Friday, July 31, 2009

Token Effort

My latest undertaking is converting my machines to run on tokens. This is part of the metamorphosis that many arcade collectors go through. Once your games are pretty much working, if you want to keep fiddling with them, you convert them to tokens.

The tokens I have chosen are 0.984 inches in diameter. These are called 'quarter sized' tokens, but they're actually just a bit larger than a quarter. I picked up a batch of old Chuck E Cheese tokens on Ebay. One nice advantage about 0.984 tokens is that you can usually convert a quarter mech to run with the slightly larger size. It requires a bit of filing and adjusting, but it is manageable. Plus, I already have a bunch of quarter mechs in the machines. It is possible to buy token mechs, but they can get pretty pricey in a hurry ($10 to $15 or so each on ebay). If you have the patience, converting your quarter mechs is the way to go.

In my case, this has been an interesting task, since many of my machines have different coin mechs, and many require different adjustments. It's a lot like solving a puzzle at times. Here is a basic rundown on a run of the mill metal mech:

Depending on the mech, you may have to file down the area where the coin enters just a bit to get the clearance needed for a 0.984 token.

Then comes adjusting the cradle. On this mech, I actually ended up removing one of the cradle pieces in order to get the tokens to pass the cradle area:

Then came adjusting the bar that decides whether to accept or reject a token after it has traveled through the mech. A screwdriver is used to loosen the bolt and then slide the bar back and forth until you find the sweet spot. This ends up being a trial and error game, so get ready to put that token through the mech about 50 times in order to get this right:

I may follow up with a post detailing some of the more challenging token conversions I encountered.. the Nintendo and Bally/Midway machines in particular required a bit more work.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dragon's Lair gets a new monitor

My plan with Dragon's Lair is to run the game from a PC, using software known as Daphne (named for the princess in Dragon's Lair). Daphne emulates a number of arcade games that ran on laser discs.

My DL cabinet came with a 19 inch Electrohome G07 monitor. Unfortunately, an off the shelf PC cannot put out a 15 kHz RGB signal that an arcade monitor can display. Ultimately, I ended up swapping out the monitor for a new one. I ended up getting a 19 inch tri-res monitor:

The picture on this thing is great! It's a cool rig, since it can accept a VGA signal or traditional arcade signals. The screen was nice and bright, which made photographing it a bit of a challenge. In person, the screen images are fantastic.

I added in an Ipac (from Ultimarc) for interfacing the controls, and built a new harness for the joystick and buttons. The game plays great with the PC I was using for testing. I'm still ironing out a few kinks with the PC that will ultimately reside in this cabinet.