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sav1
25th May 2006, 02:54 PM
G'day,
just about to build my first mame cabinet and want to know which is the best keyboard encoder.
Looking to start of simple with 2 sticks, six or seven buttons each, 2 x player buttons, coin mech etc.
am tossing up between keywiz max and i-pac, which is better, any other products i should know about?
cheers,
sav

Davefjedi
25th May 2006, 03:53 PM
i have nothing but good things to say about the i-pacs never use a key wiss
but i have also used the tokn media kb-16 and kb-32 with no problems (they are cheaper and require some soldering) but the ipac for ease defintly...... see www.ozstick.com.au
chris will steer you right and is very helpfull

Smit
25th May 2006, 04:16 PM
Hi Sav1,
Go the I-PAC .... It has direct inputs and comes pre-configured to run with mame straight away.


....i have also used the tikd media kb-16 and kb-32 with no real problems (they are cheaper and require some soldering) but the ipac for ease defintly......

Do you mean the Token encoders? If so, I do belive they run a "matrix" system, so can be possibly susceptable to key ghosting? Correct me if wrong please.

cya
Smit

MameDownUnder
25th May 2006, 04:28 PM
they both have their advantages although i prefer the IPAC

I big plus is you can use to controls and keyboard at the same time

OzStick
25th May 2006, 05:44 PM
Hi Sav,

I can make things even easier and set you up with a Mini-PAC and custom wiring loom that will cater for all the inputs you listed. They do exactly the same job as the I-PAC but are much more compact.

As long as your control panel is no wider than about 700mm the wiring loom will be long enough. If it is then there's always the I-PAC instead.

Drop me a line if you're interested. Same goes for anyone else reading this - I will be offering them for sale "officially" via our website in about 6-8 weeks.

Cheers,
Chris

Davefjedi
25th May 2006, 06:23 PM
Hi Sav1,
Go the I-PAC .... It has direct inputs and comes pre-configured to run with mame straight away.



Do you mean the Token encoders? If so, I do belive they run a "matrix" system, so can be possibly susceptable to key ghosting? Correct me if wrong please.

cya
Smit
yeah they used to ghost but now they haveonboard or ship with resistor/dide thingys to prevent that but i only use the kb=16 and at 24.00 australian delivered to my door in under a week from the usa !!!!!!!!! but for any bigger jobs when i need more than 16 inputs defintly go the I-Pac for no hassle no soldering

sav1
25th May 2006, 08:41 PM
Chris,
just checked out the specs of the mini-pac, looks pretty impressive.
check your pm.
cheers,
sav


Hi Sav,

I can make things even easier and set you up with a Mini-PAC and custom wiring loom that will cater for all the inputs you listed. They do exactly the same job as the I-PAC but are much more compact.

As long as your control panel is no wider than about 700mm the wiring loom will be long enough. If it is then there's always the I-PAC instead.

Drop me a line if you're interested. Same goes for anyone else reading this - I will be offering them for sale "officially" via our website in about 6-8 weeks.

Cheers,
Chris

Smit
25th May 2006, 08:47 PM
yeah they used to ghost but now they haveonboard or ship with resistor/dide thingys to prevent that but i only use the kb=16 and at 24.00 australian delivered to my door in under a week from the usa !!!!!!!!! but for any bigger jobs when i need more than 16 inputs defintly go the I-Pac for no hassle no soldering

$24 delivered sounds good... might have to check them out..
Where do ya get them from, Dave?

Smit

Davefjedi
25th May 2006, 09:15 PM
i just watch his auctions for the Kb-16`s the 32`s are too mucc and you need to solder them
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6278046677&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMERFB%3AIID&rd=1

RetroGame
25th May 2006, 09:21 PM
Go for the I-PAC or MINI-PAC, they have all the inputs you will need, they are easy to set-up and very reliable (I have used about 150 of them and none have failed in-service). Plus if you buy through Ozstick you have the security of buying from a trusted Australian supplier with support.

Forget about the KB-16s, they only have 16 inputs and according to your first post you need at least 25.

fuzzmeister
26th May 2006, 03:01 AM
Hmm, well although i have downloaded the IPAC utility to help with layout design, i have no experience with anything except now i have bought an X-Arcade set of 20 buttons from ebay - $30AU, 2 X-Arcade Joysticks for $30AU and same for the X-Arcade control board (PCB) - $110AU, i've also bought a 3" red translucent Trackball kit (3 button support) with mounting plate by HAPP from ebay for - $158AU

so over $300 for my control panel!, the trackball turned out to be much larger than i thought, but anyway this is what i am working with... i'll let you know how i go, ho cheap did you say you could get a keyboard emulator for controls? $20? am i paying way too much or something?

The Pinny Parlour
26th May 2006, 07:34 AM
G'day fuzzmeister,

:D

Welcome and enjoy the forums, and cheers for contributing and making Aussie Arcade a great source of game related information.

Enjoy!
Ian

elvis
26th May 2006, 09:47 AM
am tossing up between keywiz max and i-pac, which is better

iPac Pros:
no ghosting
auto keyboard passthrough
pre-programmed for MAME, plus can be custom programmed (and remembers programming afert power off)

iPac cons:
"shift" key cannot be turned off. This results in whatever key you've assigned "shift" to to not respond on the key press, but instead when you let go of the key. Also if your cab is around notorious button mashers (wife, kids, etc), they often press the shift key (defaults to player 1 start) and another keypress which does silly things. For instance: when my missus dies ingame, she'll mash 1P start and wiggle the joystick, causing MAME to pause, volumes to change, etc. Very annoying. Of course, if you have some sort of function button on your CP, map the shifted key to this button. With that said, you need Windows and the programming software to do this. (AFAIK the programming software doesn't work in non-Windows systems).

Keywiz pros:
no ghosting
auto programmed for MAME
"shazaam" key (same as "shift" key on the ipac) is a dedicated key, and doesn't interfere with gameplay

Keywiz cons:
Keyboard passthrough is controlled via a manual switch. It's not auto like the iPac. If your keywiz is in a hard to reach place and you need keyboard access, this can be a royal PITA.

Also, the keywiz can be custom programmed ala the iPac, but will not remember the programming after power off. Software is included with the Keywiz where you can store your config to a file, and load that file on startup. But again, i'm fairly sure this supports Windows only.

Which is better? Neither. They are both excellent products that tackle the same problems a little differently from each other (competition is good, mmkay?). Also, both have budget versions - the iPac has the mini-Pac, and the Keywiz has the Keywiz Eco. So if you don't need all the extra features, you can get a cut down budget version for a good discount.

RetroGame
26th May 2006, 11:57 AM
The I-PAC/MINI-PAC can be programmed in any operating system, not just Windoze using the inbuilt programming utility. Just type COPY_CON_NULL <enter> at the DOS prompt then press <CTRL-ALT-P> and your in. I find this the best way to program or de-program I-PACs (I remove the shift key functions to so that random button pushing isnt a problem). Details are available on the Ultimarc web site www.ultimarc.com.

OzStick
26th May 2006, 01:19 PM
Just to further what RetroGame said, although there is the 'shift' functionality in the I-PAC, it doesn't HAVE to be used.

Technically you can turn it off and by using the programming utility you can unassign shift commands from all the inputs that have them by default, so although you still have to release the P1 Start button for it to send a keystroke, no other inputs will send an alternate keystroke while it is in a held state......

It take a little time to get your head around, but there is more flexibility to the Ultimarc encoders than is first apparent......

elvis
26th May 2006, 01:43 PM
I've got an iPac in my main cab (courtesy of OzStick) and the above is exactly what I've done: I used the programming utility to unassign all shifted commands.

But as mentioned, the "lag" in the button press (ie: the keystroke is registered on release only, not press) is still there. So if you need to hold the button down for any reason, you can't do so.

Not that it affects me, as I have a "function" key on my control panel which I've assigned the shifted key to. It is used to select a random game from the front-end, and to exit the game in-game. And neither requires held buttons nor fast response, so it doesn't affect gameplay. :)

But anyways, this is one tiny tiny niggle in an otherwise fantastic product. And more importantly, 99.99% of people don't even notice it (even people who've used iPacs for years stare at me blankly when I mention it). :)

OzStick
26th May 2006, 02:28 PM
Also, both have budget versions - the iPac has the mini-Pac, and the Keywiz has the Keywiz Eco. So if you don't need all the extra features, you can get a cut down budget version for a good discount.

I don't mean to be pedantic Elvis, but the Mini-PAC is only "cut down" with regard to size - it actually has MORE features than the I-PAC2.......

Smit
26th May 2006, 05:56 PM
I don't mean to be pedantic Elvis, but the Mini-PAC is only "cut down" with regard to size - it actually has MORE features than the I-PAC2.......

..and what are these "more" features you talk about?

Smit

Davefjedi
26th May 2006, 06:35 PM
..and what are these "more" features you talk about?

Smit
can it make bacon and eggs

Viper
26th May 2006, 11:10 PM
..and what are these "more" features you talk about?

Smit
There are two Mini-PAC versions. One that supports the same 28 inputs as the I-PAC (cheaper than I-PAC with no harness but dearer with the harness) and another that adds spinner and trackball support to the 28 inputs which is again dearer. The budget I-PAC is the VE and the differences are it is only supported by USB (no PS2 support), it supports 32 rather than 28 inputs and does not save custom configs like the regular I-PAC and Mini-PAC do (but reverts to the standard I-PAC MAME setup on powerdown).

Mini-PAC was originally designed for OEM manufacturers like Chris who could make use of the cost saving by making their own harnesses to suit the products they build (originally they weren't even going to be available to the regular public, which is why it has it's own ordering page on Ultimarc's site). To the other end of the scale he also offers a harness for those who don't want to do their own wiring, just plug'n'play. So the I-PAC effectively sits in the middle of the Mini-PAC options, you don't have to physically make your own harness but do need to do the wiring yourself.

I've used both Mini-PAC, I-PAC2 and J-PAC and can happily recommend any of these depending on your needs. If you don't need trackball/spinner support go for an I-PAC I reckon unless you don't want to deal with screw terminals and organising your own wires then go for a Mini-PAC with a harness. Chris' offer with the harness would be a good option.

As for the shift problem. I usually experienced it whilst playing 4 player games with 3 others, lots of button mashing going on.

elvis
27th May 2006, 09:29 AM
I don't mean to be pedantic Elvis, but the Mini-PAC is only "cut down" with regard to size - it actually has MORE features than the I-PAC2.......
Oh right, I didn't realise that.

Looking on Ultimarc's site now I see what you mean. They charge a fair bit for the harnesses that go with them, but I guess the whole point is you can either do it yourself and take hours, or buy the pre-built harness and save heaps of time. Me personally, I'd go for the prebuild harness, because I'm lazy. :)

One thing I do have to say is that I'm really glad there is movement in this very small and niche industry. Neither Andy nor Randy (yes, that's the real names of the guys who make the iPac and KeyWiz respectively) are sitting on their arses, that's for sure! New products are appearing, and old ones constantly get tweaks and improvements. The both of them should be saluted!

Foot
27th May 2006, 06:36 PM
This thread has saved me asking the exact same question as fuzzmeister!

Thanks for the info!

Viper
28th May 2006, 06:15 PM
I'd say if I had tried one of Randy's Keywiz products I'd have found them to be just as good. Both products have their strong/weak points depending on point of view. I don't think anyone could go wrong with either product.

fuzzmeister
18th June 2006, 03:00 AM
And now it sounds like the Ultimarc UltraStik 360 (hope the name is right) just released (or soon to be here thru ozstik i guess) will be another solution.. and a brilliant advanced one taking into account new pcs and new games and consoles requiring ANALOGUE controls. I just wish there was a 3d trackball or optical glove or something that can match a mouse for FPS gaming ;)

:badgrin