Wednesday 24 April 2013

Day 37 - And Neg said Let There Be Light

Today my stupendous mate who happens to be a guitar pedal designer and fabricator created me a LED block for the trackball (which has space underneath to take a little PCB). Here it is. I've no idea why the lit version is mirrored, it's ok when you look at it from the file explorer. It's a lot brighter with 12v (this was just 9v as a test) and when viewed not from my phone camera.

This plugs straight into a molex from the PC and uses the 12v (yellow) rather than 5v (red) supply meaning half the number of resisters are required. Cost about £2, which is a lot cheaper than the £30 the arcade parts website want :)

All the LED's are in sockets so can be taken out and replaced with any mix of colours - I may end up with yellow, which was the original plan.

Anyway, if you're in need of a guitar pedal (kit or ready made) head over to

I also got a couple of these very tiny buttons (black version) to be used as the back/escape and power buttons. They should be very inconspicuous, they are about 5mm in diameter and a total of about 13mm. From at about 40p each. Lovely solid feel to the press action too.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Day 35 - Control Panel Done

All the parts arrived. There were a few minor issues to contend with:
  • The trackball Y axis was wired with colours that didn't match the controller PCB (the PCB has three connections - two for trackball and one for a spinner). Problem was if I wired it wrong the spinner is wired differently so could have shorted out. I just traced the wires, matched them to the wiring diagram and it was sorted. 
  • All the spade connectors are 4.8mm but most of the buttons are 2.8 so I'll either have to squash the connectors or get them to send me some replacement switches with the correct sizes.

Through using the temporary panel I found the left joystick was too close to the side so I'll move Player 1 1cm to the right and Player 2 joystick can't fit the spade connectors properly as it hits the trackball so I'll move that 1cm to the right too (there's enough room to not hit the sides).

In case anyone is creating their own u-track and they haven't updated the wiring colours, these are the ones you connect:

Thursday 18 April 2013

Day 34 - Art Done

This is the finished control panel and marquee. The silver stripes are just placeholders for where the retainers are - they are brushed aluminium. After comments I made the marquee lettering bigger to make it more noticeable. It can't really get any bigger.

Next job is to measure out exactly my control panel mock-up before drilling the holes and placing all the items. If they all fit ok then it's just a case of making sure the control panel placements match this and testing the controls work.

Hopefully by Saturday (it's Thursday now) I'll be making the control panel up and ordering the art.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Day 33 - Controls Bought

All the controls have been bought. I'd have been happier with the Sanwa (or Seimitsu) buttons but they only come in shallow depths for metal mounting really and I didn't want to risk routing too much wood to allow them to be mounted.

Once these arrive I can get the holes drilled, double check the control panel art fits and get them printed and the acrylic sheets ordered.

2 Seimitsu LS 32 Arcade Joystick A good all round choice. Not too sensitive like the Sanwa joysticks but the quality is almost as good.
6 Happ Competition Arcade Button Player 1/2 upper three buttons. Convex
6 Happ Competition Arcade Button Player 1/2 lower three buttons. Convex
2 Happ Standard Arcade Button Concave for pinball at side of cabinet. I i figured the yellow strip around the cabinet seemed the best choice of colour for these. Was always going to choose black (might look like a bullet from the tank), but changed my mind.
1 Black IL Concave Arcade Start Button Player 1
1 Black IL Concave Arcade Start Button Player 2
2 IL Concave Arcade Button
Coin buttons to go with Start buttons
1 Mini PAC Keyboard Encoder Kit USB Keyboard and trackball controller with wires and grounds
1 UTrak Trackball Trackball with mini-pac connections
1 Pack Of 4 PCB Feet

Saturday 6 April 2013

Day 32 - Front-End Completed

The front-end is completed and working fully. I sorted out all the graphical issues, which were down to the front-end I'm using (MaLa) being pants with png files.

Here's a video. I recommend you don't view it here as it's too small. Click on the youtube link inside the video and select a medium or full screen view.

There are two navigation methods. The original is one page per emulator and you swap between emulators, then inside each emulator you move left/right to switch filters (e.g. fighting games, fps, etc). The other method uses a menu to select emulator and filters. This is the one I'm using as it's quicker/easier to get to an emulator and select a filter.

Screenshots as previous day. I'll be uploading a how-to video on mala and emulators (it took some time doing) at some point in the near future.