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Thread: Effects of power cycling arcade PCBs, including Neo Geo MVS boards.

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    Effects of power cycling arcade PCBs, including Neo Geo MVS boards.

    As I've stated elsewhere, I'm designing an enclosure for arcade PCBs, introducing them to a common bus (Zorch), and intend on creating a means of selecting which one to connect to a common supergun, passing signal either to a CRT or an HDMI device—in essence, a glommed consolization for a small collection (thinking primarily of my eventual needs here).

    Once the PCBs are connected to the case no further handling would be required for play. Ideally, only one slot on Zorch would receive power during use (all other PCBs would be powered off since they're not being selected).

    Putting some thought into it, it now occurs to me that arcade boards are not intended to be power cycled like this (over and over again), and my scheme might pose longevity issues.

    So my question is: is there any data which covers this issue? Does this pose a risk to arcade PCBs I should be concerned about?

    I suppose my alternative is to establish a managed routine which bootstraps the board being selected, but which maintains it under power if another slot is chosen for gameplay and so on, during which only the selected board's output is directed to the supergun, but this will add to the complexity of what I have in mind.

    —Scott

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    I'm not sure where the idea came from that 'arcade hardware' shouldn't be power cycled more frequently than any other kind of hardware? Sounds like collectors paranoia to me.

    Tell me? how many times has that Sega Genesis or Neo Geo been turned on/off in the last 30 years?

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    If you rig it so that erry board is powered up while you have your SG running then they'll ALL be power cycled every time you turn on the SG. As it stands I doubt you'll cycle through all of them every time you have your SG on, so only having the selected board powered up will decrease the power cycles of the other boards that don't get touched during that power cycle of your SG.

    Not to mention that these boards were powered cycled EVERY DAMN DAY while they were installed in cabs and being used. You'll be power cycling them FAR, FAR less in personal/home use...
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubba966 View Post
    If you rig it so that erry board is powered up while you have your SG running then they'll ALL be power cycled every time you turn on the SG. As it stands I doubt you'll cycle through all of them every time you have your SG on, so only having the selected board powered up will decrease the power cycles of the other boards that don't get touched during that power cycle of your SG.
    This is about what I have in mind. Though I'm now leaning into the notion of some sort of soft power control which powers PCBs up for the console via a controller instead of hardwiring a dial or switch to accomplish this for other reasons (like grabby hands twiddling dials while gameplay is on).

    Quote Originally Posted by bubba966 View Post
    Not to mention that these boards were powered cycled EVERY DAMN DAY while they were installed in cabs and being used. You'll be power cycling them FAR, FAR less in personal/home use...
    Maybe, but based on my own experience playing emulated arcade games. I average about an hour or two at most before I'm ready to play something else, and switch over.

    I don't imagine that it is typical in any arcade environment where cabinets are simply powered off as a customer becomes bored of play, only to be turned on an hour later to be re-engaged, but that's the effect of my behavior.

    Quote Originally Posted by lachlan View Post
    I'm not sure where the idea came from that 'arcade hardware' shouldn't be power cycled more frequently than any other kind of hardware? Sounds like collectors paranoia to me.
    I'm unaware of collector issues with arcade PCBs, but I am aware of a number of repair videos which discuss the long term viability of arcade games. But perhaps those are consequence of their storage conditions, not usage conditions.

    My experience with UNIX hardware is that it doesn't like to be power cycled, and I have a number of broken power supplies and mainboards/gfx boards which attest to this. Most high end hardware of the 80s/90s was designed to be installed and then powered on to remain on. On/off/on/off/on/off even just for the end of the day did in some cases actually shorten the machine's lifespan, decreasing MTBF.

    Quote Originally Posted by lachlan View Post
    Tell me? how many times has that Sega Genesis or Neo Geo been turned on/off in the last 30 years?
    If there's small difference between hardware hardened to withstand abuse by children or adults in a household setting and a coin-op arcade environment in terms of expectations, then that's promising.

    Just typing this stuff out has prompted me to think about other affordance issues.

    —Scott

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    The only thing you should worry about is rapidly turning off your switch mode psu. Many manuals warn against that and thus suggest waiting 20-30 seconds between power cycles from reading.

    Storing conditions is more important and one that people often overlook and laugh at. Mainly: storing in ESD safe boxes vertically (to prevent sagging), handling them with care to make sure they don't flex ,discharging yourself before handing/plugging in to preventing ESD on bare boards, and having a relatively stable environment that has low humidity. If online is anything to go by most people ignore this shit.Like having their arcades in non temperature controlled garages and wonder why they keep breaking. Or powering their boards on their carpet.

    In any case from a hardware perspective consoles are simpler than arcade boards. Most of them have voltage regulators to ensure consistent/clean power is going through at all times with their provided AC adapter. The ones that are switch mode usually seem decent too. Less parts too and probably used less than most arcade boards.

    With arcades you can't really say the same. Lots of hours put on them in hot boxes called cabinets and areas with high humidity. Lots of different types of PSU's (linear, switch mode) many of which were not regulated and maintained well. Most just have a capacitor and that is it. Most people didn't check their 5V religiously either. It is amazing a lot of them still work with how most operators treated them tbh.

    In any case here is a good thread that touches on why a lot of switch mode psu suck.

    https://www.arcade-projects.com/foru...ower-supplies/

    Tl;dr a lot of switch mode psu suck

    In any case I don't think you should worry about. Just play your games and enjoy them while you can.
    Last edited by ChuChu Flamingo; 04-27-2020 at 05:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChuChu Flamingo View Post
    Tl;dr a lot of switch mode psu suck
    Tell that to the millions of pc owners that use switched mode power supplies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lachlan View Post
    Sounds like collectors paranoia to me.
    Unstable air is a major concern as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowkn55 View Post
    Tell that to the millions of pc owners that use switched mode power supplies.
    I am mainly talking about HAPP styled form factor ones. Did you read that thread on arcadeprojects I linked by chance? Almost all ones brad808 tested horrible on an oscilloscope if you go to page 14-15ish. Others have buzzing if not a high enough load is applied or other QA problems. They have ripple voltage of over 100 mVp-p on the 5v rail when he tested, which is bad on top of other problems. Wish he tested the MWP-606 but no need since RGB already tested it and the manual states 50 mV p-p on 5v which is pretty decent.

    In any case even with ATX ones you should do research on what one to buy when building a computer.Almost all problems I've seen with computers acting up or not working have been their PSU's. With that said a lot of computer switch mode PSU are definitely a step above most arcade psus. They should be as most are 2x as expensive.

    https://linustechtips.com/main/topic...-tier-list-40/ is a pretty decent list. There are lots of other sites that show oscilloscope data of the psu under load but their location escapes me atm. Note the quality is often in regards to capacitors used (name brand), safety features, noise, and overall reliability. If all switch mode ATX psus were good we wouldn't have this list imo.
    Last edited by ChuChu Flamingo; 04-27-2020 at 05:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChuChu Flamingo View Post
    I am mainly talking about HAPP styled form factor ones. Did you read that thread on arcadeprojects I linked by chance?
    That page is blocked to non-members. It's pretty much well known that those $15 shipped specials and anything HAPP is garbage these days. Arcade specific psus are designed to be cheap and the operators like it that way. It's just the sad reality of how is industry has evolved. Any of the worthwhile ones have been long discontinued.

    Instead of making a sweeping generalization that all switching power supplies are terrible, you're better off reminding people to stay away from the cheap stuff, especially with arcade PSUs. When people complain about things going wrong, it always comes full circle to the same stuff we tell people to avoid like the plague.

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    Ah I see. I didn't know this thread was locked behind non-members. Kinda dumb. Intuition would usually lead people to think more $ = better but as these threads I've linked have shown it isn't always the determining factor.

    HAPP likes to shove whatever they can get inside their psus making what you get a wonder ball in terms of quality. I would definitely avoid them like the plague like you suggested. Only good one from them imo is Suzo 42PP0606, a literal rebranded MWP 606. Might as well grab a mean well 606 directly. RGB the HAS supergun creator/Frank_Fjs Project Sentinel and many others have tested and have had nothing but praise for it. Even better is they advertise their specs.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/POWER-SUPPL...72.m2749.l2649

    https://datasheet.octopart.com/MWP-6...t-10900590.pdf


    In any case for anyone who doesn't have an account at the disciple of Darksoft's forum I saved the thread as a picture if you wanna see knowledge.

    https://i.imgur.com/btdyCyg.jpg
    Last edited by ChuChu Flamingo; 04-27-2020 at 07:26 PM.
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    I'm currently going through that thread, ChuChu Flamingo. Thanks!

    Linear vs. Switched:

    Linear seems adequate—if you're powering a single board, which I am not (up to four plus whatever ancillary materiel is required for operation for the top-end casing). My intention is to stick with a high quality SMPS, but I'm coming across info I didn't even think to ask about being discussed in that thread so I need to read it thoroughly.

    I'm also toying with the notion of designing my own power supply. I've been inside my share of CRTs over the past 20 years, but for whatever reason, power supplies are novel to me and I have wanted get some experience with them for quite a while, motivated at least somewhat by getting some of the higher-end ones in my pile of projects fixed, like the Cherokee.

    —Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChopstickSamurai View Post
    Unstable air is a major concern as well.

    Is that what you call a fart in the tech support forum?
    Quote Originally Posted by greedostick View Post
    This place is a pool of toxic garbage. A bunch of old, grumpy, hateful, negative, hater assholes that don't even play Neo Geo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by theMot View Post
    Is that what you call a fart in the tech support forum?
    I think that's what they keep referring to as 'solder fumes'

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    Just want to add in that many game centers in Japan feature user-accessible reset switches to hard reset the game, either to speed up restarts after a bad credit but mostly to reset games to their default state. For example Battle Garegga will have increasing rank the more it is played, so it is common to reset the board to start fresh each credit.

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