Also I'm entering the Raspberry Pi contest, please vote for me and like my tutorial! The more people that like this, the more chances of being seen and also this might help someone that needs some inspiration for a similar project.
And just to throw an idea out there and I might do another tutorial at a later time but if you want do build your own arcade but want wireless controllers you can do this but instead of using the cheap USB pads you can buy a wireless keyboard like the one pictured and hack that using the same method and you will have wireless controllers. Now I'm not sure if you can hook up two keyboards to the pi and have two controllers but I can try it out tomorrow but even if it doesn't work with two controllers it will work for at least one wireless controller! And yes I'm aware they sell fight sticks and awesome controllers for relatively good prices, but my question to you is why would you want to spend $150 bucks on a controller when you can easily make one yourself for twice that much lol I'm only kidding I didn't spend $300 the truth is I don't know how much I spent but this was about making it and ending up with a unique product rather than a mass produced thing that will have no sense of accomplishment attached to it.
Step 1: The Ingredients
Step 2: Test the Controllers
Lucky for me the new Pi that I had ordered for my sister got here this same day and I didn't really need to mess with my settings too much. So what I did was I downloaded berryboot v2.0 and from berryboot I installed Openelec and Puppy Linux just so she would have them available. I didn't use the Retropie that shows up in berryboot because it's an Oder version (v3.2) so I went directly to the Retropie website and downloaded v3.5 because there are a few improvements that I really wanted from v3.5.
Here is the link to berryboot
And here is the link to Retropie
If you are trying to install from a flash drive on berryboot and can't figure it out just move the mouse cursor to where it says install new OS and click it but don't release the click, hold it for a second and a drop down menu will show up, just go down to the install from flash drive and your set. If you have questions let me know.
Step 3: Next Set Up the Buttons/stick
Two 8x12 for the tops
Four 3 1/4 x 8 for the sides
Four 3 1/4 x 10 1/2 for the fronts and backs
but this is up to you as any measurements will work as long as the buttons and joystick physically fit inside your box, I then took my buttons and Joystick and I set them up where it felt comfortable and looked the best, I settled on a pattern that resembles the SNES control but with two more buttons for the L and R shoulders (see pictures) I used the same colors as the Super Famicom controller and black for the shoulder buttons, then a white button for the select which I placed on the left side of the box and for start I used player 1/2 buttons on the right side of the box. I then proceeded to make several impractical and unnecessary markings on the underside of my 8x12 board. After I was happy I made the holes with my drill press using a Spade bit but you can use a forstner or hole saw if that's what you have. In my case I used a 1 1/8th bit, but check your buttons to make sure, I also used the same hole for the stick and it worked great. Make sure you make a hole on a piece of scrap fist and test it out or you might regret it. What I did to make it easier on myself was that I clamped the two top boards together and drilled all the holes on both top boards at the same time, I then clamped the 4 side boards and made those holes, you don't have to but it will make it more uniform, also try to use apiece of scrap under your boards, specially if like me you are drilling them from the inside as it will eliminate blowouts, if you don't have any scrap then I would recommend drilling a pilot hole in the center of each hole and then drill them from the outside in that way any blowouts happen on the inside of the box and aren't visible at the end of our project.
If you are looking for arcade buttons and sticks I bought two sets from eBay , here is the link to the items
The reason I bought it from them is that the guy that runs the eBay store is a veteran from 7th ID and his son is active duty, now as luck might have it 7th ID is stationed here in fort Lewis were I live and me being a disabled veteran and my wife being an active duty soldier I know that thanking people for their service and having yellow ribbons in our cars doesn't mean crap unless you actually support veteran's businesses or at least business that hire vets so do me a favor and if you are considering buying those types of things on eBay get them from him. It's easy just search for seller "Bsa_gaming" or click on this link, they have a 99.99% rating and great prices anyways so why send your money to China?
Step 4: Assemble the Box
Step 5: Lunch
Step 6: Now the Real Deal.
First I don't know if I mentioned that I bought the cheapest USB pads that were sold by a seller in the US, I could have gotten cheaper ones from China but I had to have this ready in time to mail it to my sister for her birthday so I paid $7 for two pads with free shipping. They were very light and the buttons very hard to push and would have generally suck to actually play with but that doesn't matter as they are going to be taken apart and end up being tucked inside a box and we won't use the buttons or anything other than the wire and circuit board. I still saved the case and buttons for future projects or to fix my SNES if I ever need to. So let's just open the controller with a small screw driver and put the case and buttons away and let's get ready to do this. Also disregard the Xbox 360 controller sitting in my workbench, that's from when the pads didn't wanna work on my original Pi so I brought it out and tested some other things lol
Step 7: Understanding the Controller and Soldering!
The way we are going to hack it is by soldering a wire to the side of the circuit on each button that isn't ground/common this means that if you used a SNES pad you will have 8 wires, one per button and then 4 wires for the directional pad, then one more wire for a common. So you will need to solder 13 wires to the controller board, if you look at the board where the buttons go it's easy to determine which the unique wire is and which is the common, if you look at the traces the one on the common side go from button to button, but the other lead goes directly to the chip or globtop or whatever the brain of your specific pad happens to be.
Another way of knowing where to solder your wires is using a meter and measuring continuity, whichever side has continuity from one button to another is the side you don't want.
I don't know if I'm explaining this clearly enough but if I'm not, feel free to ask questions and I'll try my best to answer them.
If you look at the L and R shoulder buttons, you'll see that they have a small side board that goes directly under the button and works the same way. I decided to remove that small board and solder directly on the main board, this was a mistake as I was using solid wire and it was to thick to put it thru the hole the original wire was so I soldered it to the top of the hole and it pulled the lead because of the awkward position of the wire and very small actual soldering area I had, if I had to do it again I would either get some wire that fits in the hole or just use the small PCB and just hot glue it to the back of the main board, so think about this when you do your own. Learn from my mistake, after all isn't that why we make these?
The reason this works is that arcade buttons are micro switches, if they have 3 terminals then one is a common, ground (usually the one on the side) then the other two are one normally open and one normally close, that means that if it's normally close when you press the switch it opens the circuit, if it's normally open then pushing the switch closes the circuit which is the one we are using for this application, if it has two terminals then it should be normally open.
If you look at my soldering you will see that on the shoulder buttons I pulled the leads and it was really hard to solder so I recommend that you just use the extension or if not then hot glue it as soon as you solder it so it has less chances of pulling stuff and making your life really hard.
Step 8: Before Connecting the Wires
Now go ahead and drill a hole in the front of your box de solder tour USB wire and feed the USB cable thru and solder it back to the board. Now that you ran the USB wire thru the hole in the box, now you can go crazy with the hot glue, or just use duct tape or any other means to protect your soldering points
Step 9: Now Let's Get Started!
After you connect the six action buttons and the start + select you should have 5 wires left over, 4 of those are for the joystick. The joystick connects just like any other switch but remember that the switch at the bottom is the up, and the top one is down, left is right and right is left, this is because the switches are below the fulcrum of the lever and when you move the stick up the bottom part of it is pushing against the switch on the bottom, it's pretty simple stuff but it's also easy to miss. It's no big deal if you wire it it wrong as there is a configuration menu as soon as you use Retropie the first time so it can be fixed there but it might matter for other programs or if you ever want to plug this into something else but your Pi. The point is you should do it do it right if you can it its not the end of the world if you don't.
Step 10: Med Time!
Step 11: Connecting the Ground
And you could also just use two wires per button and solder a lot more but I really discourage that if you are using a really cheap pad and a very powerful and heavy soldering gun as there would be twice as many chances of pulling leads on the PCB and creating headaches for yourself.
If you are leaving the bottom of this exposed then you should really try to manage your wires better than I did to make it look pretty, you can use tie wraps, trimmers or something to keep things neat down there, I didn't do a good job with managing the wires because I fully expect mine to die virgins so I don't think anybody will ever go down there again.
Step 12: Tie a Knot
I don't have a picture of that so instead I got for you a screen capture of the greatest inspirational story I've ever read, enjoy.
Step 13: Test and Test Again.
Step 14: Close It Up
I was going to use screws on mine but then I decided that my sister, her husband nor her kids had any business near my beautiful work so I used my nail gun with 3/4in brads to attach a thin plywood panel that I cut from some scrap I had left.
I stained this with a one step espresso colored stain, waited until the next morning and nailed it to the box, I then attached silicon feet to minimize sliding and so the bottom wood isn't directly sitting on tables or floors. And I was done!
Step 15: Now Enjoy!
Oh and In case you are wondering, I bought a case that's intended for KODI users so it has no access to the pins or the card inside, only the user ports, this should keep the kids from touching something they shouldn't and should also prevent something actually falling in the pins.
Thanks for reading and if you make one let me know! Also if you enjoyed it or learned something new Please vote for me!
And remember the best way of supporting veterans is by making sure their business succeed, even if you could buy things from China for $.25 less is it really worth it? Thanks again and have a nice day!