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Educate me on Neo Geo arcade hardware

SmokeStacksSmokeStacks The Myth, the Legend, the Bowman, the Shambler FuckerRegistered User regular
There is a guy selling a Neo Geo 2 slot MVS cabinet not too far from me for $300. It has always been a dream of mine to have an arcade machine of my own, but while I love Neo Geo games, I don't really know a lot (anything) about the hardware. Is this a good deal? If I buy it, I'll need to know a few things:

He's got two carts with the cabinet, Baseball Stars Professional and King of the Monsters. I know that trying to track down anything with Metal Slug or King of Fighters in the title is going to cost me a ridiculous amount of money, but for the most part how much should I be expecting to pay for different games?

What sort of maintenance am I going to be needing to perform over the life of the cabinet, and how much should it cost?

What should I look for specifically on the cabinet before buying? It looks like it has a couple of scuffs and is a little dusty, but other than that there is nothing on the picture that looks bad (It looks like it has been indoors but that is something I would obviously want to check out).
neogeos.jpg

How much power do these things take up, specifically is this going to be raping my power bill if I have it on for a couple of hours a week?

Is the volume level adjustable? I'm going to be moving into a new aprtment in about three weeks and I don't want to piss off my neighbors.

And finally, where would I go to learn more information, and where is the best place to get carts? Is it ossible to modify the cabinet to hold more than two cartridges?

If anyone knows anything about these things, please let me know. I'd hate to drop $300 on a clunker, and I would also hate to miss out on something I have wanted for a while.

73CQcJZ.png
SmokeStacks on

Posts

  • elliotw2elliotw2 Registered User
    edited October 2009
    The volume should be adjustable, and MVS carts go for $50-$300.

    You really want to check the buttons, to make sure that they respond right, that they don't fall off. Also check the coin ports and the dip switches.

    elliotw2 on
    camo_sig2.pngXBL:Elliotw3|PSN:elliotw2
  • Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Is it ossible to modify the cabinet to hold more than two cartridges?
    You would have to buy a newer Neo Geo board.
    They made 4 slot ones and even 6 slot ones. But I believe the 6 slot ones weren't JAMMA for some reason? (IE you couldn't hook one up to your cabinet easily)

    Edit: Ebay has some - apparently the 6 slots were JAMMA (dunno why I thought other wise) but they are rather expensive. Considering buying a new board is basically the "console" portion of it.


    Oh and yes, $300 seems like a pretty good deal.

    Poster above recommends checking the buttons and what not. But don't fear, you can buy these parts for relatively cheap. http://www.happcontrols.com/

    The games are expensive, but the MVS (arcade) carts tend to be cheaper then the AES (home) versions. There are lots of bootlegs out there, so watch out for really cheap deals.

    Mmmm... Cocks... on
  • HranjHranj Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Companies are producing multicade carts now adays. Basically its one cart that they will charge $100 bucks or so for that will be loaded up with a ton of games. Probably upwards of 100 maybe less maybe more. Can't remember the exact number. When you boot the cart you'll be greeted by a menu of all the games on the cart and you can go from there. Not the most authentic way of doing it but definitely an option.

    Make sure to do some research into the exact cart you're buying. There is always a possibility that some ROM files could be messed up or something along that line and that would really suck.

    Buttons are replaceable and not that tricky to deal with. If they aren't very responsive take a business card, place it inbetween the contacts and swipe it out 3 or 4 times. This is the best and most effective way to clean the contacts. For the love of god don't sand them or they won't work at all.

    Hranj on
    Zune: Pirate Monkey
  • Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Hranj wrote: »
    Companies are producing multicade carts now adays. Basically its one cart that they will charge $100 bucks or so for that will be loaded up with a ton of games. Probably upwards of 100 maybe less maybe more. Can't remember the exact number. When you boot the cart you'll be greeted by a menu of all the games on the cart and you can go from there. Not the most authentic way of doing it but definitely an option.
    For Neo Geo?

    Doesn't sound very kosher.

    Mmmm... Cocks... on
  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks The Myth, the Legend, the Bowman, the Shambler FuckerRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I've been reading about bootleg carts, and apparently there are a lot of reliability issues with them, especially multi-carts. Even if they were legal, it sounds iffy.

    SmokeStacks on
    73CQcJZ.png
  • elliotw2elliotw2 Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Is it ossible to modify the cabinet to hold more than two cartridges?
    You would have to buy a newer Neo Geo board.
    They made 4 slot ones and even 6 slot ones. But I believe the 6 slot ones weren't JAMMA for some reason? (IE you couldn't hook one up to your cabinet easily)

    Edit: Ebay has some - apparently the 6 slots were JAMMA (dunno why I thought other wise) but they are rather expensive. Considering buying a new board is basically the "console" portion of it.


    Oh and yes, $300 seems like a pretty good deal.

    Poster above recommends checking the buttons and what not. But don't fear, you can buy these parts for relatively cheap. http://www.happcontrols.com/

    The games are expensive, but the MVS (arcade) carts tend to be cheaper then the AES (home) versions. There are lots of bootlegs out there, so watch out for really cheap deals.

    The multicart would be a terrible idea with games that get upwards of 100MB. If you do want to upgrade your motherboard to more than 2-slot, go for a 4-slot. The 6-slot ones weren't very reliable, due to them having 6 heavy carts and having to flip through all of them.

    elliotw2 on
    camo_sig2.pngXBL:Elliotw3|PSN:elliotw2
  • darkgruedarkgrue Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I have a number of arcade boards, a supergun I built, and two NeoGeo Cabs, so I'll give this a shot.
    There is a guy selling a Neo Geo 2 slot MVS cabinet not too far from me for $300. It has always been a dream of mine to have an arcade machine of my own, but while I love Neo Geo games, I don't really know a lot (anything) about the hardware. Is this a good deal? If I buy it, I'll need to know a few things:

    $300 is a good deal if it's in good shape and the tube is clear. Get someone to help you lift it. Cabinets are usually at least around 300 pounds, and top-heavy. Be careful sliding the cabinet around, as the levelers on the bottom can get snagged, and rip right out of the bottom (the cab's made of particle board, so that would be a PITA to fix).
    He's got two carts with the cabinet, Baseball Stars Professional and King of the Monsters. I know that trying to track down anything with Metal Slug or King of Fighters in the title is going to cost me a ridiculous amount of money, but for the most part how much should I be expecting to pay for different games?

    Metal Slug's not quote so bad, the later ones in the series get more expensive. If you're not interested in full kits (boxed cartridges with matchin serial numbers on the boxes and the original artwork and flyers), the price goes down, as sets are more rare. Arcade operators typically threw out or mangled a lot of the extras, making them rare. There are a lot of places to find images of the mini-marquees that you can print out. I made a bunch on a color laser and laminated them. They're collectable though (they were printed on acetate, so finding ones that aren't cracked or yellow - yup, you guessed it, rare).

    The multicarts are bootlegs. They also have histories of reliability issues. The newer ones apparently aren't as bad. However, the 101-in-1 carts usually run around $120, so paying that much for an unknown quantity might not appeal to you. On the other hand, even if most/some of those games don't play right, if at least some do, it's a pretty good per-game cost.

    It's a pretty wide range. eBay isn't usually the best place to buy. Go to neo-geo.com, get set up on the forums, and periodically check the for sale. It's not always as easy as eBay (a lot of people don't like taking PayPal, for example), but you can get vastly better deals. Also, those forums have a lot of reference and helpful information you'll want.
    What sort of maintenance am I going to be needing to perform over the life of the cabinet, and how much should it cost?

    Dust it, mostly. You may eventually need a capacitor kit (probably no more than $25) to replace the electrolytic capacitors on the monitor's drive boards, as they dry out and go bad over time. Replacing them requires soldering and basic TV repair skills and safety knowledge. If you're not familiar, best to have someone do it for you.

    Speaking of which be exceptionally carefull poking around inside with the back off! The high-voltage circuits for the monitor are almost always exposed (and often times the monitor's yoke is sticking out right where you can clobber it standing up. Even when the monitor's off for a long time, it can hold a chrage that can kill you. Use appropriate safety when the back's off and the monitor's exposed.

    The coin mechs may go bad, or need cleaning. Chances are you'll put it on free play though. The coin return lights can burn out. I replaced them with 12V LED jobbies that were literal drop-in replacements that should last forever, run cooler, and draw less power. I can find the part numbers if you need them.
    What should I look for specifically on the cabinet before buying? It looks like it has a couple of scuffs and is a little dusty, but other than that there is nothing on the picture that looks bad (It looks like it has been indoors but that is something I would obviously want to check out).

    Get into the service menu and run the basic tests (there are sound, convergence, color, and input switch tests). There should be a Service and Test switch somewhere behind the coin door. The service switch will "coin up" the machine without incrementing the hardware coin counter (if it has one, a lot of machines don't, or they've been removed), the Test switch will put you into the debug menu.
    How much power do these things take up, specifically is this going to be raping my power bill if I have it on for a couple of hours a week?

    No more than a (very tiny) PC with a similiarly-sized CRT monitor. A couple of hours a week probably won't even be noticable.
    Is the volume level adjustable? I'm going to be moving into a new aprtment in about three weeks and I don't want to piss off my neighbors.

    Yes, there should be a linear potentiometer on the mobo than you can set. There are also software settings to turn off the sounds "attract mode" (the demos that play while the machine is idle).
    And finally, where would I go to learn more information, and where is the best place to get carts?

    neo-geo.com (best place to buy and ask tech questions) and hardmvs.com (the latter has manuals and descriptions of cabinet and mobo revisions)
    Is it possible to modify the cabinet to hold more than two cartridges?

    Yes. Depending on what motherboard is in there. The 6-slots were fussy about something. I forget what.
    Edit: Ebay has some - apparently the 6 slots were JAMMA (dunno why I thought other wise) but they are rather expensive. Considering buying a new board is basically the "console" portion of it.

    All the boards comply with JAMMA - to a point, the major place that some of the mobos deviated from was how they handled audio. Plugging a MVS system into a JAMMA cabinet without changing the sound wiring was a good way to ruin the amplifier on the mobo. I have a spreadsheet somewhere showing the differences between a number of JAMMA-close wiring around at home that I needed to compile when I was making my supergun.

    darkgrue on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    img_dolly.jpg

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I can't offer any technical advice (I owned an AES, which is rather different on the inside), but I'd say $300 for a working setup is a steal. Abuse aside, arcade cabinets tend to have a very long life by design.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Synthesis wrote: »
    I can't offer any technical advice (I owned an AES, which is rather different on the inside), but I'd say $300 for a working setup is a steal. Abuse aside, arcade cabinets tend to have a very long life by design.
    Wasn't the hardware nearly identical? Hell there's even those carts that let you play arcade carts through the AES.

    Mmmm... Cocks... on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Synthesis wrote: »
    I can't offer any technical advice (I owned an AES, which is rather different on the inside), but I'd say $300 for a working setup is a steal. Abuse aside, arcade cabinets tend to have a very long life by design.
    Wasn't the hardware nearly identical? Hell there's even those carts that let you play arcade carts through the AES.

    Actually, I kind of meant in the area of the TV/monitor display that the MVS had. Not really something I'm familiar with.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    I can't offer any technical advice (I owned an AES, which is rather different on the inside), but I'd say $300 for a working setup is a steal. Abuse aside, arcade cabinets tend to have a very long life by design.
    Wasn't the hardware nearly identical? Hell there's even those carts that let you play arcade carts through the AES.

    Actually, I kind of meant in the area of the TV/monitor display that the MVS had. Not really something I'm familiar with.
    True, how much did you pay for it, just curious.
    The AES always seemed expensive, but I only ever saw it for sale at conventions (IE everything is overpriced).

    Mmmm... Cocks... on
  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks The Myth, the Legend, the Bowman, the Shambler FuckerRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Thank you guys for the info. Check this out:

    I told the guy I could probably do it in three weeks due to the way my paychecks/bills fall this month. So he shoots back that he can let me have it for $250. Done fucking deal. I'm going to take a look at it later on in the week, and if everything checks out I'll be able to buy it next friday.

    Now I have to make arrangements for transportation. I'd hate to do it, but right now it looks like it will have to ride in the back of a truck on top of some sort of padding at a really slow speed. I need to find a friend that is not a weakling and someone who will loan me a dolly.

    I've been reading a lot of stuff at the neo-geo.com forums (although I don't seem to be able to make any threads as a new user), and you guys have been a lot of help as well. I asked the seller a few questions, he replied back that he has had it about a year, it was in his house for the first five months, and was in his garage thereafter. He said he's selling it because he doesn't really play it anymore and wants more room in his garage. Fair enough.

    I should be able to make it out to take a look at it sometime in the next few days. I'll take pictures and post them.

    SmokeStacks on
    73CQcJZ.png
  • darkgruedarkgrue Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Thank you guys for the info. Check this out:

    I told the guy I could probably do it in three weeks due to the way my paychecks/bills fall this month. So he shoots back that he can let me have it for $250. Done fucking deal. I'm going to take a look at it later on in the week, and if everything checks out I'll be able to buy it next friday.

    At $250, unless it's absolutely trashed, you're getting a good deal. =)
    Now I have to make arrangements for transportation. I'd hate to do it, but right now it looks like it will have to ride in the back of a truck on top of some sort of padding at a really slow speed. I need to find a friend that is not a weakling and someone who will loan me a dolly.

    Oh, just one thing you will want to do before moving the cabinet - take the cartridges out. Depending on the cab you have, the orientation of the cartidges vary. But, as they are heavy, if you're tilting or jarring the cabinet they can stress the board connectors. Better to just take them out and put them back in when it's in place. The carts don't necessarily have to go back in the same order (although some carts are fussy about being in Slot 1 on multi-slot boards, so if you do have boot errors, just reinserting carts or swapping slots may fix the problem; power down before moving a cart), but do be mindful of the alignment chevrons - it's quite possible to insert a cart in backwards.

    Other than that, there's not much special about moving a MVS cab, you're just basically moving a large tube TV while it's still in the entertainment center. It's just heavy and bulky. :D

    darkgrue on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    I can't offer any technical advice (I owned an AES, which is rather different on the inside), but I'd say $300 for a working setup is a steal. Abuse aside, arcade cabinets tend to have a very long life by design.
    Wasn't the hardware nearly identical? Hell there's even those carts that let you play arcade carts through the AES.

    Actually, I kind of meant in the area of the TV/monitor display that the MVS had. Not really something I'm familiar with.
    True, how much did you pay for it, just curious.
    The AES always seemed expensive, but I only ever saw it for sale at conventions (IE everything is overpriced).

    I didn't pay for it. :winky:

    Actually, I got it as a gift when I first moved to Yokohama, from a family who was leaving (also employed by GE, which had hired my family, hence my reason for being there) back in the ninties, alongside a Super Famicom and a bunch of random cartidges left in a plastic container. I ended up giving it up to someone else, in turn, when I left in 2004 when my dad retired.

    I wish I hadn't. :( But yes, they were very expensive at the time, especially given that the console technology is been made available elsewhere by then. Apparently though, now they're on the cheaper side.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
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