Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Ninja Warriors and Darius to JAMMA

I bought another Ninja Warriors board just before the tsunami hit in March. Fortunately it did get through and I was able to pick it up from the post office. It then stayed in its box until I could get settled again. Over the summer I made a proper JAMMA harness for it - my previous one was a quickly hacked Ben Bero Beh harness with extra wires and crocodile clips all over the place.

If you've seen either a Ninja Warriors or Darius cabinet (there's a few in Tokyo I've seen), you'll know they're enormous three-screen monsters. So here's a look at how I managed to get a Ninja Warriors board thing working at home.

First, here's a picture of my setup. This is an old pre-tsunami picture but my current setup is almost exactly the same. The two monitors are X68000 CZ-613D monitors, with RGB and composite inputs. The X68000 can be seen on the far right. The monitors don't have internal speakers, so with PCBs I connect my speakers directly to the AV7000 control box (you can just see the bottom of it by the right-hand speaker) and for other machines (the Spectrum 128, FM Towns Marty, Famicom in the picture and anything else) I connect the speakers to the headphone socket on the monitor. The RGB cables I have I bought from MAK, and at 5250 yen aren't cheap, but definitely worth it as the picture is far superior to ordinary composite. I also have an S-Video cable for when I want to connect my control box to an ordinary television.

I now have an extra monitor (a CZ-614D) so with three monitors I can now play the Ninja Warriors as it should be. So for the purposes of this guide what's important to remember is that I'm using the RGB input on these monitors.

Both The Ninja Warriors and Darius use the same harness so if I can ever find a cheap Darius (not likely) I can use it on that too. Or so I believe - if you blow up your expensive Darius board then please don't blame me.

Here's a picture of the entire PCB. There's another large board not visible on the bottom. The small board on the top right is the sound board.

The edge connector has 44 pins and is used for player controls and coin inputs.

On the far left are two power inputs. These have the same pinout as many other Taito games such as Bubble Bobble.

I bought two nice new power cables from Bob Roberts to save myself any trouble in making my own. The black wires are for Ground, Red supplies +5V, Blue supplies -5V and lastly the Orange are for +12V. Pin 11 (second last orange wire) is not connected, so you don't need to wire that up.

Here's a look at the video (J) and audio (M) connectors. For video, each monitor requires five pins - Red, Blue, Green, Sync and Ground. Hence fifteen pins on this connector. However, my monitors also required +5V to be connected, so I had to take this from the JAMMA harness. In the photograph below you can see how I wired it up. I used a 16-pin JST connector from an Out Run harness I bought and then connected up the six wires needed for each connector. As I was using the same RGB cables as the AV7000 would use, I wired them up with its pinout. The DIN connectors I bought from

The pinouts are available from Crazy Kong, but there's a slight problem. In the picture above, the leftmost pin on the video connector (J) is pin 1, which according to the pinouts, is Ground, followed by Sync, Blue, Green and Red in that order. However, the pins are reversed. The pinout starts on the right hand side and continues to the left. So pin 15 is in fact Ground, followed by Sync, Blue, Green and Red (so the order is correct, it's just the pins numbers that need reversing). This was a little confusing, as I couldn't work out why I wasn't getting a video signal. The pinouts are also available in the manual: I found a copy on the Games Database site.

The wires from the JST connector were quite short, which made it quite awkward to solder.

This is how I wired up for sound. Counting from the right, pins 5 and 6 are the Right and Left headphone outputs, and pin 7 is Ground. As there's only one Ground, I first wired it to one plug, and then wired from that plug to the other. Obviously from these plugs I can easily connect to my speakers or amplifier. There are other outputs available on these pins, it just happened that this was easiest given how this JST connector was already wired up (another Out Run harness refugee).

Here's the entire adaptor connected to the board. Once you can get the parts it's not too difficult. Certainly it's easier than something like the Atari System 1 board with its unusual power requirements. If you're using S-Video or SCART then obviously you'll have to work out the connections yourself but it should be straightforward.

And here are two shots of the centre monitor. I didn't bother connecting the other two monitors but you get the idea.

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