VPGL 15 - Post Pass - Rules

Hi Pinballers,

Welcome to arcade gaming competition with VPGL 15. This tournament is the 3rd of the new decade and part of the overall VPGL 2020 and all gamers worldwide are welcome to play. You can join in at any time and play.

The player with the most points...

MGLXLIV - Arcade Runner - RULES

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Please watch the trailer below for the official...

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We’d like to share some exciting news with you all…

Western Australia is set to have its very own Pinball Festival 😊

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Monster Bash...Classic Edition

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How game board components work

This will be a series of posts on how specific components work on a game board. Its purpose is to help you understand how the circuitry works. Feel free to add to the series if there's a topic you want to cover.

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No announcement yet.

PC Engine PCBs - RGB amp, Hucard, Controller board.

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  • PC Engine PCBs - RGB amp, Hucard, Controller board.

    I’ve been playing around in the EasyEDA online PCB designer for a while, and wanted to share some designs in case anyone can use them. No warranty is given and no claim is made that these are fit for purpose. These gerbers for board design are on OSH Park because i can use their storage free of charge. Each page has a download link, and other fabs like JLCPCB will be cheaper.

    First is an external RGB AMP for the PC Engine. The Gerber files are here. Parts are listed on the board, all surface mount. Make sure you’ll be happy working with an SSOP16 package with a 0.64mm pitch for the THS-7374 chip. It needs a connector to plug into the PC Engine’s ext. bus port, like this one from Samco (ask for a sample). This connector bites nice and tight, and TBH I’d recommend removing all the pins from the Samco connector housing, leaving only 9 on each end and maybe 6 in the middle. You could easily substitute a pair of smaller connectors instead. Either way this will help the amp connect and disconnect easily. You can seat the whole amp inside one of these connectors from RS Online and wire up some cables - (err, i seem to have lsot the part number, will update)

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    Second is a cheap PC Engine HuCard flashcard/repro. This comes in two gerber files. You solder a 27C801 EPROM, or socket for, if you want to change games, to the top board, and trim the legs short. Then you glue the bottom board to the underneath, clamping to make sure it’s tight, making no electrical contact. The legs of the IC or socket must not protrude past the bottom board or they will scrag your PCE. Each board should be ordered 1.2mm thick – remember to request this from your PCB fab! - giving a total thickness of 2.4mm. Most roms can simply be programmed onto a 27C801 EPROM, but all 384kB roms (like Neutopia) will need mirroring first. In short, you take the first 256kB of the rom, then put the whole 384kB after that (so the first 256kB is repeated). Any hex editor can do this, or this page links to a tool to do that for you.

    Note that your PCB fab may ask you if the board is correct the way it is, as there's no top ground plane and the bottom board is basically a blank PCB with one microdot of copper for gerber-file reference purposes. Tell them yes, the board is fine as contained in the files.

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    Third is a PCB for a PC Engine control-pad with turbo-fire, to make two-button arcade sticks or any other controller with. This is based on these schematics by Emanuelle Bettidi. If anyone has his version of the 6-button controller please post it, as his site is down. Board is tested and works well, the PCB gerbers are here.

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    A few notes about the controller board. The holes for the 47K resistor array start with a 5V connection at *each* end. This means you can use a single 10x array (ten resistors and pin 11 for 5V) and leave a hole on one end unfilled, or use two 5x arrays (five resistors and pin 6 of each for 5V) or 8 + 2, etc - I found it impossible to get 10x arrays cheap. The off/slow/fast is the turbo fire option, the square pad being the common. You can simply bridge the common to off if you don't want turbo. There's a simpler schematic for a non-turbo pad, i just haven't found a board for it

    I used JLCPCB to order all these boards, being the cheapest available. Quality is good, but the Hucard boards don’t have groundlayers on the exposed top and bottom layers once the board is sandwiched – to prevent them wearing away – and this means that overall the board isn’t sealed as well as it could be. I’ve had no problems with the cards wearing, but it isn’t quite as nice a properly lacquered board.

    To do: add a nicer stencil to the Hucard. Figure out which connector backshell i used.
    Last edited by buttersoft; 5 November 2019, 07:23 PM.

  • #2
    Any projected costs for materials? (BOM$)


    • #3
      Hmmm, for the amp board you really want to source a plug shell first, and i'm damned if i can find one. The board itself and SM parts should come in at about $20 - but you'll get enough to make five boards at once, no way to split costs just for one. Then you need cables. I really built this one for me, but if anyone else can use it they're welcome to.

      The hucard board would be about $15 for both top and bottom boards five of each through JLCPCB, then five 27C801's eproms for about $12 plus a few bob for sockets if you want to change roms. So, say under $30 for five copies. Then if you don't have a UV eraser that's $20, plus programmer you'll need something like a TL866 for $60 (and a Windows 7 machine to use it, maybe) - but those two are an investment you'll recoup a few times over. I use myt programmer for these hucards, and to program PICs for Amiga mouse adapters, and for SNES roms, and to program monitor EDID chips when I'm tinkering with CRTs, and all sorts of things.

      The controller board + sm parts won't be too expensive, but again you'll be getting five copies. So about $20-$25. However, you then have to factor in DP3T switches, wires, cable, connector, buttons, joystick and enclosure (or make one, but that costs time instead). My expensive tastes won't let me use anything but JLF's so i'm out MB a hundred bucks. I weighted it with a piece of gal and it feels damn nice tho - just finished building today

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      Each of these PCBs has its BoM on the back, and you can blow up a picture of the board in Osh Park to check anything. I'd recommend RS Online for components save the IC's, where i'd go either Aliexpress or Ebay or wherever you can get them cheapest.


      • #4
        Photos are up


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