Update on power supply problems with Virtua Fighter 3 (Model 3) PCB

Finally have an update on the power supply problems I’ve been having with my Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua Fighter 3 respective Model 2A and Model 3 boards.

After tracking down an eBay sale of a Model 3-fitted and ready PSU, I buckled, bought it, and it finally arrived yesterday. I gave it a preliminary run to see if I could get the thing to power up, and it looks like we may just be in business 🙂

The setup’s nothing too refined, but is startlingly effective – it’s basically a standard ATX power supply running on 240v with the 12v, +5v, +3.3v and GND going to a couple of distributors on a block of wood, and the distributors rope around to the various connectors on the board. The input and video run back to a JAMMA biscuit, and the sound (not connected) has been wired to a 4-pin molex connector, but currently doesn’t have an amp fitted.

Moving forward, from here I’ll need to take the Wei Ya audio amp off the existing Model 3 >> JAMMA adapter I have and fit that into the loop and connect it up to the JAMMA biscuit to get sound going through. Will have to look at doing something similar for my Model 2 board as well, might see if there’s a way I can quickly hook up the PSU to my Model 2A filterboard to at least test the thing and see if I can get the sucker powering up.

The funny thing with all this is that Wifey said ages ago that I should have gone out and grabbed a big beefy power supply for the system before messing around with everything else I’ve done. Looks like she was right all along 🙂

Once I’ve had a chance to properly connect the whole shebang together and get it up and running, I’ll post up some pics to share. Might also prove useful to other people interested in doing similar mods on their systems.

Virtua Fighter 2 (Model 2) and Virtua Fighter 3 (Model 3) booting and power supply (PSU) problems

I’ve posted this in a few forums, so thought I’d track it on my blog as well. The following’s a slightly edited version of my post 🙂

A few months back I snapped up VF2 and VF3 from someone interstate, and have been having some troubles with them, and I’m not sure if it’s me, the boards, or maybe a combination of both!

Now, before I go on I’ll clarify my setup – Astro City cab with a 15k/24k chassis (Pentranic, previous owner slapped in a generic 15k chassis that blew up, so I replaced with a Pentranic), bog-standard Peter Chou 15A PSU, 3.3v Wei-Ya PSU, cab is JAMMA-ready. To connect the Model 2 and Model 3 boards into my JAMMA setup, I’m using one of these (Model 2) and one of these (Model 3).

In order to boost the 5v and GND lines on the main PSU, I’ve also increased the amount of wires coming between the PSU and the JAMMA connector as I wasn’t getting solid +5v due to some flimsy wiring. After beefing up both lines, I’m getting much better performance across all my PCBs (CPS-I, Neo Geo, CPS-II, System 11 and a few others).

I’ll start with VF2 – I’ll put the chassis into 24k mode, roll the PSU back, connect VF2 and get the voltage to 5v (maybe 0.05v over). On the PCB, the red LED 11 is lighted up, and I’m getting like a garbled green test pattern thing on the screen. I’ve pulled the PCBs apart and put them back together again, checked to make everything’s in there nice and tight and checked for physical problems on the boards, everything checked out, no change. To test things a bit further, I removed the top ROM PCB, leaving the bottom two boards (since it’s a Model 2A system, it’s a platter of three boards) and rebooted – same problem, LED 11 is lit up, I think I saw a couple of red LEDs on the bottom board near the filter board light up, and the garbled screen. Turned off, put the ROM board back on, the LEDs on the bottom board are fine, but the red LED 11 in the middle board is still lit up. Garbled test pattern remains.

With VF3, it’s a bit more tricky, and I have a feeling it’s my PSU that’s to blame here, as well as some of my wiring before I beefed up the 5v and GND lines. With VF3 when I first tried booting it a month or two back, the 3.3v PSU worked a treat, but the old Peter Chou would crash out immediately – the red light to indicate it was on would light up, then immediately drop out and there’d be no power on the JAMMA adapter when I tested it with my multimeter. I figured my PSU might have been on the way out, so got a new standard arcade PSU (a 16A Min Dong), connected it up and had success… or at least I thought I did. I measured at the JAMMA adapter and it wasn’t getting to even +2v on the +5v line; I cranked it, barely got to +2v and the JAMMA adapter was getting really hot. Next thing I knew, it smelt like the PSU was overheating and the little light indicating it was on turned off. The new PSU went and died on me 😛 Disappointed, I reconnected the old Peter Chou PSU. I noticed a couple of red LED lights come on when I power up the Model 3 off the Peter Chou (even though ti conks out) and the 3.3v Wei-Ya (which I’m going to take as meaning the Wei Ya is working fine, since it doesn’t conk out), if that helps. Another thing I noticed is that how much success I have before the Peter Chou PSU gives up depends on the amount of +5v/GND connections – I can have the 5v and GND connections on, say, JST CN13, and it won’t kill the PSU, but if I hook up JST CN14 as well, the PSU dies. Does this help?

I was talking a few other people with more experience than I have with arcade cabs, and they mentioned that the fact the JAMMA adapter was heating up indicated there wasn’t enough copper between the PSU and the JAMMA adapter on the +5v and possibly the GND connection as well, and suggested beefing up the wiring to fix that part. I’ve done that and am getting better results when playing the rest of my games, and when I tried loading VF2 or VF3 with the beefed up wiring, VF2 still gave that garbled green test pattern screen thingie (red LED 11 still on), and VF3 still died off. They also mentioned the red LEDs might be indicating a fault with the board or power supply.

I’m a bit stumped with what I can do to fix up these issues – I’m a huge VF fan, and these two games were part of the reason I wanted to get my own arcade cab. I know there are some very clued up Model 2 and Model 3 people on these forums, but couldn’t find anything that coped with these problems. I’m not sure if it’s a PCB, PSU or even jumper settings issue that’s affecting my PCBs. Some other people I’ve spoken to who run Model 2 boards have done it consistently off standard arcade PSUs for years, but they emphasise that you need to ensure your +5v and GND connections need to be extremely strong in order to do so.

Rotating the monitor on my Sega Astro City

Disassembling the Astro part 3...

Finally got around to rotating the monitor on my cabinet on the weekend – my father-in-law was staying with us for a few days, and since he was keen to give Galaxian and Galaga a go (and those are on the 48-in-1 I picked up a while ago, along with plenty of other classics!), it wasn’t too hard to convince him to give me a hand rotating the monitor since I’m not strong enough to do it on my own 😉

Anywho, it wasn’t too tricky – simply take off the shroud by flipping open the control panel, remove the screws holding the plastic housing down, unhook the connection to the speakers (mine was easy to disconnect with a handy molex connector), remove the screws and two plates on the back of the cab (the top panel hides the fluro tube and the speakers, the next one down hides the access to the monitor chassis), then slowly lift the shroud off. Next up, I disconnected the cabling between the RGB lines from the JAMMA connector from the chassis, then tested the AC line to the chassis (plenty of give) and removed the screw that were bolting the cab to the frame. Next up, lift and turn the monitor clockwise or anti-clockwise (erm, I can’t remember which… 😉 ) and re-sit it on the bolts and wind them up again. If you’d like me and the image is upside down, don’t panic – I unplugged the yoke connector on its existing socket on the chassis and plugged it into the other one – fixed it right up (though don’t forget to disconnect the power between these tests!!). Once all that was done and it survived the smoking tests, I wound the voltage on the PSU back to +5v flat without a JAMMA board connected, plugged in the 48-in-1, wound it up to +5v on the mark, tested it up, and bam, worked fine! Mind, the monitor needs a really thorough degaussing, so I’ve added a degaussing wand to my “to-get” list to fix that up.

Disassembling the Astro part 7...

Anywho, on Sunday I jumped in and started messing with the DIP switches, and have it all nicely configured. Also started messing around with the gate on my Sanwa sticks, but that’s something to discuss in another post 😀

The important bit, though, is that it was awesome fun to play through the classic games 😀 My top pick at this stage is either Space Invaders or Shao-Lin’s Road 😀 😀 😀

If you want more pictures of the cabinet and rotating it, you can view them in the new arcade stuff – cabinets gallery.

Finishing Final Fight on my Astro City! :)

It’s obviously a week for awesome arcade gamage 😀 My brother-in-law Hamez is currently staying with us while he’s back here visiting from interstate, and last night after some subtle suggestions from yours truly, we jumped onto the arcade cab for some awesomeness. This time it was Capcom’s seminal scrolling beat’em’up Final Fight 🙂

While I remember playing this one at the arcades, I have probably clocked up more hours playing the amazing Mega CD port back in the 16-bit era. Because of the difficulty and the continues/lives system, I never managed to finish the game beffore, so it was nice to be able to finish the arcade version and see the ending to the game 🙂 We were actually doing pretty well as far as continues go at the start of the game, but by the time we got to the end, the Free Play setting really came in handy 😀

Anywho, I only started taking pics when we got to the end of the last level – the gallery’s below in all its wonky glory since I was trying to play and take photos at the same time 😛 For those interested, I’m taking up the 2P slot as Guy, whilst Hamez spent the latter half of the game playing as Haggar, doing the grab-jump-piledrive technique over and over again. Because it’s awesome 🙂

Finishing Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition on my Astro City!

I was doing some stuff on the PC I have setup in the back room yesterday, and since it was pretty mundane and took a while, I thought I’d have a crack at playing something on my Sega Astro City cab between processing tasks. Since Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition was in there, I thought I might as well give it a crack, and ended up finishing it! I’ve never done that on an arcade version of the game before (probably because I always ran out of credits or I was too busy playing vs another person), so it was pretty cool 🙂 I mean, the ending was pretty lame, but in a fun kind of way (if that makes sense!).

Funnily enough, I didn’t have much in the way of problems in beating the four bosses (Bison excepted – took a few goes to get that one), but got stuck on Honda and… possibly Guile. I’m hardly the world’s best player at the game, but I’m not too shabby either – with Honda, I couldn’t jump in to attack because he always got me with his standing fierce chopping strike thingo and was having trouble mixing up distances to avoid a few basic traps, and while I got close to beating Guile, always seemed to loose it towards the end.

So I cheated by queuing up the problem characters as player 2, beat them, then continued in single player mode – after you beat the character as 2P, you don’t have to beat them in the actual game itself. That’s a handy hint I remember from when I used to play it at the arcades, though I was normally so cheap I wouldn’t pay for someone else, just hoped that another player would drop by and pick a character I had trouble beating 😉

Anywho, enjoy the shaky cam photos below – I was trying to snap photos as fast as possible without dying or missing anything, hence the wonky shots of the ending dialogue… though to be honest, I don’t think there’s too much there worth writing home about 😉

Oh, and I reckon I need to pick up a fresh spring for the Sanwa stick on player 2 on the Astro City, it’s feeling a bit too loose and isn’t as tight as P1’s. The clips for the P2 start button are also wonky, so I might need to grab some fresh quick-connects and rewire them. I have to get some proper Sanwa-standard quick-connects for the extra Neo Geo wiring on my JAMMA harness anyways (I’m using some generic quick-connects on them at the moment, and they often come off in-game :P), so it might be convenient to grab a handful of those, some fresh springs and snag a new PSU and degausing wand at the same time if budget alows for it. Will add it to the “to-get” list 😀

In the meantime, enjoy the pics and commentary!