Gauntlet: Post Mortem

October 11th, 2010 Posted in Gauntlet

Well, I’ve had the Gauntlet machine effectively completed for a few months now, so I figured I’d give a few more updates to the couple of things I have finished off, as well what my final bill was.  While I’d still like to do a couple of things to the machine (drink holders!), I am in essence proclaiming this project complete.

First off, I did end up re-keying the locks on the cabinet.  It was incredibly easy, and in hindsight, I wish I had just skipped the hex locks that I had purchased from Ax Man.  The toughest part of the re-keying, aside from keeping track of all the small springs I had, was that one of my locks had a key busted off in the cylinder.

Someone, at sometime, must have tried to break into this with a Master Lock or small house key, because the key they tried to use was way too large for the slot.  It was jammed, and jammed hard.  It took me a good 30-45 minutes with pliers of varying sizes and a small precision screwdriver to work the key out. From there on, it was smooth sailing.

I had found a site that explained how to re-key the locks to all one key, and it works even better if you have more than one machine, and since I am a hobbyist, I don’t need to worry about someone breaking into the coin door. So while it’d be easy to pick, it’s also easy to configure.  Basically you pull all the pins, and using a good key (I had a key that fit into the cylinder that is used for another, totally unrelated lock, but one that I’d always have on my keychain), pin the lock to that key, but only doing so on one cylinder. Since I have four locks, that left me with a bunch of left-over pins and springs (each tumbler has a pin and a spring), but it also left with with plenty of parts for future projects, or in case one of those pins broke, I’d have a spare.

My other big task to wrap things up, a task I am still working on to this day, is configuring the front end, HyperSpin.

It’s not that HyperSpin is difficult to setup or configure.  In fact, it’s very simple.  The difficult, and slow, part is collecting game artwork and video clips of the games, to really make the front-end POP. Aracade/MAME games were first on my list, and putting together that was pretty easy.  The artwork and themes were available on HyperSpin’s website, and I was able to find a torrent for the Arcade game video clips.  The other gaming systems have proven to be a bit more difficult.

As I type, I have setup, in various states of completion, two other systems: Sega Genesis and the original NES.  I plan on getting the SNES and Sega Master System completed as well, at some point.  After that, there are a couple other systems I may or may not work on (PSone and Zinc come to mind, plus I’d really love to add some classic DOS games: Wolfenstein, Doom, Doom II,  Grand Theft Auto & GTA II (to name a few) to the front end).

While most of the artwork is available for the systems I want to add, they are not all in formats that I really like (ie. they look cheesy).  This of course means that I’m probably going to have to roll my own art for many of these systems, and that it likely to be nothing short of a monumental task.  However, when it is done, it should look awesome.

For those wondering, here’s what I believe to be the final cost on my MAME machine:

Price Item
$100.00 Gauntlet Arcade Cabinet with non-working PCB
$14.80 T-Molding (40 Feet)
$44.00 4 Happ Competition Joysticks (Red/Blue/Yellow/Green)
$5.00 4 Happ Microswitch Pushbuttons (Red)
$10.00 8 Happ Microswitch Pushbuttons (Blue)
$10.00 8 Happ Microswitch Pushbuttons (Yellow)
$5.00 4 Happ Microswitch Pushbuttons (Green)
$10.00 8 Happ Microswitch Pushbuttons (Black)
$2.00 Button Wrench
Free 28/56 SE Edge Connector (For JAMMA Harness)
$65.00 I-PAC4 Keyboard controller
$63.00 J-PAC Jamma Interface
$89.00 ArcadeVGA Card (PCI-e)
$6.75 150 Quick Connect Crimp Connectors
$8.00 8 PCB Mounting Feet
$39.00 Gauntlet Control Panel Overlay
$17.99 PC Case
$40.00 Replacement Motherboard
$3.00 External Power Button For PC
$3.98 Wiring For Control panel and switches
$16.00 16 Screw-in Hex Insert Nuts for Joysticks
$3.00 L Brackets & Bolts
$15.00 4′x4′ 3/4″ Plywood for Control Panel
$20.00 1 1/8″ Milwaukee Hole Saw & Arbor
$590.52 TOTAL

Keep in mind that I had many of the other parts on hand, so those aren’t figured into the cost (CPU, RAM, Hard Drives, keyboard, mouse, PSU, black spray paint, wood putty and other basic tools).

All in all, I spent a lot, but far less than I would have had I bought a working machine or a pre-fab MAME box.  The experience leaves me wanting to put together another machine, particularly one that has the “other” controls (guns, steering wheel/shifter/gas pedal, spinner and track ball) bundled into one machine.  Or maybe I’ll just have to make a bunch of other machines?!

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