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As a pass time and out of interest I tinker with retro gaming on a Raspberry Pi. Last year I thought about building a bar top arcade cabinet but decided not to do it for various reasons. But the thought of owning an all in one solution never escaped my mind.

So I followed another route and that turned out perfect. I first wanted to use a vintage TV set but they have become very hard to find and if one becomes available the seller wants gold for it. But a month ago I stumbled on something that looked like a TV set but later turned out to be a custom built Philips monitor from 1956. The highest bid was 10 Euro and I offered 25 which was accepted immediately.

I contacted the seller and it became quite the story. The gentleman that sold me the monitor had worked all of his life for the NTS, the precursor to the now defunct NOS (Dutch Broadcasting Foundation) and he was given this monitor as a keepsake. Philips manufactured 50 bespoke B&W monitors for the NTS in the Fifties to watch running programs all over the facilities because everything was broadcast live back then.

When they became obsolete, two were given to a museum and one to the seller, the rest was destroyed. He kept his in his office until he retired and on his attic for 30 years before he decided to sell it. After I told him what my plans were he told me this was difficult for him but still decided to go along with it.

I removed all the internals bar the loud speaker (which still sounds remarkably well) and put a MDF floor in it.

I used the existing Bakelite bezel to glue a 19" 4:3 TFT monitor to it, stripped from its enclosure. I first painted the inside of the bezel and the rim of the monitor matt black. The CRT tube was 19" as well.

Only the far right of the four knobs works, the other three are glued on as the circuitry is no longer present. The working knob controls the volume through a small amplifier and I used the existing axle extender to reach the axle of the amp's volume control (I removed the knob first). The white pilot light was a special 220V neon lamp in its own holder but the same lamps are now made in a 6V LED version so I attached a 6V power supply to it and used the existing holder, the LED lamp is 1mm thinner but still fits.

The four legs were bought on line new and all the rest, like the Raspberry Pi and Bluetooth controller were already in my possession. I replaced the dark brown, perforated back with 8mm MDF covered in black felt. There's a toggle switch to turn everything on, a push button switch to operate the Pi and a Euro C14 chassis part for the mains cable. All I need more is a vintage 'rabbit ear' indoor antenna to put on the set to complete the picture. The monitor I own now is number 49.

Front:





Back:


 

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The whole process took well over a month and a half. I had to wait for parts, sometimes didn't feel to keep 'tinkering' and had other things to do. I wanted to put rubber trim around the back panel but as the fit is already very tight I left it for what it was. What isn't visible in the picture is the thick (7mm) glass pane in front of the monitor, very common back then.
 

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Well done there Frans - looks good.

Those were made as pieces of furniture, much like the old radiograms of the same period
 

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Well done there Frans - looks good.

Those were made as pieces of furniture, much like the old radiograms of the same period

They were and the attention to detail is staggering! The washers used with the bolts to secure the cabinet on the underside are painted! And because part of the chassis is visible, this has been painted in the same colour as the Bakelite front. The gliders on the underside are U-shaped pieces of thick leather, riveted to the base. The knobs are aluminium with a clear bezel around them. (One is missing). But, these monitors were bespoke pieces of equipment (money no object), although regular TV sets were also very expensive back then. It wasn't just a casual buy but an investment.
 

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O.K. now this is awesome Frans ! :rockon: :smile-thumb2: Just having the
idea was great sir, but then to be able to make it all come together like
this is really something. You must be so happy with how everything turned
out, and also how unique it is. Because can't imagine too many, or ANYone
else actually has something like this. :jaw:

Building an arcade cabinet would have been something that not many
do, or can do. However, THIS is just like that, but so much more. I
mean you have the style, and history of the TV, or monitor from 1956.
But then that ultra cool arcade cabinet at the same time. That has to
to be a one of a kind, or at least a very limited edition right?! :smile1:

Can only imagine how fantastic it is there in person, because it's
pretty incredible from here. ..Yowza, and you have the Neo Geo
in there?!! :eek:

It just turned out spectacular Frans, and is that home arcade you
always wanted, AND a piece of art ! Yeah, well done sir !!!

Enjoy it, and thanks a ton for showing us all of this, and telling
us this story.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
O.K. now this is awesome Frans ! :rockon: :smile-thumb2: Just having the
idea was great sir, but then to be able to make it all come together like
this is really something. You must be so happy with how everything turned
out, and also how unique it is. Because can't imagine too many, or ANYone
else actually has something like this. :jaw:

Building an arcade cabinet would have been something that not many
do, or can do. However, THIS is just like that, but so much more. I
mean you have the style, and history of the TV, or monitor from 1956.
But then that ultra cool arcade cabinet at the same time. That has to
to be a one of a kind, or at least a very limited edition right?! :smile1:

Can only imagine how fantastic it is there in person, because it's
pretty incredible from here. ..Yowza, and you have the Neo Geo
in there?!! :eek:

It just turned out spectacular Frans, and is that home arcade you
always wanted, AND a piece of art ! Yeah, well done sir !!!

Enjoy it, and thanks a ton for showing us all of this, and telling
us this story.

Thanks and yes, it turned out nice and will get its own corner once I've redecorated the living room. Building an arcade cabinet isn't all that difficult, they come in kit form and I already bought a 'Picade' interface for the buttons and joysticks, plus a wiring loom to attach them all. But this is more to my liking :D I have just connected an 8BitDo SN30 Pro Bluetooth game pad to it, so no cable to the 'TV'. This is a fiddly process, involving logging in to the Raspberry Pi by SSH but once done, you're all set.
 

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Thanks and yes, it turned out nice and will get its own corner once I've redecorated the living room. Building an arcade cabinet isn't all that difficult, they come in kit form and I already bought a 'Picade' interface for the buttons and joysticks, plus a wiring loom to attach them all. But this is more to my liking :D I have just connected an 8BitDo SN30 Pro Bluetooth game pad to it, so no cable to the 'TV'. This is a fiddly process, involving logging in to the Raspberry Pi by SSH but once done, you're all set.

Don't mention it Frans, and thank you ! :thumb::clap2: Can totally see that
looking incredible in the living room, and bringing in a real retro feel.
Think that has to be one of the best parts about it sir. Because anyone
can build an arcade cabinet evidently like you said, but this is not only
that. It's a whole lot more to be honest sir. :coo2l:

The nostalgia of it is probably the nicest thing, but then the addition
of all the modern technology is outstanding also. It really is so much
fun to see, and learn about Frans.

ENJOY !
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Don't mention it Frans, and thank you ! :thumb::clap2: Can totally see that
looking incredible in the living room, and bringing in a real retro feel.
Think that has to be one of the best parts about it sir. Because anyone
can build an arcade cabinet evidently like you said, but this is not only
that. It's a whole lot more to be honest sir. :coo2l:

The nostalgia of it is probably the nicest thing, but then the addition
of all the modern technology is outstanding also. It really is so much
fun to see, and learn about Frans.

ENJOY !

Ah well, it keeps one occupied :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Retro Bliss

On top of the TV is the Mathmos lava lamp my daughter gave me for my birthday (just there for the picture). I have found an old school rabbit ears indoor TV antenna (they are still made) and matching flat antenna cable. That will go on top of the TV once I received it. Now on screen Atari's 1980 Battlezone, a game I played in 1981 in an arcade on Mallorca whilst on vacation.


 

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Frans, that is just the best. :rockon: ..Too good sir ! :first:

The whole look of it when it's not even playing is phenomenal,
but then to see it on, and playing is awesome !!! :smile-thumb:
Am picturing it with the rabbit ears too, and that will be really
cool honestly.

The lava lamp fills in perfectly though. Very nice !

Quick question Frans. On the outer edges of the picture there
looks to be parts of a picture. Is that part of the inner cabinet?
Making it feel like an arcade? ..Or actually graphics?

In any case, it's so fun to see this. Keep on enjoying !
 

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Very Kool, now can you get Ozzie & Harriet and Dragnet on it?
 

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Quick question Frans. On the outer edges of the picture there
looks to be parts of a picture.!

It is part of the program itself and changes with every game. They are called.... (drum roll).... bezels :D. All this has been made possible by enthusiasts and everything is freeware. There are specialist for many of the separate parts of the software (RetroPie). The bezels are part of what is called The Bezel Project. Some people do the in-game previews (short, looped videos of the games), others do backgrounds or write scripts to provide extra functionality, e.g. the safe shut down button on the back of the TV as a Raspberry Pi doesn't come with a switch. You just wire a switch yourself and attach the wires to certain pins on the board that makes up the Pi. Running the script downloads a small piece of software and commands to make it work.
 

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Very Kool, now can you get Ozzie & Harriet and Dragnet on it?

Yes, if those programs are available as a live stream or in a downloadable format I can. One of the games isn't a game but Kodi and the single board computer inside has WiFi. Does this answer your question? :D :D
 

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It is part of the program itself and changes with every game. They are called.... (drum roll).... bezels :D. All this has been made possible by enthusiasts and everything is freeware. There are specialist for many of the separate parts of the software (RetroPie). The bezels are part of what is called The Bezel Project. Some people do the in-game previews (short, looped videos of the games), others do backgrounds or write scripts to provide extra functionality, e.g. the safe shut down button on the back of the TV as a Raspberry Pi doesn't come with a switch. You just wire a switch yourself and attach the wires to certain pins on the board that makes up the Pi. Running the script downloads a small piece of software and commands to make it work.
Can I call on you for some technical support?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
This is just a test -> post counter doesn't advance any more.
 
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