Real men don't use MAME. Real men buy a box of beers, throw some wires in it, tape it up, and play arcade games the way they are meant to be played. The ultra cheap way. Sure you can pay someone a couple hundred dollars to build one for you, but where is the fun in that? Build it yourself and use the money you save to buy a few PCBs.
So here is the deal, my game room was a mess of wires and stray power supplies from the supergun I had been making. For those who are behind the times, a supergun is a device that connects to an arcade PCB and allows you to play it on any tv at home. For health and safety reasons I thought it would be a good idea to clean up this mess into one nice package. I searched long and hard for something sweet to put this crap in but nothing seemed right. Then it hit me, the perfect shell:
You see the beauty of using a box of beers is that you can take your supergun to a party, make everyone think you provided the drinks, then run off and play Wrestlefest instead of having to listen to other peoples inane conversations.
So lets get building. I'll give you a run down of what we will need.
1) Jamma harness $10ish - This is what connects to the PCB. It allows you to slide boards on and off as you would any console cartridge. The harness has all the wires that we will need attached to it ready to go. I recommend getting a decent harness which has all the power pins consolidated to a singal wire for each voltage and has a ground wire for the controllers which has multiple connectors on it. This will save a whole lot of wiring.
2) Power supply $0 - Don't pay money for one of these. I'm sure every person reading this has a discarded computer lying around somewhere. The power supply from these computers is perfect. It supplies the 12v, +5v, and -5v that we require.
3) RGB converter $40 - This is the part where we have to break the bank. Jamma boards output video in RGB/SYNC which can't be played on a normal tv. The RGB converter changes the signal into something our tv can handle, s-video or composite. I got one from here
but do what ever you need to do.
4) Controller $?? - This part is completely up to you. What I did was gut a crappy old stick I had lying around and put a couple of new parts in it. If you really wanted to you could find a stick and some buttons and attach them to a plank of wood or even your dog. The easiest way to go is find an existing controller and re-wire it. This part of the build cost me about $45 because I wanted to put some nice sanwa parts in it but you could do this for next to nothing if you wanted to.
Ok lets start wiring this baby. The first thing to do is separate the harness into groups. You can find a diagram showing what each wire on the harness is on the net. The groups are as follows:
1 - Player 1 controls - This will have up, down, left, right, A, B, C, start, insert coin, and a ground wire. Hopefully you have a harness that has the specific controller ground wire I mentioned earlier. It has connectors for every control component connected to the one ground wire.
2 - Speakers - Will have + and - wires.
3 - Player 2 controls - You can use these if you want but I only care about player 1 so these get bundled out of the way.
4 - Power - This will have +12v, +5v, -5v, and the ground wire.
5 - Miscellaneous - These are the unused wires like the extra neogeo function ones at the bottom of the harness.
6 - Video - This has red, green, blue, video ground, and video sync. If you have a good harness, these will be already connected to a plug which will fit straight on to our RGB converter.
7 - Service crap - Service switches and coin counting related stuff.
Next we will wire the power supply. Google a diagram of the atx power supply connector to see what voltage each wire is. We will need to connect our +12v, +5v, -5v, and ground harness wires to the corresponding wire on the power supply. In general yellow is +12, red is +5, and black is ground. You can use any of the plugs coming out of the power supply unit. We then also need to connect the PS_ON (mine was green) wire to one of the grounds on the power supply. This will make sure the power supply is always on when we flick the switch. Make sure you seal off all the joins so that no loose wires are hanging around.
The RGB converter will also need to be connected to the power supply. Mine uses 12v but for some reason was red. Connecting the harness to the converter is very self-explanatory. Life is a lot easier if you have a harness with a plug already attached.
Next we will sort out our controller. This is a simple matter of making sure the right wire is connected to the right switch on the stick or on the buttons. Every button and switch on the stick requires its own ground. This can all turn into a mess as shown:
Make sure any loose ground wires have the ends covered so they don't come in contact with any other wires.
Now lets mount this crap in our box. Cut a hole in the side for our power supply to get some air. We don't want it blowing up on us.
Next punch a couple of holes in the side for our RGB converter. One for the composite output and one for the power supply. It isn't the prettiest thing to have the power cable hanging out the side but what are you going to do. Its a box of beers after all.
Now if you want you can mount a shitty speaker to the top of the box. Do it for style:
Now shove the entire mess inside our box. If you have followed correctly, it should look something like this clusterfuck:
Last step is to seal up your box and crack open that last beer. We are done!
There is just one thing left to do, 'tate yo shit and blast everything that gets in your way: