I have a Ion iCade with a jailbroken 128gb iPad Air 2. Is the Picade (ideally with a Pi3) a big improvement over that please? Just want to be sure it’s worth the hassle of replacing it with a PiCade. Also I’m a bit stuck for power sockets so I would be sunk if the PiCade really needs two power supplies like it says in some of the reviews.
I’d say the processing power of the Pi3 is inferior to the iPad but from the Youtube vids I’ve looked at it appears the buttons, joystick and cabinet are a great improvement.
My Picade uses one supply for every thing and works fine. The PSU is 12v 5A switched mode type and the pi is connected via a 12v to 5v DC converter at 3A. If you have the 12" screen you can power it directly from the PSU otherwise the power for the 8" screen comes from the converter.
Dual power supplies are only for people who upgrade their screen to the 12.1" screen and don’t do any custom power solution.
The default setup runs the 8" screen and the picade off a single power plug.
That being said, the limitations inherent to the Raspberry Pi require 3rd party (ATXRaspi/Powerblock) and custom power solutions (See Paulcheffus other posts) to allow elegant functionality. This is what makes the Picade infinitely hackable and customizable to suit your specific needs.
Good luck with whatever you choose!
The buttons and joystick are a definite improvement. Performance-wise, the ipad air 2 will be hugely better!
I have a friend who converted an Ion iCade to a desktop cab, mounting a replacement ipad screen in there, and running it with a raspberry pi 3. It works well, but he removed all the original joystick and buttons (too clicky) and replaced with arcade joystick and buttons more comparable with the Picade ones.
So I’d say yes the controls in the Picade are noticeably better than the ION icade ones, the picade cabinet is also a bit lighter, and a lot easier to modify (swapping out buttons/joystick, speakers, lights etc). Also the Picade has perspex over the screen and marquee which make it look more like a proper arcade machine.
The ION iCade is easier to add vinyl side-art to though - there’s sellers on Ebay that will sell exact-fit artwork. On the Picade, you are quite limited in what art you can add, because of all the screw heads which aren’t flush with the side of the cabinet.
The other nice thing about the ION iCade is the ability to stick a bluetooth woofer behind you, and it works fine. I’ve tried to do something similar using the picade running retropie and never got bluetooth speakers to work (it detects them, but nothing outputs sound to them).
So I’d say if you are unhappy with the quality of the controls on the ION iCade, the Picade is better, otherwise, perhaps see if you can find someone local who will let you try it before deciding whether it’s worth shelling out £180.
If you like tinkering about with your cab and changing things, then the Picade is a no-brainer, it’s really excellent for modding/tinkering with!
Are you using Robert Broglia’s .EMU emulators on your iPad (http://www.explusalpha.com/)? Their consistent UI and features punch waaaaaaay above any Pi emulation distribution I’ve seen to date. Hardware and performance aside, there’s a lot to be said for good software, and I’ve yet to encounter a better experience than just using the full set of Robert’s emulators.
The Picade isn’t a clear cut improvement. It just satisfies a different set of requirements, has its own strengths and weaknesses and, of course, doesn’t necessitate a fortune’s worth of iPad to make it work :D