Saturday, May 17, 2014

Raspberry Pi based 4-player Arcade Maschine

Let me show some pictures and I'll tell something about them :-)

First of all, this is the "end product". Plug in the power and a joystick or two, turn it on, select a game and play right away. The box is completely self-contained: It houses a 14" lcd screen, a Raspberry Pi, an iPAC2 and 2 computer speakers. I managed to put it in a tilted box of about 36x35x16 cm (wxhxd).
The Arcade Maschine runs on Raspbian with PiPlay.

I used regular 15 pin VGA connectors for the joysticks. Easy plug in and pull out.

But the iPAC2 only supports 2 players, right? Only if you have a joystick (4 directions) and 10 buttons + coin + start = 16 buttons per player. Most 4 player games only have 2 action buttons. In this case you need only 8 buttons per player. The iPAC2 has 32 inputs, voila!

I wanted some arcade joysticks as well. This one on the left is mkII, made of 18mm plywood, 4mm plexiglass, Sanwa hardware. Great stuff! The buttons are very light. The Sanwa JLF feels very responsive.

And this is mkI. It is made with oak and some home brand hardware. It feels very solid. The stick is not as smooth as the Sanwa, but it works pretty good. The buttons use heavy duty microswitches, you need some pressure to activate it with a loud click.

And finally I also converted some "retro" controllers :-)

Update: Some tech details.
The box is made of 12mm birch plywood. It is quite some work using a plunge saw and glue.

I have chosen the dimensions so that all my second hand stuff will fit in nicely. Finally "taped" all things together with velcro, nice and easy!

From the drawing table
Internals: keep an eye on the wires!

Second hand speakers and screen


  1. any plans ? on the build ? so we can recreate it ?

    1. you mean the pi-box or the joysticks? I'll have a look in my sketchbook for the pi-box. For the joysticks I don't have plans.