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Project help needed

  • Hi everyone,

    I've decided to build (or attempt to build) a large dining table for my garage conversion.

    The table will be 2400 x 1200 and have 6 individual gaming stations ( 1 at either end and 2 on each side)

    I understand that I will need 6 individual screens, and raspberry pi units for each 'console'

    my question is...

    are there complete units I can buy, including joysticks etc for each station?

    and can each station run multiple games easily enough?

    I own a company called Luxous, we're a commercial upjolstery/ make studio so we have
    all equipment I could need such as CNC routers, laser cutters, vinyl & UV printers etc

    any help much appreciated



  • @Luxous Hi Allan.

    I believe there are plenty of pre-built arcade machines (i.e. the actual external enclosure) you can buy and assemble yourself.

    As for the inner components, though, asides from the joysticks and screens which you would be able to buy, I wouldn't expect you to be able to purchase Raspberry Pis with RetroPie and ROMs installed, as that would have several levels of "wrong" in it, namely going against the RetroPie project terms not to mention the (il)legal aspect of selling/distributing ROMs, as well as selling the emulators and the RetroPie work.

    Still, given that you would ideally be able to source the arcade bartop kits, the main set up then is to buy the 6 Pis and install RetroPie in it.

    If you do have equipment to assemble things, though, there are several DIY projects and plans for bartop arcade kits you could hopefully do yourself, if so inclined!

    I hope this helps.

  • @pjft Thanks very much,

    I understand you fully, I will be designing the tabletop etc myself and then CNC machining it out of mdf.

    once machined we will design graphics, print vinyl and wrap

    If anyone is willing to guide me in terms of hardware for the build, I will in return assist by CNC routering parts, laser cutting parts etc if required

    we have the capabilities to build this machine, just no clue when it comes to raspberry pi and whats required for set up


  • @Luxous Oh, I see.

    Sorry, that wasn't fully clear.

    In general, our Getting Started Wiki and documents pages will have plenty of information for you to get immersed in.

    In terms of hardware, I'd suspect you'll need, for each machine:

    • Raspberry Pi 3 + SD card + 5V charger (the official one is usually a good choice)
    • HDMI cable
    • A 19'' to 24'' LCD monitor, usually, but it's really up to your preference
    • Joystick and buttons (this is usually down to personal preference in terms of brands, axis and number of buttons - I personally do not have an arcade kit at home so I can't recommend any, though searching in the forums will yield plenty of good results, from layouts to brands)
    • If the HDMI monitors do not have audio, you'll need speaker and a 3.5'' audio cable
    • If you want any different control methods (trackball? Light gun?), then include those as well.

    And I think that's the gist.

    Also, a good recommendation by many, both to control the joysticks as well as to manage power in the Raspberry Pi is a ControlBlock. You can find plenty of info on it here on the forums as well.

    Hopefully these get you started, until someone with an actual arcade kit drops by and gives more hands on insights.

    Good luck with your builds!

  • Obviously installing Retropie will allow the stations to handle multiple games just fine.

    As for setting up each station with controls, you should get this raspberry pi hat for each unit.

    It has a full set of controls and a sound amplifier built right in, which GREATLY simplifies setup.

    As for joysticks and buttons, you can find combo packs on ebay pretty easily, any joystick and button will connect to the HAT.

  • @Capeman thanks very much for your help, its much appreciated

    theoretically, once set up with each station having its own power button, will it be user friendly?

  • @Luxous If you look at the included functions of the HAT:

    I2S audio DAC with 3W amplifier (mono)
    Safe power on/off system
    Micro-USB connector for power (back-powers your Pi)
    4-way digital joystick inputs
    6 x game button inputs
    4 x utility button inputs
    1 x soft power switch input
    Breakout pins for other GPIO features
    Compatible with Raspberry Pi 3, 2, B+, A+, Zero, and Zero W

    You'll find that it includes a safe power on/off switch, that should make it really user friendly.

    This basically covers everything except the display.

  • @Capeman hadn't heard of this, looks really well thought out.

    Would one be able to set up a 2-player cabinet with a picade-hat (or more than one)?

    And I take it it only allows for 6 buttons in game?

  • @pjft Doesn't appear that this HAT supports 2 players, if you were to implement that, i'd suggest going with an iPac-2 for your controls.

    OR you could always setup the second player with a USB keyboard encoder or set them to a joystick then use a simple joystick encoder like the dragonrise ebay one for $7 to setup player 2 controllers. You'd need to be really creative in the configs though to use both keyboard and joysticks for p1 and p2. But i suppose it could be done.

  • The table im building will have 6 x 2 player stations

    would that system suffice if I bought 1 for each set up?

  • @Capeman Thanks. As you saw from my comment, I was only familiar with the ControlBlock, so I know know of at least two more options - out of which the IPac-2 seems to also support two players.

    Thank you!

  • @Luxous Doesn't appear that the PiMoroni hat will work with a 2 player setup. Looks like it's going to be a bit more complicated.

    Six 2-player setups! Wow, that's gonna be pricey after you get all the pi's, joysticks, amps, encoders, etc. Good use of a tax return! haha

  • @pjft said in Project help needed:

    @Capeman Thanks. As you saw from my comment, I was only familiar with the ControlBlock, so I know know of at least two more options - out of which the IPac-2 seems to also support two players.

    Thank you!

    I also forgot that Adafruit just came out with a simple control HAT for pi, this one is kind of like the PiMoroni one, but not as sexy (and maybe lacking a function button or 2).

  • @Capeman finally ready to start my build, can I bend your arm for some guidance as to which hardware id need for a 2 player set up?

    I just want retro gaming systems like in an arcade. i.e a joystick and buttons

    guidance much appreciated :)

  • Try this site, they may have all what you're looking for:

  • administrators

    @ortsac I'm against supporting people who rip off our image.

  • @herb_fargus Sorry. Didn't know...I'm glad I didn't purchase my build from them, did it with an NES console instead.

  • @Luxous i just found your thread for the first time today and read through it. I am surprised that no one has suggested you use USB arcade controller setup. Easyget makes some Pretty good ones, they are available on amazon, eBay and other places on the internet as well. If your control panel is wood you will want the LED button as they have a screw tight button retainer. They also make non led but those snap into place on metal control panels like the old original donkey kong 3 cabinet for example. amazon link

    If you do get the led buttons you have two options, 1 do not wire the lights to the buttons 2 get a powered USB hub. Here is what I recommend. pihut

    This should be a quick easy install, you can get multiple colors for the buttons so each setup will look different. Hope this helps.

  • @TMNTturtlguy thanks very much for your reply, im new to this so its a huge project for me.

    I basically need assistance in all the hardware I need to buy to have a 2 player set up for arcade games, I will then replocate it 6 times so that I have 7 stations in total

    essentially what I need is a shopping list so I know what to buy :)

    any help much appreciated

    similarly, if youre uk based I can reciprocate the gesture by cnc cutting or laser cutting any components you may need

  • @Luxous if this was my project I would buy this for the gaming system portion:

    Pi 3b
    8gb SD card
    2.5power supply
    HDMI cable
    HD monitor of your choice
    3.5m jack speakers
    Set of easyget arcade buttons/joystick
    Pi hut USB hub
    Power toggle or power block

    I would also get a USB keyboard for setup.

    I have not used a power block so can't help there. I have wired my arcade cabinet to a surge protector and I wired an inline toggle switch to the power strip. This way I can properly select shutdown from the main menu, wait a Minute and then use the power toggle like the original cabinet had to turn the power off.

    This list should get you what you need for 1 complete setup.


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