My Modded Picade


Hey All,

So I figured that since I’ve been doing some work on the Picade, I thought I’d share some of the mods I made for it. I’ve found that adding in my own little touches is just as fun as playing on the unit itself.

If it wasn’t obvious, I called it ‘Chillcade’, because why not :) Here’s a quick rundown of some of the mods I did:

  • Joystick has been replaced with the Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT.
  • Face buttons are Adafruit 30mm translucent microswitch buttons
  • Replaced stock artwork with high quality printouts
  • Marquee printed on matte-translucent paper with LEDs to light up the marquee + adjustable brightness
  • Front facing USB ports
  • Button LED control (WIP)
  • Volume + / -

So here’s an up-close shot of the artwork and USB ports. You can probably tell, that around where the screws are there is a little bit of of a “shiny” spot around them. This is because the paper I used was glossy paper, so I will be reprinting it on high quality Matte presentation paper to prevent those “pressure spots”. The USB ports bracket was modelling by me and printed on my 3D printer – in fact, all the brackets and extra pieces I modeled myself.

Inside is the bracket that holds the USB ports in place. The bracket clamps the USB port ends together with M3 nuts and bolts. The USB splitter than connects directly to the Pi’s USB ports. You probably also noticed I replaced the stock black cables with coloured ones; it makes it easier to tell which wire is connected to which buttons.

And from the side, starting from the top are the volume keys, to control the game volume. I programmed BTN7 and BTN8 on the hack header to accept these buttons as + and -, but I may dive in a bit further and make the buttons run a script to control the volume system-wide, as right now volume can only be adjusted when Retroarch is actually running. Next is a brightness control knob, so I can adjust how bright/dim I want my marquee to be, depending on my mood. Next below that is an LED control switch, to turn on/off the button LEDs. I still haven’t implemented the LEDs yet, but it’ll happen sometime in the near future. And then of course under that is the standard power button.

And inside you can see the wirey mess and all its goodness. I should think about cleaning it up and running the wires down the sides… but I never see inside when I play, so I never think about it :)

Here you can see how the marquee is semi-translucent. I also show here how I’ve got the LED strips running across the top of the inside of the unit.

And then there are LED lights running across a 3D printed piece that not only allows the lights to be attached to it and introduce more lighting to the marquee, but it also prevents light bleeding from the top LEDs, so it doesn’t add extra shining onto the already highly reflective display piece.

And when it’s powered on, it lights up. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, as the camera seems to wash out the colours, but in person it really makes the marquee pop!

Hope you enjoyed reading, and hope I provided some inspiration for you to tinker with your own Picade unit :)


WoW,very,very nice job,enjoy


Looks great. I just got mine last week and was wondering where you got the coloured cables from and what work you had to do to make them fit, also where did you get the volume buttons from?




The coloured cables I got from Amazon. I got a 6 pack of 22AWG wire (probably a little thick for this kind of application, but it worked fine). To wire them in, on the end with the buttons I used 2.8mm spade connectors and crimped those on, and on the end going to the Picade I crimped on two male Dupont connectors (the same as what’s used on the original cables). I wouldn’t recommend spending all the money just to rewire the Picade as you need all the wire, terminals, and tools to do it, it just do happens I have most of them already since I do a lot of electronics wiring work :) mind you, a lot of the parts needed can easily be bought from somewhere such as AliExpress for cheap, just be prepared to wait a while for them to come in :D

As for the volume buttons, they’re 3D printed. The enclosure that holds them in place is 3D printed as well, and mounted to the side of the unit with M3 screws and nuts.


Very nice work there. I used the mini arcade buttons on my Pirate Radio build. My own case. I cheaped out though and just soldered my wires to the spade lugs on the buttons. I just took the shells off of the end of some female to female jumper wires and soldered them on. It was just easier than cutting the ends off, stripping the wires, and then tinning them. I just soldered the bare connector right to the spade lug.
At the Pi end I connected the jumper wires to male headers on a Proto Zero. Not a total bodge job lol.;)

I do like that you took the time to do a nice classy professional job. =)


Many thanks for the reply. Have seen some coloured wiring looms on Ebay so might have a bash at one of those. Out of interest, how easy is it to remove the spades from the buttons once they’re on?




The spades are on there pretty good, so don’t just yank them straight off, you’ll end up ripping the wire right out of the terminal. Instead use a small flathead precision screwdriver and wedge the edge of the spade off from the button it’s connected to. It might end up loosening up the spade itself, so use a pair of needle nose pliers and squeeze the spade back together. If you need any further clarification I can take some pictures to show what I mean.