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Conversion of arcade to mame


Topics related to the hardware and software used in setting up a MAME cab IE. Jpac, frontend and OS

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    Conversion of arcade to mame


    I am having a few problems and am not sure what to do.

    1. I was going to use a jpac originally but now am putting a seven button configuration which means I need to create a new harness for the new cp so I thought I might be better using a ipac instead or is there something better?

    2. Arcade monitor, what the hell do I do to hook this up some say I need to buy an "arcade vga" card others say I can run any video card and do it through software, can I just od it through software to save on dollars or am I just losing performance.

    3. Computer, I was looking at getting a pentium 4 1.6 gig with 256meg of ram will this run games like mortal kombat 3 o.k. ? or what ram and processor do I use.

    4. Software, if I use a dos based program will it reconise all the version 1.09 roms? and will it run better than a windows enviroment.

    5. I want to be able to run all the software once setup by using the buttons and joysticks only, I don't want to wreck the classic look of the cabinet by adding trackballs.

    6. This is a picture of my control panel layout I am looking at using. It has been set up so that I can play 4 button neo geo games or 6 button capcom games, any thoughts on the design is it going to be to squeezy? thought about adding admin buttons to the top of the cabinet out of site (pause, esc etc)

    thoughts please pulled my machine apart and having withdrawal symptons from not playing
    Attached Files

    just another note the rectangle on the control panels was going to be a removable section so I can change the button using a utilup clips so I can add another joystick for games like smash tv etc. or a spinner etc. was going to use twist lock similar to what you find on race cars in the corners to mount them


      Unless that's upside down, your p1 and p2 start button would interfere with the joysticks?


        that was where the 1&2 player buttons were originally


          Ok I may be able to answer at least one of your questions.
          With an IPAC you can indeed control and select different games utilising a front-end. Preference is entirely yours. With an IPAC you can map different combinations of buttons to do different things. Alternatively wire some function buttons somewhere else on your cabinet (Ie top, front - hard to know without seeing the machine you are referring to) For pause Esc etc etc

          Hope this helps a bit.


            With a JPAC you can use up to 8 buttons, so you can have start button +8 buttons for each player. The jpac will also do your video if you cabinet is JAMMA wired. You run a chord from your vga out on your pc to the JPAC and it feeds the monitor the graphics at the right HZ via the jamma connection(there is a jumper setting on the JPAC for 15, 25, 31khz).

            You didn't mention wether your cab was jamma or not but i'm asuming it is. With the buttons, the jamma on the cabinet will work with 3(or 4 depending on how your jamma has been wired) buttons. The extra buttons have wire in ports on the actuall JPAC to wire them into it, exactly like you wire up an ipac anyways.


            That's the jpac image.

            I just recently set mine up with a JPAC and it works sweet, all of the buttons on the jpac are mapable to keys on your keyboard and you can change the mappings etc with the software that comes with it.

            Hope this helps a bit

            For what you are asking the JPAC sounds like what you want, you can use the IPAC and the arcadevga card but essentially the JPAC is those two things in one.

            Someone else here will be able to help you more though..


              Yes my cabinet is Jamma, it currently has 3 buttons with the option for the forth. I bought it with Tekken kind of difficult to play without the 4th button.

              anyway here is some pics of the cabinet you will see how the stripped control panel looks the one and two player buttons were under the joysticks as standard. it also has a rotable monitor in it with tinted glass.

              So are you saying that I don't need a arcade vga card just the jpac card to run the pc to the arcade monitor?

              P.S. The admin buttons like pause, etc were going to go on the top of the cabinet above the marquee so you won't really see them.

              This cabinet is a stereo cabinet as well so I am not sure how the sound works on it if it is jamma?
              Attached Files


                Yeah i would definantly go for the JPAC method, it does will do your video and your buttons in 1 and plugs straight into your jamma.


                Check that pic out, thats my JPAC with a little plug i made for buttons 5+6 for players 1 and 2. My cabinet is wired so my 4th button is through the jamma but the JPAC has a slot for button 4 also. There is also 2 more spare button slots on there for button 7+8 for both players, and all those functions are just mapped to keystrokes of your choice (by deafult the jpac is mapped to mame standard controls)

                Very easy to hook up, basically if you plugged that JPAC into your jamma harness and ran a chord from your vga out on your pc to the vga in on the JPAC, there is your computer hooked up to your arcade cab with video, joysticks, start buttons for both players + 3 buttons for both players working. Then you just have to wire the extra buttons in. You can do this by hard wiring the buttons into the JPAC or the way i did it with the plug. I used the plug because i want to be able to pull the setup out and hook up my arcade boards really easy and not have to screw wires in and out each time i do it. Even the coin slot works when i put a dollar in !!!

                As for your other questions.

                3. I;m thinking it would but i can;t be sure, i have a beasty pc and hve no issues but maybe someone else can comment.

                4. Dos mame is pretty much what gets released first i think, so it's the latest up to date version as any other. I have never setup a dos based system for mame so i cant help you there, i use mamewah frontend on my windows system. Windows boots and start mamewah straight away as soon as my machine starts, it totally hides windows and you use the joystick to scroll the game menu, 1 player start brings up the options etc.

                5. Thats the beauty of the JPAC and IPAC, they just basically convert button presses to keystrokes. So if you want to scroll your game menu in say mame32 or a frontend, and it's up and down on the keyboard that you use, map player 1 joystick to up, down, left right. Each time you move the joystick as far as the pc knows your pressing up arrow, down arrow etc.

                Hope this helps


                  Hey there Myti.

                  In short, keep the panel as simple and uncluttered as possible. Most frontends allow navigation via joystick and buttons so you will not need a trackball. DOS is generally quicker than Windows and you will need to go DOS if you go without the ArcadeVGA.

                  Feel free to give me a call tomorrow and I'll help you work out the best way to go. I'd post a loger reply here but it's easier to speak with you directly. Grab my mobile number from the top of any page at our website.



                    Originally posted by myti4 View Post
                    3. Computer, I was looking at getting a pentium 4 1.6 gig with 256meg of ram will this run games like mortal kombat 3 o.k. ? or what ram and processor do I use.
                    1.6GHz will get you by for MK3, or most 2D fighting games (with the exception of ST-V stuff).

                    256MB RAM is pushing it. There are plenty of games that decompress out to 300MB+, which means you'll be hitting swap if you lpay games with large ROM files (any of the recent King Of Fighters games, DoDonPachi, GunBird 2, etc - all of these decompress to well over 300MB RAM in use).

                    I would strongly recommend 512MB, particularly if you are running Windows. But I would recommend AGAINST Windows. If Linux is too tricky, try FreeDOS:

                    All the pros of DOS, with heaps of extras to make life easy.
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                      Originally posted by OzStick View Post
                      you will need to go DOS if you go without the ArcadeVGA.
                      How so? Doesnt the JPAC sort of convert the signal from vga to 15khz? Or am i mistaken??


                        Originally posted by merchant View Post
                        How so? Doesnt the JPAC sort of convert the signal from vga to 15khz? Or am i mistaken??
                        Not exactly. As per the Ultimarc website:

                        If required, can divide a 31Khz VGA signal in half so that it will display a stable picture on a 15Khz arcade monitor. Useful for checking boot-up progress and configuration (not for application use). Automatically stops dividing the signal when it detects a correct 15Khz rate is being send by the PC.

                        So although it provides a stable signal, it is not altogether safe in extended use, therefore it's not ideal to be running Windows with a video card incapable of outputting 15kHz.


                          oops, my bad.....maybe the ipac and arcadevga is the best way then..


                            You can skip the ArcadeVGA if you use either DOS or Linux with AdvanceMAME and SVGALib (or FBDev under Linux too), or build custom modes in Windows using a tool like Powerstrip.

                            But end user beware! All of these methods are not your average mindless point'n'click installs. You need to know what you are doing. Anyone afraid of editing config files by hand and installing things without a graphical interface need not apply.
                            | |


                              Originally posted by merchant View Post
                              oops, my bad.....maybe the ipac and arcadevga is the best way then..
                              The "best way" should be whatever solution you are most comfortable achieving - I'm always objective when talking to customers about their projects and simply state that the ArcadeVGA with the J-PAC is the easiest way yo go.


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