Outrun Midi De-Conversion

I bought a Midnight Run cabinet from a fellow collector when I first got into the arcade scene many years ago now. It was originally an Outrun Midi cab that had been converted to Midnight Run by Brent Leisure. I always planned on turning it back into an Outrun cab as it’s one of my favourite games but just didn’t get round to it. So I’ve had some time off from work, and started stripping all the Midnight Run parts out of the cabinet. I’ve got to say that it looks like Brent Leisure did a pretty decent job of making this very tidy.

Here is all the wiring and parts that needed to come out:

and here are most of the parts that need to go in:

Here is a picture of the front of the cab:

I managed to sort out most of the wiring but some of it got me stumped. Luckily a fellow collector happened to have the only Outrun Mini wiring diagram that seems to exist in the whole world, and this will no doubt be invaluable. I’ve attached the manual and wiring diagram below as I’m sure it will help out others aswell:

Outrun Mini Manual (6 downloads)
Outrun Mini Wiring Diagram (6 downloads)


Outrun to Jamma test bench joystick

A friend of mine asked me if I could have a look at an Outrun to Jamma loom that was made by another collector, as it was thought to be incomplete and missing the steering pot connections.

It was fairly easy to understand as far as I could tell. The Outrun 20 pin connector had three groups of wires in three sets. So you had 3 wires on A1-A3, B1-B3, and B4-B6.

A1-A3 controlled the accelerator. This was configured to go to a veroboard with some resistors so it could use a microswitch to control the speed. The wires that came off this board went to P1 button 3 and ground on the Jamma adapter

B4-B6 controlled the brake. This again went into a veroboard of resistors, and then two wires going to ground and P1 button 1 on the Jamma side.

B1-B3 controlled the wheel. This went to ground and P1 Button 4. The wire at B1 was not connected to anything and had shrink wrap on it

I also had a quick look at where P1 button 2 went to, to complete all P1 buttons. This went to A4 on the 50 pin Outrun connector and that deals with the shift. I assumed it simply swaps between low and high.

So with regards the missing steering pot the previous owner must have had a wheel control panel in his Jamma cab with a pot connected to B4, and ground on his Jamma edge connector. I would asusme the third pin on the pot would have been connected to 5v, but again that would be taken care of inside his Jamma cab.

Now that I had an understanding of how things had been put together I suggested to my friend that if this was to be used on a test bench, it would be better to have some kind of joystick connected. I was essentially going to leave the original wiring intact, but break into the wiring with a Mate N’ Lok type connector. The connector could then be swapped between the orginal wiring, as it was, or a connector that had a joystick with potentiometers.

I managed to find an appropriate joystick to do this and began modifying it to work with the loom. After quite a bit of wiring, soldering, track cutting, and crimping, I finally had a joystick that worked with an original Sega Outrun PCB.


Vs. Castlevania / Top Gun PCB SOLD OUT

The Vs. Castlevania PCB has now been manufactured, built, tested, and is sold out! Ten units were made to sell in Europe, and they all went within 24hrs!

Here’s some images of the finished PCB:


Vs. Dr.Mario PCB

Myself and a fellow arcade collector have teamed up again to work on a reproduction Vs. Dr.Mario daughterboard for the Nintendo Vs. system.

There were additional complexities to this PCB because it uses a Nintendo custom MMC1 chip, which are not easy to find, and there are no schematics of this board so it was a case of tracking down an original PCB, at some expense, and mapping out all the pinouts. The great thing is that this PCB will be a lot less than an original PCB, so it makes it cheap and more available for the people that would love to own it.

This is the circuit diagram my partner on this project has produced:


Data I/O 29a Remote Mode

Now that I had the Data I/O 29a in a working state I attempted to see if I could get it to communicate with a PC using the Promlink programming software. Unfortunately I fell at the first hurdle as my unit did not have a remote mode available. This can usually be accessed by using the command, “Select”, “F”, then “1” then “Start”, and “Start” again. On my unit this command was not even valid! Interestingly the manual does state that remote mode is “only in models equipped with this option”.

I then noticed that my device had a rom set labelled “324-0029”, whilst my friends unit, which could go into remote mode, had a rom set labelled “324-1024”. Both prom sets were exactly the same and these were labelled “324-1980 Rev A”. So I decided I would copy the 324-1024 roms and try them in my system. Luckily several collectors had some of these roms spare they could post to me (TMS2716’s) and I was pleased to see that once they were burnt, my unit now had the ability to go into remote mode aswell.

Next step was to build the serial port lead to make the connection. This required a 25 pin Dsub male connector and a 9 pin DB9 female connector. I found details of the pins used and connection settings at the following page www.retroclinic.com

Once the lead was made I then had to find copies of the software. After a bit of searching I found a FTP site that had what I needed. The link for the site was ttl.arcadetech.org

This site had various versions of the programs. Most notably 341-1991, and 61. What I discovered is that the unipak works best with 341-1991, and unipak2 or unipak2b works best with 61.

The site also had txt file lists of all the roms, and proms it could burn on each pak, so that was incredibly useful information.

I installed the software on an old laptop running Windows 95, and on my first attempt I was greeted with the message of “contact with programmer established”.

I wanted to try and get the unit running on a Windows 7 PC, soley for the reason that I didn’t want to use multiple PC’s or laptops to run all of my test equipment. I downloaded the software DOSbox www.dosbox.com and installed it on my Windows 7 box. The trick to get this working is to make sure that the serial configuration in the dosbox.conf file is configured correctly. I used the settings:

serial1=directserial realport:com1 irq:4 bytesize:8 stopbit:1 parity:E

Once that was configured I copied the promlink software to the root of my C:\ drive and launched DOSBox. Once the folder was mounted using mount c c:\promlink I was able to launch the Promlink software and establish a connection.

I’ve dumped both rom sets and prom set, and made them available below. If someone else comes across the same issues with remote mode it should be fairly easy to sort out with these files, as I could not find copies anywhere else:

324-1024 Roms (46 downloads)
324-0029 Roms (43 downloads)
324-1980 Rev A Proms (49 downloads)


Vs. Castlevania / Top Gun PCB

Myself and a fellow arcade collector have started working on a reproduction daughterboard for the Nintendo Vs. system which will allow Vs. Castlevania or Vs. Top Gun to run on a dual (Red Tent) or single standalone system.

These daughterboards are very hard to find and can be quite expenisve to buy, so we believe this is a good alternative. We are also looking at the possibility of making another board for Vs. Dr.Mario, but this has some additional complexities we need to work through.

This is the circuit diagram my partner on this project has produced: