My Picade


I’m posting some more details on my picade here. A few people have asked for more information and some pictures etc.

Here’s my (nearly / never will be) complete picade:

At the moment, my to:do list includes:

  • Transparent marquee
  • Better DC Supply
  • USB Booting
  • Lighting for the joystick
  • Use gel diffusion over the lighting

The mods I’ve made:

  1. Replace 6 top buttons and 2 at the front with backlit seimitsu versions
  2. Mount internal cabling in a way that allows the joystick panel to come off
  3. Mount 14 WS2812 LEDs behind the marquee
  4. Scan and re-print the picade marquee then print on thinner paper to allow a bit more light through
  5. Replace audio with USB based audio.

Details on the above:

  1. buttons

The buttons are easy to replace. The main task in replacing them involves the actual wiring part. To do this, I mounted all of the buttons and used extensive heat shrink and cable ties to pair off the lines. There’s a decent size common for both the button -ve and the LED -ve so these were connected together at the button end and an individual line goes back to the picade controller and LED power respectively. I left the individual lines from each button intact and joined them at the supply end incase I want to break them out into a microcontroller at a later date.

  1. internal cabling

I replaced the stock HDMI connection with a 1 meter long value cable from Maplin which astonishingly gave me change from £5. I then neatly routed the cable along with an extended power connection from the screen driver back to the pi. All other cables were tied together systematically with cable ties and extension where required with solder and heat-shrink used to join.

  1. Marquee LEDs

I wanted to light up both the picade and its surrounding area. It’s something of a display unit aswell as a functional arcade so I wanted to make it stand out a bit. To do this, I had an offcut of lady ada’s finest pixel lineup so chopped 14 of them from the rest and soldered on wiring. I then used some of the casing they come with to glue gun in the solder connections. Although I used flux and cleaned up the pads as best I could, they were somewhat dirty and the connections to these are a real weak point once complete. The combination of glue and the cover goes a long way to adding strain releif and also ‘pots’ the connection so if one does come undone, +5 stands less of a chance of shorting to ground or the GPO pin. I then used hot glue to tack down the strip and ran the cable into a trinket clocked at 16MHz with the adafruit neopixel library and adapted some code I’d made for another project.

  1. The Marquee

As it stands, the thick card that comes with picade doesn’t let a lot of light through. I re-printed with a value line of paper as a stop gap but this area needs more work. I think a transparency and perhaps some paper behind it with a laser cutout might work here. My laser cutter / engraver’s not the best when it comes to scale though (it’s the makeblock x/y plotter / laser combo) so it may be better to look at alternative solutions. When I do complete this, I’ll use some standard TV/Theatre lighting gel to diffuse the light. Lee filters / Rosco make a great range of diffusion for LED product in theatre etc so this will fit perfectly when cut to size.

  1. Sound

Let’s face it, the pi’s onboard audio is complete crap. It’s OK and does add a bit of the old analogue hummy sound from old arcade systems but realistically, if this thing’s sitting powered up in the corner of the room, something with a noise floor the height of one world trade won’t work for me. I had a creative USB audio device lurking around. It’s not amazing either but it’s 1000 times better than the onboard kit. Given the picade amp can go relatively loud, it keeps me happy when turned up too. A quick file edit in raspbian did the trick to make this the default audio device. I just used a guide via google do do this. The audio device is held in using blacktac. It’s a putty sort of like blu-tack but a lot stickier so holds a lot more firmly. I use it extensively in my profession to hold usb cables etc into professional audio playback systems in theatre where I work. The stuff’s amazing… Especially to just tack something in while you wait for a better solution. Look it up at flints online… Beware, there’s another product of the same name which is a foil to block light out…

Here’s a few more pictures of my complete-ish picade:

The back, showing internal mounting. Excuse the trinket hanging there, it needs sugru’d in or similar:

LEDs on a test pattern:

Let me know if anyone wants any more details


Personally, I’d love to see many more pictures of the inside of the cab and underside of the control panel.

Wonderful job!

Picade illuminated buttons advice needed?

I like the buttons ! where did you get them from and do they need extra power or do they run off the stock daisychain wiring?

Ps. Nice picade