My goal with this project was to build a consolized version of Battle Balls/Senkyu. Why that particular game, I hear you cry? Well, long before we met, my boyfriend used to pump all his spare quarters into the Battle Balls arcade machine at his local laser tag arena. Now he is a retired US Marine who works long nights as a security guard. As for me, I know my way around a computer and like to tinker with electronics. I've never messed around with arcade machines before now, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish this project, and earn at least one madcap little boy grin upon presentation of the gift.
The hardest component to find was, as you might have guessed, the game PCB itself. My first choice would have been the US version (Battle Balls), but after looking around for a couple of weeks I gave up and ordered a Japanese PCB (Senkyu) from ExcellentCom.Net in Hong Kong. It cost an arm and a leg ($88 plus $40 shipping) but I saw a couple others listed on eBay for $115-150, so I figured that was par for the course.
Next I ordered a 15A/100W arcade power supply ($26.95), RGB-VGA converter ($39.95) and JAMMA harness ($9.95) from JammaBoards.com. After further research I realized that I could have gotten better prices for these items, especially the power supply, which I've since seen for as low as $21 shipped. But oh well.
From Suzo-Happ I purchased 2 purple pushbuttons (try saying that ten times fast), a joystick, a 4" 8 ohm speaker, 1P and 2P start buttons and plastic PCB mounting feet. Add $50 for that (shipping alone was $15, meh).
And finally, I came back from a trip to the local Home Depot with one 2' x 4' 3/4" piece of birch plywood, 2 spring-loaded concealed hinges and a selection of wood screws (#10 1 1/2" for putting the case together and #4 5/8" to attach the PCB mounts), which set me back another $30.
Step 1: connect everything and make sure it works. I hooked up the power supply, speaker and RGB/VGA converter to the JAMMA harness and connected it to my LCD monitor and an old Sky Shark PCB that Antron was kind enough to send me for the cost of shipping. Plugged it in. Nothing. Double checked everything, and realized that a) the JAMMA harness was in backwards and b) the power supply was set to 220. Ah durrr. Now it works. At this point I was comfortable enough with the hardware to connect and test the actual Senkyu board. Hooked up the joystick & buttons. At first I got no sound, but then noticed two pots labeled "L" and "R" on the PCB. Fiddled with them and poof, sound.
Step 2: build the project box. I chose to use 3/4" plywood... probably not the best choice, but certainly one of the cheapest. Mounted the main board on the bottom of the box with 4 PCB feet, put the power supply on one side and the video board on the other side (4 more PCB feet, VGA connector facing the left side, where a space is cut out for the VGA cable to plug in). Left about 3" in front where the extra wiring from the harness could comfortably live. Drilled out holes in the top of the box for the joystick & buttons and attached it with two concealed spring-loaded hinges. Added a magnetic closure and -- almost forgot to -- drilled out a hole for the power cord.
Step 3: Apply wood stain to the outside of the box, create decals out of a couple of piece of overhead transparency film, and cover the whole thing with a couple of coats of polyurethane. (pic was taken before decals were applied)
Step 4: Install joysticks and 3 pushbuttons (two action buttons and a one player start), hook up everything to the JAMMA harness.
Step 5: screw around and play the game. I'd never even heard of it before my boyfriend mentioned it, but damn if this game isn't fun as hell!
Step 6: wait impatiently for Xmas to come, so I can give the man his gift!