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Thread: Neo Pi X

  1. #1
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    Neo Pi X

    Recently, I had been looking for a new project, and I wanted to do something Neo-related. I also had my eye on the Raspberry Pi for a number of different emulation scenarios. Browsing YouTube for ideas, I came across a few people that took the Neo Geo X console dock, sans shitty handheld, and installed a Raspberry Pi to emulate Neo Geo games, among others. This seemed like a fun and smart idea since the dock has all of the connections required for the Pi to attach controllers, power, and a display. After doing some research, I saw that AliExpress had original Neo X docks and controllers for less than $40 shipped each, as well as the cabling needed, so I took the plunge. I put links below to the AliExpress stuff since they have the best prices and it’s the core of the project. Everything else can be had on eBay or Amazon, etc.

    Parts (w/ shipped price)
    Raspberry Pi 3B+ $39
    Sandisk 16GB Micro SDHC $6
    Neo Geo X Dock $39
    Neo Geo X Stick $37 each
    5V 3A Micro USB PSU (for testing/setup, optional) $7
    5V 3A 4.0mm Barrel PSU (for dock) $7
    Internal and External Dock Cables for Pi $12

    Total (including 2 controllers): $184

    If you already have USB controllers or adapters, and you don’t need the USB PSU, then your total will be ~$100. The whole thing was mostly plug ‘n play. I used RetroPie for the OS, and it works great running MVS with the lr-fbalpha core. I also have Neo Geo Pocket Color running on the lr-beetle-ngp core.

    The Pi can emulate both systems well enough over HDMI or composite. The Pi does surprisingly nice 240p composite. The emulation isn’t perfect, but rarely is emulation of anything perfect, if ever. I’m not super familiar with tailoring retroarch or RetroPie for optimal Neo settings, but this setup definitely looks and plays better than the Neo Geo Mini or the stock Neo Geo X.

    Here’s the changes you need to make to get it running really well:

    -Plug in an ethernet cable or configure WiFi to dump your roms, update Pi firmware and RetroPie software, and scrape rom catalogs

    -Turn on SSH so you can access the command line remotely. Open Raspi-Config > “interfacing options” > SSH > enable

    -Add this line to /boot/config.txt to allow 240p over composite:
    Code:
    sdtv_mode=16
    The Pi will default to HDMI if you have the cable plugged in, so if you want to use composite, remove the HDMI from the outside of the dock or your HDTV/monitor.

    -To get the Pi to recognize the Neo Geo X stick, create the file “/etc/udev/rules.d/10-neogeox.rules" and add the following line:

    Code:
    SUBSYSTEM=="input", ATTRS{name}=="TOMMO NEOGEOX Arcade Stick", MODE="0666", ENV{ID_INPUT_JOYSTICK}="1"
    The biggest issue is power. If you hook everything up as supplied, assuming you use a Pi 3B+, you’ll randomly get the “lightning bolt” in the upper right of the screen indicating “under current”, meaning the Pi is throttling the CPU to account for a lack of juice. This is because the AliExpress cabling splits the power and USB lines with a Y splitter. This technically works, but the power draw from the Pi is too much for the splitter. My solution was to open the dock shell, tap the 5V line at the USB controller connector (which allows you to use the existing power switch), chop the short end of the USB Y splitter and splice it together with the tapped lines to power the Pi independently. You need to make room for the additional power line at the jack connectors by removing the existing micro USB from its mooring, but that’s fine. There’s plenty of cable slack and you don’t have to cut the case. This way, you have one USB for power and one for controllers. Voila, no “under current” warning. All this is shown in the images below. Related: get a 3A PSU so you have a little extra headroom for the Pi’s 2.5A spec.

    The Neo Geo X sticks are pretty close in look and feel to their AES counterparts. The buttons are damn near identical, while the stick is a bit more loose and has a slightly longer throw than AES, it still plays well. I’d recommend getting at least one X stick for this project. Where the Pi + X combo really shines, I think, is the ability to emulate NGPC stuff on a CRT, preferably a smaller one, over composite. Up until recently, I hadn’t really enjoyed NGPC games due to the stock screen’s limitations, but that’s gone now. I can see how great NGPC stuff like SvC MotM, Sonic, KoF, Cotton, and even Pacman are to play once you can actually see them. MVS stuff plays slightly fast due to the Neo’s odd refresh rate being adjusted for HDMI displays, but it’s not that bad. It still looks and sounds good. I’m sure there’s room for improvement in the display settings, but that’s a deeper dive than I have time for right now. Input lag is there, as you’d expect, but it’s not so bad as to take away from the experience. The lag is definitely less significant than Neo games on Wii VC, for example. Aesthetically, the dock and controller combo look great. The lid is snug, but closes over the Pi and cabling just fine. Again, this project is a big improvement over the Neo Geo Mini or the stock Neo Geo X. SNK could’ve made something like this, and it would’ve sold like crazy, even at the $200 price point. Missed opportunity. Anyway, if you guys give it a go, post up and let us know what configurations you’re using, and if you can improve on anything. Cheers.

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    Last edited by daskrabs; 11-16-2018 at 01:00 PM.
    Sony PVM Club, Blast City Club, Egret II Club, Neo Candy Club
    WTB: Neo Geo MVS-U4 or MVS-U4/29

  2. #2
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    been tempted to do this multiple times, once I saw Aliexpress selling the cable kits and docks...but then I remembered I have like 5 raspberry pi systems in various cases and I need to chill the fuck out. But if you pick one case and stick with it (not me apparently) this is a rad setup.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, this project seems really cool if not for the NGPC stuff alone. I cannot wait to check it out. I hope those X controllers have octo-gates!

    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Benjamin
    As for the collector, his collection is never complete; even if he is missing but a single object, all that he has collected nevertheless remains fragmentary...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gusmoney View Post
    I hope those X controllers have octo-gates!
    Squares. GotW prob won't fit either.
    Sony PVM Club, Blast City Club, Egret II Club, Neo Candy Club
    WTB: Neo Geo MVS-U4 or MVS-U4/29

  5. #5
    nerdsigh voltronbadass's Avatar
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    Thats dope and Ive never tried a pi setup, I guess its time, thanks for posting this.

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    Looks great Matt, sounds like a worthwhile project!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Speaking of that, the most bizzare thing that happened at that TMG (http://www.toomanygames.com/) was Ed Flemming getting his truck front bumper stuck to a pole and ripping it clean off!! Goes to show, you shouldn't drink and drive.
    Jon
    Quote Originally Posted by gusmoney View Post
    Yeah, but how do I get to the SNES games?
    Get the all the accessories!

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    Im trying to view the pictures as am currently experiencing the lightning bolt in the corner of the screen. But this forum says I cant view the pictures have you uploaded a youtube video of this? Really appreciate the help!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by neobee View Post
    Im trying to view the pictures as am currently experiencing the lightning bolt in the corner of the screen. But this forum says I cant view the pictures have you uploaded a youtube video of this? Really appreciate the help!
    No, sorry. I guess you'll need to post a bit more first.
    Sony PVM Club, Blast City Club, Egret II Club, Neo Candy Club
    WTB: Neo Geo MVS-U4 or MVS-U4/29

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    Quote Originally Posted by daskrabs View Post
    No, sorry. I guess you'll need to post a bit more first.
    hmm i wonder how much i will have to post to view these pictures lol.

    thanks for the reply. ive managed to desolder the long red wire, solder on a 20awg red wire to the switch and wire a 3v micro usb to the power connector so its powered without a splitter now
    there are tiny vent holes at the back of the case as part of its design so i am going to put a fan up in the lid to push air out of these holes.
    i will try to load pics here. if it will let me
    Last edited by neobee; 01-12-2019 at 12:14 PM.

  10. #10
    Member Hawwa's Avatar
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    Hello! I did myself this very same project. For the under voltage lightning bolt you can configure your Pi to not show it, even to run in "turbo" mode even if it's detecting undervoltage. Chances are that Pi can freeze, reboot or the like, but I've been doing this for a few days and so far 0 problems, so you may give it a try before starting to disassemble and solder cables...

    https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/v...ic.php?t=82373

    "As usual you can override the behaviour in config.txt if you understand the risks:
    avoid_warnings=1 removes the warning overlay.
    avoid_warnings=2 additionally allows turbo when low-voltage is present.
    "

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