Mini JAMMA Arcade Machine




Introduction: Mini JAMMA Arcade Machine

The coveted Neo Geo MVS machine is one the best arcade cabinets ever made. Most video game enthusiasts would jump at the chance to own an original machine. However, the going rates of an actual 4-slot machine can be intimidating, not to mention the dedicated floor space needed to house this beast of a machine turn most away. That is where my story starts. Living in a small 2nd-floor apartment on a budget makes obtaining this machine far from a logical decision. Luckily there is a compromise. SNK was onto something when they offered their 'mini' model (with a modest 13" screen). We will borrow the idea of a small arcade cabinet and 1-up it. Let's build our own miniaturized Neo Geo MVS-inspired arcade machine. Or PacMan, or Donkey Kong... You pick.

Step 1: Tools and Parts

Arcade Guts:
You can of course use a Raspberry Pi for this build, but we are opting for a slightly more traditional build and are going to focus on a JAMMA based PCB. If you're not familiar, JAMMA (Japanese Arcade Machine Manufacturers Association) is a PCB type edge connection that was standardized to simplify the manufacturing of arcades and make them semi cross-compatible (mainly on a replacement part basis). Individual manufacturers still had their own proprietary hardware, but there became more common ground after JAMMA was formed. There is a plethora of multi-game JAMMA boards out on the market for retrofitting old (and dearly departed) arcade cabinets. We will be using a Pandora's Box JAMMA board.
The rest of the parts consist of:

  • 10.4" LCD (with VGA input)
  • (2x) 3" Mid-range Stereo Speakers (4 Ohm impedance)
  • 2 Watt stereo amplifier
  • (7x) 28mm Suzo-Happ Arcade buttons
  • Suzo-Happ Competition Joystick
  • (4x) 16mm buttons
  • JAMMA Harness
  • DC jack (2.1x5.5mm)
  • VGA cable
  • Stereo Audio Cable
  • 12V 2A DC power supply
  • DC Buck Converter (step down converter)
  • ~4ft 22AWG wire
  • LED strips (12V)
  • (~6x) 18-22AWG Quick Connect female crimps (0.187")
  • Various nuts and bolts (mostly #6-32 and #8-32 hardware)
  • 1/8" acrylic (about 2 sq ft)
  • 1/4" plywood or MDF (about 11 sq ft)


  • Soldering Iron
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Strippers
  • Crimp Pliers
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Something to cut wood (my own laser cutter would be nice ;)
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill + bits
  • Screw driver
  • Wood filler (putty)
  • White Primer
  • Paint
  • Vinyl Cutter + white vinyl
  • Color Printer
  • Wood glue (Titebond is nice)
  • Bar Clamps + squeeze clamps

Next, sit back and relax with a detailed how-to video.

Step 2: Build!

The video says (and shows) it best.

Here's the link if the embedded video is not working w/ your browser.

Step 3: Power Circuit Details

I came to realize after publishing the video that the power circuit can be tricky to wrap your head around. You can most definitely simplify it by just using one power switch. However; if you prefer my over-engineered solution, I provided a step-by-step breakdown of how to build the circuit. The first picture is the wiring 'harness' that I made which controls power for the entire cabinet. This is what needs to be fabricated and connected to the individual components. I break it down into steps starting from power going into the machine and add each part (LCD, amp, backlight, game PCB) one-by-one.


We are running the following on 12V:

  • LCD
  • Amplifier + speakers
  • LED Backlight

The game [JAMMA] board is powered by 5V, therefore we require a step-down converter to drop the main voltage 12V to 5V.

Step 4: Building That Dream Arcade- One Machine at a Time.

The MVS turned out rather well. So, I guess the only logical next step is build all my favorite machines.

If you like this instructable, please give it a vote. Votes help me get better equipment from contests. I do not own a laser cutter, but one can dream...

Best of luck with your build!



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    42 Discussions

    Hi mate, I was wondering what guage wire you used for the general wiring?.... and in your instructions on your website for the 2 player cabinet, you had separate power supplies for the Lcd and rest of the cabinet..... my question here is, can you wire the Lcd straight into the 12 v circuit as above?

    10 replies

    22 AWG for pretty much everything. Yes, you can share the LCD with the 12V circuit.

    Thanks Ryan.... just a couple of other things if you could just point me in the right direction, i'm very skilled at joinery but not so much at electronics...... I have this 22" led tft monitor going spare and want to use that, before I cannabalise it, is the power button an issue, or does the circuit and Jamma bypass that?.

    Also I work with led's a lot, on a basic level, and want to incorporate a remote controlled infinity mirror for the marquee, which I can loop into the 12v circuit where you have your led's.... they are rgb strip 12vdc rated at 2A/5metre (probably be only using a metre at most), would I need to beef up the main power supply to 3A

    and if so is that still safe amperage for the rest of the circuit?

    I really appreciate any help on this technical front, as i'm learning very quickly and your work is amazingly inspiring to me as a man after my own heart.

    Thanks from England



    Don't discard the tft's Power button. "Most" (and i emphasize most in this case) monitors will stay in the "on" state after you remove power. This means the lcd will always display whatever input source last selected once power is supplied to the LCD. But to be safe, i usually hot glue the power button (and setting buttons) somewhere inside the cabinet just incase i need them. It's never an eleangat solution, but don't toss that tiny button strip.

    You would really need to measure current to know if 3A is enough for all this. good how to measure current draw as measuring will tell you what you should do. Always give yourself extra when it comes to power draw.

    It came out clean as a whistle, and as you can see it has the VGA and power jack there as well as the buttons i've taped to the back.... and it's only 8mm thick too.

    What would your opinion be on the power(as in the photo) this is where my electrical knowledge falls down.... it's saying 3.75A output for this monitor, so would a 6A power supply be more sufficient to run the whole system?

    Giving the rest of the system 2.25A which should be 20% over usage..... i'm only making a poorly educated guess mate


    6A would be suitable- under the assumption you are not doing an LED backlit marquee.

    Thank you very much.... my final question, until I start the build is..... is it ok to over compensate on the amperage, for example if I were to power with 8A , would it harm anything?

    It never hurts to have a higher ceiling for amperage.

    The 8A supply is fine and will not hurt anything, assuming it's the same voltage.

    Thank you Ryan..... I love a man who know's his Onions

    I have one shot at this and need to make it in a month, I have one monitor and i'm going to purchase a 2 player kit containing a jamma with 60 games that will blow my nephew's mind literally.... I need to get it right, I will send you something special to the USA for helping me out mate

    Sorry to keep picking your brain Ryan, but I am compelled to make this for my nephew's birthday, he's Autistic and this will be uterly amazing for him.

    This is amazing and would be perfect for my apartment.... Now how do I get a copy of those laser cut file, are they for sale?

    Hey there I'm building a Jamma cabinet of my own using a 60 in 1 harness. I have the exact amplifier you are using. The 60 in 1 only has 1 positive and 1 negative wire for sound (mono). How exactly do I hook that up to that amplifier? I mean should I splice the wires into a 3.5mm plug? Any help would be appreciated, Thanks!

    1 reply

    I would check to see if your JAMMA board has a built in amplifier, before connecting it to another amp. If it doesn't, then yes, splice the wires into a 3.5mm plug.


    2 years ago

    Contact me at and I would be happy and grateful to pick one up. We'll arrange a time that works best. Thanks!

    Thanks for the 'ible. It's great.

    To anyone here in the NJ area, I saved a bunch of full size arcade cabinets before they were trashed. They need some TLC, but if anyone wants one, I'll give them one for FREE!!! I'm in central NJ if you are interested. I would love to see someone reuse these to make other JAMMA cabinet games!

    4 replies

    I live in Staten Island, NY. Any chance you have any remaining (as of 05/11?)

    Yes, I still have a few of them for free. When would you want to come out to pick one up? Today is good for me.

    I live in Central NJ, any chance a cabinet is still available?

    Yes, I have a few left. Would you be able to come tomorrow after 3pm? (I'm in High Bridge, NJ)