How to Turn on Your Arcade Remotely

As you probably do not know, I am the proud owner of a Tech Romancer cabinet.  The cabinet’s life as a one trick pony ended shortly after the purchase, and it is now a very capable mame box.

There is one large issue with having a computer inside of a large, wooden box.  Where’s the power button supposed to go?  The easy solution is to run cables off of the current power switch to some other button that is placed in a more convenient location.  This approach was considered, but I didn’t like it.  I thought that remote control was the way to go with this.

Looking back, this may have been a just for fun decision.  Although, running wires and modding the computer would have been more work.  The main driver was that the computer could not easily be removed once the button was in place.  Also, the location to put button wasn’t obvious.

It is a little known fact that there are some always on power coming from the computer’s power supply.  IMon takes advantage of this and created products such as the Imon Inside.  This gives the ability to receive remote signals even when the computer is in a powered down state.  Once the motherboard’s power button is rerouted to the Imon Inside, the computer can power itself on remotely.  How cool is that?

Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story.  The Imon device operates via infra red signals.  These don’t travel through 1/2″ of wood well.  My initial tests worked great when the computer was out in the open, but not when placed inside of the cabinet.

There is a solution to this problem too.  I honestly didn’t think I’d find a cooler product than the Imon, but I was happily mistaken thanks to the Next Generation Remote Control Extender. It turns out that they make an RF transmitter that poses as a AAA battery.  By replacing one of the batteries with an RF transmitter and putting the RF receiver in the cabinet by the infrared receiver, the signal was remote was now able to push commands through the cabinet.

Success was finally mine.

Materials

Imon Inside ~ $60  Purchased at Newegg
Next Generation Remote Control Extender ~ $33 Purchased at Amazon

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