Arcade Briefcase (the Briefcade)

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[Travis Reynolds] is part of an arcade club at work — the only problem? He’s the only one with an arcade machine, so they always end up at his place. So he decided to make his own portable, arcade briefcase to take to the office.

It all started with a quick trip to Goodwill where he found a beautiful maroon briefcase from the 80’s, for only $5! He then took apart a spare LCD monitor he had sitting around, and it worked incredibly well in his favor. He was able to reuse the LCD’s internal mounting brackets to secure it to the briefcase, and the video cables were just long enough to reach the Raspberry Pi.

The next problem he faced was the joystick height. He picked a Sanwa style joystick which is fairly small, but even that was too tall for the briefcase. So unfortunately, he needs to remove the ball of the joystick before closing the case. After testing out the proposed button layout, he cut a plywood mounting plate to hold everything in place. A bit of black spray paint later plus a power connector through the side of the case, and it’s complete!

He’s running Shea Silverman’s PiMame, which has an easy to use menu, quick setup, and great support. It’s an awesome project, and very well documented in case you’re itching to do something similar — I know we are!

Of course, if you have the space, a coffee table arcade machine is pretty sweet too…

[Thanks Brendan!]

Mini Supergun PCB

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A few decades ago, Japanese manufacturers of arcade games realized they should make a connector for all their boards that provides the power, controller, video, and audio I/O. This became the JAMMA standard and it make arcade owner’s lives awesome. Because you can buy arcade boards off the Internet, arcade enthusiasts figured out they could build their own console with an ATX power supply, AV connectors, and a few controllers. These ‘superguns’ as they’re called are big devices with wires all over the place. [Charlie] wanted to condense the size of his supergun and ended up creating a single PCB solution.

The JAMMA compatable boards require a few power connections; +5 V, +12 V, and -5 V. Of all the boards [Charlie] has collected so far, he realized only one used the negative supply. This, along with a big 12V laptop power supply, means the only power connection for this mini supergun is a single barrel connector.

For the controls and A/V, DSub and SCART connectors are commonplace. Laying these parts out in Eagle resulted in a single-sided board that is easily fabbed by etching with a toner transfer at home.

There are a few problems with the build, as [Charlie] admits. Some of the pins on the JAMMA connector aren’t on the board. These are only ground pins on the pinout, and so far everything works okay. It’s still a great project, though, that turns old arcade boards into a playable device with a minimal amount of hardware.