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My Custom Classic Arcade Project

  • Hello everyone! I decided to post some pictures of a custom arcade I built during the summer of 2016. I am very proud of it, and it is the first one I ever built from complete scratch. If people's curiosity lead them here and want to hear my story, I will be willing to share it because there is a quite interesting. It took me exactly two weeks to finish this project and paint it. The side painting took me two more weeks to complete after the general completion.

    Here it is, now sitting in the house for all to enjoy.

    Here is the controls. Pretty basic, except for the trackball which is in a strange place, but believe it or not, it actually is handled a lot easier way up than it would be closer to your waist. I, and others, had no trouble adjusting. I didn't take in account of how much space the trackball would take from bellow so I had to change my original plans.
    All the controls, with the exception of the trackball, was purchased from different arcade suppliers.

    What makes this arcade unique is there is a special hotkey button hidden under the control board. The proper combinations allow you to have unlimited credits, reset a game, use save states, and leave a game. The problem is, because this arcade is used a lot, people found out about it, and would accidentally override my save states (which I only ever used to save highscores, which this was before retropie saved them for us). So in order to fix this issue I...

    ...installed a switch, which turns the hotkey on and off. It is hidden away behind the coin mechanism, which requires a key to open. The on/off switch is also hidden through the coin-mech door, so you can only turn on the machine if you have the key.

    The messiness from the back. It is covered by an attached door. Normally a little bean helps support the control board from bellow, but it is taken down since I was making adjustments. It can been sen at the bottom of the picture.

    I am always looking for new ways to improving the arcade. The most recent improvement is sinking in the joysticks. Originally they were protruding out from the top.

    I have lots and lots more pictures of my process of this arcade behind put together. If you guys are interested I will slowly post more pictures and tell you the story of how this arcade became what it is today in chronological order.

  • @majin-wamu more pics please! 😀

  • Okay then I will slowly post pictures of the progression starting from the beginning.

    So the idea of building an arcade first came about when my brother and I were on the phone and he was playing a video game. He was playing either Contra or a classic ship shooter game and had to hit the keys over and over again. He was hitting them so hard, it sounded like he was playing on an arcade, so I asked him if he got an arcade. He told me "no" and that he was playing on his computer. So I then told him that we can really make an arcade if we really wanted to, and he thought it was an awesome idea.

    So, I began hunting for the parts, having actually no idea what the heck I was doing. All I knew was that a friend from college told me about the raspberry pi, and how it can be used to make handheld devices, pocket computers, a projector (like what he had built), pretty much anything you put your heart to. So I knew there was two things I needed, a main pcb, and a control chip of some kind to hold the inputs. Getting the Pi wasn't hard, I ordered one through Fry's. The control board was the difficult part.

    I wanted this project to be as personal as possible and so I refrained from using online tutorials, since I knew they existed. So I called around different arcade suppliers, repair shops, and auctioneers. Many of them had already built control panels, but all I wanted was just the chip that handles the inputs and I would do the rest on my own. Eventually I got in touch with a arcade auctioneer who had one free, a mini-pac. I haven't ever heard of it, so I made the sacrifice and drove several hours away to pick it up. The funny thing was he wasn't in his office and so I had to go through his security who had no idea what she was doing, and almost sold me a small pinball button board. Eventually we got everything figured out, she sold me four mini-pacs for the price of one, and a single populated harness.

    Here it is, the mini-pac.

    After I stopped by Fry's electronics, I picked up everything else I might need, like tools, wires, plugs, masks for the dust, etc.
    Now I just need the buttons. I had no idea where to pick these things up, so I called arcade repair men and just asked them, where do you go when you have to get a part for a broken arcade, one gentleman told me about a place called Beston. I stopped by there and they had absolutely everything. I had a huge selection of buttons, joysticks, motors, pretty much anything.

    The pi all plugged in.

    mini-pac with harness.

    Scattered components.

    Now I have all the necessary parts to make the arcade run, I just need to test it all. So i plugged in all of the controls using the harness into the mini-pac, and then the mini-pac into the pi. I installed retropie, and then started up the I have an issue...only one button works. I tried different combinations and I soon realized that the only button that works is the one connected to the black wire, the ground wire. I had never grounded things before, so I was super confused. So the next day I called up another arcade repair man and asked him what was going on, he told me about grounding, and over the phone he was nice enough to explain how to created a daisy chain. That night, I took my time making a daisy chain of over 20 links, and then tested it out. It worked!

    The messy room and setup.

    Sorry this post is pretty long, I will post more later in a day or two. I might combine all of the posts together, to make it easier to keep track of.

  • Cool cab! Amazing you did this in two weeks, mine took half a year! :-D
    Great to see the testing process also!

  • @andershp Thanks! Yeah I will explain that part in the next part of my story, but after I got the wood, I honestly worked on this thing from the moment I woke up, until the moment I went to sleep. This was during summer and I was on vacation from work and the University. I probably didn't eat much. I didn't realize you had one too until I read your signature. I'm about to check it out.

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