Custom DIGITAL marquee for MVS-mini, with pics

NeoTheranthrope

Basara's Blade Keeper
Joined
Nov 4, 2003
Posts
3,676
I hate you guys. All of you. SERIOUSLY.

It was a simple thing, really; all I wanted was to find out how the wiring works in big reds where the mini-marquee lights up depeding on which game was active, and maybe finding a finding/making a hack for my cute little 2-sloty MVS-mini...

Then I found this thread.



Something happened...



Something that I can only describe as a MADNESS overcame me. I decended into a frothy mania.



Almost immediately after reading that thread, i was going all over town looking for digital frames. Unfortunately, due to the MVS-mini's smaller size, and subsequently smaller marquee, there are only three sizes of frame that would work: 5", 5.6"/6" and 7".

in this case, progress is working against me; the first-generation of digital frames were all between 4" and 8", while we're coming into either the 3rd or 4th generation, where bigger (or smaller, in the case of the key-chain-sized frames) is the "new hotness" and the most desireable frames for this application are "old and busted," in the industry's eyes.

Well, not letting that stop me, I checked Ritz (Wolf) Camera, Radio Shack, Bestbuy (ick), and Wal-Mart (double-ick). None of them had anything that was workable, although Radio Shack had a 14"-widescreen frame on clearance that could work nicely in a seperate project, it was way too big for this project for the mini.

Then.. I remembered someone mentioned Target. I went to the electronics department, and low-and behold...

03-25-09_2114.jpg


On the bottom shelf, Trutech (Target brand) 5" frames. 8 of the bastards. What's more: the're all half-price clearanced!

I snatched one up, and immediately took it home.

03-24-09_2056.jpg


Tretech isn't the best quality (to be honest, most of the reviews I've read said that their stuff is crap) and heat-death is a serious problem. So, if you're considering using them for your 4-slot or 6-slot, I'd advise rigging up some kind of blower-fan PC-style cooling system.

Another problem is that they don't hold all that much: 11 images total. Fortunately, there's a way around that limitation: they take both SD cards and USB sticks for external memory. My plan is to eventually get a bunch of old 128meg-or-less SD cards cheap, and have one card for every MVS game I own (or plan to own). So, when I switch out a game, I switch out that game's corresponding SD card, which keeps everything nice, neat, and organized.

...but the most important thing for the sake of the project: IT FITS! (mostly). That's due to what I think best feature of the Trutech 5" is; the front faceplate is held on by just three plastic tabs. On most of the newer frames, the front faceplate is not really removeable (...at least, not without the help of a Dremel).

So, I just have to remove 1/4" of wood from both the top and the bottom of the marquee housing for a perfict fit.

03-24-09_2058.jpg


03-24-09_2120.jpg


...but before any cutting, I need to properly mark everthing out: So, with the Grace of God, a ruler, a fine-tip Sharpie, and some masking tape, go I...

03-24-09_2142.jpg


First off; I have to find the center for each frame, everything else I can just trace out.

03-24-09_2152.jpg


Mark off the 1/4"x5"x1/2" chunks that need to be removed.

(Photobucket is being retarded)
03-24-09_2242-2.jpg


It would've probably been faster and cleaner to shape these sections with a router with a template, but I'm pretty handy with just a drill and chisels.

03-25-09_2338.jpg


I'm trying for a straight line for clean tear-out.

03-25-09_2346.jpg


"tap tap tap tap TAP TAP tap tap..."

03-26-09_0107.jpg


Now, make room for the faceplate tabs, SD card port, and power cord.

03-26-09_0139.jpg


"IT FITS! GENIUS!"

03-26-09_0142.jpg


03-26-09_0154.jpg


03-26-09_0219.jpg


Remember to protect your front panel, that particleboard sawdust likes to get eveywhere.

03-26-09_0220.jpg


The next day, I do the same thing for the second screen (no pics, because it's basicly doing the same thing).

Now power: The frames require +9VDC provided via wallworts, which means I have to splice into the mini's internal A/C power source. I run the cords down through the mini...

03-27-09_0112.jpg


...cut-and-strip a cheap 3-plug extension cord ($1.42), and splice it into the A/C isolation-transformer. Simple, really. Just plug in and everything is good.

I'll tack down the cord later.

03-27-09_0111.jpg


It's almost done, except for replacing the lock. The tumbler for the marquee lock is 1-1/8", which is too tall, and bumps into the frame when I close the marquee access door. I'm gong to order new, smaller, tumblers from happs, but not this second (I also want to get some cup holders). So, until i get the lock replaced I have a modified wire coat hanger holding the door closed. It's a kludge, but it works.

03-27-09_2348.jpg


"...TO DESTROY ALL ENEMIES!"

03-27-09_2356.jpg


So, what do you think?
 
Last edited:

Moon Jump

Alfred Garcia's Butler
Joined
Jun 1, 2003
Posts
5,904
Friggen sweet idea man. Works out really nice. Kinda reminds me of what they have on the Delta 32 Cabs.
 

Arcademan

Clow Warlord of Neo-Geo...for one glorious day!,
15 Year Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2003
Posts
18,888
Very nice job with the digital marquee :buttrock:
 

Testocules

Fio's Quartermaster
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Posts
478
Great Job! Props for including the info on how you went about it - great benefit for others looking to do the same.
 

loegan43

I've served my time in the Dark Army., Have you?,
15 Year Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Posts
1,939
They turned out great, nice job! Thanks for sharing and making such a detailed walk-through. If I still had my 2-slot I'd definitely give that a try.
 

NeoTheranthrope

Basara's Blade Keeper
Joined
Nov 4, 2003
Posts
3,676
Oh yeah, I should've made a list of necessary tools and materials.


Tools (if you own one or more arcade machine(s), I would expect you to own most of these):

Electric drill, either a regular corded or a high-amprage cordless will work fine.

1/16" drill bit.

Screwdriver with phillips and security torx bits.

Crescent wrench (for taking the marquee access door lock off. WD40 helps too.)

1" and 2" straight chisels. (Make sure the're sharp! When first you get them from the store they are NOT sharp. If you don't know how to sharpen them yourself, try to find a tool sharpening shop in your area to do it for you. Also; practice with them before you go mangling up your cab.)

Wire strippers. (auto-strippers make life easier)

Dikes (diagonal kutters, a.k.a. wire snippers)

Ruler and marker.

Something to cover your control panel. (A trashbag will work, but is staticy. So, I used an old pillowcase.)

Digital volt meter / continuity tester ( I had it, but didn't need it. Useful for troubleshooting if everything dosen't go right the first time, powersource-wise.)

A good light source. (I love GE brand Reveal full-spectrum incandescent bulbs. Get them before the're illegal.)



Materials:

2x Trutech 5" digital picture frames. $30each. (limited item)

Cheap 3-plug 6' A/C extension cord. $1.42 (I only needed 18" of it, so shorter is better)

2x WireTwist Wire Connecters (yellow: 3x#20 - 2x#12) $0 (Left-overs from another project. A bag of 25 is less than $3)

Economy 7/8" single bitted lock tumbler and cam. $4 (Since I'm going to get it same-keyed as the mech and coin doors, so I'm going to wait on this a bit. edit: happs has them back-ordered, at the moment, so I'm still waiting.)

Mini SD card(s) ~$10 each for 2gig (I'm going to try to hunt around online to find old/small cards cheaply before I'm forced to lay out cash for new ones. Edit: found 1gig cards on clearance for $5, at Sears electronics department, of all places.)


Altogether, due mostly to having all the tools and most of the materials already on-hand, the whole project cost less than $80, took about 6 actual man-hours, and was implemented from concept-to-completion in about 30 hours.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it.
 
Last edited:

jonny419

Super Sidekicks 3
Joined
May 15, 2008
Posts
158
cool idea and it turned out pretty damn well.

just a thought about those cupholders, think about it for a while and come up with a better solution than screwing that ugly fucking thing to the side of your cab. either that or put two small tables near your cab. are 4-8 holes in the sides of your cab really worth eliminating the effort it takes you to turn around and set your drink down?
 

driph

Overtop Pathfinder
15 Year Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2008
Posts
102
Bah, cupholders are perfect for the MVS mini cab. I love them on mine, and there are very very few cabs I'd ever consider putting them on.

Great idea with the marquee images!
 

Jedah Doma

Chroma Ma' Doma!,
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Posts
9,902
That has got to be one of the sweetest ideas I've seen. Brilliant man. Absolutely brilliant.
 

chazbc24

Cheng's Errand Boy
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Posts
120
this is a stellar idea! however, im having trouble locating any of those 5 inch frames. anybody know off the top of their head if theres another digital frame which would fit in the cab/look nice under plexy?
 

SNKorSWM

So Many Posts
No Time
For Games.
10 Year Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2010
Posts
15,152
Great design. It actually looks brighter than the monitor screen. Can you read the small letters in the instructions?
 

NeoTheranthrope

Basara's Blade Keeper
Joined
Nov 4, 2003
Posts
3,676
Great design. It actually looks brighter than the monitor screen. Can you read the small letters in the instructions?

The screens have three brightness settings. The pics above were taken with the screens on the brightest setting, if I lower them down to medium they look fine in normal lighting.

04-05-10_1706.jpg


Both screen's resolution are 640x380 (I think), but the screens auto-resize the image to fit, so if I use a larger image the compression jaggies make text start to look like crap and fine-line typefaced fonts become nearly unreadable. However, if I actually take the time to properly edit each image in Gimp2 to the screens native resolution (assuming that there isn't too much compression on the source image to start with), everything looks fine and readable.

Also, it doesn't help that I'm free-handing my cellphone camera in a dimly-lit bedroom. If I had a better camera and/or not-crap lighting you can see the smaller fonts better.
 
Last edited:

chazbc24

Cheng's Errand Boy
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Posts
120
the colby dp 5.6 looks like a good replacement, however its important to know if the thing powers up just by being plugged in, rather than figit with the buttons and whatnot.
 

NeoTheranthrope

Basara's Blade Keeper
Joined
Nov 4, 2003
Posts
3,676
The trutech screens can be manually powered on/off by holding down the the pause/play button for a few seconds, but if you leave it "on" (or "auto on" would be a better way to put it) and remove power, naturally it will turn off (no battery back-up), but it will come on and start booting when power is restored.

So, assuming you have the screens spliced into the cab's internal AC power chain, and if you have the screen(s) set "on"; when the cab's main power switch is fliped, everything will come on at once and start booting.

Alternatively, if you want to preserve the screen(s) life when guests aren't over, just manually turn them off until needed.

I haven't had the chance to play with the Colby, but I assume the firmware behaves pretty much the same way.
 
Last edited:

SNKorSWM

So Many Posts
No Time
For Games.
10 Year Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2010
Posts
15,152
I might be wrong on this, but isn't digital album meant to be kept on all the time, and by turning it on and off repeatedly you actually reduce its life span?
 

NeoTheranthrope

Basara's Blade Keeper
Joined
Nov 4, 2003
Posts
3,676
You're right about repeatedly turning them on and off will damage them, but that is countered by the danger of death by overheating.

They're cheap, Chinese-built, big-box-store trash electronics. The screens are just small 2nd or 3rd generation backlit LCD monitor screens with a minimal of firmware, and they don't last a long, because they weren't designed to. They do generate heat (not much though, the marquee lamp light generates considerably more), on top of the heat generated by the cab itself, and they're in an area which doesn't get much ventilation.

Anyway, I don't go flipping my cab on and off repeatedly: It gets flipped on, stays on for a couple hours each week, and when I get bored or if it gets too hot, the machine gets flipped off to cool down.

I didn't pay all that much for them, so if one (or both) dies, I'm not out a lot. The whole set-up was designed to be "backwards compatible" with the regular mini-marquees. So, it's not a big deal if one (or both) dies.

However, finding replacements with the same, or similar, form-factor might be a bitch...
 
Last edited:

Xian Xi

JammaNationX,
15 Year Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2005
Posts
27,727
Looks great with 2 of them. I think the 6" would have filled the gap but you would have probably have to take them out of the case to fit.

Next project I want to see is a big red with a Hyper mini LCD molded into the top or a candy with a big red theme.
 

trenog

Gai's Trainer
10 Year Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2011
Posts
1,344
That was a pro job dude and sufficiently crazy to look and work wonderfully. The next step of course is to wait for Color E-ink displays and do it that way to have the fidelity of paper... ;)
 
Top