Sunday, 28 May 2017

Ikea Arcade Stick - Mini Edition Part 3

Continued from Part 2.

To put off dealing with the wiring, i decided to set up some glamour shots of the work so far, set against my previous full-sized IkeaStick, with it's black-on-black colour scheme.



The big 40x30cm stick is almost the exact same dimensions as the venerable Madcatz TE2+. The mini stick is quite literally half the size, but is almost the exact same dimensions as the less venerable Madcatz Fightstick Alpha. Except unlike that stick, this one features the full set of face buttons, premium hardware, and won't blow away in a stiff breeze.


So back to the workshop, and it's time to mount the joystick. I lined up my Sanwa JLF and drilled the holes.


I can't remember the exact size bolts i used, but they were tiny, and feature countersunk heads. To do the countersinks i fitted a large bit to my drill, set it to reverse, and pushed down hard. This has much less risk of the bit biting and tearing a hole through the case, and it hardens the countersink.


Flush.


For this particular build i used a Hori Pokken controller, but my previous Wii sticks have used these knockoffs of the Classic Controller Pro. They have rubbish build quality, but the PCB is actually easier to work with than the official controller!


If you use one of these, it's imperative that you leave the analogue sticks attached! If you remove them, they will not auto-calibrate on startup, and you'll end up with phantom inputs in your games. I made the mistake once, and it was a fairly annoying task re-soldering the thing.

You can clip the L and R button PCB's off, but write down which terminal is which first. I like to use these ground connections.

Speaking of, both of these controller use common grounds, so the wiring is relatively simple. All you have to do is trace the positive wires for each button, and solder to the corresponding pad. The pads which are joined together are the grounds, which makes it dead easy to tell!


You'll need four wires for the d-pad, four for the face buttons, four for the L, R, and their corresponding Z buttons, and also +, -, and home. Those system buttons are required even if you have a Wiimote hooked up, as the Wiimote itself is disabled in game. I didn't factor for this at first and couldn't get past the title screen of Balloon Fight as a result!


So here's the controller going in. I mounted the PCB to the inside of the case with a couple of very short screws. An alternative method is to mount the PCB like the joystick, using the flush countersunk bolts.

I wrapped the joystick wires in a conduit, and put a little heatshrink tube over each end to tidy things up. Then i soldered the direction positives down, and connected the ground wire to the L ground.

You can see how tight for space the case is. I had to space the three side buttons to fit between the rows of face buttons, and could only install them after half of the PCB was soldered up.


For each row of buttons, i made up a run wires in a conduit wrap. The ground wire is daisy chained between spade connectors, and a positive wire is paired up.

I cut a hole in the conduit for each button, then push the wires through, and seal it down with a bit of heatshrink. It's not fabulously tidy, but it's much better than the tumbleweed of wire it would be otherwise!

Here's a close up of what's going on inside that wrap. I just twisted short runs of black wire together, then crimped them into a spade connector and secured it with solder. It's possible to do all of the buttons on a single ground chain, but i like to pair everything up.


Here's that tumbleweed i was talking about! If you want to save time, this works just as well as a tidy arcade stick. :)


Now with all three conduit runs made up and installed, we have something like this. For a padhack it's alright, using a dedicated PCB like a Brook Universal Fighting Board nets you astoundingly tidier results.



Ok, we're pretty much ready to roll! I'll just slap a bit of art on the stick, pop the frames on, and it's game time in Part 4!