Tuesday, December 22, 2020

PinGun Parts list and prices

Current Total Costs and Estimates -

Since Starting Project in Late September or early October 2020
- $400 

Additional Cost, if I had to obtain them again at going prices of parts I have laying around - probably $500 more...  - But those are all things collected and paid for over the last 30 years.  Literally all kinds of spares and tear downs and mistake buys plus my normal console systems I was already playing.

Remaining estimate left to spend?  $100 for cabinet and tmolding and art, $50-80 for proper spinner, $20 for caps, $60-$120 for NES Everdrive.  Glass for cabinet, maybe $50?  So, probably about $300 left to spend.  (Slight chance I can't repair TV properly, and will need to actually buy one.  Probably $80 on marketplace.)

Stuff I plan to sell that's extras - Probably can make $200 on PSOne and Guns.  Probably can make $100 on the 2nd PS2 if I sell it hacked.  Probably can make $150 selling my NES Zapper cartridges.  Probably can make $80 selling my Dreamcast physical games.

Final Estimate Cost - $170

    $700 out of pocket - $530 recouped selling redundant games/systems = $170.
            (I will update this post as I go with actuals...)

Build Plans

Cabinet plans

  • Goal: I love the Granny and the Gators black on Green style.
  • Nothing yet.  Have priced out neon green/galaxian tmolding though, and asked around about cabs.  Have no wood or hardware for it yet.  Or paint or art.  But, have one friend who volunteered to route for the t-molding, and a cousin of my wife's who volunteered to help me fab it.  Might put a green LCD strip I have somewhere tastefully in it.  Maybe a cutout of the art so that it glows behind it?

Monitor plans

  • Goal: 
    • CRT up Top - Gun capable and most emulators, and also for backglass on Virtual pins.
    • LCD on bottom, mounted vertical, for Virtual Pin and certain emulators.
  • Got a free Samsung 39" LCD off of FB Marketplace.  Has some sort of issue where the screen goes bad and the whole thing freezes.  Wiggle the whole thing a bit, and boom, it's back to perfect.  Seems to have an HDMI auto power on function.  Hoping I can decase and find just a loose edge connector or something.
  • Random Sony Trinitrons and CRT's...  Right now, sitting on an obscene number of "so close" machines.  I really would love a 24" curved CRT with component, composite, and Svideo... But, alas, the Insignia I got like that has _wicked_ extra overscan, AND, most importantly, always turns on to the TV channel.  A Phillips 27" I got is _perfect_... except it won't power on when power connected if left on.  And, 27" is just too big really.  The Trinitrons, though flat, have the wonderful "power on when plugged in if left powered on" feature, but the 3 I got must have caps going bad and one has a bad yoke position or magnetized degauss coil or something.  So far, they all look like crap.  2 are 27", but, I have hope for the 24" I got, that I can cap kit it fairly inexpensively and get it up and beautiful again.  So far, I only spent $20 on the 24" CRT, and that's cause the old lady who had it was a trip!
  • Manual Phillips switch - $5 off fb Marketplace - This badboy is mechanical and has 4 ports, all with SVideo and Composite, plus 3 of the 4 also have Component and Ethernet.  And they're set up in such a way so that, as long as you double up the Audio inputs, that you could do basically 4 Svideo/Composites and 3 components, all hooked up at the same time.  
    • An additional thought I've had is to chain a second physical switch in the reverse way going out of this one so that I can route a more traditionally mounted TV that people can sit in front of that I mount separately.  Not sure of that plan yet.

Control Panel Plans

  •  Goals.
    • Primary
      • Tron stick
      • Spinner
      • Trackball
      • Ikari rotary with 8way
    • Maybe
      • Robotron capability?
      • 4 way capability?
      • Racing pedals (and time crisis style pedal)
      • Plunger
      • Nudge
  • Inches to work with - Basic pinball width is 23" basically.  So, probably 21"
  • Stock on hand from previous projects that I never finished - got nearly all of this 15-18 years ago off ebay when the kids were less than 3 and I had no idea how much time I'd spend being a dad vs. setting up machines.
    • 1 Saitek flightstick, USB.  Very "tron" like joystick with a bunch of buttons.  Hoping to be able to use this as a Tron stick as is with no driver issues.  Just plug in and go.  Will need to hack around on it in order to make it fit where i want to.  The base is HUGE.  Or, I'm going to make it mountable/removable.  Or, I'll just steal the top and put on my own joystick?  I dunno yet.
    • 1 3" HAPP Trackball, really nice condition with mounting plate.  1 2 1/4" HAPP Trackball that needs new rollers to be 100%.  I'm probably going to go with the 3" because then I can basically make it like a golden Tee, and it still should work ok for Centipede. However, Centipede is my main trackball game, so I might just stick with the 2 1/4 for those reasons as well as space?
    • Horrible Arkanoid spinners - I bought like 10 "bad" ones in an auction years ago, assuming I'd be able to make at least one good one out of the bunch.  Have not been able to make that happen.  IDK what I'm going to do.  I REALLY want a spinner that lets me play Tempest great and can do pretty good on everything else.  I thought an Arkanoid spinner would do the trick, but even the best one I could cobble together from the parts has so much play in  it so that the inertia always causes a few extra clicks the wrong way.  And the higher resolution screws it all up.  Still not sure what I'm going to do here as Tempest spinners don't have the resolution needed.  Just want it to feel and play Tempest right, is that so wrong?
    • 1 HAPP Optical Rotary joystick for Ikari.  Has a black top, round, like a regular competition.  Needs a new microswitch.  
    • 2 HAPP competition 8 ways and a bunch of microswitch buttons. Honestly, I hate the clicky click.  However, they are paired, they work great, and I'm not really using them.
    • 1 sanwa style 4 way with a pink ball top.  I have this wired into an old USB flightstick I wired in the hatswitch to it.  It has this HUGE base and was great back in the day for me playing Amidar and pacman properly.  
    • 1 extra leaf switch ball top.  Two I think?  I think they were OEM Robotron pulls.  Probably need new grommets.  They feel sooo nice.  8 way.
    • I have a mini-pac from Ultimarc as well as a cheap chinese Playstation style USB encoder.  (It's possible I can use the PS style USB encoder to also make the 8 way joystick and flight stick and buttons dual compatible with the PS2?  I'm already working on the guncon2 drivers.
  • Guns
    • ACT LABS PC USB Light gun - SVideo Version.  "bug" style.  Owned it for 15+ years and never have had a setup going for it.  Have finally tested it with my new build and an ancient TView Micro VGA to SVideo conversion box that works great.  I've owned that for 20+ years.
    • Mad Catz Guncon2/GC1/Justifier compatible guns - I've bought 3 off of eBay this year.  One for $14.69 and 2 for $25.90.  All listed as untested or partially tested, all work well.  One kind of has a bad bottom button.  HOPING I can get Wingun or Topgun or one of the other rogue drivers to work with these.  I already tested, and these work just fine while plugged into both the PS1 and PS2's simultaneously (one PS1 connector and one USB connector on each.)  And, I plan to get them wired simultaneously for the TV Micro Video also.  Possibly with a USB hub switch on a physical 2 way switch.  Part of my plan is to _hopefully_ be able to have portions of my CP which map to both PS2 and to the PC.
    • Also considering a flightstick hack for Operation Wolf and Crossbow style mounted guns that used 5V's  maybe? Someday?

PC Plans

  • PC Case with Powersupply, AM3+ motherboard, 16 gigs of ram - $50 off facebook marketplace.
  • EVGA GeForce GTX750 ti - $40 off facebook marketplace (overclocked at +225 and +500 memory and +12 mV)
  • AMD Phenom II 460 - 4 core (overclocked to 3.8GHz)  (Accidentally bought this for $36 a year ago and couldn't use it on my other motherboard.  This motherboard could take it though.)
  • TView Micro VGA to SVideo converter. (Have had forever)
  • Mostly plan to use Future Pinball and Visual Pinball.  Plus supplemented with console pinball games through emulators.  Will probably end up buying FX3 and possibly Pinball Arcade titles off Steam if they do sales on cool looking titles and if I can get the backglass to work on FX3.  might also try to use a spare Kinect again for BAM, or get a cheapo webcam.

Console plans

  • 1 Playstation 1 (PS1) with a PSIO pre installed - $154 off eBay.  (Will offset price by Selling off my PSOne with Screen and carrying case and miscellanous PS1 guns including Pointblank 1, 2, 3 and the Time Crisis games including 2 GunCons.)
  • 1 Playstation 2 (PS2) - $40 plus extras on fb marketplace (actually got a second for $50 too - Lot of games and memory cards with both.)
    • with FreeMCBoot on IDE Network Adapter and IDE harddrive (from friend, and from my old backup drives)
    • On Second one, had also set it up with a $5 fb marketplace router and another old USB backup drive I had laying around.  Not sure which one I will use, but will probably sell off the other or donate to a friend.
  • 2 Energizer Multi system cables with full component, composite, and SVideo for PS, PS2, Wii, and xBox360 -  $9.97 and $5.19 on eBay.
    • One for SVideo out on PS1, One for Component out on PS2. Assuming I should be able to use as piggy backs for the composite hookup for the guns.
  • 1 Wii - Hacked with standard tools.  Will need to add an external harddrive.  Have had these for years, got them all cheap (Under $50) at various times.
  • 1 NES with Zapper (Owned since college, will sell off all of my Gun Game cartridges, all US gun games, including Chiller and Baby Boomer to eventually offset cost of buying an Everdrive so I don't have to change cartridges.  I will come out ahead and make $ here, so I might get an authentic Everdrive.)
  • 1 Dreamcast with 1 GDEMU and 1 VGA Adapter that has an SVideo out too.  Have had dreamcast and adapter for years.  Guns seem to be acting up and need cap kits probably.  GDEMU was $35 off of Ali Express.  Did the 12V removal mod, and had the MicroSD card (I think I used a 64GB) laying around.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The next big thing - My Virtual Pin/Gun Game


And so it begins (or well, it did back in late September/Early October 2020).  I'm still working on my Scramble, getting the monitor right, finishing off the multigame switch.  But, a huge case of Covid blues hit me this summer, and I lost a lot of ground.

Enter the next fighter for my attention...  A combo virtual pinball and light gun game, roughly configured like Granny and the Gators or Baby Pacman or even in a way the Pinball 2000 games.  I say this explicitly because I need a CRT for the guns.

While most Virtual Pins seem to be using backglasses today, I am space confined.  And, I have always had a CRT for gun games mounted up to my 6'2" frame at a height like a real arcade game because standing is really the only way to play gun games, IMHO.  Same with Pinball.  So, after looking at the local retro gamer's group where one guy converted an unrecoverable Baby Pacman cabinet to a dual virtual pacman virtual pinball setup, and another guy built himself a multi-console gun cabinet... I looked over at my PS1, my Dreamcast, my NES, and my sad sad SVideo model Act Labs USB PC Gun that I bought and never hooked up properly... and I thought... TODAY IS THE DAY.  Then I went nuts, and started measuring and sketching and scheming.  That was a few months ago, and I decided I needed to document it as I'm getting closer to scrounging up all the pieces, before I make the cabinet.

Maybe I'll call it FUZzy and the Flippers, or Captain Goatee and His Gunners.  IDK yet.  I ended up calling the mini pacman build (that I failed to document here) "FUZ's Fourway".

I want to also populate it with my oddball controls, with a Control Panel layout just like Baby Pacman.  I have a 3 inch HAPP trackball, an arkanoid spinner, a trigger finger USB flight stick, and a HAPP optical Rotary Joystick that are all sitting around and wishing they could be on a system.  Since I'm space constrained, I'm planning to shove them all on the CP of this thing.

Of note... one dimension is wrong up there.  The width of a standard lockbar in pinball is approx 22.25", not 13+13=26, as I have diagrammed.  I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do.  I am so used to that exact width, but I also want to cram in everything.  So, we shall see.  I'm considering making the CP modular, so that I can swap in what I want.  Especially since I'd also like to be able to sometime attach a console steering wheel and play racing games too.

Next thread will be my list of purchases and costs, and I'm a Cheap Daddy and one of my goals is to see just how cheap I can make this for, and still have it be exactly what I want/need/expected.  And then, I'll fill in the gaps of tracking down each component.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Hints, Tips, and Tricks - My Project Eris installation notes and FAQ for the mini Playstation Classic

Recently I installed Project Eris on a mini Playstation Classic I'd bought from Best Buy for $25 when they cleared them out a long time ago.  I'm not a PS1 guy, save for the gun games, and so it basically just collected dust for years as I messed with hacks on other systems I won't mention because I don't want people coming here because of the search engines.  

Then, a few weeks ago, my buddy is like, "Man, I miss Chrono Trigger."  And I said... I can hook you up.

I was able to used guides and searches to get it done pretty well, but there were a few things I discovered that I'm not sure everyone else in the world might know.  So, I'm going to put them here now.


I don't have Amazon sponsored links set up.  (Click through one of my ads here to support me maybe?)  But, basically, I used the Amazon version of the 128 GB drive sold by Microcenter for $9 (2 pack for $18.)  That drive WILL DIE in the front from not enough current, so you do need to use a separate, smaller drive to do the install.  I used a standard low end 32GB PNY drive to do that.  I buy those by the 5 pack (about $3.50 apiece in bulk) to put my SN-S Mini build on that has 14,000 games.


I used one of the generic Chinese crap ones that looks like this...  You can find them for about $4.50 to $7 depending on what site.  I got one off eBay that took 5 weeks to get here.

NOTE: JUST LEAVE IT ON THE CHARGE SETTING AND IT WORKS FINE.  Seems to actually run faster on charge than on OTG.  Not sure it matters.


WHERE DO I FIND RETROARCH content when I want to "load content" (i.e. Roms and ISO's)?

Say you're not feeling like using Emulation Station, and you just want to run a rom.  You open up retroarch, and load a core, and then go to load your content... And there's a mess of options, and none seem to work.  Turns out the root of SONY where "roms" and "games" live is mapped to "/Media/".  Easy Peasy.