DK PCB From Hell


I am thoroughly convinced that my Donkey Kong PCB is the Devil. When I got it, it worked fine for a few months and then the sprites went missing. Sprites are the moving graphics, you know the barrels coming at you, Jumpman running. I really wanted to get it fixed so I sent it off to This is a guy named Adam that I met on the KLOV forums. His work is very professional and I like that he makes videos of the repairs. I got it back and it worked fine but it started having sound issues so Adam is looking at it free of charge. I highly recommend his work. Board came back and it is fixed.

I think I know what caused this problem. While Installing the High Score Save kit from Braze Technologies I pushed too hard on the PCB. It’s a a good kit, the only thing is that the pins are very very tight when you put it in. Mine was incredibly difficult to get installed. Pressing on the PCB probably made it bend and on a thirty year old board everything is ready to break. So when I got it back I re-installed it but this time I slightly bent the pins inward. I mean slightly as in almost imperceptible, and it went right in without a problem.

Dig Dug / Galaga Missing ROM Issue Fix


I had a really hard time geting the Dig Dug and Galaga roms to work in MAME and when I searched the Internet I couldn’t find anything. The response I saw over and over was that the roms must not match the MAME version I was using but I had tried several and still nothing Then I stumbled onto the answer and it’s pretty simple, I was missing some other ROMS. The ones I was missing were the following:
 I just grabbed all the Namco ROMS and wasn’t sure which one was the problem but it works so I can’t complain. I found this problem with clrmamepro when I used it to verify my roms. I then went to retroroms and grabbed the Namco ROMS and the problem was solved. It is well worth it to learn to use clrmamepro even if it is really confusing. So there you go, if you get the error that you are missing ROMS or CHD then you probably need the roms. Happy Dig Dugging!!!
Update: I was informed in the comments below that you only need Namco51 and Namco53. I haven’t tried just using those but it’s probably correct. If not then throw the rest in there.

Donkey Kong


Donkey Kong was our first restoration. Now before I go on I want to clarify that by restoration I mean getting it back to looking good. I am not trying to make it perfect as if it just rolled off the assembly line. It would take an incredible amount of detail work. You just can’t fix every little nook and cranny and you cannot get an exact paint match because they are not painted. They are covered with a laminate. The most common color is a light blue but the first Donkey Kong cabinets were red so that’s what we went with. It’s a long story but they were originally put into a game called Radarscope. Just Google that and you can get the details.

1. Discharged and removed the monitor – I’m sure you have heard that you can get popped really good or even killed when discharging a CRT. This is true so I would do this first. You can do the following and I do not take any responsibility for anything that may happen to you or your machine. This is just what we did. Go to Bob Robert’s page and follow the instructions for making a tool. It is very simple. Get a 12 inch screwdriver with plastic handle, then solder an 18 gauge wire onto it like shown on Bob Robert’s page and then put a clamp on the end of the wire. I used an alligator clip. I recommend you watch a few videos on Youtube to see how it’s done. Once you have discharged the monitor you can take it out. After removing the monitor we removed everything inside and labeled all the connections. I know you think you can remember them all but you probably won’t.
2. Removed Hardware and Components
  • Upper Marquee Bar
  • Marquee
  • Lower Marquee Bar
  • Bezel
  • Control Panel
  • Speaker
  • Coin Door
  • T-Molding
  • PCB
  • Power Supply
  • Wiring Harness
3. Added Casters / Painted the Base – Many cabinets have wheels on the back so you can tip them back like they are on a dolly. They are good for moving around a larger area but in smaller areas you have to walk the cabinet and it jacks up the base and the floor. We wanted to add casters and so we added some 3 inch casters and it is so much easier to move. The cabinet is slightly higher but that works for me. A lot of these cabinets are particle board so you may want to cut a piece of wood that sits inside the base. That particle board is crap and will easily break when you tighten the bolts. I drilled a 5/8 inch hole and put a 5/8 x 2 1/2 bolt through the top with a fender washer (just a big washer with 5/8 inch hole) and on the bottom I used a lock washer and bolt. I painted the underside first because I was already working on that part. We used Rustoleum Black Semi Gloss and a small roller and brush. Two coats worked well.
4. Fixed Wood and Sanded – I left out something when I wrote this so let me correct it. Before I use wood filler I rough up the wood with some 60 grit. Just enough to take the sheen off. Then I use the Bondo and the reason is so that the Bondo will adhere to the surface better. Speaking of that everyone has an opinion on it’s how to repair wood and fill holes. Some people say to use wood filler and others say to use Bondo. We tried the wood filler and it works for small stuff but the truth is that Bondo worked much better. I have one place on my Donkey Kong Junior cabinet on the back where it looks like a beaver had a snack and I was able to create the missing area fairly easy and sand it down into the correct shape. This takes around three minutes because Bondo will harden in around three minutes. I mean seriously it will harden and you won’t be able to change the form. Here is a link to a guy using the wood filler version to recreate a missing piece of board. He is using Bondo wood filler but you can do the same thing with Bondo Autobody filler. I could not find the wood filler version anywhere but Lowes and Home Depot had the Autobody version. Go figure. Dover Products.
For sanding we used 60 grit on some of the surface but 150 grit should suffice to rough it up for primer and you won’t sand down through the laminate. That is a real bitch to fix. We use a Dewalt Palm Sander and Diablo sandpaper. I think that the Diablo brand of sandpaper is really good. It just eats the paint right up.
I have read on several forums where people have gone through a DeWalt palm sander doing one cabinet and that they are no good. That my friend is a load off dook. Just don’t run it for 30 mintues straight and don’t force down really hard. Let the paper do the work and take your time. After you eat some of that blue pixie dust you will want to get out anyways. (Wear a mask and glasses.) Lastly, don’t wet sand with an electric sander. Do I really need to explain why?
5. Tape and Paint – Black or color first? Doesn’t matter. What does matter is your amount of patience. Patience correlates to the amount of shittiness you will get when you are done. In other words you must let it dry and you can wet sand in between every coat with 400 grit. If you are patient and do this it will look fantastic. Like brand new. If you don’t then it will look like crap and it will be thick and pasty. Take your time, trust me. You can use the paint with the primer in it but it’s not like just getting a gallon of primer. Primer is you friend.
We used Valspar from Lowes and the Donkey Kong red we used is “Radiant Red.”
So the steps were:
  • Fill all the holes and fix wood areas with Bondo Wood Filler
  • Sand all the wood filler and any other spots with 60 or 150 grit sand paper
  • Roll on the primer
  • Sand with 220 lightly
  • Roll on the primer
  • Sand with 220 lightly
  • Roll on paint
  • Wet sand with 400 lightly (remove bumps and imperfections)
  • Roll on paint
  • Wet sand with 400 lightly (remove bumps and imperfections)
  • Roll on paint
  • Wet sand with 400 lightly (remove bumps and imperfections)
  • Roll on paint
  • Touch up
Primer: Behr Oil Based Primer
Paint Color: Valspar Premium Semi Gloss / Radiant Red
Black Paint: Rustoleum Semi Gloss Quart
Flat Black / Gloss Black / Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint
6. Re-Assembly – Pretty much what it says. We put it together. One thing to remember is when you put the monitor back in and plug the annode cap back on the crt you can get zapped so next time I will do the discharge procedure again. There is probably more that I forgot but it’s pretty easy when you get going.
Now it’s on like Donkey Kong.

MAME Project


Setting up MAME can be hell if you are a newbie. You can get the basics going but after that it’s onto multiple sites and multiple forums and so on. So I wrote down what I did to make it a little easier. To start off there are a few questions you have to ask yourself. Are you doing this for fun or are you going for a record and want it verified by Twin Galaxies? Do you want to have high scores saved? How authentic of an experience do you want?


MAME does not record high scores. They say it does for about 2500 games but apparently I don’t have any of those games which are mostly classic games like Tempest, Donkey Kong, etc. So to get high scores you can need a file called highscore.dat and you need to compile it OR you can go get one already compiled for version 143 which plays pretty much all my games.
  1. Go to the MAME site and look under previous releases. Download release 143 and unzip it wherever you like. Currently the highest release is 146 but you won’t notice the difference.Official MAME 143b
  2. Now we need a high score dat file and a version of the MAME executable that has been compiled for this. So go here and in the downloads section you want to download the highscore dat and the version 143 mame executable. Yes I know we already downloaded MAME but hang on I will explain.High Score DAT and High Score MAME Executable
  3. Ok here are the steps
  • Create a folder where ever you like. Mame runs from that. There is no installer.
  • Unzip the official Mame143b into that folder.
  • Bring up the command prompt and go to that folder.
  • Type “mame -cc” without quotations. This will make the MAME config file.
  • If there is no folder call “hi” then create it.
  • Unzip the highscore.dat zip file into your MAME folder
  • Unzip into your MAME folder and it will overwrite the one in there.
  • Go get some ROMS and put them in the “roms” folder
  • Go into the command prompt and to the folder you put mame in
  • type “mame -createconfig” so it will make an ini file
  • Once you have ROMS (see below) you go to the mame directory and type “mame”
  • Now you have Mame with highscore. Open up Ms Pacman and when you close and re-open the score is still there.


The 64,000 dollar question. Search for the site RetroRoms (I’m not linking to it). You have to register to make a username. Then for some reason you have to log in on the left and click downloads and login again. After that drill down to /downloads/mame/currentroms.  See that was pretty easy eh? This is better than downloading a huge torrent file with thousands of roms when you will probably just play a few. Put these in your ROMS folder and double-click MAME. It has a built in front end. Clunky but works.If you see multiple version of a rom like tempest1 tempest2 and so on just grab them all. Sometimes you need all of them to make a game work. I am not an expert on this but that usually works for me.

Bezels, Marquees, Etc.

Mr Do’s Arcade– Go here to get your files. Put the files in the artwork folder. Each zip file needs a folder. For example. The contents of go in a folder called mspacman and that goes in the artwork folder. Should work automatically. To turn it off start the game and hit Tab for the video options for that particular game and turn off the bezel option.

Effects For Authenticity?

Overlays Here – If you have an LCD you probably realize something doesn’t look right. Of course some people will say that you must have a real arcade monitor but that is not always feasible. I have heard a lot of bad stuff about LCDs. The game doesn’t look right, the game colors, the game resolution. Blah blah blah. I have even heard that if you use an LCD it’s because you don’t have the money for the real thing. Hahhahah. So retarded. A real arcade monitor is the shit but they are heavy and will need work sooner or later. If you got the skillz then good for you but if you want a pain free experience then go with an LCD. Personally I can just go get a new LCD for much less and it’s not because I am poor. The exception to this line of thinking is that I would not advocate an LCD for a real arcade machine. My Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior both have a Sanyo EZ -20 but for a MAME machine it’s a bit overkill if you ask. MAME has a way to help you get a more authentic look. You can simply overlay the lines and create a very nice look.I have attached a file and I got it from here. You can get different effects and even use different ones on different games. So take the attached file and put it in the artwork directory. Go into your MAME folder and open mame.ini with a notepad editor. If you don’t have a mame.ini file then you skipped the part above that says to go to a command prompt and find your way to the mame directory then type “mame -cc. Now you have been told twice. Find the “effect” line and change it so that it matches the name of the overlay file you want to use. In this case the file named scanrez2.
## CORE SCREEN OPTIONS#brightness 1.0contrast 1.0gamma 1.0pause_brightness 0.65 effect scanrez2
Now you have a cool looking screen but your vector games look like shit. So using Tempest as an example you just make a file called tempest.ini and put “effect none” inside and put it in the main MAME folder. It will override the mame ini settings.


To compete for world records you need wolfmame106. It is also called wolfmamepro106 but they are the same. Search for it via Google. This is currently the version that Twin Galaxies requires but you should always keep up with their rule changes. Yes, the ones not posted on their site that you have to go into a forum to ask about and get ten different answers. The ones that half the time make no sense. Yeah those rules.

Donkey Kong 3


Outside the arcade world you probably don’t remember Donkey Kong 3. This game really gets no love but there are a few people out there that appreciate just how much fun this game is.

I picked up this board from Komodo over at KLOV one lovely Saturday afternoon. As luck would have it I had just missed out on a full Donkey Kong 3 cabinet he had, I would love to have all three but it was not to be so I bought a board he had for my Donkey Kong cabinet.

There is one little problem with using it in my Donkey Kong. The DK3 PCB only uses an edge connector unlike DK and DKJr that have the plugs on the board. Ah so what to do? Got an adapter from Arcadeshop and it didn’t work. I guess I could have returned it but it’s not worth the time and effort so I will keep it and fix it when I have time. This leaves two options. Find a used harness or one of the Super Harness’ made by Dokert on KLOV.  There is another problem with that. He doesn’t make them all the time because he has other projects and a life I imagine. So I was at an impasse and the Arcade Gods decided to show me some favor and low and behold someone on KLOV was selling an unused Super Harness. Bam! Now that puppy is running in my Donkey Kong.

There wasn’t much to this project even though I try to only list projects I have going on in my life on here but we can just consider this little adventure an easy project. Maybe one day I will go ahead and get a cabinet but for now I am fine with it as it is. Now I just need a high score save kit.

MAME Control Panel


I believe that you should do whatever you want with your arcade cabinets and that people should respect your decisions. They may not agree with them but respect them at least. I understand people becoming upset if you are trashing everything inside of the cabinet, especially if the game is rare or hard to find, but a Donkey Kong? Let’s be real here, there are a hundred thousand of these. You can make your own for a fraction of the price, just be smart about it and use a common cabinet. Keep all the original parts so you can convert it back. A lot of times you don’t even need to change the control panel if you plan it right.

When I bought my Donkey Kong Jr cabinet it was in pretty bad shape. It looked like a beaver had eaten the back corners halfway up the cabinet, I mean it was truly a sad little thing. Actually it wasn’t even a DK Jr. It was a Donkey Kong that someone had put DK Jr hardware in. We painted it blue and the DK Jr art matches much better. It worked for a while and then the PCB went south and the monitor probably needs some work too so we removed the PCB, monitor, and power supply and put them aside for the future use. I am going to learn how to do a cap kit and troubleshoot the PCB when I have time. I am learning steadily and can at least take a stab at getting it running. The only thing I did not save was the control panel overlay because it was in really crappy shape with a crack in it.
Everyone has an opinion on control panels when it comes to MAME and I have been on both sides of the debate. I had lots of buttons and a spinner on the control panel at first. Once I got a Tempest there was no reason for the spinner and I realized that I only really play a few so we decided to fix the control panel up and make it look original. We got a new overlay from Mike at and I admit that it looks much much better now.
When you create a Mame machine one of the most important decision you will make is the control panel. I have seen some extremely hideous layouts. Huge hulking control panels that look like airplane wings. Ask yourself if you are really going to play a huge assortment of games. Do you really need a four player setup? You can play a large amount of classic games with a Pac-Man control panel.