My son has finally discovered the joy of an arcade game that does not spit out prize tickets, and played some of Dad's all time favorite games. With the internet and HD graphics and multi-player game modes I figured he would give it a 5 second, "oh that's neat" and then return to his ipod. He was actually interested in the games and experienced the same rage I did as a child when I would lose the game after 5 seconds. The look on his face when I said "you need to put in another quarter" after only 3 seconds of play was priceless. So I told him that at your age I had a $10 allowance and that would give you enough money to play only 40 games. You had to find a game you were good at and play that one or else you're week of allowance would be gone in less than 5 minutes.
With the MAME machine being a pc I needed to find a way for him to turn on the cabinet without reaching inside. The abundance of wires and the exposed picture tube left me a little concerned. I need a way to boot the pc without adding an extra buttons to the cabinet. I wanted to keep it as authentic as possible. A quick search on the Arcade Controls website led me to a great idea. Wiring a tact switch in the normally closed position and using the return slots as buttons. http://arcadecontrols.com/arcade_roswell.html
Now the coin entry was taken care of with no need to actually put money in (unless I figured out how to use bluetooth to debit my sons itunes account) I needed a way to power on the PC. Originally I was going to try and use basic electronics, but I couldn't get the digital logic right. I had to switch to an Arduino Micro. The plan was to use a two button push to turn on and off the PC but the dual button press wasn't working as I had hoped. I searched the internet and found a press-and_hold arduino feature and then it hit me. Press and hold the coin return to power the pc! http://jmsarduino.blogspot.ca/2009/05/click-for-press-and-hold-for-b.html
I connected the arduino to the 5V standby line on the XT power supply and used a common ground. I then wired one of the HD lines to a 12V relay that I installed into a power outlet box. Once the PC turns on, the HD cable powers the 12V relay turning on the cabinet monitor. Then when the PC shuts off the monitor shuts off as well. The remaining outlet in the junction box is always powered as long as the cabinet is plugged in, hence the PC was plugged into that outlet. It works quite well and I was impressed I got it to work.
Now my son can use the arcade machine and I'm not worried he will be electrocuted.