Supergun Buildin' Materials

everything you'll need (and some things you won't....)

Here's one of everyone's favorite questions about supergun building:  Where do I get the whoozit and what about the thing-a-ma-jig?  Well here's a laundry list of things you'll need and maybe where to find it.  Please please please don't e-mail me asking for part numbers or locations or vendors or prices or whatever.  I will list typical vendors and how to find these items therein, but you should make the decision on the particular part used.

Project Case - lots of sources for these, including Jameco, Digikey, Radio Shack, and PacTecEnclosures.  A typical size is 6"x4"x2" tall, which is a very small box.  Better for a beginner is something like 8" wide x 2" tall x 6" deep.  I recommend plastic for the first try, and if you're feeling adventurous later, move on to metal cases.

RCA panel mounts - You'll need at least red, white, and yellow ones, and if you are doing component video, then you'll need red, green, and blue ones too.  These can be had from Jameco, Digikey, and Radio Shack, and also from Parts Express.  MAKE SURE YOU BUY PANEL MOUNT!  Panel mount means that you can mount it on a panel and not a PCB.

            Parts Express # 091-1204 $2.95 for pair of red/white
            Parts Express # 091-1203 $1.49 for yellow

S-Video panel mount - This one may confuse many people since the name "S-Video" doesn't show up in many catalogs.  Look for 4-pin mini DIN, or just DIN, or any variant thereof.  For example, searching at DigiKey will turn up this item, which is actually a "vertical PCB mount" jack, but works well as a panel mount since it's threaded. 

Some gold plated S-Video mounts are available at Parts Express:


Power Switch - You want this to work for both +5V and +12V power, so it needs to be a double pole switch.  And since it's merely ON-OFF, a double throw switch is unnecessary.  BUT, it is very difficult to find DPST switches, especially ones that look decent.  For that reason, get a DPDT (double-pole double-throw), which are readily available at Radio Shack for about $4.  Again, get PANEL MOUNT!

Power Supply - Now this is where it gets a bit interesting.  Many choices exist out there and the real answer to the question "Which power supply do I get?" is "that depends".  Not what you were hoping to hear.   The main requirements are that it have +5V @ 4 amps and a +12V line @ 0.5-1 amp.  Higher amperage is better as it will allow you to power a wider variety of boards and a power supply with a -5V line is necessary for some boards, typically for audio amplification (very few boards need -5V and even those usually work fine, just with no audio).

Well, the easiest, cleanest, neatest choice is a "tabletop" power supply, which is a self contained unit that merely plugs into a receptacle on the supergun and into a wall socket with little other work.  For this use, the SC200 and SW300 power supplies at Jameco work great (make sure you buy the cable that goes from the power supply to the wall outlet!  This is a standard computer power cable too).  These will power nearly all JAMMA boards with the exception of Neo Geo 6-slot and Neo Geo Hyper 64.  I also think that you need a -5V line for some CPS2 boards to play in stereo audio (but mono works without it).  Another solution is to buy a true arcade power supply.  These are available at Happ Controls and also at the Real Bob Roberts site.  These power supplies have all the power you'll need for any board, but the are not in a nice enclosure and you'll need to make mounts for the power line in and out.  You can also use computer power supplies, but they have the same issues as the arcade supplies.

5- or 8-pin circular DIN - This the jack you'll need to install on your supergun to allow you to plug in the SC200 or SW300 power supply.  They are available from either Jameco or Digikey.  Look under "Interconnects" at Jameco or "circular DIN" at Digikey.  Again, PANEL MOUNT!

Controller ports (DB-15 or DB-25 connectors) - Pick your poison here. 

DB-15 male:    DB-15 female:     DB-25 female:

You will need this to match the controllers you need.  If you plan on using Neo Geo controllers (great for nearly any JAMMA game), then you will need DB-15 male connectors on your supergun since the controller cable has DB-15 female ends.  If you plan on using standard MAS Systems controllers, most have DB-25 male connectors, so you will need DB-25 female connectors on your supergun.

You will need to pick between crimp pin and solder cup type connectors.  I only use solder cup because that's the easiest for me and since you'll be soldering anyways....

JAMMA Harness or JAMMA Edge Connector - This is the connector to the JAMMA board.  Standard JAMMA edge connectors have 56 pins in total, 28 on each side (top = "parts" side, bottom = "solder" side).  Best place to get a fully wired harness is at  the Real Bob Roberts site.  His fully loaded harnesses are wired to all pins and use nice heavy gauge wire and are fully color coded.  If you just want an edge adapter to stick to the side of the supergun without having the JAMMA harness as an external cable, then you can get that part at Happ Controls.  The Happ version is here.  Note that you want the solder terminals version of the edge connector.

JAMMA Harness:     Edge Connector:

Stereo/Mono Switch - This is something you may or may not want to include.  It is not 100% necessary, but gives you an option to switch from Stereo to mono output.  You see, some JAMMA boards have only mono audio on pin 10/L, where you see "Audio +" for pin 10 and "Audio -" for pin L (solder side).  The problem is that the "Audio -" pin is frequently tied to ground and that can do bad things to a speaker wired straight to ground.  For this switch you need a standard SPDT switch (single-pole double throw) since you want ON-ON with either connection.  Radio Shack has some nice ones and the usual suspects carry plenty of SPDT.

LED - Strictly for aesthetics.  You can buy premade LED assemblies (in a little holder and with the resistor already attached) at Radio Shack.  Otherwise you can buy them loose and slap a resistor on the cathode end (longer one) to match the voltage, current, and output requirements (Ohm's Law is your friend).

Video Encoder - Ah, the key to the puzzle.  Well, for those without RGB/SCART TVs like the Brits.  This is the most expensive and specific items you will need to get.  I go into detail about it later as far as what suits your needs best.  For now, let me tell you more about what this item is. 

Your JAMMA board outputs video in straight up RGB (Red Green Blue) signal.  Also, it outputs a Sync signal.  All at 15 kHz.  Your NTSC TV runs at 60 Hz and if you live anywhere not called "Europe", chances are you don't have an RGB or SCART TV.  So you need to convert the signal from RGB to NTSC format in some usable output like composite video, S-Video, or Component video.  That what this little do-hicky does.  You attach RGB, Sync, +5V, and ground inputs and then attach the desired video output to your panel mounts.

You will spend money on this part.  $60-120 easily.  And there are several options, again, which I will describe in more detail later.

R2N ($63.78) - made by "c.t.h" at CrazeArcade, this is probably the cheapest board and works great!  Based on AD725 and outputs composite and S-Video.

JROK (approx $75) - made by James at, this is perhaps the most versatile board available.  Based on Sony encoder and outputs composite and S-Video.  Has potentiometers for RGB adjustment on-board.

NeoBitz (approx $115) - This is a new board that has component video in addition to S-Video and composite!  It features a custom circuit designed by Jeff Kurtz and uses and AD724 for the S-Video and composite functions.


Resistors, caps, etc. - The little bits and pieces you'll need to get the whole thing working.  You need very little of this to do a great supergun.  Mostly you'll just need some 10k and 1k resistors for an audio attenuation circuit, which isn't something you need.  If you plan on doing a lot of these, then buy resistors in bulk at DigiKey or Jameco.  But otherwise you can find this stuff at Radio Shack (although you may have to buy a big pack of miscellaneous parts to get them) or a mom and pop electronics store.

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