dv9700

The Brains.

This cabinet will run MAME with a front end.

Typically MAME can run on fairly wimpy hardware.

I happened upon a salvageable HP DV9700 series entertainment laptop.

I think it’ll do nicely.

Here are some details:

Manufacturer Hewlett Packard
Model DV9700 
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T5550 @ 1.83GHz
Memory 4GB DDR2 SDRAM
Hard Drive 250GB 7200RPM
Media BluRay / DVD-RW+-
Video Memory 1024MB GDDR2
Video GPU NVIDIA Corporation G86M [GeForce 8600M GS]

This is well above the “required” specs of MAME.

I’ve installed Windows XP and stripped out all unnecessary drivers and programs. It boots in about 8 seconds.

I also plan on removing the on-board LCD screen to aid in cooling, as this machine will be inside the cabinet.

Relocation of the power switch will also be necessary, these projects will be documented later.

 

openquasi

All the Rage

Project: Quasicade

This is the first post of many, I’m building a chronicle of a conversion of a 1994 Atari Primal Rage cabinet into a slimline Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) cabinet.

A few months ago I took my old project, a restored 1977 Bally Eight Ball pinball machine to a collector and restorer downtown.

I traded him for various parts and pieces, and a full size slant-back cabinet with no monitor. As it sat, it was currently configured as a “Big Buck Huntin'” lightgun setup.

My buddy and I were woefully unprepared for how heavy the cabinet was. Alas, we stripped the gun from the unit and loaded it up.

Upon arriving in the shop and further inspection, I discovered it was originally born an Atari Primal Rage machine, built sometime in 1994.

This cabinet features a steeply slanted top-back section, making it ideal for a slimline cabinet, as the slant will allow for attic ceiling installation.

My studio is in my attic, so it’s final location plays a large part in the project.

The machine was in my dining room for the first few nights until I could clear space in the shop.

My wife was fairly unhappy about it being in the living room, and it did have a very interesting smell considering years of storage in bars/arcades.

 

I couldn’t resist tearing stickers off, and throwing an old PC on the tray and testing it.

Stand by for more build logs coming soon!

I’ll keep you posted.

surgeryflipper

Surgery

The parts I ordered came this week.

  • New rubber pieces.
  • A new lock.
  • More #44 light bulbs.
  • A new ball.
  • A new flipper.
  • A new flipper solenoid.

So today, I had some time to do repairs so I heated up the soldering iron and jumped in.

The dead flipper was my first task.

This is pretty charred.

The underside of the flipper assembly. I thought for sure this solenoid was dead, as it looked burnt.

I went thru pulling it off the play field and noticed that the ground wire had snapped off at some point. I cleared some insulation from the wire and connected it again, flipper moved. So I soldered it and now I have an extra flipper solenoid for the future. Also, the new flipper is slightly thinner in design…

Close enough for now.

I ordered new rubber pieces for the whole game as they were very dried and rotten.

The “Pinky Kicker” without the shield

Here is a kicker switch with the cover removed. I had to adjust the bump switches on either side of the kicker leg. Notice the rectangle piece of metal that is outside of the rubber ring? That had to move to the inside of the kicker assembly. Now when a ball hits any piece of that leading rubber edge, the ball gets launched away by the kicker.

Here’s the play field with new rubber.

More Rubbery than before.

The machine’s sounds are produced by an electro-mechanical chime box.

I noticed that there were 4 chimes that play “call to the post” when you hit the start button. The lowest key never plays.

This solenoid controls the lowest note on the chime box. It was so fried that the inside of the shaft expanded and caused the plunger to bind. I’ll need to order one of these.

The backbox was where I found the first fried circuits. Its basically the brain of the machine.

Inside the backbox

These boards control Lighting, Processing and Memory, Electrical Routing, and Switch/Solenoid operation. This is what’s behind the scoreboard.

After I did this maintenance, The game was repaired enough to play it. I had to adjust a few switches and things to work out the kinks, but now it basically works.

I have a few more issues to deal with that I’m going to have to wait to get to:

The “Ball Display” needs cleaned inside the lenses. There is dirt and soot under these lenses from the lights burning. It should clean up with some alcohol.


There’s a weak capacitor somewhere, as when the bumpers are hit the lights on the game dim. It could also be fixed by replacing the #45 lights with #47 as they are far more efficient.

The plasma in the scoreboard flickers.

Behind the scenes

Also, if you put 1 quarter in, you’re supposed to get 1 credit. Right now it gives you 20. When I was a kid at the arcade, I would have killed for that ability.

Eight ball brochure banner

Information about the machine

Interesting facts from the Internet Pinball Database.

Side Art Picture from ipdb.org

Manufacturer: Bally Manufacturing Corporation (1931-1983)
Project Date: January 17, 1977
Date Of Manufacture: February 21, 1977
Model Number: 1118-E
Production: 20,230 units (confirmed)

Notable Features: Flippers (2), Pop Bumpers (3), Slingshots (2), Stand up targets (4), Roll under spinner (1), Left out lane kickback.

Illuminated Bumpers Picture from ipdb.org
Lanes Picture from ipdb.org

Maximum displayed point score is 999,990 points per player.

Bank Shot Picture from ipdb.org

Design by: George Christian
Art by: Paul Faris

Although Eight Ball is a solid state machine, sound is not generated by a sound board. Instead, a 4-note MPU controlled chime box produces the sound for this game.

Chime Box Picture from ipdb.org

This provides the experience of solid state scoring and response, with the added nostalgia of Electro-mechanical chimes.

The BONUS BALLS in the center of the lower play field are designated balls 1-7 for Players 1 & 3, balls 9-15 for Players 2 & 4.

Artist Margaret Hudson, who assisted Paul Faris on this game as a learning experience, says those are her initials on the bracelet of the girl in the back glass.

Back Glass Picture from ipdb.org

Two of the light shields are unusual as they have a second screening of red on top of the normal screening. This causes an effect similar used on the “Phantom of the Opera” glass, though no one probably would ever normally notice. For instance, “Pinky Tuscadero’s” shirt on the slingshot plastic appears red when the game is on, and tan when it’s off.

The representation of Henry Winkler’s Fonzie character from the TV show Happy Days in the artwork was not licensed and caused a problem after it was released.

 

Break shot lane target

Initial Findings and moving the machine.

Just picked up the 1977 Bally Eight Ball machine yesterday February 21st 2009.

Here are the initial observations. This is a compilation of several build log entries from before this site was online.


Here are the original sales brochures: for the machine

And here are some schematics:

Eight Ball Schematic

Funny, the serial number says that it was built on February 21st 1977, its the machine’s birthday!


Moving the machine

The Eight Ball machine was found in a basement, left dusty and alone in a corner for years. The owner said he’s not had it running since the late 1980s.

But, it still lights up.

He said I could have it, but I paid him a bit for his troubles and for good karma.

Wow was this thing hard to move. The backbox does not fold down so it makes it very hard to move. Perhaps next time I’ll try to unbolt/unwire it.

This is how it looked when it was discovered.

When Eight Ball is plugged in, most of the lights light up but the machine never fully boots.


Here’s a list of things I notice to be damaged or worn out.

  • Broken things that can’t be fixed
    • Coin-Door lock cylinder has been drilled out. It will need to be replaced
    • The plastic part of the right flipper is pretty worn out and cracked, it is missing the rubber part so it looks like it’s been gone for a while.
    • The solenoid that makes the left flipper move is totally smoked. It looks like it may have burned up, as it is charred.
    • There are a few transistors and chips in the backbox that are obviously fried/melted.
  • Burnt Lights
    • Top Left Backbox #2
    • Playfield lanes between 1 and 2
    • Left side of bankshot lane
    • Playfield 4, 15, 13 ball lights
    • Lane 4, 11 ball lights
    • “Pinky” kicker light
    • “Fonzie” kicker light

Initial exploration

I found a way to run a test of the Machine Systems using a red button inside the coin acceptor. Using this I found why it won’t turn on.

The test fails when it tests memory module U8. The CMOS and NRAM.

I removed and reset the PROM on the chip and reinserted.

ITS ALIVE!

I can get the machine to activate it’s self test and fully boot to ready status now.


Other problems and fixes:

I found that some of the lights that weren’t working are burnt, and some are just loose, so I fixed the ones I could, I’ve ordered #47 lights to fix the others.

The left flipper is totally fried, it doesn’t move. I’ll have to order a new solenoid.

The outhole kickback doesn’t detect the ball, I bent the contact up a bit on the switch and now it works.

All of the rubber on the playfield is very dry and crumbly, I’ll have to order a set.

The playfield needs waxed and cleaned, it seems to have needed this love for many years.


 Another day of fixin’ things:

All switches now seem to function.

One of the chimes (the lowest pitch) doesn’t ever activate. I am unsure at this point if it is a solenoid or a wiring problem.

I took the backglass and hid it so it can’t be scratched, as its an original hand painted, and has the artist’s signature on the back, bonus!

I’ll try to get some more pictures in later posts, as its not very photogenic in this stage.