Retropie Portable Arcade Station - 1 or 2 Players

Introduction: Retropie Portable Arcade Station - 1 or 2 Players

Hey guys, first of all, English isn't my native language, so be kind with me :D

I decided to make a portable arcade station, for 1 or 2 players, independently. It means you can play with 1 box if you're alone, or 2 boxes for a party, or whatever.

The parts needed:

  • 1 or 2 boxes, the second is optional. I had 2 wine boxes (for 3 bottles), so I used it.
  • I bought the joysticks and buttons on ebay -> Buttons with lights!
  • Coin buttons -> With lights too
  • The controlblock -> works fine with retropie
  • 4 rj45 connectors
  • 1 hdmi connector
  • 1 external battery -> 20000mah You can get a cheaper one, but I'm going to use this one for my phone too
  • 1 5v to 12v stepup (for the lights)
  • A raspberry (2 or 3)

The 4 rj45 connectors are needed to allow the cables to go to the 2nd box (2xrj45 = 16 cables, 15 needed for player 2)

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Step 1: Prototype

I began by making a prototype. I was then able to install the OS, the games, and setting all the joysticks and buttons up.

Everything is working fine. Time to make the actual boxes.

Step 2: Making

For the first box, we need to drill holes:

  • 1 for the hdmi connector
  • 2 for the rj45 connectors
  • 1 for the "insert coin" button
  • 1 for the "player 1" button
  • 2 for function buttons (just beside the player 1, this will allow you to access the menu interfaces for setting up your retropie without a keyboard)
  • 1 for the joystick
  • 6 for the action buttons

The only cut you have to do is based on the front of the box, and depends on the angle you want to have between the front and back of the box.

Then, I sanded all the box.

You can see on the photos the hdmi connector below the label of the box, and the 2 rj45 I stuck in holes with filler.

On the last picture, you can see the 2 rj45 connectors. I did some crappy work there at first, but as soon as it was dry, I sanded it all away.

The second box is slightly the same as the first.
The only differences are:

the 2 rj45 holes are on the left of the box, so that when you want a player one, it's easy to connect both boxesthe 2 buttons to access the menu aren't needed, only the player 1 needs itonly the player 1 has the hdmi connector If you can make some sense of the photo, you can see the "player 2" box on top of the "player 1" one.

For the top boards, I had some plywood at home.

I used a canvas for the buttons layout. You can find it here: Sanwa layout Then, I had to screw the board to the box. Here, I ran into a problem. The hinges I bought have an angle of 90 degrees when closed, so I couldn't place them on the back of the box, as there is a more important angle than 90 degrees. I just placed the hinges on the side of the box.

Step 3: Painting

I began by painting the top boards in metallic blue in spray. It's interesting as the veins of the wood are highlighted by the silver appearance of the paint.

You can see in the first image I screwed up the first box. I did it again from scratch the next day, and it came out nice and smooth.

Next came the painting of the box itself, with black paint. Same results as the top board, and the engraving of the box's brand is still perfectly visible.

Step 4: Wiring

This is the tricky part. The wiring will assemble everything.

In the first two pictures, I just fixed the buttons and joystick on the first box.

You can see the rj45 cables, which are going to be wired up to the "player 2" side of the control block. This was a nightmare to find the good rj45 tiny cables colors in each box, but in the end everything worked just great.

I'll add more explanations if asked. Thx for reading.

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    Cool. I need to make one of these controllers for the my son to play video games with.