Steven B. Awesome projects with guides blog! Tue, 13 Aug 2019 19:24:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 53315385 Arcade Cabinet – Building the Control Panel Tue, 13 Aug 2019 18:32:57 +0000 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 […]

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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.



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

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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Arcade Cabinet – Introduction & Design Tue, 13 Aug 2019 16:59:03 +0000 This is the introduction to building your own full-size, 4-player Arcade Machine. In here you will find everything you need to start building your own. In this part, we will decide over the design of the cabinet, what special effects, controls, TV, artwork and much more. This is a very large project and I recommend […]

The post Arcade Cabinet – Introduction & Design appeared first on Steven B..

This is the introduction to building your own full-size, 4-player Arcade Machine. In here you will find everything you need to start building your own. In this part, we will decide over the design of the cabinet, what special effects, controls, TV, artwork and much more. This is a very large project and I recommend to thoroughly plan your build ahead so you don’t run into troubles during the actual build.

This guide contains everything I installed in my personal arcade but to keep the final build cheaper, you can leave out some parts which you don’t need. I also advise looking for second-hand parts to lower the cost. The total cost of the cabinet can be anywhere from 2500$ to 10000$ depending on your choices, I don’t have the exact cost of mine but I had quite some materials laying around and I would estimate the complete build somewhere around 5000-6000‚ā¨. I also recommend ordering most if not all the materials up front. I ordered a lot from China to keep the cost low but these orders can take over a month to be delivered (Belgium). I included a large list of all the materials ordered during my build, this should definitely help you get all the materials in time.

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


I decided to design the whole cabinet from scratch but since this takes some time, there are a few other options to get you kick-started

  • You could buy a used or non-functional arcade cabinet second-hand. These are quite cheap but make sure the cabinet itself is in good condition as you will need to strip all the electronics out, remove any damaged artwork and repair deep bumps and scratches. Personally, I won’t recommend this as the size of your TV will be limited by the original screen size (usually 4:3 aspect).
  • Cabinet kits are widely available (Here, Here, Here…). These will come with all the accessories required to fully assemble the cabinet. in my opinion, if you don’t need your own unique design, this will save a lot of time. These kits may cost quite a bit but from my experience, this is still less or equal to the cost of designing your own. Another plus is these kits usually have accompanying artwork kits. Designing and printing your own artwork takes time and is usually more expensive than these pre-made prints
  • If you’re not handy but have a lot of cash, there is always the option to buy a fully working MAME emulator machine but where’s the fun in that.

If you decided to build your own unique cabinet, you should start thinking about your side panels. Personally, I wanted a high but slim cabinet. The screen will be an old flatscreen LCD that’s driven by a computer so plenty of space for that. I found a compilation of many real arcade cabinets (more Here)

I also recommend taking a look at some other personal builds (Here, Here, Here, Here) to get a general idea what you want. After doing some research I started drawing a dozen side panels. Then I picked the best-looking, took a piece of the paper table cloth and scaled the drawing onto there. Then I traced the lines of my original drawing onto the large paper and made small adjustments where needed. Eventually, I measured all the sizes and made it into a carton example. This carton was later made in CAD to send to the CNC at my local woodshop.

Now the side panels are done, we need to decide on the width of the cabinet. This was easy as I am reusing an old TV I had laying around. I removed the plastic casing of the TV and make the cabinet a bit wider than the outer dimensions of your TV. This was 93cm. Now we know the width of the cabinet, these other panels are also needed at the same width:

  • Floor panel – will connect the side panels on the ground, this will also be the bottom shelve of our bottom compartment holding up the whole cabinet`
  • Front coin door panel – The front of the cabinet housing the coin doors.
  • Center horizontal plate – the center table, your control panel will sit on here later
  • TV Mounting plate – The TV will be mounted onto this board
  • Front Speaker Panel – The cover above your TV usually housing two speakers
  • Top – The top of the cabinet
  • Marquee backplate – The back of the marquee, LED strips will be mounted on here to light up the marquee evenly
  • Top Back cover – Top cover on the back of the cabinet

I left the rear covers out for now, the cabinet was becomming verry heavy so I went with thick cardboard to cover up the back.

Control Panel

Initially, I was going to design my own control panel but due to time constraints, I decided to start with one of the control panel kits that on HERE. I went with a 4-player control panel, you can also choose the 2-player control panel as this will drastically lower the overall cost of your arcade and saves a lot of time while wiring all controls. Also, most of the original arcade cabinets were made for 2 players, only in the late ’90s, the 4-player models started showing up. From my personal experience, if you don’t really need 4 players, definitely go with the 2-player alternative.

Another important measurement is the actual height of your controls, this should be taken into account while designing your side panels as well. The optimal height for your length can be measured by standing upright, then bend your arms forward with your elbows at 90*. Now measure the height from your hand to the floor. this should be your personal preferred height. For me, this height is 113cm from the floor. This may seem high at first but I find it a very natural playing positions.

Other controllers

There are a lot of extra controller options like trackballs, spinners, lightguns… Ultimark provides most of these toys. I recommend choosing all toys from Ultimark, they are a bit more expensive then simular chinese toys but it’s the quality is definatelly worth the extra dollars.


To control the computer’s mouse, I added the Ultimarc trackball in the center of my control panel. I bought the Translucent ball with the RGB LEDs on the bottom. The trackball comes with a ‘mouse’ controller board which connects to your computer with USB. The trackball doesn’t require any drivers and works out of the box. There are also a few games that can be played using a trackball, usually arcade cabinets.

Spinner / Steering Wheel

The spinner is also one of those special controls usually found in arcade cabinets from the ’90s. A few popular games like Arkanoid, Tempest, Tron… were initially made to make use of a spinner. Later these controls were mapped to the D-pad in home consoles. Ultimark has one of those authentic spinners that connects to your PC over USB. The spinner is recognized as a mouse in windows and doesn’t need any drivers. Optionally you can also replace the spinner top with a car’s steering wheel to control racing games as was done in many Namco racing cabinets.


I also added a lightgun to the cabinet, the most popular game that introduced a lightgun is Duck hunt with the Zapper on the Nintendo Entertainment system. It was an awesome way to control games although not many shooter games were actually made, there are a few arcade cabinets that had guns, the ps2 and ps3 had the guncon guns but other than Time Crysis, not many shooter games were actually available on the playstation. Another issue was that these regular lightguns won’t work on the new LCD flatscreens. The Ultimark Aimtrak uses a WII style tracking mechanism that’s verry accurate and has verry little to no lag when aiming. The Aimtrak has an optional kickback board which will replicate the gun’s kickback when firing onto the screen. The controller has a Trigger and Two mappable buttons in the front (left & right). Most lightgun arcade cabinets were built for 2 players so 1 or 2 guns are perfectly mappable in the emulator. I don’t recommend using attaching more than 2 guns as there are no real games with 3+ player support.

Flight Stick

If you are into arcade flight simulators, you can install a flight stick on your control panel. Ultimark has the UltraStick which can be configured with a flight handle top. These will also just connect to your arcade using a USB cable and won’t require any drivers. The buttons are remappable using the configuration software. Personally, I did not install a flight stick onto my control panel because it would ruin the looks and would just stick out too high blocking the view on the screen. I’m not sure if there were many flight games made other then a few arcade cabinets.

Pinball Buttons + Plunger

If you like pinball games, you can add flipper buttons on the sides of your control panel and even a digital plunger to control your ingame plunger. Virtuapin has a complete set available including a real plunger and tilt/knock detection. The most popular games are Pinball FX 3 and The pinball arcade. Pinball FX3 has many digital tables with lots of animations going on, the pinball arcade is specialized in recreating real original pinball tables that have existed in the ’90s. The most popular are tables are Twilight zone, Star trek, attack from mars, funhouse… Both games combined have over 200 tables good for hours of pinball fun. ¬†I already have a dedicated pinball cabinet so I did not install this kit in my arcade cabinet.

required Electronics/Features


I will be using an old 60Hz 1080p LCD TV I had laying around. The screen is 37″ and screen dimensions are 83cmx47cm. I made my cabinet a bit bigger in case I want to switch it later with a newer model with even thinner bezels The width of my cabinet is 93cm which should be enough for a 40 inch TV. There is no real advantage in a 4k monitor as most of the games are pre 90’s. where you can almost count every pixel yourself.


The computer for this arcade cabinet doesn’t have to very powerful. most of the games are pre 20’s and can literally run on your TI-84 calculator. If you plan on emulating systems like Wii, PS2 I recommend getting a dedicated graphics card as well and If you plan on emulating PS3 games… you will require a very powerful machine altogether (GPU & CPU & Ram). I would definitely use an SSD for your operating system for smoother loading of all the videos/artwork in the front-end software. I recently bought a new (gaming) computer but the old one was stilll very usable today (2011 I7). I used all the components so no extra expense for a computer. if you don’t have one laying around. this is all the hardware from my old system which does a great job emulating PS3 games. A computer with somewhat the same specs as mine should be more than enough:

  • I7 3770k 3.5ghz (Overclocked to 4.5Ghz all cores ūüėÉ)
  • GTX 960Ti Strix
  • 250Gb Samsung SSD
  • 550W generic power supply
  • Gigabyte motherboard

Sound System

I plan on using the cabinet as a jukebox, so I combined two sound systems. First I will use the Logitech Z2300 2.1 set for the lower compartment with two speakers in the front door and the subwoofer firing from the back of the cabinet. Then for the top speakers, I ordered the following car audio set

  • MBQuartz Car speakers (200W)
  • Matching amplifier (3ohm)
  • Matching 36V Power Supply
  • Matching volume daily (to keep volume between z2300 and car speakers the same or adjust bass volume)

cabinet lighting

For cabinet lighting, I went with RGB led strips on the back of the cabinet. These are normal 12V RGB led strips, attached to the backside of the side panels using an aluminum profile. I also ordered a remote-controlled LED-strip controller and a power supply to go with it.

Coin Doors

All arcade cabinets have those iconic coin doors and an arcade cabinet won’t be an arcade cabinet without having at least one coin door, there are a few options including a single coin door with 4 coin acceptors. However, this one was out of stock at the time so I went with 4 single coin doors, one for every player.

USB Controllers

I will use LED lit arcade buttons which can be controlled over USB, also we need another controller to make the computer register any button presses. Herefore I used two chips that are designed just for these tasks.


For controlling the button and coin door LEDs, I will be using two PACLed64 USB controllers. Each controller can control up to 64 LEDs and even includes dimming capabilities. Because I went with a 4 player control panel, I will need two USB controllers but smaller control panels will have more than enough outputs with only one PACLed64 USB controller.


For registering controls to your computer I will be using the IPAC-4 and an IPAC-2. Both IPAC devices will convert any physical button presses into a button press on your keyboard. This way each emulator can be configured to work with normal keyboard controls. I had to use two controllers in conjunction with each other to have enough inputs for all my controls.


I will be using Windows 10 and Hyperspin as my front-end as its around for a while now and there is a lot of “bolt-on” packs available. These packs reduce the work needed to get your games working. There are a few alternatives available but personally, I like the customizability of hyperspin as well as the UI:

Maximus Arcade:
ES EmulationStation
Attract-Mode Emulator Frontend



For most of the game systems, I will be using the MAME emulator. This is mainly a collection of emulators for many different old game consoles or computers. Although MAME can emulate a lot of game consoles, we will still need many different emulators to get all systems running. This will be covered in the last part of the guides.


To finish the look of your cabinet we need large stickers with the artwork. If you know your way around in photoshop, you can design your own. alternatively, ArcadeArtwork has the largest collection of pre-designed artwork I could find. ArcadeArtwork helped me resize my chosen artwork to match my side panels.

(updates soon)

Applying the artwork is one of the last steps of the build but covered in detail in the last part of my guides.

Order List


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Upgrade Jukebox lighting with Arduino & WS2812 Adresable led strip Mon, 27 May 2019 20:24:59 +0000 I cleaned my¬†Kotronic¬†jukebox and now it’s time to give this an upgrade. I will leave all of the original electronics intact and still working but I will add the WS2812 led strip inside the bezels, top and centerpieces. these will be controlled using an Arduino to simulate the “bubbler” bezels from the original wurtzinger/rock-ola jukeboxes […]

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I cleaned my¬†Kotronic¬†jukebox and now it’s time to give this an upgrade. I will leave all of the original electronics intact and still working but I will add the WS2812 led strip inside the bezels, top and centerpieces. these will be controlled using an Arduino to simulate the “bubbler” bezels from the original wurtzinger/rock-ola jukeboxes from the ’50s.

  • Arduino Uno (others will work just fine but may require different wiring) – Arduino Store, eBay, eBay, eBay
  • WS2812 144l/m Led strip(s) – buy Here, Here, Here or Here
  • 5V PSU – buy Here, Here, Here, Here
    You must use a 5V DC power supply to power these strips, do not use higher than 6V or you can destroy the entire strip.
    – 144l/m strip uses 5A (25W) to 10A (50w) per meter at full brightness (rgb 100%)
    – You can use 100/m or 96 per meter but the more leds the smoother the effect
  • Arduino Software (Download)

The plan

The plan is to have 4 groups of LED strips, one for the outer bezel, one for the inner bezel and the top compartment.

Provide power in the jukebox

To power all the electronics. I installed a grounded&fused power plug on the back of the jukebox that also has an integrated power button. I marked the outlining of the power plug on the back of the jukebox, then used the hand jigsaw to cut out the outlining. This is rather thin wood so this went very quickly. I used some screws to mount the chassis power connector in place.


Then I sacrificed a power strip by cutting off its plug (leave some extra wire on the plug-side, this will be used to power our LED strip PSU later) and wired it onto the power plug like shown in the video above.

The power strip was mounted on the bottom of the jukebox using double-sided tape.

Programming Arduino and First test

Before installing the LED strips, I want to make sure everything is working before installation. First program your Arduino with the following simple test program. This sample project requires the FastLED Library (Github). Download the latest release and extract the content in Documents/Arduino/Libraries/…

When the library is correctly installed, copy and paste the following code in your editor and program your Arduino. If the program fails, check if you selected the correct Arduino board in the programmer settings.

#include <FastLED.h>

#define LED_PIN     7
#define NUM_LEDS    422 


void setup() {
  FastLED.addLeds<WS2812, LED_PIN, GRB>(leds, NUM_LEDS);

void loop() {
  for (int i = 0; i <= 19; i++) {
    leds[i] = CRGB ( 0, 0, 255);;
  for (int i = 19; i >= 0; i--) {
    leds[i] = CRGB ( 255, 0, 0);;

Before programming, change the LED_PIN to the pin you want to use as the data output pin on your Arduino. Then change the number of LEDs¬†to match your strip, I attached 3 strips for a total of 432 LEDs. Then make sure the correct Arduino is selected under “Tools->Board” and hit Upload. The program should just compile and upload without errors and you are now ready to wire your test setup.

First, if you haven’t done this already is attach the wall plug we cut off earlier onto your power supply. Then connect the power lines of the LED strip connector onto your power supply, make sure the red wire is connected to the positive terminal and the white to the negative terminal. Then wire the LED strip connector as follows onto your Arduino.

  • White wire – Negative, this should be connected to any of the ground pins on your Arduino
  • Green Wire – This provides the DATA and should be connected to the “LED_PIN” you chose earlier
  • Red Wire – Positive, this can be connected to the +5V (out) pin on your Arduino. if your Arduino is powered over USB, this wire is not required

Now power on your power supply and the program should work as follows

My extended program

This is the program I currently have installed on my Jukebox, I added a momentary push button to switch between “patterns” and an extra power switch for controlling the power supply, this way the jukebox can still be used without the lights later. The program was based on the FasLED’s “ColorPalette” sample and all of the credits go to the fastled library programmer. Before programming you should change the following variables to match your setup:

  • LED_PIN – The data pin for the led strips
  • NUM_LEDS – This should be the number of LEDs on a single led strip, in my case, this is 144. Because the led strips are not connected in series but rather as 4 separated single strips of 144leds. this way the colors change simultaneously on the left and right side of the jukebox
  • BTN_PIN – I added a momentary push button function for switching between patterns, change the pin to your button pin
Wiring LED Strips

Since we are installing multiple LED strips throughout the Jukebox cabinet, I started by adding some terminals to split the power and data lines easily. I mounted both terminals on an open space in the cabinet, this was on top of the subwoofer cabinet. I labeled both terminals accordingly.

Then mount the power supply and Arduino somewhat accessible for in case you want to update the program of your Arduino later on. I drilled two small holes on the sides of my power supply and used zip ties through these holes to secure the power supply in place, for the Arduino I used quite some hot glue to stick it next to the power supply.

Installing LED Strips

To install the LED strips, all the bezels on the front had to come off. These were mounted with screws from the side and clips in the middle, be very careful when removing these as you won’t find any replacement parts for this. Once all bezels were removed, I started drilling holes to feed through the strips from the inside:

  • Two holes on the top of the jukebox, this will be the starting point for the outer strips
  • Two holes on the bottom of the center part, this will be the starting point for these strips
  • Two holes on the top left and right of the centerpiece, the strips will enter the jukebox again to light the number board and top compartment later
  • Two holes left and right in the top compartment, the last few inches of the led strip will enter this compartment and provide some lighting as well

Slowly make your way around the outer bezel and stick the strip to the inside shining outwards.

Then add the bezels and start with the centerpiece

Eventually, all bezels are reinstalled and you should get the first look

Finishing UP

To finish the Jukebox, I added some extra labels to the back of the Jukebox to make all controls, inputs, and outputs clear. I also added a pouch for the USB cable and some spare parts as well as a Bluetooth receiver that’s connected onto the AUX in. As well the power button for the LED strips and a button to switch the pattern of the WS2812B strips.

The top of the jukebox houses a CD player, as an extra I found CD’s that look like small LP’s.

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