Status update: 8/11/2010 - Three months later this has been well hammered :) Coin 2 on the IPAC stopped working after some emergency repairs when a wire fell off stick 1. The Plasti-Kote paint is still rubbing off. Horrible stuff it is. When it gets too bad I'll rebuild the entire control panel and finish it with OzStick's marvelous overlay. I've tweaked the sticks for more responsive action. It gets used pretty much every day. Worth every second spent building it.
Status update: 24/6/2012 - One year and 8 months on and it's still going strong. By some unknown power of the gaming deities the coin input on the IPAC started working again. The monitor lost the red beam which made a few games impossible to play (invisible red emeny bullets make for insanely hard mode). The good folks at Waytec Electronics repaired it better than new. I've discovered the downside to a Windows based machine when the high score tables got wiped by a player switching it off without doing a proper shutdown. Such is life.
Status update: 14/8/2019 - Monitor died a couple of years ago for the last time. A replacement for this model is too hard to find. I tried and failed to fit another CRT nice without major rebuilding. It now has a 17" LCD. Decided to replace the PC motherboard as it had a bunch of bad caps. Swaped the HDD for a SSD. Never did rebuild the control panel. Put a strip of overlay across the front and it lasted ok. Doesn't get used much these days. Kids grow up. Priorities change. :/
Status update: 20/2/2020 - Made the difficult decision to sell it. Collects dust for months between games now. Had an ad up for ages before it went. Some nice young bloke, a barber, bought it. He was so excited when he first saw it. I'm happy it's gone to a good home.
I realized part way through project #1 that making the games on my PC more playable would equal less time using it for me. Bad idea. What the kids need is a game station of their own. Plenty of inspiration and assorted plans around. Space is an issue so let's start small. This is also going to be a test of how cheaply one of these things can be built.
Note: I don't own any real power tools. This whole thing is done with a handsaw, cordless drill, some clamps, set square, box of screws, lots of sandpaper, and a tube of glue. I admit to using an old power drill to make the button holes in the control panel when the cordless went flat, but it was a one off. This is also freestyling - no real design, just an idea, a few scribbles on a bit of paper, a lot of measuring and many trial runs. One hell of a puzzle, and more fun than the Sunday crossword.
Step 1: Dust off the old 14" Acer CRT monitor in the garage and build a box around it...
On With The Show
The hardware appears to work fine. A real gfx card is needed. The onboard unit does an OK job for what it is but chokes on many games from 1992 on. All the cab needs now is a PC access panel and it's ready to paint. I've worked out the mounting position for the I-PAC VE under the controls. Space is tight with 16 buttons and 2 joysticks, but it all fits with room for 2 sets of adult hands on top.
Putting It All Together
Yep. Something went wrong. The HDD broke. It's still working ok for storage but spits out a read error at boot. Not a big surprise considering I hooked it out of a DVD-HDD recorder that was headed for the bin. Choices were replace or add. The only working spare drive on hand was a 40gb. Too small to replace if I want anything other than a basic setup. The other drive already has about 120gb of music and videos as well as MAME 0.139 complete set including about 30gb of chds. There's now 2 HDDs in a new holder. The CPU fan sucks enough air through the drives to not need the fan. Temporary CD-ROM in place to install OS.
The End Is Nigh
Glass and full size marquee artwork in place. Waiting on laser cut clear panel for marquee and I can officialy call this project done. This photo is awful, taken at 2am with a mobile phone, but something had to go down here.