When arcade cabinets first arrived on the scene, players would pump tons of money into their favorite machines to see if they could get the high score. Unfortunately, many of the arcade cabinets at the time would not save the high scores when the machine was powered off. This was mainly due to the limited technology that was available along with the high cost involved with trying to add this feature to the various arcade boards. Now, through the use of modern technology, we not only can save the high scores when the machine is powered off but can have those same high scores automatically uploaded to the Internet for all the world to see. In this post, we will discuss how to install a high score save kit in a Donkey Kong arcade cabinet that will allow us to save our high scores and take advantage of these more modern features.
Installing A High Score Save Kit (In A Donkey Kong Cabinet)
Before we get started, we would like to thank Joe at highscoresaves.com for providing the high score save kit that we use in this video. Please click on the logo above to visit his website if you are interested in purchasing this kit for your Donkey Kong cabinet. He also sells high score save kits for many other classic arcade cabinets as well. Special thanks also goes to our community manager Louie for making the arrangements with Joe for this kit. Additionally, it is important to note that installing a high score save kit in any arcade cabinet will require working with the printed circuit board (or PCB) that “powers” the game. Please make sure you take the necessary precautions to keep your game PCB safe from static discharge and other threats. We recommend investing in some anti-static accessories (such as wrist straps, gloves, mats, etc.) to help make sure that static discharge does not damage your board.
Of course, the first step in this process is to order the high score save kit for your particular arcade game. Once you have received your high score save kit, it’s a good idea to check that all of the parts arrived in good condition. Inspect each part to make sure that it was not damaged during the shipping process. While you are doing your inspection, start to familiarize yourself with the individual parts and where they should be installed on your game PCB. Read over the instructions that come with the kit several times to make sure that you fully understand the entire installation procedure. If you have any questions about your high score save kit, contact the entity you bought the kit from immediately so you can get those issues addressed. Taking these steps before attempting to install the kit will help ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
After you have inspected and familiarized yourself with the parts of the high score save kit, it’s time to remove the game PCB from your arcade cabinet so you can install these parts on it. We highly recommend taking pictures of all of the connectors going to your game PCB before you unhook them so you can reference them when you go to reinstall the PCB back into your cabinet. If there are connectors that do not have any wires going to them on your game PCB, you can mark them gently using a paint pen or a similar writing utensil to ensure that you do not plug any wires into those areas. Make sure you are gentle when you are removing the connectors from the game board. It’s a good idea to pull on the connectors instead of the wires during the removal process to ensure that you do not accidentally pull a wire out of a connector which will cost you some time when you go to put the game PCB back in the cabinet. Also, be gentle when you are removing the game PCB from the cabinet as well as wires and other objects will sometimes catch on the corners of it. Once the game PCB is out of the cabinet, place it on your workbench or another area that’s safe from static and clear of objects.
With the game PCB removed and sitting on your workbench, it’s now time to install the high score save kit on the board. Again, make sure that you read over the instructions several times so that you fully understand where every part in the kit goes on the PCB. Always double check the location of where each part in the kit goes before you remove the part that’s currently in that position from the board. When installing chips, take the time to note the direction of the notch on the chip and make sure that you install the new chip in that same direction. You can also go by pin position as well as some game PCBs have the pin positions marked. If your high score save kit requires soldering, be sure to be careful not to damage the solder pad during the desoldering process and not to bridge solder joints during the soldering process. Just be sure to take your time and double check your work and you shouldn’t have any problems.
When you have completed installing the high score save kit on your game PCB, you can proceed with putting the board back into your arcade cabinet. Now would be a good time to reference those pictures we discussed when we removed the board. Look back at the pictures you took earlier and make sure that you plug in all the connectors exactly as shown. Just like when we were installing the kit, double check all the connectors to make sure that you didn’t accidentally miss one. Once you are satisfied that the board is installed correctly in your arcade cabinet, you can proceed with turning on the arcade game. Depending on which high score save kit you purchase, you may not notice any difference until you turn the game off and back on again and notice that your scores were saved. In the video for this post, we use an online high score save kit that uploads our scores to our own customized web page and allows us to make a lot of different customizations to the game play. If you order this specific kit from Joe at highscoresaves.com, he will ask you what options you would like on your page and give you two key numbers to enter into the setup menu on your game. Once you enter these key numbers and plug your game up to an internet connection, it will start uploading your scores to your page.
At this point, we are going to take a break from the main portion of the article to review the ONLINE Donkey Kong and Pauline Edition with D2K High Score Save Kit we received from Joe at highscoresaves.com and show in the video for this post. There are several things that we really like about this kit. For one, the setup interface for the board is extremely user friendly and easy to use. This kit also has some great options such as the ability to put the game on free play mode and modify the game play with different hacks. In fact, you can even completely change the game up by selecting a different version such as DK Pauline Edition or D2K Original which is a really nice feature. The online component of this kit is amazing. The fact that we get a customized page for our arcade and an entry for every game we have an online kit installed in makes getting high scores that much more fun and allows us to compete with our friends. The only issues we really have with the kit is that it will not connect to a wireless network which makes getting a network connection to it somewhat difficult and that it can be a little intimidating to install for people who are not familiar with working on PCBs. When we talked to Joe, he mentioned that they are working on a wireless version of the kit which would solve the first issue. Hopefully this post will give you enough information on the process the help you overcome the second issue. Overall, we highly recommend this kit and view it as the best option for people who want to save the high scores on their Donkey Kong arcade cabinet.
High score save kits, such as the one we discussed in this post, show us just how far technology has come. Not only do we now have the ability to save the high scores when we power the game off, but we can also upload those same scores to the Internet and make modifications to the game play on the fly. That’s certainly quite a feat when you consider that the original creators of these classic arcade games didn’t even intend for any of these options to exist. BIG thanks to guys like Joe who put a lot of time and effort into making these features available to the entire arcade community. Please leave any questions or suggestions in the comments section below.