Sega Net City HD – part III

Going wide

In my previous attempt on an HD cabinet I was planning on using an Atomiswave SD cabinet. This proved to have more than one drawback. It could only house a 26″ monitor and the tilt of the screen was too large for providing a decent viewing angle. In the Naomi/New Net City we can squeeze in a 27″ wide screen monitor (which is much easier to come by) and it’s also more upright and since viewing angles are an issue with LCD/LED monitors this is preferred. Apart from the usual criteria when selecting a monitor; low input lag and response time, we also had the following:

  • Case (frame) had to be possible to remove.
  • Centered VESA mount directly on the panel (since the case has to go).
  • Easily detachable control panel.
  • Fast switching between 16:9 and 4:3 screen formats.

The big issue of course was how to know what the panels looked like on the inside without taking them apart? Luckily an acquaintance works for a company repairing monitors and he was able to help us in our search. In the end we let go of the fast format switching and decided on a Philips 273E3LHSB. DSC09610 As you can see from the picture above the monitor will fill up the space entirely. There’s gonna be a lot of sawing in both the bezel and the front cover! In the pictures below you can see the bare panel and how it fits behind the front cover. Notice I had to cut away the bezel entirely on the sides – maximized monitor area 😀

Part of the front cover also had to go for allowing space for the monitor.

To test the mounting and rotation I used a plywood board I had lying around. There’s plenty of space between the back and the front cover and I ended up constructing a riser for the monitor mount. I feared the monitor would become wobbly but no. It sits sturdily behind the front cover. There’s enough room around the monitor for housing the front, center and surround speakers without getting in the way when rotating the monitor. Speaking of the speakers…at the moment we’re looking at the Logitech Z-906 system. Plenty of good sound and the satellites are small enough. Only issue is how to house the sub-woofer. But more on that later.

Next up: a new lamp cover.

Sega Net City HD – part II

Cutting it down

Our plan is to make a sit-down cabinet, much like the New Net City. So the first step in order to get a feeling for the profile of the finished cabinet was to cut the legs down.

DSC09591

I shortened the legs by 338 mm. Easiest way to get the holes correct was to start with the holes for the two bolts on the base. Then mount the legs and mark up the holes for the three remaining bolts.

DSC09592

With the legs in place it was time to get a glimpse of the future. Since my donor cabinet used to be a Wild Riders I had to find both a control panel surround and bucket. Luckily Johan, who sold me the cab, also had a surround and moshpit over at AO had a spare bucket lying around – et voilà – meet the Net City HD – the WIP version 😉

NCDH-WIP

The looks

Stompp and I have been throwing ideas back and forth for a long time. This is one of the mock-ups we’re working on at the moment.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Base color of the cab is going to be gun metal gray, the bezel will be modified to fit a 27″ wide screen LED monitor and get covered with a carbon fiber vinyl (looks awesome and will be much easier to apply than an A-grade paint job).

Left, right and center speakers goes below the bezel and the VMU cover gets replaced by black speaker grid. The surround speakers will be placed where light cover is and the cover also gets replaced by a speaker grid.

The notch between the bezel and the surround speakers will get a new lamp cover and house a blue LED strip.

No Wild Rider part were harmed in the process!
No Wild Rider parts were harmed in the process!

Stompp took pity for the Wild Rider parts and some day, hopefully, they’ll go Vrooom!! again.

Next up: the monitor

Sega Net City HD – part I

Never heard of it? Well, it’s probably because it doesn’t exist – yet.

The Net City HD is a project between Jonas (Monouchi) and myself. We’ve been planning this for some while since Jonas abandoned his Atomiswave HD project a while back. The background to the project is that both of us has been wanting an HD cabinet for playing newer arcade games and also taking advantage of the many good titles developed for (or ported to) the Xbox 360.

While there are a few HD cabinets out there, like the Vewlixes and Deltas, we feel most of them are quite bulky and not too great looking. Jonas’ Atomiswave project fell short due to a number of reasons, most of them related to the monitor. So, which arcade cabinet would lend itself well as a donor for being converted into an HD cab?

The victim
The victim

We decided on the Sega Naomi Universal.

It has a more upright profile than the AWSD, it will be extremely slim removing the bulky back cover, it’s easily transformed into a sit-down cabinet, there’s plenty of room for making cool mods and last but not least – it will look AWESOME!

Looking for scrappy Naomi cabinets proved much harder than we thought. Suddenly the market was empty of them. Jonas ended up picking the short straw, getting a Wild Rider cabinet for which he had to find a whole new control panel surround since the WR of course is a special one. I was lucky to find a Virtual Striker 2002 cabinet in decent shape only a 2½ hour drive away.

The pickup

A few weeks ago my wife and I jumped in the car for picking up the Naomi at Motala Arkadhall. MAH is a place run by three arcade game/pinball enthusiasts; JFH, Larsson and priest.

Taking the Naomi apart took less than half an hour leaving some time over for coffee and a few credits!

The brainstorming

At the moment Mono’s already cut the legs on his Naomi and started with the refurb. Me, I’ve got two rooms to renovate that kinda takes priority. Meanwhile we’re throwing ideas back and forth: monitor selection, rotation mechanisms, sound system, speaker placement, electronics, wiring etc.

One thing’s for sure: there will be carbon fiber!

Next up: Cutting it down.

Converting an Atomiswave SD cab to HD, part 1

What to do when you think all HD cabinets out there are ugly and happen to have an extra Egret 3/Atomiswave SD bezel lying around? You make an Egret/AWSD HD Kit, of course!

HKC 2612A monitor
HKC 2612A monitor

So without further a due; time to dive into the LCD/LED jungle. After lots and lots of measuring and searching I found a 26″ LCD monitor from HKC that fit the Atomiswave bezel: the HKC 2612A. It has a nice, smooth picture with good colors. Not on par with a CRT but that was expected. The native resolution is 1920×1080 but it also does 1366×768 nicely which really is a must since most newer (HD) arcade games operate on this resolution.

Rodotron has an LCD monitor that supports CGA but the measurements were wrong and it had a response time of 6 ms which obviously is too slow. Anyway, who needs CGA on an LCD when you have a pair of MS-9s?

The HKC 2612A boasts a 2 ms response time, full HD, has a good picture and happens to fit the Atomiswave bezel snugly.

Why 26″?

26″ happens to be the largest 16:9 LCD that fits in the bezel. I tried one 27″ but it wouldn’t leave any space for the bezel and would’ve looked awkward. It took me a while to find an LCD panel that fit. LCD panels come with an approx 15 mm frame for keeping the panel together adding about 3 cm to the width of the panel.

The HKC 2616A in an Atomiswave bezel
The HKC 2616A in an Atomiswave bezel

The inner width of the Atomiswave bezel is 61.5 cm. Unfortunately it’s a bit of a gamble since you don’t know the exact width of the LCD panel without taking the monitor apart (and of course voiding the warranty and any chance of returning it on failure). I got lucky – this time. The monitor fit perfectly in the Atomiswave bezel. In fact so perfect even trying to wedge a paper in between the monitor and the bezel was impossible.

Why not go full blown with a 32″ wide screen in a custom cab? Well, the obvious reason is that I don’t like any of the available HD cabs and most of the custom kits more or less tries to imitate the Vewlixes. Also you get closer to the screen on an AWSD cab and on that distance the 26″ works just fine.

Bezel and mounts

The bezel will obviously need to be modified since a 26″ 16:9 monitor won’t be as high as a 29″ 4:3. Hence a few centimeters needs to be added to the height of the bezel and also a couple has to be shaved from the width.

Bezel modifications
Bezel modifications

Modifying the bezel shouldn’t be too hard. The top and bottom can be built with Plastic Padding or other neat solution (I’m open to suggestions here) and the sides just needs a shave and shape, still keeping the outer edges of the bezel intact.

Since the bezel is glossy black, once the dimensions are right, creating the correct black finish shouldn’t pose any problems.

My first plan was to use a VESA mount for the monitor (easy rotation) but abandoned it quickly because the VESA mount was too fragile and not stable enough. So instead I opted for custom aluminum profiles for the mounting plates for low weight and stability. Rotating the monitor will still be easy peasy since it’s both thin and light (compared to a CRT).

More about the HKC 2612A

The HKC panel has holes in each corner, hopefully simplifying the mounting.

HKC 2616A; connectors, chassis and remote
HKC 2612A; connectors, chassis and remote

The chassis is equipped with VGA, DVI and HDMI connectors and the remote cable will de easily extended for placing inside the control panel. It comes packed with a slim 100 – 250 VAC PSU.

In part 2 we’ll be looking a little closer at the HKC panel.

Candy for the candy cab

Repro side art and coin entry for the Sega New Astro CityFour days for a parcel from Taiwan to Sweden was way faster than I could imagine.  Picked up the coin entry and side arts at the post office yesterday. Sadly the side arts was not what I expected. Way off in color and I don’t think I’ll ever gonna use them. The chromed coin entry on the other hand fit like a snug. Story ended well though with a refund (except I’m still looking for the side arts).

The cab resto is on hibernation at the moment due to fixing up a room for the daughter. She’s gonna get a surf shack style loft bed with place for her little kitchen below 🙂 More on that later. Now it’s time for some Espgaluda II!

Side art (wrong color)Close up above of the side art I received. Compare it with the original below and you see the difference. What you can’t see in the picture below is that the gradient on the original side art actually is done with a half tone pattern and not a smooth gradient. Quite doable on a color laser printer so no need to cheat 😉

Original Sega New Astro City side art
Side view picture from Candy Cabinet City

More Guilty Gear and some resto parts incoming

Today’s a good day. Got a chromed coin entry and new side arts for the NAC coming my way. All the way from Taiwan!

New Astro City side art (repro) and chromed con entry
New Astro City parts

Still quite a while until it’s time for replacing the side arts since the cabinet needs a new paint job but good to have them at hand.

Jam Kuradoberi
Jam Kuradoberi

I also managed to get hold of a Guilty Gear X cartridge for the NAOMI – gotta catch them all!! 😉  Really have to figure out why I like the GGX games since I suck at playing them ¬_¬ Think it has something to do with May… Might be I just need a shrink >_<

The August Japan deal at Arkadtorget is officially closed and I’ll probably have some more goodies coming my way but more on that later, when I know exactly what’s in the box.

New Astro City – Resto pt II

Got started on the front panel last week but since the in-laws were arriving from Mexico on Thursday we’ve had to focus on getting the apartment in shape. So it’s been kinda slow on the cab front.

Front panel
Front panel (NAS-1100CE)
Backside of the front panel - black as a tar pit
Front panel backside (NAS-1100CE)

As you can see in the pictures the speaker cover looks aged and yellow but not alarming and to no surprise the backside was black of dust and smoke. Just by removing the speaker cables I ended up black all over. Unmounting of the upper billboard went without any hassle. Just need to be careful with those screw heads not to destroy them or break them.

Stuck speaker panel
Stuck speaker panel

The original foam strip under the speaker cover had eaten itself into the plastic and the cover was firmly stuck. Enter hobby knife and Qwipes.

Qwipes
Qwipes

Qwipes proved to work fine for removing the residues of the strips but unfortunately it also gladly removes paint so it’s a no no on the billboards or the instruction cover.

Foam strips on lower billboard
Foam strips on lower billboard

The lower billboard was fastened with a foam strip with glue on both sides and was a pain in the ¤£%# to remove. I had to carefully cut through the foam with a hobby knife without scraping the paint. And I still have to figure out how to remove the residues or if just to leave it as it is.

Halfway through the disassembly
The halfway mess

Halfway through the mess. The front panel stripped from all loose parts. Now time for the bath.

Back side of speaker cover partly cleaned
Speaker cover

Just to show you the before (right) and after (left) a couple rounds of Ajax.

The Qwipes proved to be really useful. Very easy to clean the cables with and using a small barbecue stick it was simple to reach into all those narrow slots and small holes.

Sega New Astro City arcade cabinet running CAVE Espgaluda II
Up and running

Given that the in-laws were arriving I had to make a quick re-assembly after cleaning the control panel. I’m quite happy with the results given the short time frame I had to work with but of course there’s still a lot left to do…

New Astro City – Restoration pt I

New Astro City arcade cabinet
New Astro City

Last week I finally picked up my New Astro City from SuperMotaro. As most candy cabs it’s full of Japanese arcade atmosphere – a.k.a. nicotine stains and a thick layer of dust. It will get a thorough overhaul in time but first a good rub with Ajax for getting rid of the worst stains and smell.

First obstacle to clear though was getting hold of a key for opening the panels. Luckily a friend from Arkadtorget came to the rescue and the disassembly could begin.