CentiPied: Centipede Arcade Restoration and Raspberry Pi Conversion

Background and Plans

Info about machine, current state, and goals along with proposals to achieve them.

Video First

Getting a video signal from current PC-based technology to a monitor that is over 35 years old is what was going to set the direction to go next. If I could get it to work, the rest should be easy. If not, I would have to replace the monitor with a current technology flat screen. However, I wanted to avoid this as I wanted to keep this as close to original hardware as possible, as well as keeping the look of the video the same.

Audio and Atari

Next phase is to get audio working. Were it another type of machine from say Bally or Midway, I would be looking at putting in an amp. Luckily for me, Atari devised their own audio boards (Atari Audio Regulator II to be precise for this cabinet). These were used for both power supplies for various parts of the system as well as sound amps that were placed on a board separate from the main motherboard.

Raspberry Pi and Mame

Details of setting up the Pi to work with Mame

Custom Retro Front End

Details of creating a minimal front end with a retro look for switching and choosing games.

Motherboard Interface and Connection Harness

Details on devising my own interface that could connect to the existing connection harness without resorting to cutting/splicing into any of the wires of the current system, keeping it so that if wanted, another original motherboard could be put into the system easily.

Big Blue

It turns out a multitude of problems can be resolved by simply replacing the huge capacitor on the power supply - the "Atari Big Blue".

Input Interfacing (Buttons and Trackball)

Button and input polling could have been done through the R-pi's GPIO, but unfortunately the one unique feature of Centipede undermines this - the trackball. This presents a bit of a challenge, again interfacing current technology with old hardware. This bit of a challenge would actually turn out to the most troublesome part of the project.

Control Panel Restoration

This control panel had seen some things. It was time to give it a facelift.