Introduction: 20 Hour $20 Table Top Arcade Build With Hundreds of Games Built In.
I'd been wanting to make something like this for a while but was in no rush with plenty of other projects always to do. Since I was in no rush I just waited until I accumulated all the necessary components for the build at inexpensive prices. Here's a list of the price of each component & where I found them.
iCade cabinet $4.99 (Goodwill)
Super Joy III 76000 in 1 $2.00 (Flea Market)
RCA LCD Screen from in car dvd player $7.00 (Flea Market)
Power Adapter for the Screen $1.00 (Flea Market)
A/V cable $0.50 cents (Flea Market)
Audio splitter Y-Cable $0.50 cents (Flea Market)
Led Light Kit $1.00 (Dollar Tree)
Plexiglass L-Frame picture holder used for Marquee $0.50 (Flea Market)
Pac-man themed cutouts for Marquee and cabinet from old wendy's kid meals toys $1.00 (Flea Market)
Other materials $1.50 (wire, glue, solder, paint, basically stuff I had around the house on hand)
Step 1: Disassembling the Super Joy III 76000 in 1 and ICade Control Panel.
First order of business was to take apart the Super Joy III and figuring out if I could actually make it work with the iCades Joystick & buttons. I was hopeful that the button contacts on the Super Joy III traces would be good enough quality to allow me to actually solder the iCade's controls to the it.
Step 2: Readying the ICade Controls to Be Soldered to the Super Joy III.
Next I take all the unnecessary components out of the iCade which basically was just a little motherboard control unit that the Joystick & buttons wired into & I suppose also contained the other necessary chips to allow the iCade and iPad to communicate.
Step 3: Soldering the Joystick & Buttons to the Super Joy III Traces.
This was the hardest part of the project because getting a good solder connection to the traces proved a bit difficult using the cheap soldering iron I have with a blunt point. Some of the solder points would come off while I would be working at another point but I just went back & redone each making sure they were attached nice and firm. Once I tested to confirm all controls worked I covered it all in a generous amount of hot glue to help keep the soldered wires in place.
Step 4: Mounting Super Joy III Inside Back of ICade.
The iCade has a rectangle shaped hole that travels behind where the ipad would normally dock. This was a great spot to run my cables for everything from the screen to the Super Joy as well as the 10 led light kit. I cut a piece of wood to run the width of the back of the inside of the iCade as a spot to hot glue the Super Joy control board to as well as it's Famicom cartridge adapter and the player 2 controller plug. I opted to go with the original battery box from the Super Joy so I hot glued it to the back of the iCade.
Step 5: Test Fitting the Screen Into the ICade Cabinet & Then Mounting It With Screws.
I took the screen apart because at first I did not think I was going to be able to make the screen fit with the AV cables attached. I went so far as to have the screen taken out of the assembly and thought about simply hot gluing the screen to the inside of the iCade & drilling a hole in the back to run the ribbon cables to the screen circuit board. In the end I chose not to do this because it just unnecessarily complicated things for no good reason & actually I don't think it would have looked as good since the bezel of the screen matches the plastic around the Joystick & buttons. I ended up putting the screen back in it's original housing & using screws on the right side of the bezel to hold it in place. I moved the screen as far right as possible so the AV cables and power cable plugs would still fit inside the iCade housing. On the left side I trimmed it out with a small piece of craft wood painting it black to match. The menu and volume buttons on this screen is on top the unit so therefore they are accessible by raising the door on top the iCade unit. The power slider switch on the screen is on the side so I simply leave it in on position so plugging it in it powers up.
Step 6: Making the Marquee & Adding the Led's.
Next to soldering the toughest part of the project was making the Marquee. I knew in order for it to look good the Marquee would require a bit of thought & some sort of theme. Having it lit was a must as well. I had some pac-man toys I'd picked up a few years ago still in the package that had originally come in wendy's kids meals. I decided these would be perfect for making my Marquee. In order for the light to shine through them I used an exacto knife to peel the opposite side cardboard layer off of each piece. I found a plexiglass picture frame that was the right size so used it as the bezel. I used painters tape to go over the upper part of the Marquee Symbols & cut it out the same size as each piece & peeled it off using it as a template for the top part of the Marquee. I would later spray paint it black from the front. The lower part of the Marquee with the small cutouts I used painters tape cut to size of each & placed them on the backside portion of the lower front of Marquee because it would be spray painted red from the inside. Once I got it painted I used clear scotch tape to fasted the smaller pieces in place & the upper larger pieces I slid under the double plexiglass under where the masked template tape was placed centering them up & adding a bit of elmer's clear drying glue all. I masked off all that needed to be and spray on the red & black paint. Once dry I drilled a small hole on each side to screw the Marquee in place. I ran the 10 Led light kit up to the backside of the Marquee and hot glued them in place. I used the original battery holder on the bottom of the iCade to power the Led's as well as the original red led panel under the 25 cents fake coin slot. I wired a on off switch to those on the right side of the Super Joy III mounting spot on the back. I used a piece of velcro to secure the LCD power adapter to the back of the iCade to keep it out of the way.
Step 7: Finishing Touches & Playing a Few Games.
I used some of the other pac-man cutouts on the sides of the unit & front to complete the pac-man theme. I used some more small craft wood pieces to trim around the sides of the marquee making it blend in with the cabinet & painted it black to match. I used hot glue to secure the trim into place. This project was inexpensive at $20 & took me around 20 hours I would guess to complete stretched out over a 4 or 5 day time period. I'm happy with how it turned out & it's actually quite fun playing using the large buttons although I must say after being use to small controllers it does pose more of a challenge.
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