Arcade Cabinet – Building the Control Panel

This part will cover the build of the control panel. This includes the building of the control panel, drilling and installing buttons & joysticks, wiring the Controls & LEDs, Installing the Trackball & Spinner…

Before starting you should decide on how many players and what controls each player will get.

This arcade cabinet is still a work in progress, the guides are not done yet, updates coming soon.

Requirements

Tools

  • Hand drill
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Jigsaw
  • Screws
  • 28mm Drill (Large Buttons)
  • 14mm Drill (Small buttons)
  • Handmill (trackball)
  • Safety glasses 👍

Building the kit

Assembling the Bitcade kit is pretty straightforward although it did not come with an assembly guide.

Before Assembling, I added a few more buttons, the trackball, and spinner on the control board. This is easier when the control panel is not yet assembled.

  • 2 extra buttons for both center players
  • U-TRAK Trackball (guide),(Diameter 82mm, centered)
  • SpinTrak spinner cutout between the 3rd & 4th player (Diameter 28mm)
  • A smaller extra button above the dual buttons above each player control (Diameter 14mm)

I will be adding USB ports on the front of the control panel, so I added 4 extra holes in the front of the control panel. These will later be filled with USB/HDMI and 3,5mm passthrough chassis connectors we ordered earlier.

Then assemble the control panel as normal, the control panel itself will slide open using piano hinges in the front. The ones included were rather flimsy so I used 4 large cabinet hinges.

You can now put your control panel on top of your cabinet and drill 3 large holes (triangle formation), the 3 large butterfly bolts&nuts will make sure the control panel is secured onto your cabinet.

Installing USB Controllers

Before inserting and connecting the controls, I installed the USB controllers inside the control panel using the white PCB feet I ordered.

The PACLED64 is mounted on the Right side of the control panel. I also added a 12 terminal to for each of the player controllers and used the breadboard wiring to wire these onto the PACLED64. This will help with cable management and prevents the headers from being ripped off the pacLED when opening the control panel top. The terminals were later labeled with (Player x LEDS)

Then I mounted the IPAC4 on the Left side of the control panel using the same PCB feet. I did not use terminals for the controls itself as these cables were screwed into the IPAC. I also created bundles/harnasses of cables so they won’t come loose.

Installing/Wiring buttons

Then to install the buttons, feed the button in the holes and fasten it from the back using the matching nut. The large buttons have a diameter of 28mm, the smaller has a diameter of 14mm. I recommend installing all buttons prior to connecting them to your controllers including the joysticks.

Then to connect the buttons to your IPAC4, we can start with the common gound wiring harness. Each of the buttons requires 1 dedicated wire to your IPAC4 however the ground wire can be daisy chained using one of the harnesses I ordered. Connect the harnass to one of the ground pins on your IPAC4 and make sure to wire all buttons. You may need multiple harnesses to cover all your buttons. You can use any of the Ground terminals on the IPAC board.

Then to register button presses we need to wire each of the buttons onto your IPAC4. I ordered 100 meters of cable and a lot of cable shoes. For each button, I will create a cable by stripping and soldering one side onto the cable shoe which will connect to the button and only strip the other side to connect to your IPAC4.

Do this for all buttons. To keep all cables tidy, I recommend using some cable ties to bundle the cables so they don’t wander around inside of your control panel.

Then to connect the button led to your pacLED, the positive can be daisy chained as we did before so start with one of your harnesses from the PACLED64 and wire up the positive for all button LEDs. You will need multiple harnasses with harness connecting to one of the positive pins of the PACLED64

Then create a wire as we did before by stripping and soldering the cable shoe on one side of the cable and just stripping it on the other side to connect them onto the corresponding player color terminal on the PACLed.

To test your setup, you can connect your pacLED and IPAC4’s USB to a laptop or PC. The PACLed will requires external power that can be provided using the included jack to a Molex connector. if you don’t have access to a Molex power supply, you can use a spare one and hotwire it as shown in This Guide.

You can now test if every LED is working and if every button registers as a key on a regular keyboard. keep in mind the IPAC default configuration includes screenshot, page up.. buttons which don’t always show action on the screen when pressed. I recommend using the Passmark KeyboardTest Utility:

 PassMark KeyboardTest Utility

Installing/Wiring Joysticks

Then to secure the joystick, use 4 blind screws, then use the included nuts to mount the joystick from the back. Make sure the top of the joystick is indeed sided up when installed. In my case, the ribbon connector should come out on the bottom right of the joystick.

After installing the joysticks, we need to wire them onto our IPAC. This may be a bit complicated since we need to modify the 5-wire cable to work with our IPAC4. Each joystick has 5 wires, one being the ground and the other 4 for each direction. Since I could not find any wiring diagram online I checked each pin myself using my multimeter. Once I found the common ground, I checked what direction corresponded to which pin on the connector. Then I wired the ground pin onto the ground of the IPAC4 and the 4 other wires onto the IPAC4 Joystick terminals. Each joystick has 2 extra pins for the LED, these should be wired onto your PACLED64 the same as the button LEDs.

Install Trackball

I will be using the Ultimarc Trackball with RGB and Transparent ball (Here). First, mount the LED board onto the back of the Trackball assembly. I used hotglue to secure it in place

To mount the trackball in your control panel, it includes 4 long bolts and 4 nuts that should be hammered in on the underside of the control panel.

First, lay your trackball flat on your control panel. Then find the 4 mounting holes, drill a small hole and hammer in the nuts. These will expand when the bolt is screwed in so they will stay in place.

The trackball itself has a bunch of wires coming out of it, these wires should be wired onto the USB Mouse Controller as follows:

The LED board requires 5V and has 5 wires coming off it. These are designed to plug in directly onto your PACLED64

When everything is connected and plugged in, the trackball will be recognized as a normal mouse and should work without any drivers.

Install Spinner

The spinner is the same diameter as the buttons, feed the controller board and cables through the board and screw it in place from the back.

To test the spinner, you can use a laptop or computer, the spinner is powered over USB and should work out of the box. Your mouse should move horizontally when turning the spinner.

USB Extensions

To install the USB extenders. First, feed through the cable from the front of the control panel until the chassis connectors sit flush on the front of you control panel. I removed one of the rings so the protection cap would be squished between the connector and the control panel. Then I used the included nuts to secure the USB extenders in place.

The other ends will later be connected to the computer in the base of the cabinet.

Build Top bar

For the top controls bar, I used a wooden board that’s the same width as my cabinet. Then drilled 12 extra 28mm button holes in it. Since the PACLED64 and IPAC4 in the control panel are both fully occupied. I will use the IPAC2 and second PACLED64 for these buttons. This way the control panel still can be removed without having to unscrew all wires from the cabinet controls as well.

After drilling and installing the buttons, I used the harness to wire up the led and button terminal as we did before in our control panel. Then created dedicated wires myself and wired up all the buttons onto the controllers as follows

Then I used L-hooks to mount this panel into the cabinet. I also used the white PCB feet to mount the USB Controllers in the cabinet.

Now Place your control panel back onto your cabinet and test if all buttons and LEDs are working

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