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Thema: Announcing D-MON hardware tool for use with soft15khz!

  1. #1
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    OPEN4PREORDERS! - Announcing D-MON hardware tool for use with soft15khz!

    Over the past year or so, it's been an ongoing project of mine to create a hardware system to seamlessly integrate an arcade cabinet and a PC with the use of soft15khz. The system has finally reached a point with V3.01 of the main control board where it's completely bug free and plug and play. I'm currently looking to see if people are actually interested in these.

    The system consists of several smaller PCBs:

    D-MON (MONitor Delay circuitry):
    This main board plugs into your PC's powersupply and the VGA output of your computer. This board serves multiple functions.
    -It has an on-board RGB amplifier to convert the 0.75VPP VGA signal to (approx) 5VPP that arcade monitors expect.
    -The H-sync and V-sync signals of VGA cards are gated together properly through TTL logic to get a proper composite sync signal that arcade monitors expect. It also solves the problem of some VGA cards outputting negative sync on one, and positive on the other sync line.
    -An EDID dongle is optionally integrated for use with VGA cards that require it.
    -Safety circuit for monitor frequency. If the input signal's horizontal frequency goes above 15khz, the board blanks all RGB and sync output to protect the monitor from possible damage due to a too high horizontal frequency. (Can be disabled by dip-switch)
    -A delay circuitry is also integrated with a timer chip. The board connects to a parallel port. When a PC with XP boots, it will set all parallel port I/Os high. As the machine is turned on, the board will keep the monitor blanked (no RGB or SYNC signals, so the screen remains blank) until the I/Os go high, when it will start a (length adjustable) countdown, upon the completion of which, the monitor gets a signal and picture appears. This allows you to have a completely blank screen until the exact moment your front end's intro video starts, or right intzo your front end, depending on your adjustment. (Can be disabled by dip-switch, timer range adjustable by jumper, the safety circuit can of course shut down the monitor if the signal goes out of range)
    -The board can be connected to your video card with a standard VGA-VGA monitor cable.
    -All other connections are made with screw terminals for ease of installation.
    -Powered from PC powersupply (needs both +5 and +12 volt connections)
    -LEDs for monitoring the presence of the +5V and +12V power rails, and the status of the protection/delay circuitry.

    D-SWITCH:
    This small relay board connects to the D-MON mainboard at it's powersupply connections, and it's purpose is to switch mains power to everything in the cabinet.
    Wire your PC's power button to the cabinet's main switch (of course replacing it with a button), route the mains power to the monitor and marquee neon or whatever else you want,and as soon as the PC is powered up, the relay on this board will turn power on to all peripherals! One button powerup!
    -All screw terminals
    -One mains input terminal, three output terminals. One for the monitor, one for the neons, and one spare for anything else you may want to power, like an audio amp, etc.
    (If your monitor uses an isolation transformer, of course you need to wire the transformer here, not the monitor directly.)

    D-JOY:
    As the name suggests, these are Atmel microcontroller based USB joystick controllers, with 4 digital axes and 13 button inputs each. Two will serve an entire cabinet, coin door wiring included. Can connect to existing wiring, as it works on the same principle as arcade boards, grounding any output will activate the associated axis or pushbutton. Comes with 1.5m soldered-in USB cable, button connections are screw terminals.

    D-AMP Jr.:
    This is a low powered, 2.1 audio amplifier with 2x 10W RMS and 1x 18W RMS for 4 ohm speakers, that also plugs into the PC powersupply. While not particularily noisy, for palces where the machine will be in a quiet place, a separate powersupply is recommended to avoid possible noise from PC activity.

    I'd like to know if anyone would be interested in these. The prices would be approximately the following: D-MON /w D-SWITCH - 60 EUR, D-JOY 17EUR each, D-AMP 20 EUR each.
    Of course these are subject to change based on how many I have manufactured.

    Cheers!
    Geändert von Rattanee (05-11-2013 um 21:13 Uhr)

  2. #2
    H@ckse Avatar von SailorSat
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    Looks promising - any news on the availability?
    Ich mach das alles auch ohne Joystick ,)

  3. #3
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    I'm de-bugging the amplifier board at the moment, as it seems to get noisy after about 2 hours of on-time for some reason, the main boards however are pretty much ready for manufacture, I'm just looking into different options regarding PCB manufacturing and parts acquisition to lower price. I'll be assembling and configuring a machine with the kit over the course of next week, and will upload demonstrations with the working prototypes to youtube.

    Cheers

  4. #4
    Administration Avatar von zyx
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    I will make this thread sticky. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further assistance.
    Geändert von zyx (25-10-2013 um 12:48 Uhr)
    "It blows my mind that with the retro gaming community and tools like MAME these games and the 8 and 16 bit cultures live on."
    Eugene Jarvis

    Cassini showed us the beauty of Saturn. It revealed the best in us. Now it's up to us to keep exploring.

    Electricity is a vengeful bitch who is not to be trifled with

  5. #5
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    Okay, while I'm waiting for PCB manufacturing prices, there's one change I just realized I could make in the main board.
    For those without a parallel port, I could try to add another dip-switch, so the timer can be started by the arrival of a valid CGA signal instead of the parallel port signal. There are drawbacks to this however. To keep it simple, this would mean that in case of an error condition of the video signal, when the resolution is reset to a valid one, the timer would start again instead of instantly restoring the image.
    Do you think this would be an acceptable middle-ground?
    I could possibly work around this so that the timer activates only on bootup, but this would definitely require added circuitry and further complicate things. Let me know what you think.

  6. #6
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    Okay, so I'm pretty much done with the installation of a complete kit into one of my cabinets. I will be uploading a short demo video to youtube in a few hours, I jsut need to cobble together a working front-end (I swear picking games out and creating a well working front-end environment is more hassle then the hardware part). Meanwhile, here are some pics.

    1374798_527547070662147_1501950617_n.jpg
    Here you can see my very first prototype set. Top is the 2.1 amplifier, to the right of it is the relay board, the bottom left is the v2.5 D-MON (latest version in the next pic), and bottom right are two USB joy controllers.

    Before going in-depth, the system seen above will be intended for completely customized cabinets, aimed at folks who build completely unique cabinets (ie: custom lighting, subwoofer built into cabinet bottom, etc. where you will definitely need your own wiring). For those interested, here's a gallery of mine of a recent custom conversion of a WWF cabinet with this system: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php...5768537&type=1
    There will be an alternate version, very similar to a J-pac, with a jamma-edge, for those who want to keep their existing wiring intact, and get the conversion out of the way as easily as possible.

    For the time being, the 2.1 amplifier will be abandoned, as there's some form of feedback between the two amp chips I'm using, making them noisy over time. In it's place a simple stereo amp will be available, which will more then suffice for most factory cabs.

    The above boards will be modified only slightly, to accomodate standard connectors for USB, audio, etc, to eliminate the need for custom cables, and allow the use of standard pre-made cables.

    1381579_528281140588740_1086575172_n.jpg

    The above pic is mostly for the curious, showing the development of the system.
    The one to the left was the second iteration of the first version, which did not yet have frequency monitoring, it merely relied on the parallel port, had no RGB amplifier, but instead a simple stereo amp was integrated right onto the board, and all switching was solved with relays.
    The center one was the first step towards the current final version, it had basically the same circuitry, except a lot of adjustments were pretty much hard-wired, and to change settings you'd need to change components.
    The rightmost is the current version, which should be the final iteration, merely needing a few components moved around as it turned out rather cramped around the dip switches. The empty DIP8 space next to the VGA connector is for the EEprom containing EDID data for those who need it.
    Geändert von Rattanee (29-10-2013 um 20:05 Uhr)

  7. #7
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    And I finally got around to doing the video. My front end setup ain't complete yet and it's driving me up the wall... plus I'm not the best speaker (and no time to edit the video or anything...) so... if you have any questions, let me know.

    Demo video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C87cn2d5AWY

  8. #8
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    Well I managed to pull my back so as a break from work I've typed up an introduction to both versions of the kit and the different components and what they each do. Let me know if anything's unclear:

    Introduction to D-MON Pro and SPEED D-MON boardset


    This document assumes you have at least basic knowledge of how arcade cabinets are comprised, and about their components.


    D-MON Pro:
    The D-MON Pro is a component based boardset aimed at arcade professionals, or people who only wish to use specific features of the set.
    It consists of the following components:

    - D-MON V3.02:
    This is the main component of the set. It comprises of an RGB video amplifier, a sync signal converter, a frequency monitoring circuit, and a monitor signal delay circuit. The board has a standard VGA port for easy connection with a standard VGA monitor cable. It requires +5 and +12 VDC power connections that should be hooked up to one of your PC's peripheral power connectors (standard DVD/IDE HDD power connector). An easy way to do this is to remove one of the PCI slot covering plates and route the connector out through the opening. Power connects to the board via screw terminals. CGA monitor output also uses screw terminals, along with the two single wires required to connect to your parallel port if you choose to use them. (Pre-made cables for the parallel port and power connectors will be available).
    RGB amplifier:
    This is, as the name suggests, a simple amplifier circuit to transform the .75Vpp output of a VGA card to the 5Vpp that arcade monitors expect.
    Sync converter:
    This is a simple circuit that properly gates the horizontal and vertical synchronization signals output by your VGA card into composite sync, that virtually all arcade monitors accept. In the rare cases where the monitor requires separate sync signals, this section of the board should be bypassed externally, however the horizontal sync signal still needs to connect to the board as well for the monitor protection feature to work.
    Frequency monitoring:
    This circuit monitors the frequency of the horizontal sync signal at all times. Should it go above the range accepted by 15khz monitors, the circuit activates and disables both RGB, and Composite sync outputs towards the monitor.
    Monitor signal delay:
    The aim here was to get rid of the unwanted (and unusable) imagery during the POST process of the PC, along with any images of windows or your OS booting, allowing your arcade to boot straight into your front end. This circuit can be configured a multitude of ways. This circuit will keep your monitor blanked until your OS signals that it's up and running.
    Option 1 (parallel port trigger):
    The board can connect to your PC's parallel port. When windows XP boots, in the boot process it will set all Parallel port IO pins high. The board, upon receiving this signal, notes that the OS is up, and starts the timer.
    Option 2 (sync trigger):In lieu of a paralell port, or for further ease of installation, the circuit can be switched over to activate on the arrival of a 15kh sync signal as well. Once the board receives a valid (15khz) sync signal, it will take it as the OS being up and running and start the timer.Once the timer is activated, it reads the timer settings, and starts a countdown, upon the completion of which it enables the RGB and sync outputs, thus image appears.Timer setup:
    Time adjustment:
    The length of the countdown depends on the setting of a small potentiometer preset by the user.
    Time adjustment range:
    The range of the timer adjustment can be adjusted in three different steps via two jumpers on the board. Jumper 301 in the ON position provides the shortest countdowns. Jumper 301 in the OFF position and Jumper 302 in the ON position provides a longer range (this is the factory setting and should be enough in most cases). Jumper 301 ON and Jumper 302 ON provide the longest delay, which should be enough for any system. It is preferred to use the shortest setting adequate for your setup to maximize the accuracy of the setting, so that your board will reliably turn on at the same time every time.

    - D-SWITCH:
    This is the mains switch PCB. It connects to the 12VDC and GND connections of D-MON V3.02, and to mains power coming in to the cabinet. It has three outputs that may connect to any mains-powered peripheral in your cabinet, such as neon lights, your monitor, or whatever else you may want in there. All connections are made with screw terminals for ease of installation. This component, when installed properly, allows for a simple one-button turn-on of your entire cabinet via the PC powerbutton!

    - Digital D-MON:
    The Digital D-MON is a simple USB HID joystick interface that requires no additional drivers, but is really plug and play. Each board provides two digital axes, and 13 digital inputs, meaning they can accomodate a single joystick and 13 buttons each. All the inputs are accessable via screw terminals. USB connection comes in two flavours, either a 1.2m hard-wired cable, or via an USB B connector for use with your choice of USB A-B cable.

    - Analog D-MON:
    An USB HID joystick interface for analog controls. Six analog axes, and 36 button inputs in a matrix setup. This controller is aimed at converting games with analog controls, such as driving cabinets, and is UNAVAILABLE for the moment, as it is in development. Specifications are subject to change.

    - D-Minor.:
    This is an audio amplifier that can be powered from the PC's 12V power rails. It is a 2x 20W HI-FI stereo amplifier with RCA inputs, Bass and Treble controls, and screw terminal power and output connections.
    IN DEBUGGING PHASE OF DEVELOPMENT

    - D-Major:
    Another audio amplifier that is designed not for the faint of heart. This is for those serious about their audio. It is a high powered 2.1 amplifier for stereo with a subwoofer, powered from mains power. Best suited for decent two-component stereo setups with a subwoofer built into the base of the cabinet.
    IN THE WORKS (as in: trying to find a reasonable price for the amp chips I used for this as they seem to have become rather expensive)
    SPEED D-MON:The SPEED D-MON is aimed at casual builders, who wish to convert an arcade cabinet to MAME use with as little hassle as possible, yet have all the advantages of the above component system. It includes the features of D-MON V3.02, a 2x10W stereo (or 1x 10W mono) audio amplifier, two Digital D-MON controllers, and a D-SWITCH, all bar the last integrated onto a single, JAMMA/MVS board. The board has been designed to even fit into a standard JAMMA PCB holder commonly used in universal cabinets.
    All the settings described under D-MON V3.02 apply to the SPEED D-MON, with the following addenda:

    Connections:
    All PC connections on the board are made with standard cables, aside from the parallel port, for which a 1m long custom cable will be supplied. All Arcade I/O-s connect to a standard JAMMA or MVS connector for plug-and-play use. All changes that need to be made in your wiring will use screw terminals, so all the tools needed are a wirestripper and a flat headed screwdriver.
    Your JAMMA harness connects to the board AS-IS. Unless you want to connect additional buttons, you will not need to touch your JAMMA or MVS edge connector. You will need to remove your original arcade Power Supply Unit, and wire it’s 5VDC and 12VDC connections into one of your PC’s peripherial power supply connectors, and your incoming mains connections into the supplied D-SWITCH, and your PC. Neon and monitor power should be wired into the D-SWITCH outputs, while the D-SWITCH trigger input should be wired to the 12VDC connection.
    The board is protected against reverse connection of the JAMMA edge. In such a condition however your PC will turn off immediately and your pwoersupply's safety feature won't allow it to be turned on until you disconnect power for at least 10 seconds and reconnect the JAMMA edge in the correct orientation.

    Amplifier section:
    Audio connections are made via a simple 3.5mm jack, and output on the JAMMA edge and/or screw terminals as per user settings.
    The amplifiers on board operate as two completely independent devices, and have very versatile setup possibilities:
    Stereo/Mono:
    Depending on your cabinet, you may set the board up in either Stereo or Mono mode. In Mono mode, via jumper switches, the board may be configured to sum the two channel stereo signal of a PC into a single mono signal, that is then routed to one of the amplifiers, and output to the JAMMA/MVS edge connector to connect to your existing wiring seamlessly. The other setting allows for the use of both channels separately with the two amplifiers, and allows for the configuration of where the board outputs these signals.
    JAMMA/MVS audio mode selection:
    In a stereo configuration, the board offers further options for the second channel's output.
    JAMMA mode:
    In JAMMA mode, channel 1 (or the summed MONO channel) is output to the standard JAMMA speaker pins. In STEREO JAMMA mode, the output of the second channel is routed to a screw terminal right behind the edge connector, so that if you wish to add a second speaker to a mono JAMMA cabinet, you may connect your second speaker here without having to modify your existing wiring.
    MVS mode:
    In MVS mode, the standard JAMMA speaker pins are used for the LEFT and RIGHT channel outputs, and speaker - is tied to common ground just like in Neo Geo MVS cabinets.

    USB Joystick interfaces:
    The USB joystick interfaces may be configured to your specific wiring as well. Aside from the standard JAMMA 1 2 3 buttons for P1 and P2, the two spare pins at P25 and P26 (sometimes used for buttons 4 and 5 on some odd board) of the JAMMA edge connector are wired for buttons 4 and 5. These buttons, along with all other available free button inputs are also routed to a row of screw terminals on the bottom of the board, allowing you to wire in any extra buttons you may have. The service and test buttons are also routed to the JAMMA edge for use in MAME, but should your cabinet not have these, or not have them wired (or just miswired or borken as they are on a lot of cabs), two large microswitches are located right behind the edge connector, wired to the P1 USB controller so you don't have to bother with odd button combinations on your control panel to access service menus. The USB interfaces connect to your PC via standard USB A-B cables.
    Geändert von Rattanee (02-11-2013 um 22:10 Uhr)

  9. #9
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    So I just did the testrun of the SPEED D-MON board, and aside from a few components needing respositioning, it's all fine, so I started calculating costs.

    The bare SPEED D-MON board should end up approximately 62EUR.
    The complete SPEED D-MON KIT will be 85 EUR and and includes the following:
    -SPEED D-MON PCB
    -D-SWITCH PCB
    -2pcs USB-AB cables
    -1pc 15 pin VGA cable
    -1pc custom cable for parallel port connection
    -1pc 3.5mm jack-jack audio cable
    -1pc 1m cable for D-SWITCH-SPEED D-MON connection
    -1pc 1m cable for D-SWITCH-Computer MAINS connection
    -1pc .5m cable for computer-PCB power connection

    As for the PRO kits boards:
    D-MON V3.02 PCB 52 EUR
    D-SWITCH 11 EUR
    Digital D-MON 18 EUR

    These prices are calculated based on a small production run. (If there's enough interest to do a large production run, they'll be available even cheaper.)

    For the moment, I'm ordering PCBs for 12 pcs of each kit at the above prices (the D-Minor will be available as well, I just haven't calculated costs on it yet, but should be around 25 EUR). The PCBs should arrive in three weeks, so I'm now taking pre-orders. If you'd like one, please send me a PM or email to 4vatera@-removethis-gmail.com and I'll set a kit of your choice aside.

    I will soon be uploading a video where you can see the installation of a Pro kit better.

  10. #10
    Administration Avatar von zyx
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    Nice work Rattanee! This is the most complete All-In-One Arcade Mame Solution i've come along.
    I think this is the perfect thing for my upcoming Quadro Games mameification
    "It blows my mind that with the retro gaming community and tools like MAME these games and the 8 and 16 bit cultures live on."
    Eugene Jarvis

    Cassini showed us the beauty of Saturn. It revealed the best in us. Now it's up to us to keep exploring.

    Electricity is a vengeful bitch who is not to be trifled with

  11. #11
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    SPEED D-MON update:


    I've had a lot on my plate recently so I couldn't go at the pace I wanted to, but I finally got the SPEED D-MON prototype fully tested audio-wise as well (to make sure digital noise didn't seep in and to eliminate ground loop issues). After some experiments with different filtering techniques, I finally got rid of ground loops, so the board is pretty much ready for the final layout. Pretty much all that's left is to add the filter to the layout and reduce amplifier gain some. I'm uploading two videos in a few hours, one showing the actual assembled PRO kit in an opened up cabinet so you guys can see everything, and one of the SPEED D-MON audio test on the bench. I'll add links once they're up.


    Cheers

  12. #12
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    So... please be patient, the videos are still uploading, but I really need to hit the hay, so I'm pre-linking them.


    D-MON PRO installation and some info about the SPEED D-MON prototype(most of the latter repeated in the next video):
    http://youtu.be/fDPi8MwZuak


    SPEED D-MON audio test/introduction:
    http://youtu.be/1e6fHnATOGo


    As usual, any questions, comments, let me know guys. Cheers

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