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  • Joined: 23 Mar 2013
  • Posts: 572
  • Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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School table SMS arcade setup
Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:09 pm
Hi guys.

I have been wanting to share this project with you for a while...

Back in the days in my room at my parents' house, my SMS was always out, always connected to my little TV, and games and control pads where scattered on my bed, table, floor etc. This way one could quickly turn on the console and the TV, and begin the onslaught on Death Adder's minions.

Decades later, as a family man, with wife, kids and my own house, I came to realize that I really missed to be able to spontaneously embark on my favorite 8-bit adventures. My wife has been very patient with me, having witnessed how a pile of SMS related stuff, including a mess of wires, and a hacked up coffee table as a gaming table, has been steadily building up in the living room, in front of the only TV in the house, over the past year. I had to switch around SCART cables etc. every time.

Something had to be done :) With the help of my wife, I developed a school table arcade setup as a permanent solution. It is 'allowed' to be connected always, and it even has a honorable and good strategic position in the house: Right next to the dinner table and the kitchen!

I can give more details if anyone is interested, but here are some highlights:

    * I refurbished a second hand old school table (the ones with a storage room inside). In the storage room, I can nicely fit a console, small speakers, wires, even some old SMS posters, etc. When the lid is closed, you cannot see the hardware mess inside. Picture 1.

    * Drilled holes and used my router to create the necessary adjustments for fitting Seimitsu joysticks and buttons for a two player setup. Picture 2,3,4

    * Fitted a shelf to the back to support a monitor. I got it from my brother in law, but I had to purchase a TV to VGA converter. I use a hardware-modded SMS2, so I have S-video out of the console (as described in posts in this forum), going into the converter, feeding the monitor. I also tap the sound via a mod, and directly into the small set of speakers I keep in the storage compartment under the panel

    * The SMS2 inside has an Everdrive with all my fav. games, and a modification that allows me to have pause button functionality from one of the custom buttons on the front panel.

    * On the side of the table I have a master switch that will one-click turn on the SMS2, speakers, converter and monitor. You sit down, click, and zaaap! - you are greeted with a list of 8-bit fun to choose from. And when it is time to power down - one click and everything closes down in a snap.

    As you can see from pictures 6 and 7, this setup does not only ensure that SMS gaming is never out of my reach, it unites three generations of players: My father - the man who convinced me to buy a SEGA Master System back then, my son - who has already recieved a great deal of retro home schooling at this arcade table, and me (not in the pictures)

1.png (467.6 KB)
Old school table - before
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2.png (391.62 KB)
Control panel w. holes
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Control panel w. controls
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4.png (491.66 KB)
Control panel - back side
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5.png (425.13 KB)
Shelf for monitor
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6.png (1.01 MB)
Next generation SMS action
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7.png (849.07 KB)
SMS action across generations - my father and my boy :)
7.png

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  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Posts: 548
  • Location: Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:11 am
Looks nice!
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  • Joined: 08 Oct 2012
  • Posts: 108
  • Location: Colmar PA, United States
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:26 am
Impressive!
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  • Joined: 14 Apr 2013
  • Posts: 499
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 7:28 pm
This is so cool! Is that Rampage, your father and your son are playing together? :D
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  • Joined: 23 Mar 2013
  • Posts: 572
  • Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:52 pm
Thanks for the kind words! :) And yes, Calindro - good call. They are indeed playing Rampage. For my father it was like the first time in 20 years, and he instantly remembered the music, and started humming along :)

I have attached two pics of the insides of the storage compartment under the control panel. It is a mess, but the point is that it is the 'invisible' kind of mess, as it is hidden under the control panel during normal operation.

The custom connections run through the breadboard in the foreground of picture 9. S-video luma and chroma (yellow and green wires), pause button + ground (grey and black) and sound + ground (white and red). That particular console has been hacked up pretty good/bad. At one point, it had a fan cooled voltage regulator (yeah I know it is stupid), and so on, so some of the wires are still visible from previous hacks.
8 hardware.png (336.01 KB)
Inside the storage compartment
8 hardware.png
9 hardware - closeup.png (496.67 KB)
Close-up of the hardware
9 hardware - closeup.png

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  • Joined: 13 Dec 2010
  • Posts: 30
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:18 am
Super cool, would love to do a similar thing with my kids... I think you've sparked an idea.. :D
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  • Joined: 23 Mar 2013
  • Posts: 572
  • Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:17 pm
LuckySword wrote
Super cool, would love to do a similar thing with my kids... I think you've sparked an idea.. :D


I'm glad to hear that! The school table system has been a stable add-on to our little family since it was built - but currently the hot Danish summer draws everyone outside, so the system stands alone in it's corner, patiently waiting for rainy days to come :)

By the way, I would like to recommend Slagcoin's page on custom arcade controllers () I drew on the work found there. http://www.slagcoin.com/joystick.html

Good luck with the project :)
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