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This part of the project turned out to be the hardest instead of the easiest. I thought to myself, it's only buttons a couple joysticks and a trackball no sweat! Yeah right...

Seeing as I had never built an arcade before I wasn't sure what or how the layout of the buttons, joys and trackball should be. This was the most complicated question I had that wasn't on any of the newsgroups or websites everyone had their own design and theories. My theory was simple, efficient and what would play the most games that I liked. I could always create a second panel or something later If I ran into a game I wanted to play and needed additional hardware for (Tron, Zaxxon, etc.). So with that in mind I started to create my panel.

The initial overlay was drawn in Dreamweaver don't ask me why, It just was. I think I finished it up in Photoshop. I had already received my buttons,  trackball and joys  so I knew the actual measurements of the hardware. I had a friend print this on an inkjet  plotter with photographic paper. Here is an image of the overlay...

OverLay.jpg (130810 bytes)

Unfortunately I'm not a great graphic artist but I tried. I'm still in the learning process and could use some pointers if your willing to help... I wanted a simple, effective and a clean look for the panel. I used leaf type joysticks and leaf type translucent buttons along with a 3" translucent "Blue" Happ's trackball. All the items came from BobRoberts, except the "Blue" leaf type buttons I think I got them from Wico. I would consider Bob Roberts a valuable, honest resource for Arcade parts. The control panel consists of 19 buttons - 6 for game play, 7 for controlling the arcade (ESC, PAUSE, VOLUME, MOVE, ENTER or SELECT, PLAYER 1 and PLAYER 2, 

The measurements for the height, width and length of the control panel were kind of dictated by the cabinet itself. The width was probably the only factor I could really change after making the majority of the cabinet it would be difficult to change the height and width. I started with the base by cutting the bottom and top. The Top is flush on the back edge and has a lip on the front, I think it's about 1" overhang. I also wanted a rounded front look so I tapered the front a little. Here are some pictures of the construction...

ctrlpanel_b6.JPG (59535 bytes)     ctrlpanel_b7.jpg (59205 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b8.jpg (54641 bytes)

ctrlpanel_b9.jpg (63218 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b3.JPG (56148 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b2.JPG (72344 bytes)

ctrlpanel_b1.JPG (60380 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b5.JPG (58884 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b4.JPG (48265 bytes)

    ctrlpanel_b17.jpg (54507 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b18.jpg (56373 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b19.jpg (67864 bytes)    

ctrlpanel_b20.jpg (60084 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b24.jpg (42104 bytes)    

Here is a look at the top of the control panel. Sorry I don't have any "pre" drilled pictures. The big thing here is that when I was manufacturing the top I was also manufacturing a Plexi-glass overlay. In other words I drilled them at the same time so that I knew they would match when I started to install the hardware. I also cut countersunk holes on the backside of the top for the nuts of the buttons.

ctrlpanel_b12.jpg (58093 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b11.jpg (58977 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b13.jpg (75879 bytes)

ctrlpanel_b22.jpg (61799 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b23.jpg (60780 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b21.jpg (52186 bytes)

ctrlpanel_b25.jpg (52911 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b45.jpg (84916 bytes)

The trackball mounting plate was made from an aluminum sign that I had (hindsight: it would have been better to buy the mounting plate from Happ's, well worth the $10). I also cut a slot in the top as well as the base of the Control Panel for T-molding.

This was a big o'sh** when I was drilling the top. I tried to freehand one of the holes and this is what I got for being in a hurry.

ctrlpanel_b_oops.JPG (78525 bytes)        

So, after I was done with the drilling of another plexi-glass top and installing the hinges on the underneath of the front edge,  I painted the control panel black with some Sears weather beater and a roller the same way I did the cabinet. It actually looks really good.

        ctrlpanel_b26.JPG (38961 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b27.JPG (61874 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b28.JPG (39762 bytes)   

 ctrlpanel_b29.JPG (36304 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b33.JPG (42556 bytes)        


Wiring the controls  

After I completed the manufacturing of the control panel I needed to install the controls. I glued the overlay graphic down to the top and laid the plexi-glass on top of the graphic. I trimmed the holes and started laying in the buttons, joys and trackball.  

ctrlpanel_b30.JPG (46151 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b16.jpg (71751 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b14.jpg (81350 bytes)    

ctrlpanel_b15.jpg (72225 bytes)

The leaf type buttons needed  a little shim when I was assembling the control panel, so I used some thin wood strips.

     ctrlpanel_b36.JPG (68404 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b37.JPG (60273 bytes)    ctrlpanel3.jpg (90228 bytes)

Each button was tied to 2  common ground wires. As you know each button is mapped to a different key so there is 1 wire for each key (1 ground and 1 Key). I also used some Molex? plugs for easy removal of the panel. It's a little wide for standard doors width's. These are just some finished and progress pictures.

ctrlpanel_b39.jpg (74318 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b41.jpg (61245 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b42.jpg (65855 bytes)

ctrlpanel_b44.jpg (70515 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b49.jpg (60341 bytes)    ctrlpanel1.jpg (98342 bytes)  

ctrlpanel2.jpg (92402 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b32.JPG (40996 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b31.JPG (74193 bytes)

ctrlpanel_b34.JPG (75649 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b35.JPG (82155 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b38.JPG (53865 bytes)

All the wire was pulled through wire loom for looks and ran to the back of the cabinet. I added a fluorescent fixture to do the back-lighting for the control panel and looks great! I have 2 issues: 1) The control panel graphic did not stay stuck to the top 2) The trackball hole is to deep. I will be disassembling them to re-do them. I bought the trackball mounting plate from Happ's to bring the trackball height to normal.

trkballwire1.jpg (87562 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b43.jpg (76052 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b40.jpg (88131 bytes)    

ctrlpanel_b48.jpg (35863 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b50.jpg (29226 bytes)    ctrlpanel_b47.jpg (11978 bytes)

For my cabinet I used the I-PAC and Opti-PAC from Ultimarc or Andy Warne. Excellent product! I would highly recommend them. Set up was a snap, it was easier than I thought and I even re-programmed the unit. Please visit the site for ordering and technical assistance.

Ipac_jpac6.jpg (56480 bytes)   Ipac_jpac4.jpg (91271 bytes)    Ipac_jpac7.jpg (87215 bytes)

 Ipac_jpac11.jpg (49986 bytes)    ipac1.jpg (94195 bytes)    Ipac_jpac5.jpg (99680 bytes)

Ipac_jpac10.jpg (48386 bytes)    Ipac_jpac9.jpg (47653 bytes)    jpac3.jpg (93587 bytes)        

jpac1.jpg (90285 bytes)    Ipac_jpac3.jpg (88106 bytes)    Ipac_jpac2.jpg (88936 bytes)    



next: the COMPUTER !






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Last updated: 05/28/03.