Arcade Button RGB LED Conversion

Introduction: Arcade Button RGB LED Conversion

About: Designing electronic creations from microcontrollers, LEDs and anything else I can pull out of a dumpster and make use of. Check my Profile

I had bought some arcade buttons from China with white LEDs in them, then I decided I wanted RGB LED buttons, so I decided to mod the ones I have.

Quite a simple process, uses some cheap arcade buttons, a common anode/cathode 5mm RGB LED and some old phone cord or ribbon cable.

Then they can be hooked up to one of the many RGB LED drivers out there, or one of my 48 Channel Mono / 16 Channel RGB LED Controller, USB Connected or 24 Channel High Current USB LED Controller.

I plan on using these in my Arcade Cabinet that I will be posting to Instructables soon.

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Step 1: Parts and Supplies

  • Soldering Iron
  • Diagonal Cutters
  • Wire Strippers
  • Screw driver for prying

Step 2: Disassemble the Button

Images below tell it all:

- The switch and LED come out together by twisting the switch and the button.

- The LED is just wedged in there, with a resistor for 12v

- The microswitch can be pried out, careful not to break the pegs holding it in place.

- Grab the 2 metal tabs with a pliers and tug them out.

Step 3: Swap the LEDs

First the LED socket has to be prepared, the one that the original LED was in.

- Un wrap the leads and remove the LED from the black plastic socket.

- The socket has 2 holes in the bottom, but we will need 4.

- With a small drill bit( 1/16") drill out 2 more holes like in the image below.

- Now prepare the RGB LED by trimming it and spacing out the leads.

- Place the LED into the socket so one lead will go out each hole, do it carefully so you don't bend a lead into its neighbor. 

Step 4: Wire It Up


- Get out the phone cable or ribbon cable and open up the jacket to expose the wires underneath, just need a few inches.

- Strip the ends of the wire.

- Place the socket in something that can hold it, like a 3rd hand helper

- Solder it up, if your cable has different color wires like mine it helps a lot. I coordinated the wire color to the LED color except the yellow wire goes to blue, and black to common cathode/andoe. But do whatever works.

- Slide the LED socket back into place, it should fit just fine.

- Push all the wires to one side, on my buttons I had more space for the wires on one side of the switch than the other.

- Align the holes in the microswitch with the posts on the button and snap the switch back in.

Its now ready to use, but don't forget to put the proper value resistors in series with the LEDs to limit current, there was not enough space inside the switch so they have to be outside somewhere.

It can be hooked up to any RGB Controller such as my Dial RGB Driver, 24 Channel LED Controller or 48 Channel Mono / 16 Channel RGB LED Controller, USB Connected challenge

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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is fantastic info. How do you know if you need cathode/anode; and how do you find out resistor or transistor value? Does it only go on ground wire? Or all 4 wires? Cannot wait to try this, will use it on an Ipac Ultimate IO board and need 16-32 buttons, so this will save a ton!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi mate.
    Could I have the info of where you ordered these, Iv'e never seen LED arcade buttons before and I want some.



    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    +1... If anyone has a link, much appreciated...


    Reply 4 years ago