Gauntlet: Wiring and the Frankenputer

May 19th, 2010 Posted in Gauntlet

After putting it off for a couple weeks, I figured it was high time to start working on the PC I was planning on tossing into this beast.

I had a Athlon 64 XP CPU and motherboard that I salvaged from a PC repair I made a few years back, but I was pretty sure that either the motherboard or the CPU was bad. I cobbled a machine together and got to installing Windows XP.  Everything installed fine, but I was running into some really bizarre issues.  Task manager was showing CPU Usage of 100%, but under Processes, System Idle Process was sitting anywhere between 95 and 100 usage, which would suggest that something just wasn’t right (for the record, these were the same symptoms I was seeing a few years back).

I searched the net for a solution, and the best I could come up with was a guy who suggested it might be a bad motherboard, but I just couldn’t confirm it, since I didn’t have a spare socket 939 motherboard.  Luckily, my buddy Andrew had one laying around that he was willing to sell me for a little more than I wanted to pay (but ultimately cheaper than I was going to find locally, and short of going the Ebay route).  I swapped out the motherboard, and bingo, the Task manager was now showing an accurate CPU usage (and the other idiosyncrasies I was seeing went away).

Now that I had Windows up an running, I tossed the Arcade VGA card into the machine, but nothing was coming out on the small CRT monitor I had.  I tried the projector I had.  No go.  I tried the S-Video out to a TV.  No go.  I pulled the card out, and realized that there was a PAL sticker on the bottom of it.  I then realized I was an idiot, and was trying to send PAL signal to an NTSC TV (which of course makes sense, since the company is based out of the UK).  Still didn’t explain why the VGA port wasn’t working (I didn’t have a DVI device to test the DVI port on).

I then checked the Ultimarc website, and little did I realize, but I wouldn’t be able to use the VGA port with any device other than the arcade monitor.  Crap.  Luckily they sold DVI to VGA adapters and I still needed to order an I-PAC2 from them anyhow, so I ordered it up.

While I was waiting for the rest of my arcade parts to arrive, I decided it was time to get to work cutting wire, stripping wire and crimping on connectors for my temporary control panel.  I had no idea it was going to be such a time intensive task.  After probably 3 hours of cutting, stripping, crimping and labeling (to make it easier to track wires), I had the temp control panel wired up.

Unfortunately, I still had to solder a couple dozen of these wires up to the JAMMA harness I had picked up from Bob Roberts. This took me at least another hour or so.  Basically, over a four day period I spent over 4 hours working on the control panel wiring, but the time I spent now was going to be time saved when I transfer this to it’s permanent control panel.

Now that I had things partially wired up, I couldn’t help testing it out, even if it was just running to my laptop.  Boy was it sweet.

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