Build Your Own Arcade Control Center FAQ

PC to Arcade
VGA PC Monitor to an Arcade Monitor
(Written by Rockman)


Most PC video cards use Red, Green, Blue, Horizontal Sync and Vertical Sync to display an image.  An arcade monitor uses the same setup it just uses them at different frequencies.   To achieve the lower arcade frequency is easy, you just use MAME’s –NTSC option.  To wire the arcade is a bit harder, but I’ll try and explain it the best I can with my experience.

1. Wire the Arcade’s red, green, blue, hsync, vsync, and ground to the PC’s video card.  Radio Shack has all the parts I needed, which were a 15-pin sub-d connector, IDE computer data cable, and a solder.

2.     Solder the wires to the 15-pin sub-d connector.  If you look extremely close at the sub-d connector you’ll see numbers by the pins (1 to 15).  The cable is typically numbered like so….

1 Red
2 Green
3 Blue
4 –
5 Ground
6 Red Return
7 Green Return
8 Blue Return
9 –
10 Ground
11 Ground
12 –
13 Horizontal Sync
14 Vertical Sync
15 –

The pins that the arcade is concerned with are 1, 2, 3, 5, 13, & 14.

3. Once you wire this up you should be good to go.  You may initially get a scrambled picture but just adjust the vertical and horizontal knobs and it should give you a clear image.  An additional problem I had was the screen drifting from side to side.  This was due to the fact that the hsync and vsync were both on positive and they both should have been on negative.  I’m not sure if every arcade should be negative or if mine just happened to be negative.  You’ll have to play around with it and see.

An additional item you might want to purchase is a PC-to-video converter.  This is not necessary with the -ntsc option, but the converter provides additional features, which were kind of cool.  The Aavermedia’s AverKey300 Gold  provides VGA in, VGA out, and an RBG out which you hook the arcade up to.  This prevented switching back and forth from the VGA monitor to the arcade monitor which was a serious pain ( I’ve been told you can purchase an A/B switch from a company called Black Box, otherwise monitor A/B switches are pretty hard to come by). The converter also provided height and width adjustment, zoom in, and position control.  The converter cost’s about $200 and can be purchased at Comp USA or at   The converter is a nice toy but it is not needed.

In doing my research on the Internet I saw many disclaimers saying “Warning I am not a technician and am not responsible for any damage to equipment or to anyone”.  And I too have the same disclaimer.  I am not an electronics person and prior to this project had no experience in electronics.  Use at your own risk!  However, just be smart! Wire it right and unplug the arcade/computer when you’re playing around in there!

Thanks Rockman!


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