Thursday, 5 January 2012

Nintendo's Punch-Out!! to JAMMA

Getting Punch-Out!! to work on a JAMMA setup is not a straightforward job, though it's not too difficult if you're determined.

The basic obstacles to be overcome are:-
  • Punch-Out!! uses two monitors
  • Like other Nintendo games, the video signals are inverted
  • The board needs an external amplifier for you to hear sound
Aside from that, the JAMMA adaptor is fairly simple, the power requirements are standard and the controls likewise.

Here's a shot of the board, showing the edge connector. It's a 56-pin connector, the same size as a JAMMA connector. The board can keep high scores if there are batteries installed (bottom right).

The pinouts are available from Mike's Arcade, from where I bought two inverter and sound amp boards. You can make your own if you want, but I figured it would be easier for me to buy them already made, since they're not expensive and they come with the output cables.

Looking at the pinouts, you'll see that the board just requires +5V. The +24V signal is required for the coin counter, but since JAMMA doesn't supply +24V you don't need to worry about it.

For the video, you have to first connect the PCB side's video out signals to the inverters. If you buy the inverters from Mike's Arcade you don't get these cables with the kit, but they are sold separately on the site. They're standard Nintendo video cables, and I have a few that I bought from sellers on various forums. If you're going to be soldering to an edge connector like I did, you'll only need one cable. Simply cut it in the middle, strip the wires and then solder them to the edge connector as per the pinouts - one half of the cable for each monitor's outputs.

For the sound, you'll need another two cables not supplied with the kit, again these are standard Nintendo audio cables. I emailed Mike's Arcade and they sold me the cables separately.

The output (video and speaker) cables and the power cable are supplied with the kit. The manual is available on the site I linked to above, so have a look if you're in any way unsure. The inverter/amp boards require +12V, which is no problem to source from your control box.

Ok, so here's my complete harness. As you can see, it's a big mess. I didn't cut the wires down so they're far too long but it works ok so I'll leave it for now.

So from the edge connector you connect the video and sound signals to the inputs on each converter. From there it depends on your own setup. This is how I decided to do it:
  • From one inverter I took the output video signals and wired it to the JAMMA fingerboard, hence the video signal passes through my control box and from there to the monitor
  • From the second inverter I took the second monitor's output video signals and connected them to a DIN plug with the same pinout as the RGB output on my control box. This is exactly the same as what I did with my Ninja Warriors harness
  • For the sound I took the amplified speaker output from each inverter and connected them both to the DIN plug - one to the left channel and the other to the right
  • The sound therefore comes from the monitor that the DIN plug is eventually connected to. Rather than use the monitor's own speakers, I connect external speakers to the monitor through its headphone socket. For most of my games, these speakers are connected to my control box, so it's simply a case of moving the jack from one socket to another.
Here's a look at the DIN connector I used. As you can see I forgot to cover the wiring with the enclosure before I started soldering. This shows the level of excitement generated by the anticipation of finally being able to play the game.

And here's the final output on my monitors. For authenticity the monitor on the right should be above the other but I'd have to rebuild my desk/shelving for that.

Power Up to Super Punch-Out!!
Super Punch-Out!! was released as an upgrade to Punch-Out!! (it's not an easy swap), so it uses the same pinout, with one addition - that of the "Duck" manoeuvre. To make the player duck on an original machine the player would have to pull on the joystick, almost as if they were trying to pull the joystick out of the control panel. If you have a setup like mine then you can simply use a fourth button (the first three being Left Blow, Right Blow and Knockout Blow). Connect your fourth button to pin 17 on the parts side of the adaptor (pin 18 on the solder side is Right so you'll know you're in the right place).

Power Up again to Arm Wrestling
Arm Wrestling also uses the same pinout as the aforementioned games, but again with slightly different controls. The same Duck manoeuvre exists as with Super Punch-Out!!, so that stays the same (called Pull on Arm Wrestling). Left and Right also stay the same, on the same pins (now called Attack and Counter). The addition comes in a Power button, and its pin is pin 17 on the solder side, so it's directly opposite to the Pull button's pin.

So you can make a harness for all three games without worrying about the inputs:
  • Pin 17 on the solder side is only used on Arm Wrestling
  • Pin 17 on the component side is only used on Arm Wrestling and Super Punch-Out!!
  • Pins 20, 21, 22 and 24 on the solder side are only used on Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!!
So all of these pins can be connected on one harness and the game will only read what it needs to; none of the inputs exclusive to each game is needed by any other game for another purpose.

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