JAMMA wired cabinets have been a staple in the coin-op industry ever since the standard was created. The main benefit that JAMMA brought to the arcade landscape was the ability to switch in and out different game boards without the need to completely rewire cabinets. This allowed operators to switch out the games at their various locations without switching out cabinets saving them a lot of trouble (and back pain). During the early days of the JAMMA standard, most boards only played one game so switching out boards was essential in order to provide a different experience to the player. Thanks to recent technological advances, we now have JAMMA boards that play multiple games and can provide the player with hundreds or even thousands of playing experiences without having to switch out boards. In this post, we will discuss how to install one of the more popular multigame boards, a 412-in-1 Game Elf vertical multigame board, in a JAMMA wired cabinet.
Installing A 412-in-1 Multigame Board (In A JAMMA Cabinet)
Before we get started, it’s important to mention that the video for this post does not start off talking about the actual 412-in-1 multigame board installation. This is because this particular cabinet was having some issues that needed to be addressed first before we could begin the 412-in-1 installation process. The owner of the machine contacted us and told us that the game was not working. Once we arrived at the location, we started doing some preliminary troubleshooting. The first thing that we noticed was that nothing was coming up on the screen which would usually indicate either a bad power supply, a bad monitor or a bad main board. By doing some basic troubleshooting procedures (such as Checking The Power Supply, hooking up another monitor to the main board, installing a test board in the cabinet, etc.), we were able to determine that the main board was the root cause of the issue. At this point, we gave the owner of the machine the option to either replace the main board with another 60-in-1 board or to upgrade to the 412-in-1 board. The owner chose to upgrade to the 412-in-1 board so this post/video are based on that request. If you are not interested in seeing these troubleshooting steps, you can skip to the 4 minute 10 second mark of the video to bypass this section.
With the troubleshooting out of the way, let us move on to the actual process of installing the 412-in-1 multigame board. Installing a 412-in-1 board in a JAMMA cabinet is pretty much like installing any other JAMMA board. It’s just a matter of unplugging the existing JAMMA board from the JAMMA harness in the cabinet currently (if there is one) and replacing it with the 412-in-1 board. For more information on this part of the process, we highly recommend checking out our post on Swapping Boards In A JAMMA Cabinet as it discusses this procedure in greater detail. Now, you may be tempted to turn on the game immediately after installing the 412-in-1 board in your cabinet. STOP! Please wait to do this as there is still another step that needs to be completed in order to get the 412-in-1 board working properly. If you look at the bottom of page 15 of the 412-in-1 manual, you will find a caution message. It states “Caution: Do not connect the PIN27 of JAMMA port to ground lead, it will affect the game’s playing.” While this translation is probably a little bit broken, the point is pretty clear. Most JAMMA boards expect pin 27 on the harness to be connected to ground which is part of the wiring standard. The 412-in-1 board DOES NOT want pin 27 to be connected to ground and doing so may cause the board to act erratically. In order to keep pin 27 on the JAMMA harness from going to ground, we can just clip the wires which will stop them from making the connection. You may want to cover the ends with electrical tape but as long as the ends of the wires are not exposed you should be fine.
Once the board is installed properly, we can power up the game and set the options from the System Settings menu. In order to get to the System Settings menu, you can either use the test switch/button that’s wired to your JAMMA harness or press the S1 button on the 412-in-1 board when the setup message displays on the screen during boot up. The System Settings menu allows you to set all sorts of options. In the video for this post, we discuss a couple of options including Free Play and System Mode. In order to set the game on free play, you will need to select the Game Settings item from the menu. You can then set the Free Play option to the On position using the button(s) shown at the bottom of the screen. System Mode is a bit more complicated than setting up free play as it allows you to hide or show games depending on your preferences. To access the System Mode, you will need to once again select the Game Settings item from the menu. At this point, you will need to set the System Mode option to the Configure/Edit Games position. Once you save this setting and exit the System Settings menu, another menu should come up with the title Edit Games List. From here, you can follow the on screen instructions to show or hide the games you want to allow the player to access. Once you are finished editing the game list, you will need to return to the System Settings menu and set the System Mode back to Normal Play in order to restore the functionality.
Just a couple of notes on editing the game list, some versions of the 412-in-1 board have Vanguard as a playable game (according to jammaboards.com). Since Vanguard uses four buttons, you may want to hide it if you only have three buttons installed on your cabinet. Also, there are some adult (or mature) games on the 412-in-1 board so if children will be playing this arcade cabinet you might want to hide the following games as well (list taken from aceamusements.us): Block Gal (089), Nun Chackun CTC (189), Perestroika Girls CTC (195), Cutie Q CTC (268), Play Girls 2 (390), Play Girls (391), Fantasia (402), Fantasy ’95 (403), Gals Panic (404), New Fantasia (405), Super Model (406).
Before we finish up our 412-in-1 multigame board installation, it’s important that we address the issue of connecting a trackball. In the video for this post, our cabinet had a trackball installed that was wired for use with a 60-in-1 board. The 60-in-1 board uses the player 2 directional pins on the harness to connect the trackball inputs. The 412-in-1 board works a bit differently so this set up will not work. Unlike the 60-in-1 board, the 412-in-1 board has a dedicated connector just for trackballs. You might notice that I said “trackballs” meaning more than one. Yes, you can wire up a trackball for each player on the 412-in-1 board if you want. The easiest way to wire up the trackballs to this connector is to use the trackball wiring harness that’s made for these game elf multigame boards. You should be able to purchase the harness from the same retailer that you purchase the 412-in-1 board from. Connecting the wiring harness to your trackball is pretty straight forward. In our example, there was only one trackball on our control panel so we used the player 1 x-axis and y-axis connectors and bundled up the player 2 connectors for future use. You will need to unplug the existing connectors from the trackball (again, it’s a good idea to bundle these wires for future use) and plug in the new connectors from the trackball wiring harness. Usually we will try and determine which one is the x-axis (side to side) and y-axis (up and down) by moving around the trackball and watching the flywheels inside. Of course, it’s not a big deal if you get the connectors mixed up. You will just need to swap them and the trackball should start working properly. Please note that unlike the 60-in-1 board, the trackball for the 412-in-1 board only works with games that originally used a trackball. So, you will need to select a game such as Centipede or Millipede in order to test to see if the trackball is working.
Technology certainly has come a long way since the early days of the JAMMA standard. We’ve gone from standard circuit boards that play only one game to PC-based multigame boards that allow you to play hundreds of games. While installing a multigame board is pretty similar to any other JAMMA board, it’s important to take into account the differences (such as the wiring changes and system settings) so that you can give the people playing your arcade cabinet the best experience possible. Please leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section below.