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Step by step
The making of the Nanocade Mame cabinet
Project MAME  -  Weecade   -  TaitoRama  -   Nanocade  -   ArcadeStik  -  econ

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Upgrading the Nanocade
(9.7" iPad 2 screen, new motherboard, speakers, cables)

I finally decided to upgrade the Nanocade with some new and improved parts.

I was never happy with the Lilliput 10.4" monitor. I has very poor contrast, low resolution (800x600), low brightness and the response time isn't to shabby either. The big problem is that 4:3 monitors in that size are all crap and they are all very expensive and even harder to find. In a few years they are probably impossible to find.

Then I realised that the Apple iPad 2 has a fantastic IPS screen in right 4:3 format with very good brightness and pretty good contrast. The resolution is 1024x768 and that is a pretty big upgrade from 800x600 when you need to upscale arcade games. I found a kit with a VGA/LVDS controller board and a LED booster for the iPad 2 screen (LG/Philips IPS LP097X02 panel). The panel and the kit is $129 or $100 less than the Lilliput monitor. 

  Part List of new parts Old parts

CPU cooler:


9.7" iPAD 2 LCD (LG/Philips LP097X02, 1024x768)
+ LVDS to VGA controller (RTD2025L) + LED boost board

MSI H61I-E35 (B3)
Celeron G1610 (Ivy-Bridge, intel HD)
Akasa K25 low profile cooler
4GB DDR3-1333
Pico-PSU 80 + 96 watt external PSU

2x2" + USB 2x2.5 watt amplifier

10.4" Lilliput FA1042-NC/P (800x600)

Intel D510-MO Mini-ITX
Intel Atom D510 Dual Core
Passive on-board cooler
1GB DDR2-800
Pico-PSU 80 + 60 watt external PSU

Build-in monitor FA1042


I also decided to add some much needed horse power to the Nanocade. Above you can see a comparison table with new and old parts.

The build-in speakers of the Lilliput was also very weak and lacked the lower end totally. So I will upgrade that to two 2" full-range speakers and a USB powered amplifier.



Going from a very compact Intel Atom system to an Ivy Bridge LGA1155 system causes all sorts of problems. Mainly due to cooling and size of components.

The VGA socket is raised because there is a HDMI socket beneath it. The problem is that there isn't room for a standard VGA plug due to the depth of the sanwa pushbuttons. There hardly were room for it with the Atom board.

The only solution is to make a smaller VGA cable.
VGA male connector soldering  So I went ahead and ordered a D-SUB 15-pin male soldering plug. I found a thin cheap VGA cable in the attic and cut it in the right length. 

It was absolutely horrible to solder this plug because of the cheap VGA cable. Everything melted away as soon at it touched the soldering iron. A word of advise, use a good quality cable for this procedure.

Well it worked fine in the end. But it look like it will brake apart very easily.
VGA cable isolation tape  Using some isolation tape, I made a little casting mould to make a plug around the wires with a hot glue gun. I haven't done this before, so I didn't know it would work. I made sure to really squeeze as much as possible down there to fill every gap in there. I also made sure the glue was really hot and thin before starting to fill it in. 
Casting a plug with hot glue  To my surprise this worked absolutely brilliantly and I only burned myself a few times. None of the wires will break easily and you even have something to grab hold of.
VGA mini plug DIY  Comparison between the big old VGA plug and the new DIY hot glue plug. The new plug takes up about 1/8 the size of the old plug. And maybe 1/3 the size of the smallest VGA plugs available.
  Return in a few days for part 2...
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If you decide to make your own MAME cabinet using my drawings, please feel free to make a donation,  as I'm trying to raise enough money to make a new up-right cabinet, that's hard to do as a student.




[ Copyright 2013 ]