Introduction: Donkey Kong Arcade Scratch Build

This is how I made my Donkey Kong arcade cabinet replica. I made this Instructable because I had a little difficulty scouring the internet to find out what parts were needed. I learned as I went along, so maybe this will help alleviate problems for individuals looking to start building but have no idea where to begin. I do not cover a whole lot on the building of the cabinet itself as it is pretty straightforward. Hope this helps!


  • Donkey Kong PCB
  • LCD CGA/VGA Monitor (20 in.)
  • Arcade Power Supply
  • Speaker
  • Coin switch
  • Color Inverter board
  • Audio amp board
  • Nintendo arcade power conversion kit
  • Control panel
  • Control wiring
  • Control harness (TKGU-13-11)
  • Nintendo monitor cable (TKGU-13-31)
  • Speaker cable (TKGU-13-07)
  • Coin cable (TKGU-13-04)
  • 3 board power cables (10P CLK, 8P video, 7P SOU)
  • Bezel
  • Marquee
  • Artwork/ decals
  • Coin door
  • Lock/ key
  • LED light strip
  • MDF, plywood, casters, paint

Step 1: Power Supply

Obviously you need something to power the game. I used a Suzo Happ Arcade Power Supply. I used an old power cable with ground to plug into the wall. Additionally, you will need a Nintendo Arcade Power Converter available at This part has the appropriate traces to plug in the 3 board power cables.

Step 2: Obtain a Donkey Kong PCB

I got mine on eBay. Be aware that there are different board revisions available. I purchased a four board and had to have my ePROMs re-coded to update to the TKG4 romset. The boards usually cost around $300. Also pictured here are the three harnesses used to power the boards. The 10P CLK, 8P video, and 7P SOU harnesses. These plug into the power supply. Be sure to plug them in the correct way. Refer to the wiring schematic in the operation manual.

Step 3: Obtain a CGA Monitor

I got mine from It is a Wells Gardner 20" LCD that accepts CGA and VGA video. This costs about $300 as well.

Step 4: Color Inverter Board

Donkey Kong, along with other Nintendo arcade games, requires this board. Without it, the colors will be inverted. I purchased mine from Mike's Arcade. The board is powered by 12V DC. Hook it up to your power supply.

Step 5: CGA to VGA Pinout

Recommended. Available at Mike's Arcade. This does not change the video signal at all, just allows the use of a standard VGA cable. This plugs into the monitor.

Step 6: Connecting Video Cables

You'll need video cables. The Nintendo monitor cable plugs into the CPU board at the port labeled "TV." This goes into the color inverter board, which hooks up to the CGA to VGA pinout, which goes to the VGA in on the monitor.

Step 7: Connecting Power Cables

As I mentioned earlier, you'll connect the 3 board power cables to the power supply. Refer to the operation manual for plugging them into the respective boards. Remember to also hook up the color inverter to the power supply.

Step 8: Sound

You'll need to amplify the audio, otherwise it will be barely audible. I purchased a DROK audio amp board from Amazon ($10-15). It is powered by the 5V DC on the power supply. The sound from the Donkey Kong board is output from the SOU board, port 2 labeled "TV Audio." You will need a speaker cable to go from this to the audio amp board, then to the speaker.

Step 9: Control Panel

You can get the fully assembled one for $150 at Mikes Arcade. Follow the installation instructions for the wiring of the controls. Then you'll need the 17P Junction Harness to connect to the port labeled "MAIN" on the CPU board.

Step 10: Coin Switch

To add credits, I used a temporary on/off switch. Wire it to the port labeled "COIN" on the CPU board. At this point, you should have everything you need to be able to play the game.

Step 11: Build the Cabinet

I got the dimensions from a site called JakoBud. I recommend using 5/8" MDF for the build. Use 2x4s for the structural pieces, and finally thin plywood for the back door. You'll also need casters for the base. Find a blue that matches well for the paint.

Step 12: Artwork/ Decals

I got all of mine from Mikes Arcade.

Step 13: Complete!

That's all there is to it.