Turn an old CRT Television into a Raspberry Pi Powered MAME Cocktail Cabinet

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Picture of Turn an old CRT Television into a Raspberry Pi Powered MAME Cocktail Cabinet
Here I will show you how I went about building my arcade machine that uses a Raspberry Pi running MAME to emulate games. As everyones setup will be different this will be general in nature but will hopefully supply enough information so you can get started yourself ! This is my first instructable but hopefully it will all go well. Enjoy ! 
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Step 1: Parts you need

- An old CRT television with an AV input

- A Raspberry Pi (any type should do)

- Strong timber for your CRT frame

- AV leads

- Arcade buttons and switches 

- Joystick

- USB interface ( I got mine here, or make one here)

Many of the arcade specific pieces (buttons, joystick, interface etc. are available online, google is your friend here, shop around get the best price you can) 

You will also need various tools, saws, drills etc. aswel as bits and pieces like screws and bolts. As everyones CRT will be different you'll need different amounts
SilverJimny2 years ago

Nice work. Can you give a bit more information on the USB button controller board, where did you get it from?
Spartan 117 (author)  SilverJimny2 years ago
Yeah sure thing, I got mine from the link below but you can get cheaper ones on ebay if you just want one set of controls. If you google "keyboard encoders for arcade" you should come up trumps.
JonathanT51 month ago

Would this still work if i used an hdmi cable to connect the pi up to my TV?

Spartan 117 (author)  JonathanT51 month ago


steliospc1 year ago
old tv samsung
steliospc1 year ago
old tv samsung
steliospc1 year ago
dls34911 year ago
where did you get the movement comtrol,the one with the red ball
Spartan 117 (author)  dls34911 year ago
I got mine from here but you can get them from ebay too
dls34911 year ago
what source did you use to get the directional switch
Spartan 117 (author)  dls34911 year ago
I'm not sure what you mean ?
naikrovek1 year ago
i keep seeing donkey kong.. if you rotate that image 90 degrees it'll take up nearly the entire screen.
Spartan 117 (author)  naikrovek1 year ago
Donkey kong was just used for testing, I don't want to rotate the image as it'll ruin other games that I play. But yeah you're right about it taking up the entire screen.
thewildman1 year ago
Looks great, well done! I am making a similar design except using a full PC and an arduino to control for other interfaces, and smoked glass on top. Are you going to put something on the top or is it all finished?
Spartan 117 (author)  thewildman1 year ago
I plan to put some glass on top but I'll need to drop the CRT a little bit before do. I plan to make a keyboard encoder from an old USB keyboard so watch this space/subscribe I hope to have it up in the next week or so.
KD0SHI1 year ago
That is so cool, A great use for a CRT. But be careful, the flyback can have a nasty charge and so will the tube so ground the 2nd anode to the aquadag ground, not the chassis ground because that will damage semiconductors! Also watch the tube; implosion. If you don't have an A/V input, get an RF mod. You can also use a 2n2222 amp if the TV's sound sucks. Be careful with the deflection yoke, if you al of a sudden get a vertical or horizontal line or no HV, the horizontal or vertical output circuits are dead or disconnected from the magnet. I'm such a CRT geek!
braney2 years ago
Great Job. Do you think you could use a old usb keyboard instead of the "usb interface? Not sure if its possible but take the keyboard buttons out then wire the arcade buttons in.
Spartan 117 (author)  braney2 years ago
It was an idea I had but most modern keyboards don't use individual buttons for their keys, open one up and you'll see what I mean. They just use a plastic film bilayer that touch when a key is pressed. I'm sure there are other options out there as well, like I said the GPIOs are always an option and I'm sure I've seen an arduino keyboard encoder.
iamccd2 years ago
Hey mate,
where did you get you're joystick and buttons from? I've found them on Ebay and that's it. Where else would be a good place to start?
Spartan 117 (author)  iamccd2 years ago
I got mine from an online store (I think). There are other online stores around too.
dailodai782 years ago
nice use of the CRT. Although I'm afraid to open up a CRT due to the fact of getting electrocuted. Anyways, good job on the MAME. What rom can it support on the Raspberry Pi? Street Fighter 2, Final Fight...all those good classics.. I have a project that I want to work on but I want to make sure it runs smoothly on the Raspberry PI... and how did you manage to get your hands on one? I've been looking around to get one but it's backordered for several months....
Spartan 117 (author)  dailodai782 years ago
I got mine from element14 and as far as I know they have some in stock at the moment. As for what ROMs you can run I've only tested a few of the old retro games like galaga, DK, pacman and a few other lesser known ones. You can always check out the raspberry pi and MAME forums (or Shea Silvermans blog) for more info on the ROMs you want to run. And if you're not confident in taking a CRT apart there's always the LCD option, you might be able to pick a half decent sized one up on eBay or a similar site.
tristantech2 years ago
Finally a great use for all of those old TVs!
Spartan 117 (author)  tristantech2 years ago
yep, we can all have arcades in our back yards !