it out of the way.  That's the rgb to s-video encoding.  I bought myself one of these


http://cgi.ebay.com/Arcade-RGB-CGA-to-TV-and-Video-Composite-converter-NEW_W0QQitemZ310103530718QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item310103530718&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

Because honestly this board costs as much as it would for me to build the encoder myself.  S-video on it looks beautiful, composite looks like crap, but I got it for s-video.  The colour coming out of it is over-saturated.  So I fixed that by adding resistors to the colour wire on the s-video cord coming out of it.  Then I ordered all the parts to wire it NICELY into scart and wound up getting a scart switch once I realized how many things I wanted to be able to hook into it.



part 1: completed.  Contained in that tupperware container is the rgb to s-video encoder board.  It's held firmly in place right now with twisty ties.  The power to the tupperware is wired directly into the +12v line on a computer power supply I had laying around.  I built a loooong cord running to the power supply so I could put it in a comfortable place.

I came across a few obstacles getting this to work nicely.  The sega genesis needed resistors on the rgb lines to look right (but they came in my scart cable).  The snes needs capacitors on the rgb AND the sync lines.  I got capacitors on the rgb lines, but not the sync.  Since they designed these cables to hook into a scart tv that takes sync from composite video.  I really didn't want to build a lm1881 circuit because everything I'm using has a composite sync line.  So I took an educated guess that the snes needed a capacitor on the sync line (no website seems to mention this) and it worked!  This was wonderful because I was getting frustrated over the sync line not working when hooking the wire into it without a capacitor.

Another problem I came across is I bought one of these


http://cgi.ebay.com/RGB-Scart-to-Composite-RCA-S-Video-Audio-AV-TV-Adapter_W0QQitemZ290262389018QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item290262389018&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

I got it to get audio out of the scart lines.  It worked but had this massive buzzing noise.  I looked at taking it apart but it's being a pain.  But the scart switch I bought has audio outs on it so I just use those ones and they work like a charm.  So that was another problem solved.

Here's a closeup of my ghetto labelling job on my scart switch



Yeah it looks bad but it's a nice reference to which cable is hooked into what (they do all sorta look the same).  So right now the rgb to s-video part is 100% finished.

Now the next step was finding myself a proper controller.  If I'm playing arcade games....I want to use arcade controllers.....not some tiny little console controller.  I hang around with a LOT of hardcore gamers.  And hanging out with these guys I managed to get more than enough controllers (and parts) in record time for a superb price.  Here's a picture of the controller I plan on using as my player 1 stick



X-arcade with a "blown" pcb (havn't had time to test the pcb in it).  I got it missing 1 button on the side for *drum roll* 15$.  But working on the inside of these things is a dream.  And I'm not a fan of japanese style sticks, so this is perfect for me.

Here's my other sticks



The top one is a limited edition street fighter ps2 stick.  That's the one I plan on using as my player 2 stick.  But down the road I may not be able to get away with that (will explain later on this post why).  I got the street fighter stick for 25$ because two buttons had stopped working.  Fixed in a matter of minutes by opening the stick and plugging the wires back onto the butons.  And the bottom stick is a fully functional x-arcade with ps2 and computer adapter that I grabbed for 40$ (hardly used) because it had a faulty serial cable and the guy wanted to use it on his ps2 but couldn't.  5$ serial cable replacement cured that problem.

So I have secured myself a gauranteed 1 player stick and a possible 2nd player stick.

now for the next part.....wiring up the POWER connectors.  Okay.....arcade pcbs aren't cheap (well....not usually anyway).  So I had a couple of options here.  I could have bought a jamma harness and done the power wiring myself (which isn't really too hard).  Thanks to this site (I love you gamesx I really do!) this was the only place that explained how to hook up a regular computer power supply to jamma for power


http://www.gamesx.com/arcade/cheapjamma.htm

Why jamma has 4 pins for 5v and two for 12v is beyond me.  But as you can see in the picture there the jamma harness has like 50 wires just hanging out and it generally looks a bit sloppy.  So I bought myself one of these (still waiting for it the guy only recently shipped it out, had to finish building it)


http://cgi.ebay.com/Arcade-supergun-motherboard-for-jamma-classics-Mk-I_W0QQitemZ250327799524QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Video_Games_Coin_Operated_MJ?hash=item250327799524&_trksid=p3286.m63.l1177

Something like this is perfect for a guy who knows what he's doing.  It saves you the risk of wiring the power wrong and frying something (my friend fried a 200$ arcade pcb messing around one time) .  And it converts the 3 buttons and 4 directional buttons (and probably the start button too) into a sega genesis controller so I can run a nice clean looking genesis cord out of it.  The benefits is this saves me having to buy a lot of cord.  The downside is I have to rip apart a cheap genesis controller (pick them up for 3-5$ each around here) and solder the pcb buttons into the buttons of my joystick.  And yes I've already soldered sega genesis, snes, and nes into my x-arcade stick so I know this trick works.  Now the only thing I'm worried about is when I had my snes and genesis pcb wired into the same controller the pcbs would interfere with each other.  So I'm worried that wiring it into my street fighter controller with a playstation pcb on the inside will cause the same type of problem.  I'm really hoping not, but I'm not too concerned about that right now.

Now at the beginning of this post I stated that I want to make my rig capable of working on systems that use more than the standard 3 button jamma layout.  So how am I going to do that?  Well......I just bought a lot of wire



and I'm just gonna have to manually wire up extra buttons.  As you can see in this picture there's a PC molex sitting next to the wire.  I chose to use PC molex's to hook up my extra buttons for a couple of reasons.  1: once those things are snapped together, they don't come apart.  2: they're dirt cheap.  So that's great for something like a kick harness.  But for neo geo I'm basically just attaching wires to the pins on my "supergun board" that are used for neo geo 4th button (but unused on anything else jamma) and wiring the 1 wire into a molex.

So until I get my supergun adapter off of ebay I won't be able to finish up with my controllers.

Now....what else is there to do for my supergun?  Surprisingly....still a lot!

Arcade stuff isn't cheap (unless you have connections or go to a lot of auctions).  And since arcade pcbs are meant to be mounted inside of a cabinet, they don't come with any form of physical protection on the ouside.  Since I'm not running a cabinet rig I'm going to have to build myself some sort of casing for my jamma boards.  I plan on using clear tupperware containers because I think it's fun to be able to see the board.  And also it's easy to lift the lid off of it whenever I want to fart around with anything on the inside.  Now when I stick this thing inside of a container....I do NOT want it sliding around.  I want it to sit firmly, so I bought myself some of these wonderful things


http://cgi.ebay.com/Set-of-6-PCB-legs-BOARD-MOUNTING-FEET-JAMMA-LEG_W0QQitemZ220312564055QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?_trksid=p3286.m20.l1116

Perfect, now I can bolt my board to whichever part of the container I want without worrying about the pcb going anywhere.  Another problem is....what if my boards overheat being inside a small plastic container?  Well.....buy a fan!


http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-80mm-SILENT-COMPUTER-CASE-COOLER-FAN-80-mm-FREE-S-H_W0QQitemZ380064727982QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item380064727982&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

I got myself a couple, I'll just cut a hole on the side of the case and bolt it in.  And it even has a handy dandy power supply molex so I can plug it into the same power supply that powers the board.  (meaning....when I turn on the board, I turn on the fan, and when I turn off the board, the fan turns off too...yay!).  I was thinking of wiring my rgb to s-video encoder into the same power supply.  And then I'll simply disconnect the atx power cable from the pcb of the supergun when I just want to use it for my consoles.  So now I just have to wait for some of this stuff to come in to build a proper case (but I can still play this stuff without a case so it's no rush)

So now for the FINAL obstacle....buying the RIGHT arcade pcbs and parts.

What do I mean by right?  Well there's a LOT of bootlegs floating around.  I can pretty much gaurantee you that the neo drift out MVS cartridge I bought is a bootleg (way too cheap) but the guy says it's 100% working so....oh well.  When ordering a jamma pcb try to get a picture of wherever you're buying it from so you can reference it with a picture of a legit board.  Also try to get a screenshot of the game working and some sort of gaurantee that it works 100%.

Another important thing is to make sure that your board is jamma compatible.  Some neo geo MVS boards are not compatible with standard jamma and you can blow the sound amp on your neo geo if you plug it into a jamma cabinet (or rig).  So be careful that you either buy a model that IS jamma compatible, or you buy some sort of adapter that lets it work on a jamma setup.

And probably the most terrifying thing is buying boards with suicide batteries.  It's a real pain in the #ss to carefully change the battery every few years.  It's also a pain to mod the board to bypass the need for a battery and to use a rom burner to make images of modified code that runs without the battery circuit.  And not just that, some boards have batteries that can break and leak all over the board and render it useless.  So here's my first solution



My neo geo MV-1F board

why's this board awesome?  1: it's 100% jamma compatible.  2: Lots of games.  3: Stereo sound from pins on the board and NOT the jamma port.  4: socketed bios if I ever want to easily install one of the fun bios's you can get.  5: ....controller ports?  Also I took the nicd battery off of the board and put wires between it so if the battery decides to leak then it will leak all over a tupperware container and not my neo geo.  I tested the board in my friends jamma cabinet and it works perfectly.  Also if you have a board or cartridge with eeproms on it (or whatever that chip is called with a window on the top) make sure that the window is covered.  It probably wouldn't be very fun erasing the game data because you didn't put a small piece of electrical tape over the top of it

So that's really everything.  The only thing that could go wrong now is the atx to jamma board somehow being wired wrong and frying my neo geo.  But I've seen pictures of guys using the same adapter I'm buying on pcbs and it was working fine.  I'm not too worried.  So for now I just have to wait until the parts I need show up from the postal service.  And then I can continue posting about my wonderful progress.

oh yeah I forgot....here's the inside of my x-arcade wired into a snes pcb



as you can see, it's no 5 minute job.  But that's basically what the inside is gonna look like once I hook a genesis pcb into it and get it working on my jamma rig.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 02:05:26 AM by Drakon »

Offline ken_cinder

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Re: supergun plus +
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 08:31:34 AM »
Did you already purchase one of those Supergun's? I have one that didn't work out for me (It's PAL output, and I could not get color out of it in any way on my NTSC TVs) but I used it for some testing to make use of it's power hookups etc.

I bought a Versus City arcade cabinet last year, so I have no use for even trying to get color out of it (Which I'm pretty sure I could do via making a SCART RGB to VGA cable for my LCD TV, I've tested this).
I'm looking to sell mine, on the very cheap, if you haven't bought one yet.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 08:37:45 AM by IJTF_Cinder »

Offline Drakon

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Re: supergun plus +
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2008, 01:31:08 PM »
I already bought one.  I don't consider it a supergun.  It's just a board that converts jamma pins to regular jacks.  And I don't think there's such thing as pal on jamma.  If for some reason it doesn't work I'll just wire the rgbs lines directly into the jamma pins (not a big problem).  I just got it to save me having to worry about wiring power wrong.  And also to need less wires going to my controller.  My only guess is the board might have some kind of pal encoder board on it?  Which would be funny
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 01:34:41 PM by Drakon »

Offline ken_cinder

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Re: supergun plus +
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2008, 04:31:21 PM »
I have the exact same one, it IS a Supergun in every sense of the word. All a Supergun does is basically consolize an arcade PCB. Whether or not you use arcade controls has nothing to do with it, I could wire in a Genesis pad to my Jamma cabinet in under 5 minutes.

And I was thinking of something else I tried with the creator of this board when I was thinking PAL, the problem is this RGB to S-Video converter you are planning to use for audio, I tried to use for video as well. These converters are simply a LIE, I bought one for the same purpose.

I talked with the creator of that board for awhile, trying to figure out a solution for NTSC users that didn't involve the expensive RGB>S-Vid converters, to no avail.
This Supergun outputs RGBS, you can't magically take RGBS and change it into Y/C(Luma, Chroma and Sync) with some pins inside a connector.

Those "converters" are for SCART users with gear that only has an S-Video in/out and no SCART port (Like say a DVD player you'd find over here, S-Video out to the converter and a SCART cable with S-Video pins to a TV that has no S-Video port), you still require S-Video as a matching source or reciever, and in this case your source doesn't output S-Video it outputs RGBS and you will need a SCART RGB cable and display that can accept RGBS.
Obviously you already have an RGB to S-Video converter board, but I didn't and I wasted my money on one of these (We don't do SCART over here, I had no idea the Supergun put out RGB just like it went in either)


I didn't realize at the time my HDTV would have taken the signals right off the scart connector to VGA pinout.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 05:00:59 PM by IJTF_Cinder »

Offline Drakon

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Re: supergun plus +
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2008, 11:19:02 PM »
heh I was a bit fooled in that way too at first.  I bought the audio thing with a s-video jack for 2$ and I was thinking ".....that's too cheap for something that converts rgb to s-video".  Then I looked up the pinout on scart and realized it has pins for straight s-video.  But the rgb to s-video board I got works great and was dirt cheap (less than half the price of a jrok).  I don't count something as a supergun unless it actually converts rgb to s-video on the board itself.  It's always good to research before buying something.  I didn't buy this "supergun" until I knew exactly what it was and how everything on it works.

Offline Drakon

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Re: supergun plus +
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2008, 12:33:01 PM »
okay time for an update.  My jamma "supergun" board came in.  I had to solder the composite sync wire directly onto the sync pin of the scart socket because there's a chip on this board that for some reason weakens the signal.  The sound jack came working 100% with a headset.  But when I plugged it into an amplified unit it did not work unless I plugged it in part way so the negative wasn't connecting.  So I just disconneted the small resistor on the negative line of the sound trace and wired the left and right pins together since it's mono sound anyway.  Now I plug it into my amp and speakers and it works like a charm.  I also wired my two controllers into genesis pcbs and the extra buttons I wound up wiring into usb ports.  I wired the kick harness of my street fighter 2 board into usb ports.  I also took one of the extra buttons from the side of my x-arcade out and wired it into the test menu pin of my supergun so I can get into the soft settings for my games.  I successfully wired stereo sound rca ports into the side pins of my neo geo using a 3.5 inch floppy drive power molex that conveniently fit into the pins.  Using the test menu of my neo geo I'm definitely getting stereo seperation now.  I also got in a bunch of nice pcb feet off of ebay.  So now my sf2 board is sitting on nice plastic feet instead of crappy metal ones.  I also managed to get my vogatec onto two pcb feet using some small holes I found on either side of the power supply port.  So now my vogatec is sitting firmly on a pair of feet.  So I have two arcade sticks working with all buttons on my games.  I have beautiful picture and perfect sound.  I have a button that can get me into the test menu.  And I have all the controls ext hooked into usb plugs so I can just plug it in or unplug it without any wiring.  Here's a video of the first "clean" run of my supergun

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_yNVSPgz4E&feature=channel_page

so really all that's left to be done now is to build plastic casings for the vogatec, my pcbs, and the power supply.  And also wire up USB plugs for the extra 1 button for neo geo games (waiting on some more usb cords to come in, I only had 2)  But yeah, it's basically finished.  And in comparison to my friends very expensive arcade cabinet, it looks and plays exactly the same.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 12:37:05 PM by Drakon »

Offline ken_cinder

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Re: supergun plus +
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2008, 01:34:00 PM »
Psst, the audio thing.......Jamma boards are already amplified. DO NOT send the signal to an amplifier/powered speakers. Headphones are line level, you need unpowered/line level speakers.

On boards with pots for volume (Like my Double Dragon board), you can easily make a small set of low resistance powered speakers literally EXPLODE with the volume at max.

Feeding this into a home theater amp isn't going to do such a thing, but it's not good for the circuitry.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 01:35:51 PM by IJTF_Cinder »

Offline Drakon

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Re: supergun plus +
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2008, 12:54:51 PM »
Psst, the audio thing.......Jamma boards are already amplified. DO NOT send the signal to an amplifier/powered speakers. Headphones are line level, you need unpowered/line level speakers.

On boards with pots for volume (Like my Double Dragon board), you can easily make a small set of low resistance powered speakers literally EXPLODE with the volume at max.

Feeding this into a home theater amp isn't going to do such a thing, but it's not good for the circuitry.

the amps on the pcbs are much worse than the amp I have them plugged into.  I wonder why disconnecting the negative trace makes it work on my amp.  But the circuitry on both my boards don't seem to mind being plugged into an amplifier when I disconnect the negative line.  When I turn up the volume on the amps on my pcbs past a low level it sound bad through my amp and speakers.  So I just have them turned way down and let my amp do the work.  Anyway today I did a swap on the stick from two of my arcade joysticks.  the stick that was in one of my joysticks had too big of a throw to play sf2.  So I swapped it with another stick that I use for 3rd strike.  Now both my supergun joysticks play sf2 perfectly....yay!
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 12:57:58 PM by Drakon »

Offline Drakon

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Re: supergun plus +
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2008, 01:59:55 PM »
I cleaned things up a bit.  Built a plastic case for sf2 and bolted the pcb feet firmly onto the case so it's now much safer.  There's a fan bolted on the left side that makes the whole case glow rainbow colours when it's running.



*edit*

it's completed.  Yes the casing is terrible.  But I put 150$ canadian into the ENTIRE supergun.  Including the controllers.  Here's a video where you can see it in action (as well as see some of my other fun stuff)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68FfmHZ7-rM&feature=channel_page

so wrapping this project up let's cover the pitfalls I encountered.

First pitfall:  Some of the parts I bought for this supergun I can't find anymore.  This vogatek guy keeps removing his listings.  And then adding them for short periods of time (I assume that they sell very fast for the price he's asking).  Of course another option would be just to buy a jamma harness and wire it yourself.  But a jamma harness costs close to the same amount of money as the vogatek.  And then you run the risk of wiring something wrong and frying a pcb.  Also I'm NEVER going to find two arcade style controllers again for the price I paid for my controllers.  And playing arcade games on a sega genesis controller just feels weak in comparison.  Also....what's up with people charging insane amounts of money on a kick harness?  I know they're sorta rare but....that's still no excuse.  So yeah....if you want to build something similar to what I built then expect to either pay way more money than I did....or just spend a long time finding a good deal on the parts (which is what I did, I literally spent half a year building this thing very slowly piece by piece).

second pitfall:  The parts I used were cheap, and thusly required modification to work properly.  My RGB to ntsc encoder board has very oversaturated colour.  So I had to add resistors to the colour line of the s-video cable coming out of it.  My vogatek board needed to have the sync pin from the harness soldered directly onto the sync pin of the scart socket.  Also the vogatek didn't work on an amplified speaker system unless I disconnected the negative trace on the sound circuit.  And my limited edition street fighter stick came with a joystick that has a very big throw.  Basically making it unusable on street fighter 2 (almost impossible to do some moves).  So I had to swap the stick for something with a shorter throw (swapping a joystick is not easy).  Also to get my joysticks working on this thing I had to mod the sticks to be plugged into a sega genesis controller pcb.  And the extra buttons I had to build custom cabling for.

That's it really.  If you're looking to do a job for as cheaply as what I did this for then expect to spend a long time looking for deals on parts.  And also expect to spend a long time learning about signals, how to correct them, and expect to do a LOT of soldering.  The next level would have been for me to just build the rgb to ntsc board myself but honestly....the one I got was so cheap I figured it was just easier dealing with that.  Unfortunately due to the rarity of parts needed for a project like this there's probably no way I could ever produce an identical supergun for what I paid (I've had people show interest in me building them a supergun after seeing what I've accomplished).  Overall it was a fun hobby that kept me busy and I'm already well enjoying the ability to play arcade games in my room.  Especially considering that the sound, picture, and joystick quality are all superior to what I grew up with.  (They're even superior to what I find in arcades today).  It also makes for a great excuse to throw a party considering most people don't have arcade rigs in their house.

*edit*

here's the finished product

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oWQtProouk&feature=channel_page

runs better than an arcade cabinet.  I can change pcbs in less than a minute with ease.  And it does everything, extra buttons, stereo sound, etc, etc
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 01:48:16 AM by Drakon »

Offline Drakon

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Re: supergun plus +
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2010, 01:18:04 AM »
I built a case for it





and the sticks are now straight wired into svga ports