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Cabinet build - almost finished

  • Hi,
    im looking on Ebay for joysticks and buttons for a cabinet build. I am looking at getting everythign for it. including routers and jigsaws etc, youtube has been my best friend so far.

    Does anyone have any good tips for where to get buttons and joysticks from etc?
    do these boards work with Retropie well ?

  • I can recommend
    They have a ton of products, I bought all my hardware for the arcade there. I don't know a place where you can buy tools also, though. Maybe that's better to get at the local shop?

    I went with an iPac, whether it's better than the one you link to, I don't know. But I've had good experience with hardcoding the button mappings into the retroarch.cfg file in the /all folder on the Raspberry Pi. As long as you stick to libretro emulators, this pretty much covers all, and works perfectly.

  • @AndersHP can the ipac be configured to work in retropie, and then as a keyboard in KODI? I want to use kodi on my cabinet, and I want to use the joystick to navigate the menus

  • @spruce_m00se
    The iPac works as a keyboard by default. Via the firmware you can set it up as a gamepad, but I'm using it as a keyboard, mapping buttons via the above mentioned CFG files, like player_1_up = "d" and so on.

    I don't know KODI, but if you can configure it to work with a keyboard and change hotkeys, I think a keyboard-input-based controller like the iPac would be easier to get working than a gamepad-based one...?

  • I was looking into building my own bartop arcade before, but then had some things come up to put that project on hold. A couple of things from my research:

    Sanwa and Seimitsu buttons/controllers are some of the best. Which one is better depends upon your personal preference (Sanwa buttons are more sensitive to pressure). I've had some friends that swear by those two brands and nothing else.

    Some places you can try to buy them are (I don't know which are best):

    you can also check on ebay or amazon, sometimes you'll find good bundle deals. Just be careful of some of the bundles (usually the really cheap ones) some of them are misleading.

    If you are using a pi and only 2 controllers, you shouldn't need an IPAC or zero delay. The GPIO pins on the pi will work. If you are going for a computer, then you'll want a USB encoder, there are three that I looked into a little, IPAC, zero delay, and Xinmo. I was planning on going with two zero delays (which seemed comparable to getting one xinmo, since it can connect 2 joystick/button sets). The IPAC just seemed too expensive compared to the other options and reviews that I read didn't lead me to believe there was a performance difference. The main difference between the xinmo/zero delay and the IPAC that I know of is that xinmo/zero delay act like a controller (which should work fine with retropie) while the IPAC translates as a keyboard.

  • With the risk of starting an "X vs Y" debate, here's why I went with the iPac instead of GPIO solution or Xinmo, even though the first is the most expensive:

    • I found that many had issues getting Xinmo player 2 to work on the RetroPie, same people said that the iPac was pretty much plug'n'play

    • I've heard mapping controls to the GPIO pins can introduce latency. I specifically remember a post somewhere saying "the RPi are having its hands full with the emulation alone, don't force it to be an input controller if you can avoid it".

    Again, these are just what I gathered at my own research (2016), and I have no hands-on experience with anything other than the iPac, nor do I know if the above points are different today.

  • Yeah, I'm one of those that will only use sanwa parts. They can be expensive, but they feel great, switches are near silent, and a very good investment. I also prefer a bat top. Fortunately, the ball on sanwa sticks are removable and I replaced it with a bat top.

  • @spruce_m00se said in Starting a Cabinet build - tips?:

    @AndersHP can the ipac be configured to work in retropie, and then as a keyboard in KODI? I want to use kodi on my cabinet, and I want to use the joystick to navigate the menus

    I use the iPac2 for my build. works like a dream, registers as a keyboard.

  • @Gee thats an interesting thread, with an interesting question in the second to last post ;)

  • @Capeman right, so that confirms that the ipac2 gets the job done,

  • @Darksavior im looking on ebay, I am an Ebay verteran (probably more than 15 years) and I spotted some very misleading items that almost got me, its only in the very last text that the seller states they are OEM substitutes. Sneaky sneaky chinaman.

    Im looking at an item :

    however, annoyingly that seller doesnt have the screw type buttons, and he is the only seller I can see that has a genuine bundle, I found another with the Sanwa joystick, but OEM buttons, I wanted light up buttons for kicks and giggles, but I think I would rather have a button that works well.

    im tempted to get this joystick:

    and hunt some screw buttons from somewhere else.

  • I use for all my arcade buttons. I like ebay, but alot of those arcade part bundles are misleading. Focus attack is a store for fighting game enthusiasts who build their own fight sticks, they carry a really good selection of joysticks buttons and encoders. They are also based in the states so shipping time is quick (unless you're on the other side of the puddle, haha).

  • @spruce_m00se Not sure where you're located, but check out for high quality components. They're actually located pretty close to me, but I've not attempted a cabinet build just yet.

  • Hey, there's an echo in here! HAHAHAH!

  • @Capeman I wish i was still on the other side of the Ocean, im in the middle of the desert in the middle east in an overseas stay. Life would be easier from home, shipping exists!

  • I have been playing a bit with photoshop to get some nice 80's inspired artwork for the side of the cabinet, this is what I have so far.


  • closeup

    this is what is evolved into over the weekend.
    I decided that the large Master control program image was shite. I have sneakily included it into the red line at the top, I want the MCP to be there, it used to scare the life out of me as a kid, so will be there.

  • image

    alt text

    Today I was thinking about it a bit more, i thought i may prefer to wall mount the cabinet and make it a bit less intrusive, since I dont actually need the space for a CRT in it. After a google search I found the "polycade" which looks great, and gave the idea of having two mounting heights, that way i can mount it higher when I want to play it, or lower it when the kids want to play.! perfect.
    I went ahead and did some reverse engineering of the polycade from some images in order to get the rough dimensions and angles, then decided I wanted it to be a bit more traditional looking, so added sides that overhang the edges and a marquee box, and viola! I also managed to squeeze it all onto a 4*8ft sheet, brilliant!

  • @AndersHP I ordered my stuff from and it was in my hands less than 48 hours later, and I live in the middle east! this is amazing customer service if ever I saw it.
    it was very well packaged too. They now come highly recommended in my book

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