Picade illuminated buttons advice needed?


I’m looking to replace my stock PiCade buttons with some nice illuminated ones. I don’t have a clue how to go about this so would appreciate some guidance.

My main questions are:

Do I need a separate power supply if I use 5v buttons?

What sort of replacement or additional wiring is needed?

Any help would be appreciated.




I replaced two of the picade buttons (the two on the front panel) with 5V illuminated ones.

I used these:

They are screw-in buttons rather than click in. They fit okay in the front panel, as they are not very deep buttons. I imaging they will work fine for the control panel buttons, although you might want to check available clearance for the side panel buttons.

Some other buttons are a fair bit longer, once the switch and LED mechanism is in place, the ones in my bartop cab are probably twice as long as these - and are like this:

If you intend to use ones like that in the picade, you will probably want to check how much space is actually available before ordering as I’m not sure there is enough clearance (depth) for these if used in the control panel…

On the ones I got, the bezel is illuminated rather than the actual button. I liked that because it’s a bit more subtle an effect.

However in the end, I didn’t replace all the control panel buttons (as was my original intention) because they are bloody expensive! I see the price has actually gone up another £1 since I bought mine too!

Because they are 5V, they can easily be powered using a cannibalised old USB cable - snip one end off, cut off the green and white data wires (not needed for power-only) and then connect the button LED connectors up in series to the red +5v and black (GND) cables on the USB cable.

Plug the USB plug into a spare port on the pi (or a hub) and Bob’s your uncle. Running 2 illuminated buttons from one of the the pi’s USB port didn’t cause me any power issues - I’m running the pi, stock 8" screen, two illuminated buttons and an LED illuminated marquee light all from the standard black 2.5A official Pi power adaptor from Pimoroni.

My buttons are the ‘smoke’ colour, kind of silvery.

They have two (labelled + and - ) pins on the back for the LED and two pins for the actual button switch - the shoe connectors in the picade won’t fit, so you need to wire the shoe connectors to the button pins with a bit of soldered wiring.


Amazing job!!

Love that 'Cade!


Thank you GtbFilms,

A great response…perfect!


Thanks, glad it was of use.

I took a look at my Picade tonight, and some spare buttons I had from my bartop build.

Turns out you might have enough room for these, but it’ll be a tight fit with not much spare room for wiring/the picade board.

I’d advise going for shorter illuminated buttons if you can. Here’s a comparison of the standard picade buttons with the normal component illuminated ones (where the button/led and switch are all swappable components - nice an convenient, but loooooong buttons):

They are almost double the length of the standard picade buttons. The illuminated bezel ones I got are only slightly longer than the stock ones.

Is there room for standard illuminated buttons in the picade case?

Probably. It’s going to be tight though. You might need to relocate the picade board, which is currently somewhere under the right of the control panel.

You’ll probably run into issues if you want to replace the side buttons though - they are going to hit either the control panel buttons or the joystick mounting.

Here’s the actual illuminated buttons I used in the front:

They are not actually much larger than the stock ones.

The other option I considered, to make my control buttons a bit different (because these illuminated ones are just too expensive to swap out every button) was these:

You can specify different bezel/plunger combinations for the buttons - they’re not illuminated, but it does make them a little different - I thought all black or grey plungers with different colour surrounds might look quite nice - and they are a lot cheaper too. Also they are not particularly long and snap-in, just like the stock picade ones. Might be worth considering?

Edit: Actually, I’ve just checked, and you can pop out the plungers on the stock picade buttons, so you can achieve the above at zero cost, by just swapping round the plungers and surround combinations on the stock buttons if you wanted that effect.


Out of curiosity, why didn’t you use these?

You linked to them but show much longer lighted buttons.

Sorry about that, I’ve confused the whole issue.

I did use the “Seimitsu PSL-30N-5W2 5V Illuminated Screw In Arcade Button” ones. But they are currently £9.59 each. So I only used 2 on the front.

To replace all six control panel ones would cost another £57, which I thought was too expensive.

There are cheaper illuminated buttons available though (the longer ones shown). I use those in my larger bartop machine, and they only cost £1.38 each! BUT, the downside of them is they are a lot longer, so you might have space issues if you chose them.

Sorry for the confusion.

I went the whole hog and used 8 PSL-30N-5W2 buttons. They’re great as they come with a multipin connector on the back making it easy to get them back out again.

They are expensive. But in reality, a build like this is certainly in my case, one of a kind and something of a centrepiece in the room.

Because I had my iron out anyway, I’ve wired mine into the 5V header on the pi itself. I’m driving my picade from an anker 6 port 2.5A per port charger. It seems to be working fine for the purpose. I did run out of juice with a single 2.5A pi supply but only because I’ve also added 14 or so WS2812’s at the top to illuminate the marquee and buttons from above.

Take a look at mine if you want, details HERE

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Don’t pretend like I didn’t ask for tons more pictures in that other thread! LOL

Those buttons do look good!

I was a bit worried marquee lighting would shine on the screen, so put in a blanking panel made of plywood, but yours doesn’t seem to have that issue. Looks very nice.

I notice you mention the joystick panel can come off now that you have rerouted the wiring. That sounds useful, as sometimes I’d like to be able to access the joystick restrictor plate for adjustment without having to unscrew those screws every time - did you dispense with those screws altogether and use a different method to keep the control panel down, or is it heavy enough to stay put by itself?

Your comments about using a USB soundcard for better sound quality convinced me, and I ordered one from Amazon last night!

I mounted the strip to the side of the handle so its slightly behind the screen’s panel. That way it over shadows and hits the base. The only issue is reflection from the control section when you look down at a certain angle, you catch the reflection of the LEDs from above. Screen’s completely free of front light though :)

The acrylic acts as a bit of a light pipe too so the illuminated buttons light the edges up along with the marquee LEDs. One thing I did have to do was re-print the marquee on thinner paper. At some point, I’ll do this properly with acetate and some lighting gel diffusion but that’ll do for now!

Yeah, I saw that… Sorry, been a bit busy! I’ll try and do a bit more in coming weeks…

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Hi All,

Not sure if this thread is still alive, i‘m looking to do exactly what you have done @GtBFilms and wire in some illuminated buttons. I understand how to wire the button switch into the Picade board but could you run me through how you attached the LED wires to the usb plug? I understand the wiring diagram above but did you solder the two buttons + wires onto the single usb + wire and the same for the -? How many buttons LEDs do you think you could run off a single usb plug?