Acrade Vector to Laser

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by johnfl68, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. johnfl68

    johnfl68 Active Member


    For anyone that may have done this before...

    I have a Atari BattleZone arcade console. These have White CRT vector monitors in them, that are getting hard to maintain and repair.

    What I am considering is converting to LASER, with Red and Green Diode lasers. I just don't know if XY scanners are somewhat directly compatible and fast enough to match what the game boards are outputting for the CRT.

    Also, I would need some sort of circuit, that would create a horizontal division line, so that everything above the line would be the Red diode, and everything below would be the Green diode. Atari did a nifty cheat for BattleZone, in using a White CRT with a Red Gel overlay at the top for the Radar, and a Green Gel overlay for the rest of the screen for the gameplay. This gave you the Red and Green vectors that you see on the game, but kept the cost down with a monochrome CRT.

    Anyway, if anyone has any ideas on this, it would be appreciated.


  2. Aaron@Pangolin

    Aaron@Pangolin Staff Member

    Search LaserMAME... Otherwise that's all I got. :eek:
  3. johnfl68

    johnfl68 Active Member

    Thanks Aaron.

    Yes, but as I recall, they were using MAME software, to output to a DAC that was hooked up to laser scanners.

    I have the original Atari boards in this that are still working, so want to take the X, Y, and Z output from the boards, to control scanners and blanking.

    I think there were 2 Laser Mame camps, but I don't know if either ever connected directly from any of the Atari or other Vector arcade boards, to laser scanners.

    I would think should be possible, just going to take a bunch of research, and figuring out a circuit to switch the Z (blanking) from Green to Red while looking at the Y position.

    Someone will chime in sooner or later, and it's going to be a while, before I have time to do this, so I'm not in any big hurry. Just trying to get my ducks (tanks?) in a row.
  4. Aaron@Pangolin

    Aaron@Pangolin Staff Member

    Do you know if the Atari boards are sending out analog signals? Might be able to just hook up a set of scanners and test if they are. I'd use that "old" set of spare scanners on the shelf if you know what I mean. :D
  5. johnfl68

    johnfl68 Active Member


    Looks like final output on the Analog Vector-Generator board for X and Y are TLO82's with +/- 15V supplies. Z out is off of a 2N3904.

    The monitor specifies a +/- 10V 1K impedance input for X, a +/- 7.5V 1K impedance for Y, and a 0.5V blanking 1.0V blacklevel 4.0V full on 220-ohm impedance for Z. All single ended.

    I'll have to watch eBay for some cheap scanners to start out with I guess, and then go from there.
  6. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    Hi John,

    We're just about to dispose of an Asteroids game, and we still have a Tempest game as well.

    I'm not sure if scanners are fast enough yet. Even our 90K Saturn 1 scanners might not truly be fast enough to be directly driven by game output. I suspect not actually...

    Aaron's suggestion of Laser version of MAME is the most successful suggestion. I think there are a few of these floating around actually. They work fairly well. Sure, they require a laser output hardware (such as QM2000) but this is the sure fire way to get what you want done. Otherwise I'm just not so sure normal laser scanners will do the job. They're coming closer than they ever have, and I will admit that I haven't tried it myself, but I still would bet that more speed is needed...

    Best regards,

    William Benner
  7. johnfl68

    johnfl68 Active Member


    Thank you for your reply.

    I knew the Vector games needed some speed, I was not sure if scanner technology had caught up yet. I guess not.

    Unfortunately Laser Mame defeats the idea of using the original working Atari Game boards.

    I'll just try and keep up with the Vector Display maintenance, and perhaps take it to get professionally refurbished (if I can find someone) when I rebuild this cabinet sometime over the next year.

    Thanks again!