Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

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Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 12 Mar 2013, 06:49

I've been into arcade machines for a while...

I'm not the biggest VO fan but I owned VO OT on Dreamcast and played it quite a bit with my friends, and I would put in a game or two of VO OM in the arcade if they happened to have one.

I recently decided to buy/restore a Killer Instinct 2 arcade machine and I had been talking with a friend about the best arcade games, he brought up VO... later when I was on ebay searching for parts for Killer Instinct I decided to search for VO machines just to see what was out there and how much they would cost... I found one fully working in good condition listed for $800 or best offer... Not bad but shipping would be killer... then I realized it was in the next town over from me :o

I called them up and offered to pay $600 cash and pick up the next day, the seller agreed :D

So this is what I bought:
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the machine was separated into two halves and it took 4 of us to load them into the back of 2 separate pickups.

I used to work in a fairly large arcade, I've moved many MANY machines, this is without a doubt the heaviest machine I've ever had to move by hand :lol:

Since I live in New Hampshire it's been pretty snowy. Luckily the day I picked up was clear but the machine had to sit in my garage for a couple of weeks while I waited for the weather to clear up enough that I could shovel a path to the back door of my house and move it in.
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This last weekend I removed the seats, the coinbox, the blinder, the side plastics and the top plastics to make the machines as light as possible, as small as possible with the least potential for damage. Moving them into the basement was going to be a challenge because they had to go down a small flight of stares with a low ceiling and then turn 90 degrees at the bottom of the stairs in an area just barely big enough for a normal upright arcade machine... but way too small for something like a sit-down.

I enlisted the help of 3 strong friends and we moved them in... it was a difficult process but we got the job done. So the machine is in pieces in my basement right now (I'll have picture up of the naked machine soon), While it's apart I'm going to fix it up a bit.

it works but it's had a hard arcade live and it shows in spots...
-T-molding is missing in spots and chewed up in others
-the white plastics are starting to yellow a bit
-it was originally in a beach arcade (Old Orchard Beach in Maine) so a lot of the screws are rusty, likely from the salt breeze
-a lot of the plastics and cabinet art is scraped and scuffed up
-one of the monitors is a bit dim and could likely use a rebuild.
-the metal bases to the seats are starting to rust
-the seat sliders are stuck all the way back
-while I had the seats out I noticed that the machine has subwoofers in the seats and that the cushions of these speakers have rotted and need to be replaced

so far I've
-ordered new t-molding
-I've bought a bunch of new hardware to replace the rusty bolts (though there are still a lot of "unique" bolts that I'll have to recondition as they can't be replaced)
-I've bought some new side and seat art to replace some of the scuffed up artwork.

---------------

I'd really love to swap the internals for VO OT... though I'm discovering that a dual NAOMI setup will likely cost me more than I paid for the machine all said and done. I'm debating just buying a couple of Xbox 360s and putting the guts in the machine, then I'd be able to play OM, OT, and Force and if I wanted to I could take the machine online too. it'd probably be cheaper in the end as well :roll:

---------------

I'm also curious about the sticks, the ones on this machine seem to be in good working order, though I notice that a lot of people complain about these old style sticks and prefer the newer ones with the smoother handle and round turbo buttons. I'm curious what's so much better about the newer style sticks? Also does anyone know if newer Japanese arcade machine sticks would be a drop-in replacement for this machine? (I'd definitely only want to go with a legit arcade-stick with the heavy metal brackets, not console equipment).


I'll keep this post updated as I make progress on the machine. :D

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by Porcupine » 12 Mar 2013, 16:37

Lol hey that's the exact same machine on Ebay that we were looking at here a couple months ago, too!

Glad to see it went to a good home. I'll have to let the other forum members carry the conversation from here on though, cause I know diddly squat about operating or maintaining arcade machines or doing any kind of customizations.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 12 Mar 2013, 17:14

I worked as an arcade technician for 3 years while I was in college so I've got some good experience repairing and maintaining machines, I've also got quite a bit of experience customizing electronics. I'm not too up on all the details of the virtual on hardware used in these machines though, it's not quite like most joystick equipment. I opened up the panel on this machine last night and had a peak, I was pretty impressed with the design everything was metal and super rugged. Most arcade joysticks are all plastic.

I also noticed that it's a 4-way joystick and not an 8-way which I found interesting (that basically means you can't push diagonals, and there's a dead-spot between each direction)

I'm curious what the OT and newer sticks are like since the OM USA arcade sticks like what's on this machine are the only ones I've ever had in my hands.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by MentholMoose » 12 Mar 2013, 17:37

twistedsymphony wrote:I'm curious what the OT and newer sticks are like since the OM USA arcade sticks like what's on this machine are the only ones I've ever had in my hands.
I posted pics of mine in this thread:
VOOT arcade stick pics

The sticks for VOOT Ver.5.2, Ver.5.4, and Ver.5.66, are pretty much the same. The shaft was updated at some point, but that is about it (my pics are of the newest generation).

The sticks were changed for VO4 and are apparently quite different internally, although they look similar. I don't have a VO4 panel or the sticks myself (I've seen a few panels sell on YJA, but usually for insane prices... >$1000).
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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 12 Mar 2013, 19:33

interesting... I'm surprised that they're using those kind of microswitches in an arcade unit... I haven't taken mine apart to confirm but the switches sound like standard cherry microswitch units, just like the kind used in the base for directional movement.

Here are some updated pics:

Official Seal with serial number of my machine:
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when I went to take the seat off I discovered that the seat bases have subwoofers in them
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Upon closer inspection I noticed that the cushion is completely rotted away, I may be able to replace just the cushion (I've done this on other speakers) or just figure out what impedance they are are replace the driver completely
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one side stripped and ready for the big move down the stairs into my basement
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both sides made it down safely :)
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The seats are a little scuffed up, I bought a New/Old stock Virtual On logo sticker for the seats and I used it as a template to make a pair of reproduction stickers out of vinyl, the new decal should look better and be more durable than the original
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the lower stickers I'm just going to leave for now
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the monitor boards are dusty but otherwise look to be in good shape
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most of the stick on wire holders have fallen off so I'll be replacing those to help keep the wires organized
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The T-molding on one side is in really bad shape, It's cheap enough that I've opted to buy all new t-molding for the whole machine
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both seats have the sliders stuck all the way back, I'm not sure why I'm going to remove them from the bases to get a better look but I'm also consider sending the bases out to get powder coated since they're both starting to rust a little bit
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Plastics were removed so they didn't get damaged while moving, you can see they were scuffed up quite a bit already
I bought New Old Stock side art, and for the big solid colored blue/pink stickers I might trace them out and see if I can get new ones cut out of vinyl, the strip off all of the stickers, sand and paint before reapplying.
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you can see the speakers have little cardboard hoods, I think this is mostly to keep stray light from coming out of the speaker grill, but it probably also works to create a cheap speaker box
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one of them got snagged on something while we were moving the machine I wasn't too worried about it, I plan on using it as a template to create a new one, I might replace another one of them too since all but one of them were pretty chewed up from the start
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I removed a bunch of standard looking screws, bolts and washers and went to home depot to buy new replacement hardware
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unfortunately there are a lot of these specialized security bolts that are difficult to find, I may have to figure out a way to recondition them
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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 21 Mar 2013, 13:38

So I don't have much to update since I've been pouring my time into Killer Instinct 2.

I will say that I did some more research into what it would take to convert to an arcade version of VOOT or running off of an Xbox 360.

Sadly the biggest roadblock is the monitors.
This machine uses Nanao MS9-29SU monitors... these are really nice "dual-resolution" units but they're not completely compatible with NAOMI hardware (necessary for v5.66) nor are they compatible with VGA (idea for hooking up an Xbox 360).

Arcade monitor resolution is measured by the horizontal refresh rate: 15K is "Standard Resolution", 25K is "Medium Resolution and 31K is "VGA Resolution".
you can learn all about the differences here: http://www.arcadeguy.net/index.php?opti ... &Itemid=29

the important take away is that 15K is essentially 320x240 or 240p (which is pretty damn crappy in today's 1920x1080 aka 1080p world)
both 25K and 31K are essentially 640x480 or 480p... still pretty damn crappy but twice as good as 15K monitors.

I'd say a vast majority of arcade machines use the 15K "standard resolution" this includes everything from the early 80s up until the early 00s before they started switching over to LCDs. In the mid-late 90s some games that used larger (over 25" monitors) started using Medium Resolution (25K) for better picture quality.... this includes Virtual On.

These monitors support both 15K and 25K resolution, which is good because 25K is way better than Virtual On, but sadly the monitors are kind of part of a transition period... because by the late 90s pretty much everything started to go to standard computer style VGA resolution (640x480 in computer terms or 31K in Arcade terms)... this includes stuff like the NAOMI hardware which is what VOOT 5.66 runs on.

So "RGB" via a European SCART connectors are equivalent to a 15K monitor resolution and you can run a game console through this connection. Some monitors will work with this signal as is, other will need a "simple" converter circuit to clean up the sync signal and amplify the video signal as a whole.

They also make VGA to 15K converters like the IPAC. These are built for MAME setups so people that want to put a PC in an old arcade cabinet can hook up to an original arcade monitor... Sadly because very few games used the 25K resolution, and most of those games aren't really built for MAME (mostly shooters and drivers, and games like Virtual On) no one makes a VGA to 25K converter.

So option 1 is to downgrade the video quality to 15K... which is kind of a bummer option in my opinion. :(

Option 2 however....
Arcade monitors have 2 major parts: the "tube" which is the big glass bubble that displays the image, this usually also includes the "yoke" (which is a transformer wrapped around the back of the tube, responsible for controlling the direction of the electrons) and the "chassis" which is made up of the electronics boards that process the signal and send power and information to the tube (and the yoke).

Luckily tubes are pretty ubiquitous, people salvage tubes out of old TVs to replaced heavily burnt or broken tubes in arcade machines.... So you can replace the MS9-29SU "chassis" with a different chassis that supports 31K or VGA resolution. Many of the monitors in Candy cabinets are "tri-sync" meaning they support all 3 arcade resolution standards.

I've found that supposedly a "Wei-Ya C3129A" chassis or a "Rodotron 666A-29" chassis should be compatible with the tubes found in Virtual On machines.

Unfortunately those chassis generally fetch $150 a piece, if you can even find them, which makes for a pretty expensive upgrade (and you're still only getting 480p).

I suppose if you're going with an Xbox 360 you could look into retrofitting modern LCDs in to the cabinet, then you could even run everything from OMG though Force in HD, but I'd feel like a scumbag bastardizing one of these machines like that... and LCDs would likely be even more expensive then a chassis replacement.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 23 Mar 2013, 17:51

Ok so I've been bumming about what to do with this project..

I really want VO OT, but I'm also a perfectionist so bastardizing an arcade machine to play a console is just really really wrong to me. Also the VO OT machine has not just completely different hardware but also a different arcade cabinet... or so I thought.

looking around it seems that VO OT 5.2/5.4 shared the same cabinet as OMG, which means that I could convert my machine into a LEGIT OT cabinet if I can get the right marques and the right cabinet artwork.

Here in the US there are lots of arcade part stores that sell "NOS" or "New Old Stock" parts, basically brand new spare parts left over from the manufacturer to repair damaged machines, a lot of times this is usually cabinet artwork used to replaced scuffed up stuff... Does anyone know of a Japanese store that sells this stuff because I'd love to just buy NOS OT cabinet art.

This is the only picture of the side art I was able to find:
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Seat, and marque art work:
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Control Panel art:
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I'm still going to try to run NAOMI hardware with v5.66 but I like the idea of building a replica OT 5.4 cabinet.

If anyone has any better pictures of the cabinet artwork or knows where I can buy NOS art please let me know! If I have good enough pictures I could probably recreate it and have new art made.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by Porcupine » 24 Mar 2013, 23:37

I think the best thing to do is either leave your machine as VOOM, or make it VOOT 5.2/5.4. The old versions of VOOT have some gameplay differences to 5.66 and each has their own charm. The Dreamcast version of 5.45 also included an unlockable option to revert to 5.2 mechanics, after all.

If that's not enough customization for you, or if it's too hard to get VOOT decals, why not try to come up with a way to make your arcade machine bootable into either VOOM, VOOT 5.2, or VOOT 5.4? Would this be possible? That way you could just legitimately leave it with VOOM decals. :)

All the (few) VOOT machines in the USA that I knew of had pure VOOM cabinets with VOOM decals.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 25 Mar 2013, 04:14

Porcupine wrote:I think the best thing to do is either leave your machine as VOOM, or make it VOOT 5.2/5.4. The old versions of VOOT have some gameplay differences to 5.66 and each has their own charm. The Dreamcast version of 5.45 also included an unlockable option to revert to 5.2 mechanics, after all.

If that's not enough customization for you, or if it's too hard to get VOOT decals, why not try to come up with a way to make your arcade machine bootable into either VOOM, VOOT 5.2, or VOOT 5.4? Would this be possible? That way you could just legitimately leave it with VOOM decals. :)

All the (few) VOOT machines in the USA that I knew of had pure VOOM cabinets with VOOM decals.
Sadly it'd be very difficult to multi-boot this machine with legit hardware

VOOM uses Sega Model 2 hardware which looks like this:
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VOOT v5.2 and v.54 uses Sega Model 3 hardware, which looks similar to that also

VOOT v5.66 uses Sega NAOMI hardware which is a little smaller, but not by much.

basically 1 board set takes up nearly the entire space under the seat. the only way to multiboot would be to use emulation, but I don't think they've got any of the VO machines emulated well enough yet.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by MentholMoose » 25 Mar 2013, 10:19

Porcupine wrote:All the (few) VOOT machines in the USA that I knew of had pure VOOM cabinets with VOOM decals.
Really? I only ever saw one such converted cab, at SHGL. The rest that I saw were imported Ver.5.2 cabinets, except for AI's Ver.5.66.
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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 25 Mar 2013, 13:11

I would suspect most VOOT 5.2/5.4 machines to be converted OMG cabs since (if my serial number is any indication) they made a lot of them for the US market. I can't imaging the cost of importing one of these machines... it's got to be at least a grand just to get it to US shores. That's why you rarely see these things on the east-coast... at least in Cali or Washington state if you owned an arcade you could have it shipped to the closest port and pick it up yourself.... on the east coast you'd spend another grand having it shipped across the country.

Hawaii is probably different though, since I'd imagine it's just as expensive to get stuff from Japan as it is from the continental US.

---------

I think I would be satisfied with my machine running 5.4, I'd hate to think what the shipping costs from Japan would be though.

Does anyone on this forum actually own any of the VOOT arcade boards?

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by Porcupine » 25 Mar 2013, 15:16

I guess I don't know what I'm talking about then. Anyway, the VOOT 5.2 machine at Pak-mann Arcade in Pasadena, right next to where I lived, was also in a VOOM cabinet.

Hawaii never had any VOOT machines.

Hrm, if I think about it, $1000+ to ship the machine is really not that expensive if you consider how much the original machines were. Didn't the original machines cost like $12000 or $20000? I don't remember. The shipping is expensive to us now because we are dealing with relics that we can get at bargain prices compared to what they once were.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by MentholMoose » 25 Mar 2013, 15:38

AFAIK there was no OMG to VOOT conversion kit, so doing a full conversion of an OMG cabinet would have been expensive and more difficult. That helps explain why the cabs at SHGL and Pak-mann were only partial upgrades of the wiring/electronics, and not control panels, marquees, decals, and so on.

There was a conversion kit for 5.66 to Force (IIRC River Service was asking ¥1,200,000 for it, versus ¥4,000,000 for a four cab setup), so there might not be very many 5.66 cabs remaining in Japan. In 2001-2002, 5.66 parts were dirt cheap, so I'm sure a lot of 5.66 cabs were gutted to run Force.
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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 25 Mar 2013, 16:28

Porcupine wrote:I guess I don't know what I'm talking about then. Anyway, the VOOT 5.2 machine at Pak-mann Arcade in Pasadena, right next to where I lived, was also in a VOOM cabinet.

Hawaii never had any VOOT machines.

Hrm, if I think about it, $1000+ to ship the machine is really not that expensive if you consider how much the original machines were. Didn't the original machines cost like $12000 or $20000? I don't remember. The shipping is expensive to us now because we are dealing with relics that we can get at bargain prices compared to what they once were.
yeah machines are pretty damn expensive new... usually "deluxe" cabinet games (any sit-down game) would go for $8K-$12K in the 90s (nearly double that for twin units)... regular "uprights" as well as pinballs were between $4K and $6K

amazingly pinballs rarely devalue... some of them even fetch as much as $15K these days :o

$1K to ship from Japan to the west-coast is just an estimate... I was quoted around that much to ship a car, a big twin unit machine would be a little less because it's about half the size of a car, but it also needs to be packaged for freight and doesn't have wheels which increases the cost slightly... so I'm guessing it's about the same as a car :lol:

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a conversion kit for OM to OT 5.2 The only electronics that would need to be changed are the logic boards and the sticks, and then the graphics kits look like you could have easily stuck them right over the old OM graphics. No changes need to be made to the monitor to run OT 5.2/5.4 since Model 3 hardware runs at the same 25K resolution as the Model 2 hardware.

obviously going from OM to OT 5.66 is a bigger jump... NAOMI uses completely different IO boards, there was the inclusion of the VMU reader and the monitors would need completely new chassis (which are quite expensive)

For comparison here's an OM cab vs OT 5.2 cab

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You can see the seat-back graphics look like they were designed to cover up the OMG graphics.

This image convinces me even further:
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You can see they forgot to remove the old v3.3 stickers from the sides of the seats, also on the blue seat you can see the white edge of the "V" in "Virtual On" that wasn't completely covered by the seat-back sticker. I also find it funny that they accidentally swapped the seats around :lol:

I wouldn't put it past US operators to buy the kit, throw in the logic boards and the marquee, shelve the control panel as a spare, and then toss the stickers in the trash.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by MentholMoose » 25 Mar 2013, 17:07

Well if there was a conversion kit, it is disappointing that very few (if any) US arcades actually bought it for their OMG cabs. I would have loved to play VOOT at SHGL with VOOT sticks rather than the old, abused OMG sticks their cabinet had.

Also there seems to have been a different VOOT cabinet that was similar to the 5.66 cabs. I took this photo at one of the Sportsland arcades in Shinjuku in 2000. On the right is a standard 5.66 cab, and on the left is a 5.4 cab.
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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 25 Mar 2013, 17:30

wow that's a great pic...

I was wondering why some VOOT cabs had blue/red seats and others had blue/blue...

I'm curious if that 5.4 machine actually says "5.4" in the cabinet art somewhere. the "conversion" machines I posted above clearly have "Ver. 5.2" on the seat decal.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by Porcupine » 25 Mar 2013, 20:06

I can see why pinball or pachinko machines wouldn't devalue. Electronics devalue in general, but physical things preserved in good condition tend to increase in value. Pinball and pachinko machines are largely physical and rely on technology that doesn't really advance quickly.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 26 Mar 2013, 08:05

So if anyone comes across any good pictures (especially of the side art) for the VOOT "Conversion" cabinet please let me know.

I'm thinking I might be able to re-create the graphics myself in photoshop, since I have the machine I can take measurements and get the overall dimensions. the hardest part would be finding the right fonts to use for the text... and of course getting clear enough reference pictures that I'm not just making stuff up...

The only picture I've been able to find of the side art is that 1 really crappy low-res picture above. :-/

I'm still going to try to track down an original sticker set if possible but I'd imagine they're quite rare at this point.


The stickers on either side the marquee, and the seat sides seem pretty simple. The seat bottom stickers I think I could make but I can't make out what the text says below the little yellow triangle.

The seat backs are obviously very complex but when it comes down to it, it's just a bunch of gradients or solid color shapes and text, which, while not easy, is infinitely more doable than if it used some kind of photo imagery.... I have a chance that I could find the control panels and marquees, but the side art is mysterious since I just have the one really crappy, essentially useless, photo.

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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by MasterFygar » 27 Mar 2013, 19:34

Just wanted to point something out before it causes you trouble down the line...

Even the OM cab had several region based variations. The european model is easily recognizable, with a single topper piece as opposed to the "hoods" design, but in your last pics post you've posted a picture of the Japanese cab and the NA cab. The Japanese cab design has metal on the sides under the side plastics as opposed to wood, two metal or glass (never seen one up close to know for sure) pieces for a divider as opposed to a single pipe-edged fiberglass piece, and the general build is just slightly different enough to be a pain... for example, the screw hole locations differ between the versions, my NOS seat backs were from a european model and don't fit exactly into the holes on the structural pieces in the US cab I have (I've simply left the holes that don't line up empty instead of modding either piece). Not sure if this will prove any issue to you in terms of your plans, but I figure it's best to mention it just in case.
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Re: Recently picked up a VO OM 2-player Arcade Machine

Post by twistedsymphony » 27 Mar 2013, 20:04

Yeah I'm familiar with the differences. the cabs are slightly different all-around.

the European and Japanese machines are the same... the "topper" you referred to is an option that could be installed on any version of the cab, Sega had a generic topper that you could get for many of their sit-down cabs.

The shape of the side-art is slightly different, you may notice that the new side art you bought from arcadefix it is missing the corners. That's because the US cabs are more square in the back and have an additional triangular sticker for each side to make up the gap ;) The awnings on the European/Japanese machines is solid blue and pink too, where as you know US models are white, and thicker.

the control panels are a slightly different shape too where they interface with the monitor and speaker grills.

On a whole I don't think the variations will effect the stickers.

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On a related note, my quest for more images turned up this: http://www.ttdila.com/2009/08/arcades-i ... rcade.html

Apparently in "Little Tokyo" in LA there is a place called "Japan Arcade" that has one of these machines:
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If anyone lives in that area and can see if they still have that machine (pic was from 2009) and could get some clear, high resolution images of each of the stickers I would be eternally grateful :D

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