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Thread: Functional MVS LED Marquee Backlight Project

  1. #1
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    Functional MVS LED Marquee Backlight Project

    I was really bummed to find out that a certain "other" LED backlighting project came soooooo close to completion before stopping. However, there was a lot of good information in that thread and along with a few others and the information on http://wiki.neogeodev.org I thought to myself "I might just be able to do that". So, I set out to give it a try...

    Having delt with LED marquees recently for my MK2 and TMNT cabs, I really wanted the option to adjust the brightness so right off the bat, that was a desire for me. Having played around with Arduino projects last year, I immediately though of PWM as a means of dimming and started working on an Arduino based MVS lighting controller. At the same time, I wanted to use the logic portion of the MV-ELA board to drive LEDs in case the MCU controller didn't pan out.

    So, I've been working on both and have made some really good progress so far. I have the arduino-based controller partially working already with it fully recognizing game changes and being able to swicth lights successfully. My progress can be seen in the following two videos:






    As for the non-MCU design, I found a nice simple non-MCU PWM circuit on the web that I was able to build a working dimmable LED setup using potentiometers. The only limitation being that each individual mini-marquee backlight would have it's own dimmer pot although that could be a feature if you consider the face that some MMs are darker/lighter than others. I have parts coming from Mouser on Tuesday and hope to have a prototype of this later in the week.

    I plan on making this an Open Source Hardware project for the following reasons:
    1) I love tinkering and this project is a perfect example of something I wished someone else had done and said "ok, so here's how you build it". I've found the arcade collecting community to be very supportive and I would love to give something back to it.
    2) If for some reason I fail, get bored, get interrupted by real life, etc., I want to make all of my information public so that if someone else wanted to pick up where I left off and complete the project they could easily do so.
    3) Realistically, there is a limited market for this so even IF I were to make a polished final product and sell any, it would be for those that can't or don't want to spend the time building there own. This is not my job, it's a hobby, so any proceeds will go to funding further arcade projects and cabinets and the cost would really only cover parts and assembly time in order to keep it as low as possible .
    4) By sharing my work, a real engineer might see it and say "dude, it would work a lot better if you did THIS..." and the end result would be a better product for everyone .

    Once I have it working a little better I'll post my schematics and code in this thread.

  2. #2
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    Wow. I'm the first response? Keep it up man. There are a lot of people this will help. Maybe you can know the bad taste out of everyone's mouth because of the "other" project.
    thank you,
    Dion Dakis
    www.NeoGeoFreak.com

  3. #3
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    This is pretty pimpin'. It could be useful for anyone that owns a MVS Big Red but no/no working LED boards for their marquee. I wonder if you could run the whole setup using a single 12v or 5v eventually in order to reduce the number of power lines required to run it on.

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    Thanks guys! I'm excited about this as well since my EL panels don't work .

    Quote Originally Posted by trenog View Post
    This is pretty pimpin'. It could be useful for anyone that owns a MVS Big Red but no/no working LED boards for their marquee. I wonder if you could run the whole setup using a single 12v or 5v eventually in order to reduce the number of power lines required to run it on.
    Stepping a single 12V line down to 5V would be very easy but since there is already 5V running through the connector I used it. The only reason I'm using 12V at all is because of the amazingly cheap cost of 12V LED strips. I got a roll of 300 LEDs (100 x 3 LED strips that can be cut/soldered) on amazon for only $12.55 shipped. If anyone knows of an affordable 5V equivalent, let me know. Once I find out how many LEDs are required and what the total current draw would be I could consider using a circuit to boost the 5V to 12V to power the LED section. That would be nice since it would completely eliminate any extra cables .

  5. #5
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    Good work so far man. Yeah, I was one of the many that just said "F it" and replaced the EL sheets/bulbs with direct replacements due to the other LED project fizzling out. That, and I'm not much of a tinkerer. The community will certainly appreciate this as an EL replacement option.

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    Good news! I got the non-mcu version working! I didn't get to include the dimmer yet but it's pretty simple and I had a successful test with the dimmer running through the ULN2803 already so I feel pretty confident about it. The more I think about it, the more I like this version over the Arduino one (and not just because it's working). It's cheaper, has less parts, and with the dimmers added in offers just as much functionality. I've ordered a bunch of SMD parts from Mouser along with the parts to do what I think will allow me to get away with using just the 5V line from the MVS and eliminate the 12V power supply. I plan on having a better prototype with working dimmers by the end of the weekend if all goes well .


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    I haven't meant to neglect Neo-Geo.com but I've been updating my thread over at KLOV a bit more than here (mostly because of replying to people's questions/comments, etc.). I just thought I'd post a quick link in case anyone wants to get caught up on this: http://forums.arcade-museum.com/showthread.php?t=262268

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    I finally have a little bigger update on this that you guys might want to see ...


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    Just wanted to pop on here and make a quick update. Things are moving along well, sorry I haven't been so vocal here but the activity in the thread on KLOV has kept me focused there mostly. Anyway, I posted a web form for those that might be seriously interested in this when we're ready for pre-orders: http://www.evilemuofdoom.com/mv-eeod-led-kit

    As of now, the controller design is pretty much complete and we're just trying to iron out the LED panel design.

  10. #10
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    I've been following your progress for a while now and am really looking forward to seeing the finished product. Great work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phades View Post
    I've been following your progress for a while now and am really looking forward to seeing the finished product. Great work!
    Thanks!

    I have another video update tonight


  12. #12
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    yo this is awsome.......i want one

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    Count me in. I've signed up.

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    I signed up as well. The ability to dim the panels makes this "must have" in my opinion... at least for my cab. Great work so far.

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    Thanks guys . Still trying to pin down a manufacturer to make the side-lit LED panels for a decent price. We've figured out a way to do it ourselves but its not quite as professional and polished as I would like.

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    Thanks for doing this. I never got my $$$ back from the other one .... so here goes!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adderall View Post
    Thanks for doing this. I never got my $$$ back from the other one .... so here goes!
    Shoot, that sucks man. I have a much better feeling about this one.
    NG: DEV SCOREBOARD <<<< CLOSED DUE TO EXCESSIVELY HIGH VOLUME OF PARTICIPATION



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    Ouch . That really sucks. I was surprised when I read back through that thread since the guy doing seemed so open and everything . Had I seen it earlier, I would have lost money too.

    A lot of people offered money even early on but I didn't (and still don't) feel comfortable taking pre-order money until we have the process completely worked out and are ready to order parts in bulk. That way if I had an accident, family emergency, or one of a hundred other legit reasons that could stop me from finishing the project no one loses their investment. Which reminds me, I really need to consolidate my notes on the project so that others could take it over in the event something happened...

    But, on a happier note, we're still plugging along . We keep finding offshore companies that can make nice side-lit panels affordably but the shipping ends up being insane even for a single sample. If anyone has any recommendations on a company that can make these, please let me know. In the mean time, the search continues.

  19. #19
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    Keep up the good work Emu and take you're time. Like Pipes, I have a much better feeling about your LED project than the other one.

  20. #20
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    Weekly Update:
    I ordered prototype PCBs for the Controller and Dimmers (they're purple cause OSH Park was the most affordable option with a decent turnaround time for prototype runs). The layout has been tweaked to make assembly a lot easier for those who order just PCBs or "assembly required" kits. Connectors have been selected and ordered. With the dimmer pcbs setup for 1 pcb per 2 panels, I could have reduced the wires/connectors to 3 per panel instead of 4 but I finally settled on 4 so that people who want an LED solution as cheap as possible can skip the dimmers completely if desired. This would be for those just buying the controller and doing something similar to my aluminum flashing + LED strip demo setup since the most expensive part of the design is definitely the LED LGP panels.

    Status/Timeline:
    - Still evaluating LGP options (no real progress this week due to work/family stuff)
    - v1.0 Prototype PCBs should arrive around April 1st or so. I will test them and post a video shortly after.

    The planned layout has the LED panels mounted to a backing of .062" FR4 which the dimmer circuit will also mount to. I wanted to do one large single-sided PCB like the MV-ELBs but it's just too damn expensive.

    Here is a pic showing the v1.0 PCB layouts for the controller and dimmers along with the proposed layout (using a 4-slot as an example):


  21. #21
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    Weekly Update:
    I got emails today stating that the PCBs are in and should be depanelized and shipped out in the next few days. I managed to get some more LGP requests out to manufacturers today as well so hopefully at least one will work out. However, I did create my own LED strip PCB design as a contingency and ordered prototypes just in case. I would still need to find a way to etch my own acrylic panels but I plan on getting back to a local shop that does laser etching tomorrow or Monday if possible to hopefully get a test run.

    If anyone here has access to a CNC laser etching machine and wants to help with prototypes, PLEASE shoot me a PM!!!

  22. #22
    Mr. Big's Thug
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    Also interested. I have a conversion that simply uses a fluorescent behind it. This would be a great upgrade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The King Prawn View Post
    Also interested. I have a conversion that simply uses a fluorescent behind it. This would be a great upgrade.
    Yes, we definitely need to fix that for you .


    Crap, I didn't realize I somehow missed posting this here but I created a web form for people who are interested so that I can get a more accurate account of the quantity of parts I'll need to order when everything is finalized. I've added the link to my signature. It's sort of a "Pre-Order" form but as I've said before I'm not collecting money until absolutely necessary and even then there will already have been working units sent out to a few key testers who are also people that are fond of making YouTube videos .

  24. #24
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    Hmm, not sure why my signature didn't show up in that post so here it is:

    Neo-Geo MVS LED Backlight Pre-Order List:
    http://www.evilemuofdoom.com/mv-eeod-led-kit
    Neo-Geo MVS LED Backlight Pre-Order List:
    http://www.evilemuofdoom.com/mv-eeod-led-kit

  25. #25
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    Thanks, filled it out already.

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