Pandora Arcade Cab?


centrlink

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Hi All

Now bear in mind that I'm technologically inept, and have extraordinarily limited soldering/electrical skills - now read on.

I recently purchased a new lowboy arcade cab with a JAMMA connection and 29 inch arcade monitor. It comes with a custom "1000 in 1" JAMMA board - which is really just a PC with a highly customised version of MAME which runs sweetly via the JAMMA board on a 2 controller, 6 button each set up. No messing around jigging up a PC to the arcade cab, but it has it limits as it isn't a super fast processor (can't run Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam for eg), and it is hard and messy to add games to the board's limited hard drive (8GB I think).

I wonder whether I couldn't use this (http://www.u-hid.com/) to interface the Pandora to the arcade controllers....am I right to presume this wouldn't work on the Pandy "out of the box" and some sort of Linux driver would be required? I'd then only have to wire up the control stick and buttons.

Then I'd have to find a way to output the s-video to the arcade monitor (it is a real arcade monitor, not a hacked TV or PC monitor) which has a refresh rate of 15 khz - I'll have to do some more searching about hooking up s-video (which I assume should be possible)....

Pandora could be a great way to drive arcade cabs, what with its long battery, small form factor, and what I expect will be an excellent version of MAME to boot. Of course, I'd also be able to play PSX stuff not requiring analogue - like R-Type Delta, which would look and play great on my arcade machine, not to mention SNES and Genesis which both had some great shooters......

Anyways, just some thoughts - if anyone has any suggestions or tips, please share them!

Cheers
Simon
 

VRAndy

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At work I recently used this kit to prototype an arcade-like interface with actual arcade parts :

http://www.xgaming.com/byoarcade.shtml

It's cool. The arcade buttons and joysticks all show up as keypresses.

I even got a pair of knobs working with encoders wired into the board as a pair of buttons.
 

cbox

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I got a refurbed X-Arcade stick for like $30 from woot awhile back and it's pretty sweet but I don't really have room for it, wish I did as I'd be using it all the time. Right now it's stashed away. It's one of the high end ones that normally go for over $100.
 

tantrum

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S-video to RGB needs non-trivial signal re-encoding, so it's more than a simple adapter. Getting hold of a suitable dongle at a reasonable price may also be difficult as it's not a very common need. As S-video is a composite signal it's going to be lower quality than you're used to seeing from an RGB source, although it may not be bad enough to be a problem and it's no worse than using the Pandora with a TV - it just won't have the crispness you're used to from the arcade board.

Also I suspect (but don't know for sure) that the Pandoras S-video is fixed at 50/60 hertz like most TV outs on gfx cards are. The hacked video cards used in PCs to power arcade monitors can generate a much wider set of frequencies (there are quite a few arcade games that use rather strange modes and when you don't use the exact mode of the game it may run slightly faster or slower than the original - only a problem if you're a total purist, tho).

I think your best hope is that the arcade monitor in your cab may already be capable of accepting an s-video source or one that is a trivial conversion from s-video. Try and find a manual for your monitor. I suspect someone out there has already tried to connect an s-video source to an arcade monitor, finding their info could be really useful. As suggested already, hit the arcade forums.

It's a real shame that the Pandora doesn't have RGB output. I'm sure there was a good explanation of why it wasn't done, but a quick search of the boards didn't find the post I remember reading.

I don't want to put you off, quite the opposite, but it's better to go in with low expectations and then be pleasantly surprised when it all works out :)
 

kloplop321

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you would probably do better using VGA to compositbe PCI cards from eBay and buying pentium 3 comps from Ebay along with a cheap TV sitting in there.
I think you can get all that for less than the price of the pandora and the other equipment.
I've practically done all of that on first hand exp but with a pentium 1(doesn't run anything good higher than SNES emulation)
 

Lerc

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I've had some thoughts along those lines. The BeagleBoard http://beagleboard.org/ may be the thing.

It's an OMAP3530, so should get plenty of crossover support with the pandora.
 

dadioflex

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centrlink said:
Pandora could be a great way to drive arcade cabs, what with its long battery, small form factor, and what I expect will be an excellent version of MAME to boot. Of course, I'd also be able to play PSX stuff not requiring analogue - like R-Type Delta, which would look and play great on my arcade machine, not to mention SNES and Genesis which both had some great shooters......
If you're driving a 29" screen then the battery life is immaterial. Arguably so is the form factor. Like the man said, a bog standard PC would be a far better option. Then you could run Mame, PSX emulations, oh and PC games as well. Actually something like the eeebox with its VESA mount that you can bolt straight onto an LCD screen would be a natural choice.

I mean you can strap a Pandora to your wrist and call it a watch but there are better solutions out there.
 
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WizardStan

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Tantrum said:
S-video to RGB needs non-trivial signal re-encoding, so it's more than a simple adapter. Getting hold of a suitable dongle at a reasonable price may also be difficult as it's not a very common need. As S-video is a composite signal it's going to be lower quality than you're used to seeing from an RGB source, although it may not be bad enough to be a problem and it's no worse than using the Pandora with a TV - it just won't have the crispness you're used to from the arcade board.
Actually it is (almost) trivial. If you're up for some soldering, the parts to build such a thing can be obtained for about $10-$20. 480i is a valid RGB format, so all you need to do is a little analog math with the luma and chroma to get the raw pixel colours; the timing remains the same. There's a chip that I bought off ebay that does that automatically. I can look it up later. The real problem will be the v-sync, whether the monitor can accept a standard 50/60 hertz, or if it has to be in the thousands.

QUOTE
It's a real shame that the Pandora doesn't have RGB output. I'm sure there was a good explanation of why it wasn't done, but a quick search of the boards didn't find the post I remember reading.


The OMAP3530 has two outputs: 1 digital, 1 analog. The analog output is the S-video, the digital output drives the LCD. Also, there just wasn't enough room for the extra hardware that would have been needed.
 
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VRAndy

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dadioflex said:
If you're driving a 29" screen then the battery life is immaterial. Arguably so is the form factor. Like the man said, a bog standard PC would be a far better option. Then you could run Mame, PSX emulations, oh and PC games as well. Actually something like the eeebox with its VESA mount that you can bolt straight onto an LCD screen would be a natural choice.

Of course, for a good Mame box you want a CRT. That way you can have a proper light gun.
 
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dadioflex

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VRAndy said:
dadioflex said:
If you're driving a 29" screen then the battery life is immaterial. Arguably so is the form factor. Like the man said, a bog standard PC would be a far better option. Then you could run Mame, PSX emulations, oh and PC games as well. Actually something like the eeebox with its VESA mount that you can bolt straight onto an LCD screen would be a natural choice.

Of course, for a good Mame box you want a CRT. That way you can have a proper light gun.
I would never have thought of that! OTOH I hate (=suck at) light gun games.
 
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