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Old 31st August 2017, 9:43 PM   #1
oculi Thread Starter
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Default retropie/cabinets etc general? its fairly cheap and easy!

Hi all, not sure if there is a thread like this yet and I guess most people interested in it will have probably been there and done it, but I guess this is my take on it as amoderately computer literate person.

Also not sure if emulation belongs in this section, pretty sure it does.

A while back I borrowed a raspberry pi 3 from a mate and had a quick play with retropie, then gave it back.

recently I got one of my own (RS componets was cheaper than anybody on ebay interestingly) and started setting it up with a view to getting everything running before moving on to building a cabinet etc.

As I'm a frugalist I just got the pi and powersupply from RS, then a case for a few bucks from ebay and a 3.5mm to 3 x RCA A/V Composite Cable from ??? somewhere cheap. (Red is video!) so I could test it with a free TV I obtained, then reused an old class 2 16 gig SD card.

I have a joystick and some arcade buttons (I love concave top arcade buttons for some reason) so ordered another joystick and more buttons plus two "zero delay" USB encoders which I came accross looking for something cheaper than buying another pi3 (looking at you IPAC)

So far I've found:

setting it up is pretty easy

the raspberry pi works much better than I thought, either it works out of the box or it will download what it needs. I thought I would have to install a bunch of crap to get it to work with the TV but it worked as soon as I plugged the correct wrong colored plug into the TV (apparently if you plug in HDMI at the same time it will just display on HDMI)

I thought the sound was a bit low on the TV but this was just the output gain setting which was easily fixed.

Getting a PS3 wireless bluetooth control to work was quite straightforward once I figured out how to spell things right in the one or two lines I needed to write into wherever

You can install KODI so it launches from inside the retropie menu, thought I would have to bugger around with dual booting or something, seems to work great so far.

As far as the cabinet goes I've wanted to have a cocktail format one for a while, but have the option to display it on a wall mounted TV (pretty straightforward)

Probably start with 6 buttons, would prefer 2 (for my ~5YO son to use at least) but the button mapping isn't consistent on the PS3 controller between systems.

Elvis mentioned it the other day (or some time ago) but this is an excellent resource for button layouts http://www.slagcoin.com/joystick/layout.html

I have half an idea how to make a cheap coin mech too, will basically just be a slot with a microswitch behind it but it will make the right noise when the coins pass through.

I will add links for the above stuff if anyone is interested, to quote the flight of the conchords "I thought this was going to be easy, but it turned out to be even easier than I thought it would be" so give it a go if you are on the fence. I'm sure there are some hard bits waiting for me to run into too.
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Old 31st August 2017, 9:56 PM   #2
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Also not sure if emulation belongs in this section, pretty sure it does.
Heck yeah it does. A great way to keep retrogaming alive.

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I'm a frugalist
Me too. Although I prefer "tight arse".

Cheap cabinet ideas:

1) Bartop. Space saver, light on materials, easy to pick up and take with you somewhere or store out of sight.

(I've got a couple of projects on the go, but a Galaga/Galaxian themed bartop is on my list of cabinets to make and give away).

2) Vigolix:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/inde...topic=119533.0
http://forums.overclockers.com.au/sh....php?t=1227736

1 sheet of ply/MDF upright cabinet. Designed for an LCD, but you could easily mount a CRT in there with a bit of care.

3) Cocktail. Basically a box. US style ones don't even need complex legs (cheapy bunnings pre-made coffee table legs or furniture risers will do you). AU/JP style ones take a bit more effort

Here's a couple I made years back:
https://stickfreaks.com/projects/coc...abinet-1-and-2

Any of those can be designed for 1 or 2 players.

If you're going a CRT with the Pi, make sure you enable 240p over composite:
http://filthypants.blogspot.com.au/2...te-output.html
https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware/issues/683

That way you get a nice stable picture, and no interlace flicker. It'll look much more like the real arcade and console games did with a progressive scan picture.

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Old 31st August 2017, 10:09 PM   #3
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If you're going a CRT with the Pi, make sure you enable 240p over composite:
http://filthypants.blogspot.com.au/2...te-output.html
https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware/issues/683

That way you get a nice stable picture, and no interlace flicker. It'll look much more like the real arcade and console games did with a progressive scan picture.
urgh, here I go down the rabbit hole. "thanks" Elvis!

with the cocktail cab I was in Bunnings today thinking about using a glass pool fence panel for the top of a cofeetail table, 1200mm X variousmm, 12mm thick. haven't got any prices lately but these are way cheaper than getting glass cut. Just need to see what kind of TV is big enough to justify something this big!

With your cocktail cabinet with vertical and horizontal screen controls did you just parallel the "player 1" stick/buttons to the same USB encoder? can't see any reason not to do it that way.
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Old 31st August 2017, 10:20 PM   #4
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urgh, here I go down the rabbit hole. "thanks" Elvis!


The 240p out isn't too hard. The first link is the easy version. In any modern Linux for RPi, everything's built in now. No fetching custom software or compiling. Just throw an extra line in your config.txt, and it'll boot to progressive scan NTSC (aka 240p) instead of the default 480i.

The second link (the GitHub one) is the background on how it got developed and the testing people did along the way, if you're interested. Feel free to ignore it if you don't want to be bombarded with jargon.

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with the cocktail cab I was in Bunnings today thinking about using a glass pool fence panel for the top of a cofeetail table, 1200mm X variousmm, 12mm thick. haven't got any prices lately but these are way cheaper than getting glass cut.
Great idea. I find lots of stuff at Bunnings that are cost savers.

When I made my Moon Patrol cabinet (no pictures currently, relocating it to the new website), I found things like a cheap access panel that made the perfect coin door, and aluminium brackets and carpet edging that was the perfect size for a marquee holder, and a fraction of the price.

I get all my glass done at Logan Glass here in Brisbane. For one piece of glass, hardened/tempered, bevelled edges, rounded corners, I pay around $70-ish. I never thought of pool fencing though.

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Just need to see what kind of TV is big enough to justify something this big!
Finding a street-rescue CRT is pretty easy. Plenty around. If your local council announces kerbside collection times, go to the suburbs they mention and hunt around. Beat the copper-vultures to the CRTs, and save a classic display!

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With your cocktail cabinet with vertical and horizontal screen controls did you just parallel the "player 1" stick/buttons to the same USB encoder? can't see any reason not to do it that way.
Yup, no trickiness at all. Downside is someone else can be a dick and fiddle with the controls on the other orientation. But it makes it nice and simple for both configuration and cost.
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Old 31st August 2017, 11:25 PM   #5
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The 240p out isn't too hard. The first link is the easy version. In any modern Linux for RPi, everything's built in now. No fetching custom software or compiling. Just throw an extra line in your config.txt, and it'll boot to progressive scan NTSC (aka 240p) instead of the default 480i.
kinda getting there, the only time I've ever used *nix is with these things so takes me a while.

managed to uncomment/add the line "sdtv_mode=18" probably could have just done that without updating as I think my version was released after that change, no matter.

games look a lot better but the menus look flicker free but "worse" as does the config screens and terminal (which looked bad but was clearly legible before) but I suppose that is to be expected. (tried NTSC too, that looked superbad)

think I need to mess with the screen offsets a bit too (I assume they only apply to the composite video signal?) but that can wait. bit tedious having to restart each time I swap from the TV to the monitor and then have to look up what to do on my phone. Hours of entertainment!

Thanks for that tip!
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Old 1st September 2017, 8:54 AM   #6
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games look a lot better but the menus look flicker free but "worse" as does the config screens and terminal (which looked bad but was clearly legible before) but I suppose that is to be expected. (tried NTSC too, that looked superbad)

think I need to mess with the screen offsets a bit too (I assume they only apply to the composite video signal?) but that can wait. bit tedious having to restart each time I swap from the TV to the monitor and then have to look up what to do on my phone. Hours of entertainment!
Yeah, most of the themes are designed for folks on high res LCD monitors. You need to find a theme that is designed for low res.

I upgrade the Moon Patrol cabinet I gave to my friend recently to a newer version of RetroPi with this same setup. I found a theme for that which didn't suck. I'll try to find the name of it and post back here.
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Old 1st September 2017, 10:14 AM   #7
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Yeah, most of the themes are designed for folks on high res LCD monitors. You need to find a theme that is designed for low res.

I upgrade the Moon Patrol cabinet I gave to my friend recently to a newer version of RetroPi with this same setup. I found a theme for that which didn't suck. I'll try to find the name of it and post back here.
cheers, i just installed "CRT" which is a bit more legible, but I like the look of Carbon more.

would be nice to have it output to HDMI and composite at the same time, not a big deal though.
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Old 1st September 2017, 12:23 PM   #8
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I'm going to follow this thread. I really shouldn't because I already have too many projects, not enough money for them, definitely not enough time for them etc.

But this could rekindle my mis-spent youth !
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Old 1st September 2017, 3:17 PM   #9
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I restored an LAI cocktail cabinet and it's my pride and joy, but does limit what you can play on it and it's pretty uncomfortable to use for long periods of time.

If going full build I'd do a lowboy cabinet with rotatable LCD/CRT. Their footprint is still fairly small, not as overwhelming as a full standing cabinet and you could play anything on it.

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Old 1st September 2017, 3:29 PM   #10
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I'm going to follow this thread. I really shouldn't because I already have too many projects, not enough money for them, definitely not enough time for them etc.

But this could rekindle my mis-spent youth !
I have lots of projects but most involve making noise, all my spare time is a night when everyone is asleep so working out the intricacies of this stuff fits in at the moment.

You can keep it pretty compact until it comes time to build a cabinet, just isn't the same without clicky switches.

I did some measuing, my "spare" 40 inch LCD TV would sit nicely under a 1200 X 700mm glass panel from bunnings but at $66 (and 27kg) it is probably worth looking at getting a sheet cut to exactly the dimensions I need.

Recent upright cabinets are pretty compact, mainly thanks to LCD monitors and have just enough of the traditional look to them.
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Old 1st September 2017, 7:12 PM   #11
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I restored an LAI cocktail cabinet and it's my pride and joy, but does limit what you can play on it and it's pretty uncomfortable to use for long periods of time.
My cocktails are the same. Fun when we have parties and people like to play Pacman or Donkey Kong over a few beers. But if you want to sink an hour into a game, it's hand-cramp city.
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Old 1st September 2017, 8:59 PM   #12
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messed with the overscan values in config.txt a bit as the display isn't centred on the CRT and I can't see some of the left hand side.

I got it looking good on that and wondered if it also adjusted the HDMI output, tested it on my PC monitor and found it did - had a black border on the left hand side. I'm sure there is a way to make it apply the overscan values only when displaying on composite, but it isn't a big deal adding or removing # to the config file.

Did a bit of fiddling and got the neogeo emulator working, not for everything though. Youtube is the way to go for this, much easier than following writeups by people who already know what they are doing.
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Old 13th September 2017, 11:07 PM   #13
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Got a 68 cm TV, seriously don't know how I put up with the 15khz squeal for the ~25 years before reasonably priced alternatives to CRT came along. and my hearing would have been better for all of those 25 years than it is now.

anyway funny business is going on, after adjusting overscan to get the picture centred the screen looks like this in the retropie menu



but when I bring up the main menu it straightens out like



might be the cheap A/V cord I'm using, dunno. still need to try it at 480i or whatever.

I also plugged the composite cord into my 40 inch samsung LCD TV to see what it would make of the signal, looks shithouse (but straight lines as expected) need to see what this looks like at 480i (or whatever) too as the jagged blocks via HDMI aren't fantastic.

also installed PIXEL (a desktop environment) through the emulationstation menu which seems quite nice so far, you have to exit emulationstation to run pixel (EDIT: you can also access it through the "ports" section of the emulator menu, exiting pixel goes back into emulationstation), but now I have retropie/kodi/a desktop on the same SD card which is something I wasn't sure I would be able to do before starting this journey of discovery.

Still waiting for ebay junk to build the controllers
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Old 13th September 2017, 11:17 PM   #14
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15khz squeal
Music to my ears!

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anyway funny business is going on, after adjusting overscan to get the picture centred the screen looks like this in the retropie menu

image

but when I bring up the main menu it straightens out like

image

might be the cheap A/V cord I'm using, dunno. still need to try it at 480i or whatever.
I'd guess it's the TV. Looks like the bright sections near the edge of the screen are causing some convergence issues. When the bright portion returns to the centre, the contrast is way down and the convergence issue vanishes.

Grab yourself a copy of the 240p test suite:
http://junkerhq.net/xrgb/index.php?t...40p_test_suite

It's a bit of homebrew code ported to heaps of different systems. You can either run them on original systems (generally need to be modded or have a flashcart), or fire them up in the corresponding emulator on an RPi. The Genesis (US version specifically) version is a good one, as it's a proper 320x240 image (224 picture lines, plus blanking).

Muck around with a few of the tests, and see how your telly looks. I'll show pretty quickly if there are issues. I'd say an all-bright or all-dark picture will be fine, but anything where the image is like your test (with some bright areas near the sides) and it'll look a bit wonky donkey.

Remember too that CRTs, especially older analogue ones, can take a while to warm up, and issues like these can decrease if they've been on for 15 minutes or so.

Have a fiddle, and see what you find.
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Old 13th September 2017, 11:27 PM   #15
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cheers elvis I'll give that a go!
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