My chosen computer for this project was a Dell Optiplex SX260, model DCT. I chose this because it was one of the surplus computers I had in the garage, and also it’s very tiny, which is helpful for the cramped real estate in the back of this bar top cabinet. It has a clip-on stand, so I drilled 4 holes in the stand and screwed it to the base. I mounted it at a slight angle so that cords have room behind it and if I decide to make a back cover, the cords won’t be in the way. The adapter for the video cable takes up quite a bit of room, so that was the largest connecter I had to allow for. Here is a top view (click to zoom):
I had two power supplies, one for the computer and the other for the monitor. Once again, cable ties are your friend! I used a few of those nifty square plastic cable tie mounts, stuck them in place with their peel-off backing, then drove a 1” drywall screw down through the middle for good measure. Wrapping cable ties through these and around the power supplies (it took 2 together) secured them nicely.
I threaded an extension chord through the old power-switch hole at the bottom right, and cable-tied it down securely. Both power supplies plug into this as you can see above. This gives me a really long power cord for the unit which will be handy as the dry-bar I want to put this on doesn’t have very convenient power outlets.
The last part was the top. It had rusty crews on one half and rusty rivets on the other half. I removed the screws and drilled out the rivets. After a bit of cleaning, I installed all new nuts, bolts, and washers. Now the top has a uniform appearance. The top is held in place by clips underneath; easy to remove for any kind of servicing.
After a bit of testing, I determined that the potentiometer for the volume control has too much resistance. It’s a 25K ohm. I’m thinking that a 10 or 5K would be better. The trouble is, the volume from the speaker is too low to be heard until you get 3/4 of max volume, then it quickly gets louder. So, there isn’t much granularity.
Also, in updating some of the ROM files on the hard disk, I ran out of space. Clearly the 20G hard disk in the box just isn’t big enough for Windows XP, MAME software, Hyperspin software, and lots of ROM files. I wanted to put video previews of the games on there too, and they aren’t small. So, I’ll have to either upgrade the internal disk or add an external USB drive. Since I have room in the back, either one would work, so I suspect cost/availability will be the deciding factor.
I took the lazy susan off the bottom and added some felt-bottom furniture glides instead. Nothing kills a good high-score attempt on Robotron like having the cabinet spin when you are trying to execute a precise maneuver!
Next up: Making it user friendly