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Project Omega – My take on a bartop arcade

Everything started when I found a coin acceptor on eBay but had no idea what to use it for. I normally try to find excuses to buy stuff I don’t need. 🙂 As for the coin acceptor, I tried to figure out what to use it for… I just loved the device itself, being able to collect coins and programmed it to potentially do a lot of cool stuff. After a lot of thinking I came up with the only sensible thing to do… build an arcade! 😀

I have to admit, I’m not much of a gamer (except from Nintendo-consoles), but love to make things work in terms of hardware and software. After browsing the web for quite some time to gather ideas I’ve figured out that I wanted to build a bartop arcade so I would be able to transport it more easier if needed. Since I didn’t have any plans in my summer holidays, I began working on this project…

First thing first…there was a lot of planning regarding on how to make the bartop and what features it should offer.
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When it came to the hardware I brought the following, since I didn’t have much laying around. For the controls I brought a x-arcade. I know people hate them as do I know that I own one. 😛 The controller board is just horrible, but the buttons and joystick seems to do the trick. I would rather want a solution that’s recognized as a gamepad rather then a very limited keyboard. Well.. at least it works. 🙂 I also, ironically, had to buy a new coin acceptor since the one I got from eBay didn’t accept Norwegian coins (coins with a hole in the middle). So I ended up with a coin acceptor from Sparkfun instead, but kept the same idea. I also had some other hardware like two Aimtrak lightgruns, lcd screens, speakers and so on.. but probably not worth mentioning as you’ll see them on the pictures below. Oh.. and I also brought a 7″ LCD from eBay that I intend to use for CPWizard (displaying key layouts depending on the game). 🙂

The glorious hardware:

CPU/GPU: AMD A-SERIES X4 A10-7850K 3.7GHZ SOCKET FM2+ BOX
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-HD3 A88X S-FM2+ M-ATX
Memory: KINGSTON 4GB 1866MHZ DDR3 CL10 DIMM 1X4GB HYPERX FURY BLACK
HHD-OS: KINGSTON SSDNOW V300 60GB SATA SSD MLC
HDD-1: WD GREEN 3.5″ 3TB SATA/600 64MB
HDD-2: A 2TB Seagate I had laying around
Cooling: CORSAIR H60 HYDRO CPU COOLER S-1150/1155/2011/AM3+
PSU: CORSAIR CX 600W M BRONZE ATX12V 2.3 MODULAR PSU
Case: Silverstone SST-ML04B USB 3.0 HTPC
Screen: Some 19″ Acer screen I found laying around

I really wanted to use a AMD A10 CPU (never used them before now) just so I don’t have to worry about heat and since they are quite cheap. Now I could cool the whole system just using a H60 water-cooler. When looking at other builds I noticed most people just mounting the whole computer directly to the wood. I didn’t really like the idea so I brought a Silverstone HTPC cabinet which was perfect for the job. Once I’ve removed all the unnecessary plastic, it would fit perfectly in the arcade. Not only makes this changing components easier, but it also feels safer then having everything mounted directly to the back of the arcade. This is what the hardware looked like, everything mounted within the case. Please note that the screen is not part of the hardware. Not to mention my testing-rig for the coin acceptor. Yes, I love Pringles!

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Building the actual arcade took about two weeks. There was a lot of “fiddling” around to get everything just right, but I think it turned out quite well.

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Finished it looks like this. I still have no artwork on it, but I’m working on that as well.

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Features:

* 7″ screen in marquee in order to display key mappings when in game
* 2x 190W speakers by Pioneer
* Aimtrak sensor bar for Aimtrak lightguns. Also work with Wii motes
* LCD display showing if games are console- or arcade-games “Freeplay”/”Insert coins”
* Coin acceptor accepting all Norwegian coins (1,5,10,20 NOK). Will only accept games if game supports it.
* 19″ LCD screen
* Two player, 8+1 buttons arcade layout
* Control panel can be opened for easy access to cables
* Real lock at the back of the arcade
* Heat-vent on top for hot air to escape

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