Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Silverstone Experience Day

I probably wont be doing any track days in the S2000 for a while but finally had a chance this weekend to cash in my 'Silverstone Single Seater Experience' voucher my wife bought be back last Christmas.

I wasn't expecting too much - the Aston Martin day I did a few years back was fun but was disappointing because the instructors didn't allow you give really open it up. I was expecting something similar on the single seater day but was massively impressed - after the initial few laps behind a pace car your were allowed to really give it some! Weather had been a little wet so the track was quite greasy but really good fun.

The cars were only 1.6 cosworth engines but weighed around 500kg so very nippy with excellent handling - even better than the Elise. I was a little disappointed with the fact that we weren't running on the main Silverstone circuit but aside from that it was an excellent day. Managed 24 laps in the main session, finished 2nd in the 'race' and had the third fastest lap time.

Very tempted to do another one.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Moving on...

Been a while since I updated the blog, anyway a few months ago I finally decide to sell the Elise. I had it for 6 great years but I finally decided to get something a little more sensible. It sailed off to sunny Yorkshire a few weeks ago to start competing in hillclimbs, sprints and the like.


Sad to see if go but its been replaced with something only slightly more practical. Twice the weight means it needs twice the power (240bhp) but has waay more than twice the luxury:




Its a very different beast to the Elise, you can feel the extra weight and have to rev the nuts off it to get fast acceleration but its so much quieter, comfier, warmer, less wet, practical, easier to take the roof down.. I could go on.

In any case, I'm still getting used to it and I'm sure it'll take a while to get used to not having the Elise but it was a good choice.

To track or not to track; that is the question...

Saturday, 2 July 2011

She lives

Finally got the car back from the garage this week. The problem that caused the breakdown on the trackday was caused by the exhaust manifold. It had sheared off at the top of the downpipe. AA P&L came in handy again - I now have a shiney Janspeed 4-2-1 manifold installed.

Also replaced the 2 front tyres and got the replacement clutch trunion fitted.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

BE MRTG Scripts

Just a quick one but a little while ago a joined the excellent ISP BE. The services comes with their own BEbox modem (a rebranded thompson) which doesnt look to have any SNMP support. Being a true geek I had to monitor the connection stats to make sure everything was running at 100%

A few people have asked how to get the BEbox stats into MRTG so heres a link to my mrtg scripts. They are based on the original parse script here so props to the original authors.

Download

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Almost done

Havent updated the blog in a while - been too busy playing on the arcade :)

The CPO came back from the printers and its fairly decent. Because its printed on vinyl there are one or two small creases which I need to fix but aside from that all the buttons are hooked in and the machine is very usable.

The replacement cold cathode from Amazon is much better and doesnt suffer the same overheating problems. Only remaining bits left are:

- new marquee
- box in the rear of the monitor (or replace with an LCD)
- clean up the side panel - one has a scratch which is quite visable

I'll grab some pics before too long...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

CPO Update

Finally finished the CPO design and should get it back from the printers later this week. Rough paper mockup looks fairly decent:


Also had chance to clean and respray the metal control panel, looking much better now. New cold cathodes have also arrived so just testing they dont overheat before fitting to the cab.

Hoping that the cab is back together and mostly done by the end of this week :)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

More aracde stuff

Started playing around with the GIMP this week working on a new CPO. First design isnt bad but im gonna make some changes. The good news is (almost) everything lines up.


Need to change the middle section now, I forgot about the bend :(

Props to PosteRazor for being able to print the design out to scale - makes life much easier.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Busy busy busy

Been really busy on the arcade cab this week, took the ageing laptop out and replaced it with a vintage dell machine I had hanging about. Much better spec and the games are playing much more smoothly. Mounting it in the cab took a bit of effort but its worth it. I decided not to use the original case but being a Dell the cables were a bit short to say the least. A bit of thinking and many screws later...


Since the new PC is working I decided today to start the next big job: replacing the control panel and adding the new buttons. Getting it out and stripping the original plastic cover off wasnt too difficult:


Its a bit rusty so I'll probably have to get it sanded and resprayed (hammerite?) but next I drilled out the new 30mm holes for the additional buttons. I was gonna go with the classic 6 button layout but after drilling the holes it seems I have room for 7 per player. Much drilling, filing and swearing later:


Its a bit of a tight fit in places but all the buttons fit and its time to get some new decals made up. Trouble is that most of the templates you can get online include the actual locations of the buttons. I couldnt find any pre-made templates for a 7 button control panel overlay (CPO) that match where the holes are on mine.I've started fiddling around with a scanned paper template and the GIMP, will post some pics as soon as it starts taking shape.

In other news - I bought a load of stuff from Maplin for the cab. A small amplifier DIY kit - which it turns out is unnecessary, the sound card in the new PC seems to have a bit more oomph. Also bought and fitted 2 cold cathode lights into the marquee which worked fine.. for about an hour, then the inverter died and I have to get it sent back :(

Oh  - one last thing which I'm quite happy with is a new power switch for the PC. Didnt fancy having to open the cab to turn the power on/off so soldered a cable to the existing microswitch and connected a small push button switch hidden in the coin return box. Sad but I like it.

Told you I have been busy ;)

Broken

Just a quick post about this weeks track day - it didnt go well. Barely half way through the day I stopped on the hangar straight with a very loud car. Its running fine but it sounds like something on the exhaust has blown. Its with Andy so should know more next week.

Up until then I was really enjoying being back on track. Ah well, could have been worse I suppose.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Hadouken!

Wired up the IPAC2 to the cab today and it works!!


Still lots of work to do:

  • Fix/replace 'Game Select' button (doesnt work)
  • New control panel
  • Add additional new buttons
  • Make new monitor surround
  • build a small amplifier for the sound
  • replace broken fluorescent light with cold cathode
  • Fit new PC (laptop is only being used for testing
  • Tidy up wiring loom
  • Touchup paintwork 
  • New artwork
  • Fix and paint door hinges
  • some other stuff I've not thought of
Very impressed with the IPAC2 so far. Only took an hour or so to wire it all in.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The MAME'ing begins...

After finding out the power supply for the arcade cab is dead I've decided to ditch the main MVS board and screen and fully convert it to a MAME cab. While I like the idea of keeping it original I would have probably got bored just playing the 2 games or spend too much money on new carts.

Anyway - for better or for worse it gonna be a MAME cab so the first issue was always going to be "How many buttons?". Neo-geo cabs come with 4 buttons as standard which just isnt gonna cut the mustard when it comes to Street Fighter II :)

Theres also the issue of hooking the controls up to a PC, the whole point of having an arcade machine is the authentic microswitched push-buttons. After a bit of research I have decided on an IPAC2 and some more buttons. Since the IPAC2 can support 8 main inputs per player I think I'll go with that. Just need to decide on the layout.

Since theres no need for the existing MVS board and screen I took those out today. Luckily when I bought the cab the guy also gave me a 19" old-school CRT monitor. Since its the same size as the original screen I thought it would just be a straight swap. It wasnt. It took a good few hours hacking bits of wood up but I finally managed to get it sitting at the right height:


The only issue is the rear:


Taking the plastic housing off the monitor isnt really gonna help, theres a metal cage behind it so my only option will be to extend the rear of the cab by a few inches. Shouldnt be too hard and hopefully wont spoil the look of the cab.

Next up is gonna be rewiring the rats nest of cabling into the IPAC2 and PC:

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

More problems

Looks like the arcade cab is in worse shape than originally thought. After rebooting it a few times it's now refusing to boot and has blown a few fuses. Took it apart and also noticed the battery is leaking acid.

Need to get some new fuses and a replacement battery, good news is I've had a chance to take the machine apart and have a fair idea how it works.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Arcade Arrival and Error

Managed to pick the arcade machine up today, here's the ad from when I bought it:

FOR SALE A FAULTY  SNK MVS NEO-GEO ARCADE MACHINE
BOUGHT THE CABINET WHILST IT WAS STILL WORKING A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO.
IT WAS BOUGHT AS A MAME PROJECT, BUT NEVER GOT ROUND TO RETRO FIT THIS CABINET.
IT HAS BEEN IN STORAGE EVER SINCE.
POWERED UP TO TEST, BUT SCREEN DIDN'T COME ON.IT DID INITIALLY SOUND UP, BUT THIS ALSO DIED AFTER A FEW ATTEMPTS.
THE CABINET IS IN PRETTY GOOD CONDITION, BUT THERE ARE SCRATCHES & WEAR.
THERE'S TWO WAYS TO LOOK AT THIS SALE:
EITHER YOU WANT THE CABINET TO MAME PROJECT, WHICH WILL GIVE YOU A GREAT PLATFORM TO START.                                                                                                           ( MDF FOR THE CABINET , T MOULDING & JOYSTICKS/P.BUTTONS  ALONE,  WILL COST £££££.LET ALONE THE MAN HOURS AND TOOLS REQUIRED) I'VE DONE IT!!                     OR                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          YOU MAY WANT THE MACHINE FOR SPARES & REPAIR(THE 5 SLOT MOTHER BOARD , SLOT MECH & METAL SLUG2 & KING OF FIGHTERS 99 MIGHT BE WORKING)SOME OF THESE PARTS ARE RARE AND ALSO COST £££££.
THE CABINET IS 65CM WIDE, 78CM DEEP & 178CM TALL.  IT WEIGHS 120KG.
THIS WILL REQUIRE A TRANSIT SIZE VAN TO TAKE AWAY....................
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO ASK.
I NEED TO FREE UP SOME SPACE IN MY WORKSHOP.
I DO HAVE A 20INCH CRT MONITOR THAT I WILL CHUCK IN FREE IF YOU WANT IT.

Anyway, brought it home and powered it up. Took a few minutes but it did start and the monitor eventually came to life but its failing POST:


Off to do some research on it but at least the screen works :)

Sunday, 8 May 2011

My new project:

Not entirely sure what I'm gonna do with this yet but I suspect MAME will be involved at some point. Gonna pick it up some time next week

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Track Day

After having the Elise for over 5 years I finally took the plunge and did a track day. Awesome. Thats the only word to describe it, I really didnt think the Elise could go around corners that fast.

I also met a load of fellow SELOC'ers, a great bunch and have already booked another day at Llandow in June.




In other news, I have moved house and the Elise now has a nice big double garage to sleep in :)

Monday, 2 May 2011

Moved!

Yay, given up on Serendipity and have now moved to blogger.com!