MAMEWorld >> Hardware
View all threads Index   Threaded Mode Threaded  

Pages: 1

Steve Terrell
MAME Fan
Reged: 09/27/14
Posts: 8
Loc: Dallas, TX area
Send PM


So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It?
#332410 - 09/27/14 11:22 PM Attachment: 140927_0002.jpg 482 KB (2 downloads)


To make MAME more fun to play, I invented an arcade control panel that behaves like a USB keyboard. I'm sure I'm not the first to do this, but my design is the first one I've seen that includes all of these controls in one panel:

  • 2 players
  • 2 trackballs
  • 12 fire buttons
  • 2 spinners
  • 2 joysticks
  • pause, config, and exit buttons

Just hook the USB cable up to any computer running MAME and go. It's all contained in one lightweight portable box just 24" x 10" x 3". Parts total about $150.

Plus, you can even optionally put a Raspberry Pi in there (as I have done) and not even need an external computer - just hook up the box up to speakers and HDMI monitor. Or, use an HDMI TV and the sound is already taken care of.

Now I'm trying to figure out if anyone would be interested in building their own if I supplied instructions (free) and some custom parts (for a small fee). The custom parts would include a microcontroller loaded with my keyboard emulator code, and maybe some parts needed for my homemade trackball and spinner designs, and maybe the pre-cut box.

Thoughts? Feedback? Is this new or is this too commonplace?

I will try to make a video later and post the YouTube link here.

For now, please see the picture if I've attached it correctly. You can also see another picture of the controls at https://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-terrell/5/591/404 .

[ATTACHED IMAGE - CLICK FOR FULL SIZE]

Attachment



Traso
MAME Fan
Reged: 01/15/13
Posts: 2687
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#332440 - 09/28/14 05:07 AM


I'm beside myself. I mean, if you're for real, I'm not doggin ya....but.....how can I say this......where have you been the last fourteen years?



Scifi frauds. SF illuminates.
_________________

Culture General Contact Unit (Eccentric)



Steve Terrell
MAME Fan
Reged: 09/27/14
Posts: 8
Loc: Dallas, TX area
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Traso]
#332464 - 09/28/14 04:51 PM Attachment: 140928_0001.jpg 491 KB (0 downloads)


OK, I'll take that as a +1.

Yep. I'm for real - that's why I'm using my real name and my LinkedIn profile.

Here's a pic of the seedy underbelly. Not pretty, but it works. I would not be here today if it weren't for zip ties and hot glue.

Just above the orange button where a bunch of red wires congregate is a Teensy microcrontroller programmed as a USB keyboard. It's so small you wouldn't know it was there from the photo alone. It converts digital inputs into simultaneous keystrokes. So that's how the buttons and joysticks work.

The trackballs use upside-down mice guts. The Teensy and and mice go through a USB hub so the controls can be attached to a computer with just one cable. Oh, and no extra power required - all powered by your computer's USB.

All the online instructions for building your own spinner seemed expensive and overly complicated, so I came up with my own design that "somehow" converts a 360░ spinner position to an analog voltage, which is also converted to keystrokes by the Teensy. (details secret, for now)

In the middle of the pic is the optional Raspberry Pi. There Raspberry Pi does require power, so in this case I use a USB hub with its own power. The Pi has a PiPlay image , so it's capable of playing more than just MAME - but to be honest I've been so busy playing MAME that I haven't even touched the other emulators.

But in the end, this control panel is really just a USB keyboard with a couple of mice, so it should be usable with almost any computer game. Verified to work with Minecraft by my son.

A few limitations - there are no mouse clicks (yet), and to change which keystrokes are mapped to which inputs requires a change in the Teensy code (for now).

As an exercise to the observer, see if you can guess what the actual box (container) is made from. (clue is in both photos)

[ATTACHED IMAGE - CLICK FOR FULL SIZE]

Attachment



Traso
MAME Fan
Reged: 01/15/13
Posts: 2687
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#332555 - 09/30/14 07:08 AM


Well. I've not seen anyone do a dual trackball, dual spinner panel. The trackball design I'm curious about. I'm sure some folks would be interested in this. Most of the BYOAC folk would commend you for your design ideas, though you'd get a little heckled for its lack of bling.

Ultimately, the number of vendors and their products showing so, most folks want a 'higher-end' product.

(Especially as you haven't gotten any response besides mine here) I recommend you hit BYOAC.



Scifi frauds. SF illuminates.
_________________

Culture General Contact Unit (Eccentric)



Steve Terrell
MAME Fan
Reged: 09/27/14
Posts: 8
Loc: Dallas, TX area
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Traso]
#332560 - 09/30/14 02:14 PM


Thanks for the honest assessment. It's what I'm looking for. I've actually been waiting for several days for my registration approval at BYOAC. Maybe I should try them again...

The lack of bling is intentional - I just focus on functionality in a design that is simple enough that people can enhance the individual controls and/or supply their own cosmetics. Plus, it IS meant to be lightweight so it can be portable. It's a bare-bones prototype.

However, I must admit some brass-colored trim here and there would make a nice steam-punk design. But some folks might want to paint it. or some folks might want to ditch the portable box altogether and install the guts it their own cabinet...

Bye!



R. Belmont
Cuckoo for IGAvania
Reged: 09/21/03
Posts: 9690
Loc: ECV-197 The Orville
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#332677 - 10/02/14 09:29 PM


It's interesting (people know my opinion of emulators in general and MAME in specific on RPi so I won't repeat that), but is there any reason you didn't just use an iPac or jPac or any of the other commercially-available arcade-to-USB interfaces?



StilettoAdministrator
They're always after me Lucky ROMS!
Reged: 03/07/04
Posts: 6429
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: R. Belmont]
#332682 - 10/02/14 11:00 PM


> It's interesting (people know my opinion of emulators in general and MAME in specific
> on RPi so I won't repeat that), but is there any reason you didn't just use an iPac
> or jPac or any of the other commercially-available arcade-to-USB interfaces?

I've been operating on the assumption that he wandered in off the street without any familiarity of the scene (Ultimarc, BYOAC, etc.) - and I mean no offense by that. I might be wrong though.

- Stiletto



Traso
MAME Fan
Reged: 01/15/13
Posts: 2687
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Stiletto]
#332703 - 10/03/14 07:27 AM


> > It's interesting (people know my opinion of emulators in general and MAME in specific on RPi so I won't repeat that), but is there any reason you didn't just use an iPac or jPac or any of the other commercially-available arcade-to-USB interfaces?


> I've been operating on the assumption that he wandered in off the street without any familiarity of the scene (Ultimarc, BYOAC, etc.) - and I mean no offense by that. I might be wrong though.

> - Stiletto


Look up his Linked. He's an engineer.



Scifi frauds. SF illuminates.
_________________

Culture General Contact Unit (Eccentric)



Steve Terrell
MAME Fan
Reged: 09/27/14
Posts: 8
Loc: Dallas, TX area
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: R. Belmont]
#332716 - 10/03/14 03:38 PM


Good question!

I got into this backwards...

I didn't sit down one day and decide to build an arcade. My son had a Raspberry Pi, and I wanted to show him what it could be used for. So we got MAME running on it.

I also happened to have an Arduino left over from a previous robot experiment, so I programmed it as a USB keyboard and ordered some controls. Then I replaced the Arduino with a less expensive Teensy that had more inputs to boot.

i-pac costs about twice as much as a Teensy, but sounds like it might be better technical solution if it can support two mice.

My goal here was to build the best performing arcade, but to get the cheapest design using spare parts that does "OK". Plus, keep my electronic and programming skills alive, satisfy the hacker in me, and enjoy the satisfaction of figuring out how to to it myself.

I'm aware that i-pac avoids the USB keyboard simultaneous keystroke issue, but that hasn't really been an issue - my emulator can detect 4 modifyer keys and 6 other keys which is more than enough for 2-player casual gaming if you assign them right. I could not think of a game where one player would need to activate more than 4 switches at once.

And if you do want to get serious about the keystrokes, you could easily use all keystrokes for a 1-player to get around my 4 switch limitation.

Had trouble finding the price of a j-pac on ultimarc.

Thanks for the feedback!



Steve Terrell
MAME Fan
Reged: 09/27/14
Posts: 8
Loc: Dallas, TX area
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Traso]
#332717 - 10/03/14 03:43 PM


took me a long time to design the trackball. Here are the parts for one trackball:

OK, don't laugh...

small piece of thick scrap wood, optical mouse, 3 wood screws, 2 mason jar rings, one plastic storage cup, pool ball.

alright, go ahead and laugh.

Like I said somewhere else in this thread, using stuff around the house keeps the costs down, and makes for a good brain exercise ("now how can I use this?").



Steve Terrell
MAME Fan
Reged: 09/27/14
Posts: 8
Loc: Dallas, TX area
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Traso]
#332718 - 10/03/14 03:45 PM


Yup! Leave it to an engineer to fix what ain't broke!



R. Belmont
Cuckoo for IGAvania
Reged: 09/21/03
Posts: 9690
Loc: ECV-197 The Orville
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#332720 - 10/03/14 05:47 PM


> Yup! Leave it to an engineer to fix what ain't broke!

MAMEdev fixes lots of not-broken things ;-)



Tomu Breidah
No Problems, Only Solutions
Reged: 08/14/04
Posts: 6694
Loc: Neither here, nor there.
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#332732 - 10/03/14 08:15 PM


> took me a long time to design the trackball. Here are the parts for one trackball:
>
> OK, don't laugh...
>
> small piece of thick scrap wood, optical mouse, 3 wood screws, 2 mason jar rings, one
> plastic storage cup, pool ball.
>
> alright, go ahead and laugh.
>
> Like I said somewhere else in this thread, using stuff around the house keeps the
> costs down, and makes for a good brain exercise ("now how can I use this?").


Actually, when I first seen those pool balls as trackballs - I did laugh! But in a good way, since I thought it was so neat.



LEVEL-4



R. Belmont
Cuckoo for IGAvania
Reged: 09/21/03
Posts: 9690
Loc: ECV-197 The Orville
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#332735 - 10/03/14 09:30 PM


> alright, go ahead and laugh.
>
> Like I said somewhere else in this thread, using stuff around the house keeps the
> costs down, and makes for a good brain exercise ("now how can I use this?").

Laughing *with* you on this one - pool balls as trackballs is actually pretty cool, in addition to the cost savings angle.



Traso
MAME Fan
Reged: 01/15/13
Posts: 2687
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#332774 - 10/04/14 10:36 PM


The JPAC is for use with a jamma set-up.

The IPAC doesn't handle mice. It's only a keyboard controller.

The issue with keystroke conflict happens with button-masher games - fighters, mainly.

Nothing wrong with using pool balls. Can be decorative. I was more curious about the retaining of the ball; I couldn't see the picture well, and now I see how it works. I'm also curious how well it spins given you're not using any rollers and bearings.



Scifi frauds. SF illuminates.
_________________

Culture General Contact Unit (Eccentric)



Steve Terrell
MAME Fan
Reged: 09/27/14
Posts: 8
Loc: Dallas, TX area
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Traso]
#332804 - 10/05/14 05:28 PM


Good summary.

I actually have to back-track a little on my previous post regarding 2 things...

1. I can actually have 5 simultaneous keys per player, not 4. Even with fighting games, you're not likely to have to use more than 5 switches at once. Worst case scenario that I can support per player is a diag joystick direction (two switches) and 3 action buttons all at once. One weakness is that the 2 modifier keys are permanently mapped to buttons 1 & 2 (most frequently used), but the other 3 slots in the buffer can be used for any of the other keystrokes (buttons, joysticks, spinners)

2. i-pac does not seem to support analog (that I need for the spinners). I saw that they have an a-pac, but the Price is way too high. So, I think the Teensy was the best choice for me - does digital and analog inputs for 20 bucks. Plus can be used for other projects.

The pool balls are supported by the heads of the 3 screws. I used a dremel to grind the heads just enough so that the contact with the ball is smooth and doesn't scratch. The balls work very well. When I took the photo, I forgot to turn the power on so that you could see the cool red glow from the mice LEDs shine around the trackballs - just a pleasant side effect.

And if pool balls are TOO decorative, just pop in two cue balls.



Traso
MAME Fan
Reged: 01/15/13
Posts: 2687
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#332868 - 10/06/14 09:54 PM


> 2. i-pac does not seem to support analog (that I need for the spinners). I saw that they have an a-pac, but the Price is way too high. So, I think the Teensy was the best choice for me - does digital and analog inputs for 20 bucks. Plus can be used for other projects.


Indeed.



> The pool balls are supported by the heads of the 3 screws. I used a dremel to grind the heads just enough so that the contact with the ball is smooth and doesn't scratch.


I'll be curious to see the life on those. Even regular trackball designs can cause ruts in the balls over a long while if not serviced.



Scifi frauds. SF illuminates.
_________________

Culture General Contact Unit (Eccentric)



Comboman
Can't think of a good title
Reged: 12/30/12
Posts: 431
Loc: Halifax, Canada
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#333928 - 10/29/14 04:14 AM


> All the online instructions for building your own spinner seemed expensive and overly
> complicated, so I came up with my own design that "somehow" converts a 360░ spinner
> position to an analog voltage, which is also converted to keystrokes by the Teensy.
> (details secret, for now)

So no optical quadrature encoding? Interesting. Maybe a potentiometer with the end-stop removed? What happens when you turn 361 degrees and the voltage which had been rising is now suddenly falls?



Steve Terrell
MAME Fan
Reged: 09/27/14
Posts: 8
Loc: Dallas, TX area
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Comboman]
#334008 - 10/30/14 03:37 PM


What the heck. I already went into more detail in BYOAC. I simply put a magnet on the spinner's rod and use a chip that detects the angle of the magnet field.

When the voltage which had been rising suddenly falls, my code is smart enough to know that the direction of the turn is still the same.

Also, the code for the spinners is self-tuning since there may be variations of the exact voltage reading from chip to chip, or even from the same chip over time due to environmental temperature.

I could not find any cheap 360 potentiometers. Removing the end stop from a normal pot would leave a gap.



Traso
MAME Fan
Reged: 01/15/13
Posts: 2687
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#334119 - 11/01/14 09:56 PM


> What the heck. I already went into more detail in BYOAC. I simply put a magnet on the spinner's rod and use a chip that detects the angle of the magnet field.

> When the voltage which had been rising suddenly falls, my code is smart enough to know that the direction of the turn is still the same.

> Also, the code for the spinners is self-tuning since there may be variations of the exact voltage reading from chip to chip, or even from the same chip over time due to environmental temperature.


Shhnaazzaae.



Scifi frauds. SF illuminates.
_________________

Culture General Contact Unit (Eccentric)



krick
Get Fuzzy
Reged: 02/09/04
Posts: 4235
Send PM


Re: So I Invented a USB Arcade Control Panelů How to Share It? new [Re: Steve Terrell]
#334131 - 11/02/14 01:04 AM


> 2. i-pac does not seem to support analog (that I need for the spinners). I saw that
> they have an a-pac, but the Price is way too high. So, I think the Teensy was the
> best choice for me - does digital and analog inputs for 20 bucks. Plus can be used
> for other projects.


The mini-pac supports analog...
http://www.ultimarc.com/minipac.html



GroovyMAME support forum on BYOAC


Pages: 1

MAMEWorld >> Hardware
View all threads Index   Threaded Mode Threaded  

Extra information Permissions
Moderator:  GatKong 
0 registered and 2 anonymous users are browsing this forum.
You cannot start new topics
You cannot reply to topics
HTML is enabled
UBBCode is enabled
Thread views: 4156