Jump to content
rllmuk
Sign in to follow this  
unleashedmaniac

Raspberry Pi Arcade recommendations

Recommended Posts

Hi guys,

 

I've currently got a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with Retropie, but am tempted to explore turning it into a bartop unit. Or potentially buying a full size cab etc.

 

I see that the Picade unit is available, along with a few other options.

 

I'm not exactly great at any manual work, so the idea of 'making' one myself is not really an option.

 

Just wondering if anyone has had any experience with it or any recommendations etc.

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got the PiCade and I'd say if you're happy with putting together Ikea furniture then you can probably manage this. It's fine, does the job - I imagine nowadays there's probably even slicker solutions but I like mine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like my picade. It gave me a lot of joy putting it together over Christmas a few years back. I'd recommend waiting for one of Pimoroni's occasional sales and grabbing it then as it is a little pricy full price imo. You also need to consider if you'd rather have the larger screen version. I'm happy with my regular sized one as it's large enough and has the more 'traditional' side bezel, which is allowing me to nerd out currently, designing the side and marquee art! :) 

 

One note of caution I would add is how picky you are regarding control authenticity? The buttons that they include with the unit are bog standard Chinese no name ones. They're ok but prone to false clicks. I ended up replacing mine with proper IL ones and the difference is stark, like really stark. But ymmv etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just ordered one of these for £60

 

s-l1600.thumb.jpg.dce1833351370b946d07f9b5c79013cd.jpg

 

I think I have all the fixings I need. Plan is to get our unused Raspberry Pi turned into a retropi specifically in the next few days. Then when this arrives, figure out the monitor mounting (I have an old 19" LCD I'm going to use) and have everything up and running with mouse and keyboard initially.

 

Then I need to research and figure out buttons and build this thing up bit by bit.

 

Will keep you posted - am I ok to do that in this thread?

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the buttons and stick, I’d recommend a zero delay USB encoder. 
 

I have next to no skills in these things, but I wanted to use my PS3 TE Fightstick on my Pi so I rewired it using one. Absolute doddle, just plug and play. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a simple, single player arcade machine, the picade is difficult to beat, not least as it also includes an amp for the speakers and a connection for a power button. You would need to do both of these separately otherwise. If you want a two player machine then you'll need to buy some of these components individually (like a controller board, amplifier, power button etc.). Don't let that put you off though, it's still pretty easy.

 

You could also check out Pandoras Box which are effectively mini computers like the Pi but with everything preinstalled. I'm not sure how these are wired though, but they are popular.

 

For components checkout arcadeworlduk, they don't sell any of the Pi related components but for buttons/joysticks, t-moulding etc. they are great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Step one complete. Research Retropi!

 

EdxQnfiXsAMzAGr.thumb.jpeg.85f4b108074458730b04fe25fc04d646.jpeg

 

Am now looking into some different retropi Installs, including this luscious looks Ng virtualman one. That's where I'd like to end up:

 

 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, so after a couple of days of messing I've got the Pi set up with that 128gb build. Loads of stuff in there.

 

It took a fair while to get it running on a 1289x1024 display as it's a build that is for 1080p displays out of the box. After a few hours I got it to do everything lovely though.

 

Messing about on an Xbox controller with it I can play everything except the Daphne games, which is good, because I am not a fan of those.

 

Metal Slug 6 got some slow down when things got crazy but not seen anything else yet.

 

The driving games have got me thinking - if I put a load of sticks and buttons in the cabinet I'll have nothing that's analogue which will work with them. Need to think about that, or just bin off those games.

 

The cabinet has been dispatched so I expect the next week to be about sourcing buttons, sticks and fixings and then starting to build it next weekend. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can use the Ultimarc Ultrastik 360 which is analogue, although they aren't cheap. They do include a built in 8 button interface though so you wouldn't necessarily need a separate interface. Not sure how well they work on a Pi though, but i've seen people doing it.

 

Most of the top down racing games are fine and even those that need a wheel can have the controls changed to work with a joystick. Driving cabinets are notoriously difficult to setup though so that's a can of worms you may not want to open!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, phresh said:

You can use the Ultimarc Ultrastik 360 which is analogue, although they aren't cheap. They do include a built in 8 button interface though so you wouldn't necessarily need a separate interface. Not sure how well they work on a Pi though, but i've seen people doing it.

 

Most of the top down racing games are fine and even those that need a wheel can have the controls changed to work with a joystick. Driving cabinets are notoriously difficult to setup though so that's a can of worms you may not want to open!

 

Tbh they work fine, in the main, with just an Xbox controller so I'm wondering if I just figure out a weird way to do have that available. Not sure yet. 

 

I'll start at a base bartop arcade with joysticks and buttons and see if I care once I get past that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ordered all the joystick parts yesterday.

 

Each player will have 6 'play'buttons, a start (1up/2up) and a coin/select button. They'll also have a hotkey, which is going to be on the side (I won't be playing pinball on here so I'll use those buttons as that). Two zero delay USB boards and all the associated wires as well.

 

I've also got a USB car mount, so the central button hole on the front panel will be taken up by that, which should enable connection of an Xbox controller for any of the driving games. It offers a bit of flexibility anyway.

 

The only other purchases this week will be fixings and screws for the cabinet, and MDF primer and paint. The outsides will have artwork on them, not sure about the control panel or front panel right now. The former strikes me as needing the perspex cover on it if I put it on. One to figure out down the road a bit.

 

This weekend should be a test build of the control panel (unassembled) and then a load of painting. I also need to figure out speakers next. All the ArcadeWorld kit requires a PC power supply and I'm not going to be adding one of those. Soundbars seem to be getting some love, so I'll research those once I have accurate measurements.

 

Ooh, I also established that my monitor will power up if I just leave it on but turn the power off at the switch. This means I've got a few different options around how I get power to the components.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you haven’t bought any primer yet then I would recommend Zinnser BIN (the red one). You’ll need methylated spirits (the purple stuff) to clean the brushes but it will far and away give you the best base and is much better than any ‘specialist’ mdf primer. For paint there is plenty of options but I’ve used the wood/Matt Valspar eggshell from B&Q with good results before using a medium pile roller.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I've gone with a big standard primer that may turn out to be a mistake, but it says it's suitable for MDF.

 

First coat down! Probably 2 more with some sanding in-between to go. It's come out greyer than it looks once dry.

 

I've settled on definitely having vinyl on it I think, so other than the inside edges of the side panels, I just need a lovely smooth finish for them to apply to. 

 

EeCEMLpXsAESDDv.thumb.jpeg.3dd45384489658ddd44c77192f6a685e.jpeg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, donkeyk said:

@Pelekophoros may I ask where did you get that MDF cabinet from? Following your build with interest...

 

I got it from this guy:

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/richsbartoparcades

 

He's got a Facebook page which has a closed community on it. He seems like a good guy whose been cutting these for ages and I'm impressed with the quality of the cabinet. It cost £60.

 

He's broken his wrist but this can came super fast. I'm probably going to get a separate stand from him when he's doing them again.

 

It's £30 more to have the melamine version.  I'm happy doing this prep and then vinyl wrapping it but I suspect the melamine version gets you to a better position much faster.

 

Thing to be aware of is you get no fixings, so will need to get modesty blocks and M4 20mm screws to fix it together.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I have a Picade with 10 inch screen (not assembled) but I must admit the idea of a 2 player bar top which has the stand underneath and so can be used either as an upright or put on a desk has me interested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, AceGrace said:

 

I have a Picade with 10 inch screen (not assembled) but I must admit the idea of a 2 player bar top which has the stand underneath and so can be used either as an upright or put on a desk has me interested.

 

I didn't realise he did them when I ordered the first unit, otherwise I'd have gone all in first time round.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So today's actual work on the box is going to consist of sanding and putting a second coat of primer on it. It's dried pretty grey in comparison to those picks, so I reckon 2 more coats. Should be able to get them done for the weekend.

 

Decided not to paint it all round, though (priming is still valid effort). Instead I've sat down and picked wraps/vinyls from here:

 

https://rockstarprint.co.uk/index.html

 

I was going to go for a full/half bartop kit but decided not to for a couple of reasons:

  1. I didn't really really like any of them
  2. I want this to be 'ours', mine and the boys. So we are picking and choosing
  3. I need to have something that is 'extendable' downwards when I eventually get a stand

It's worked out marginally cheaper than a full set and it covers more. It also means I don't have to do any painting beyond the priming, which is a result.

 

I've also entered all my expenditure so far on to a spreadsheet and really wish I hadn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oh, I like their star war x-arcade tankstick vinyl.

 

only £12

 

image.png.cf5ecceba2d7ce3a5f040a3909d7719d.png

 

requires some disassembly...

 

I don't have the trackball version...

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Second coat on the cabinet done. With the vinyl coming I'm focused on making this as smooth and lovely as possible, so probably another sanding and a coat to go, with a final light sanding to go.

 

IMG_20200729_190156.thumb.jpg.840cc7b140f2e0ec2adede87ebc3eb81.jpg

 

One thing to bear in mind with the packs of this bloke is he cuts the holes to 28mm, and depending on the buttons you buy you may need to widen them. I've got to Dremel 1mm all round from 16 of them this weekend. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So all my joystick parts arrived. I went full Sanwa - figured I'd spend a chunk of money on putting great parts in the machine which I hope will last me an age.

 

BUT!

 

The MDF is 12mm thick. The Sanwa 30mm buttons - which I already need to dremel out the holes for as they're only 28mm - have a thread on them that's about 13mm thick. I should have maybe got the snap fit ones instead. I dunno, I clearly did not research this bit carefully enough. The 2 IL buttons I got have massive long threads on them so are no hassle at all.

 

I came up with 3 different solutions:

 

1) send them back

2) counter sink from underneath, probably by 5mm, but I was worried that would weaken the board

3) replace the MDF with either a metal sheet (no idea how to connect the joysticks) or a thinner plyboard sheet.

 

So, at lunch I got the Dremel out and figured what the hell. I can always get another board. I dremeled out to 30mm where it was just big enough to let the button through, but also tight enough they don't just pop out.

 

Figure I'm goign to go with this now, and some hot glue, rather than countersinking them at all.

 

EeLA7k_WkAEj0zA.thumb.jpg.185d524ce80f0d0f0d35442b1cfa7ec0.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like the snap in ones the short threads are meant for a metal panel really. You could have countersunk them like you said, 10mm thickness around the buttons would have been ok. If you're going to hot glue just be sure you can get them out again without damaging the panel.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, phresh said:

Like the snap in ones the short threads are meant for a metal panel really. You could have countersunk them like you said, 10mm thickness around the buttons would have been ok. If you're going to hot glue just be sure you can get them out again without damaging the panel.

 

I just haven't got the tools to countersink them. 5 of the 6 are wedged in hard without any need for glue so I'll see how many I can catch like that and make my mind up on the glue in the final fitting.

 

I've also discovered I ordered the wrong variety of joysticks, with an offset fitting plate. Not a blocker, but I'll need to get flat ones for the final fit on that too. That's just stupidity andmy brain's new found trick of not registering things it really should do when I read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ordered the flat plates for the joystick along with what I hope is the final order of stuff until the marquee/bezel stuff. That's a £7 mistake and the only one so far.

 

Also couldn't resist quickly wiring everything up and having a quick hillbilly go. It works!

 

Quickly taken it back apart and finished embiggening all the holes with a Dremel sander, and final coat of undercoat done.

 

Hoping the vinyl wrap comes for this weekend and we can really crack on with the build the. 

 

EeMp7P1WsAA2aFA.thumb.jpeg.d64d1328d4a77b80b9d05426ebbb003d.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wrapped it and built most of it today.

 

I'd wanted to hinge the controller but it didn't work because I also wanted the controller at a slight angle. Except now I write that out it totally would have worked I was being rubbish but there's too much stuff in thr way. 

 

I got everything in and wired in, then turned the power on and the ring main went off after the monitor sparked. Not good.

 

Turns out I'd driven the mounting screws waaay to deep and blew the board.

 

Here's a picture of the setup after I removed the now dead monitor and launched it into the sun in frustration.

 

EeWJrdQXkAA1zDJ.thumb.jpeg.7af1a5626f714e38f592a9cb7a32a60f.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I blew up a pi3 making a bartop, that took a few minutes* of quiet contemplation to recover from.

 

*best part of a day

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.