Thursday, August 16, 2007

I've had a busy summer at work so I haven't been able to work on projects, but all of that is starting to slow down so I've started spending time in the shop again. The first order of business is to clean up the shop and do some improvements to it.

I've got a long list of improvments I want to do, everything from new table saw jigs, to exterior paint, adding a portable spray booth, etc. But the very first thing on the list is to get a better stereo setup so I can listen to tunes while I work.

Long ago when I was in high school I had a spare car stereo lying around and decided to turn it into a small bookshelf stereo for my room. I did it and it worked, but at some point I set it aside and forgot about it at my parents house for many years. When I went home for Christmas I spotted it up in a closet and decided to take it with me.

So a few weekends ago I decided to resurrect the stereo for use in the shop. The stereo was pretty impressive considering I built it in high school with almost no knowledge of electronics. I even built my own power supply for it (which is something I probably wouldn't even take on today). I took it apart and after cleaning up some loose connections I plugged it in and it actually worked! I still upgraded some of the components, such as before I had the speakers attached to the car stereo with some crappy spade connector, so I added some spring terminals for the speaker wires.

When I used to use the stereo it would sometimes cut out for a few seconds every now and then when it had been running for a while. At the time I didn't have the technical expertise to figure out what was wrong. But with my knowledge now I know that that sounds like a thermal issue. So I took a look at the power supply I built so long ago and sure enough the 7812 voltage regulator was burning hot. So I made the guess that it was overheating and the built-in thermal protection was kicking in cutting off the voltage output. I attached a heatsink to the 7812 and viola, I haven't had it cut out yet.

The only thing that didn't survive in the stereo is an old Sony FM modulator that I used to add an audio input (so I could tie in a CD player or mp3 player). It finally modulated it's last audio and it seems dead now, so I'm going to by an FM transmitter for my iPod and we'll be good to go.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

After a long delay I finally put the last nails in the coffin of the arcade project. It's finally done!!!

Here are some pics of the final assembly stages including the back of the marquee box, the bezel, the "flippy" access door, and the marquee lit from behind. Soon I'll be posting some pictures of the arcade with the TV installed and maybe even playing a game or two. Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2007

This weekend I finished up staining and polyurethaning the remaining arcade pieces. I'll spare everyone the boring pictures since it's just a bunch strips of stained plywood.

My dog decided to help out by chewing on one of the pieces just as I was about to put on the first coat of polyurethane. It ended up being repairable but I was still pretty pissed.

Later tonight I'm going to start mounting the pieces.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm still alive, and I have even been working on the arcade (albeit slowly). The only thing left to do on the arcade is making and mounting the bezel, and mounting the marquee. This weekend I got all of the pieces cut for both of these things. Next up I need to stain and polyurethane the pieces (they're all birch plywood). After that I just need to mount everything and then I'm finally done!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

We just got a dog about 2 weeks ago. We found her at the Georgetown Animal Shelter, and we think she's a 1 year old lab.

And she's why I'm not done with the arcade yet (or at least that's who I'm going to blame it on). I have gotten a little bit further on the arcade. This week I finished adding supports to the arcade so that it doesn't rock as much while you're playing. I also finished the back panels which slide into slots I routed in the arcade to cover up the innards of the arcade in the back.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The stained glass marquee is done and being shipped to me soon. Here's a picture.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I finished up the T-moulding and I think it looks pretty good. Here's a picture.

I also got the first light gun hooked up. I'm not very impressed with its accuracy but it could also be the old TV I'm using...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I've started working on the T-moulding now. It's surpisingly easy stuff to work with and it really gives the arcade a nice look. It probably shouldn't take me more than another night or two to get the rest of the T-moulding knocked out.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I finally finished up the wiring. I also installed a new video card, MAME, GameEx, and several emulators on the PC that will be running the arcade. I may have to make one minor change to the wiring, but for the most part it is working great. Here are several pics. One is of the control panels fully installed. There is another couple of pics which show the wiring for the top and bottom tier. The wiring is definitely not as nice looking as some of the other arcade cabinets I've seen, but it works and that's what counts. Also notice in the pic of the top tier that there are connectors which connect the top to the bottom tier. This is so the top tier can be easily disconnected and a new tier added (perhaps one with positional guns or steering wheels).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Last night I finished up the wiring on both control panel tiers. I even hooked it all up to my laptop and it worked on the first try. I though for sure that I would have missed a connection somewhere (there's over 150 different connections). I guess I lucked out for once.

The only thing left to do in the wiring category is to clean it all up with a large pile of zip ties. Right now it looks like a rat's nest of wires. I'm hoping to knock that out tonight. I'll post some pics when it's done.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Still working on the wiring in the arcade. The only things left to do are create the connectors for the spinner interface and clean up the wiring with zip ties. I'll post some pics as soon as I'm done.

In the meantime, the stained glass marquee is being built. Here's a picture. The picture shows the glass pieces taped in place and without any back-lighting.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's been over a month since my last post, and I'm still not done with the arcade. The holidays and various other things have slowed me down a bit. I've been working on getting all of the buttons and other controls wired up. This has turned out to be alot more time consuming than I thought. But I'm almost done with it.

As soon as that is done I'll be able to actually hookup the PC and the TV and test everything out. Joy! The remainder of the work will then be mostly cosmetic.

Oh, I almost forgot: I completed the design for the stained glass marquee (both the layout and the colors and styles for the pieces of glass), so it is being worked on right now.