Arcade Controller Will Give You Button Envy

[Aaron’s] arcade controller really makes us want to put in a button order. There aren’t any secrets hidden in his design or fabrication, but he did a remarkably clean job of putting it together.

The housing is a writing box he bought at the hardware store (but he also shows off an emtpy Xbox 360 case hosting the same control layout). It has a hinged cover which is perfect for getting at the components inside, and is also at a nice angle for your wrists during long gaming session.

An Xbox 360 controller provides the connectivity for the device. Obviously it will work with the Microsoft hardware, but all modern operating systems have methods available for interfacing with these controllers as well. In the video after the break you can see [Aaron] gut the controller, soldering wires to all of the button pads and connecting those to some terminal strips. This makes the wire organization inside quite clean. He uses crimp connectors to jumper the buttons and joy stick to the other side of the terminals. Add  a nice paint job and you’ve got a controller that will look right at home in your living room.


17 thoughts on “Arcade Controller Will Give You Button Envy

  1. Definitely one of the better arcade-related builds I’ve seen on here :) The author deserves props for doing his homework: he referenced a tried-and-true button layout, and he used crimp connectors rather than soldering to everything.

    1. It looks a bit scratchy for my liking.. hinges and screw heads .. why not mod an original NeoGeo AES pad(if you only want 4 buttons), one of the flash back AES pads (with more buttons), the Dreamcast arcade stick.. or hell the fighting sticks you can get for the Xbox360.

      1. Not nitpicking you cantido but I have my $.02 about your post.

        The Dreamcast stick is a pain in the ass to bring up to arcade spec, you have to grind out the metal top plate to fit new buttons, not to mention the extensive dremel work to the inner plastic. None of the reproduction NeoGeo joysticks are as good as the original (I’m not a big fan of Exar), they look the same but the biggest problem is the stick inside is a bad generic knockoff that doesn’t come close to feeling as good as the obscure Seimitsu stick in the original NeoGeo sticks. Now the pad might be a better one than the original since that one was unreliable with the plastic dust that would gum up the microswitches (I used to own a CD pad for playing my cab from my exercise bike lol… shame it got unreliable even after multiple repair attempts).

        Using a good 360 stick would be nice, I agree with you there, but I see nothing wrong with building from scratch.

        Also he is technically using a cheap Chinese part lol. That’s the “Zippyy” knockoff of the Seimitsu LS32 stick, but it’s apparently a good clone (I held one a few years ago and wasn’t impressed, but admittedly I wasn’t playing on it), they have a longer shaft to accommodate for a wooden panel bottom mount so it’s a suitable choice for this build. You could route out a wooden panel to take an authentic Japanese stick but using a Zippyy stick or a Sanwa JLW with a long shaft are both decent alternatives.

    2. @DanAdamKOF

      Oooh, good catch. Just going by the pic, I had assumed it was at least a Sanwa JLF or something for the stick. Cheap Chinese stick? Blegh! :(

      A fellow MVS cab owner? What’ve you got? I’ve had an MVS-4-25 Version 1 for just short of 2 years now. :D

      1. @Bakamoichigei Nothing special, and I’ve had mine since 2002. It’s a conversion, a MV2F in a former Omega Race cabinet (:() with a horrible 19″ WG monitor with burnin from two different games (neither of which are eve NeoGeo games, also one’s horizontal and one’s vertical lol) which has a transistor out (so I shorted green to red) and a jittery v-hold despite a partial (halfassed) cap kit, not to mention a badly wired control panel that has a loose ground somewhere in the daisy chain, oh and a dying power supply…

        Yeah it has a host of issues. I hate the thought of ruining its authenticity but I might pop a 21″ desktop VGA CRT in it and hack it up to run MAME, and perhaps tweak it to accept Japanese parts and maybe drill 3 more holes per player above BCD for Street Fighter games… As it is I’ve got a perfectly working 25″ 15 khz RGB-capable CRT TV, and soon I’ll have my two TE sticks working on the NeoGeo, and after that I plan to build a supergun for the third time for using my NeoGeo away from that monitor.

        But I may try and outright fix what’s broken on the cab, I dunno. Not committed to taking it either direction.

  2. This is great inspiration for how to wire up my arcade build. I’m still in the testing phase, but I also opted for spade connectors to connect to the buttons. I didn’t think about terminal strips, so I may pick some of them up this weekend to help make things cleaner.

  3. Having built a couple of arcade joysticks before (using Japanese parts, not that Happ garbage) it kind of annoys me that the joysticks that get covered here are not the best representations of joystick building. (I’m not saying that this guy’s build is bad, it does look pretty slick.) Any HaD readers who like this kind of thing should check out Joystick Vault if they want to see some really nice stick builds.

    1. That’s definitely a good site. Another site for info and inspiration, if you’re willing to do some digging, is the <a href="" Tech Talk Forum. Basically anything to do with joysticks, from making one from scratch to modding an existing one to your liking, has good info there.

      And I gotta pimp for being a great guide. It’s a good beginner’s resource and for some people it may be all they need.

    1. myspacee,
      the attachment to the inside of a wireless controller is basically the same as for a wired controller. Aaron (from the article) used a wired controller because it was the cheapest. You have to sacrifice a controller to do this, since you are soldering wires to the PCB. So, if you have a wireless controller you want to destroy (at least for use as designed), then go ahead and use it.
      Search for Ben Heck and look at his wireless controller mods for an idea of how to do this.

      1. Actually if you just break out the input signals + ground to a connector, and use the matching connector on your joystick of course, you can use the controller as the PCB for the joystick externally, but use it as a normal controller otherwise :)

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