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Author Topic: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?  (Read 1964 times)

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thorr

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Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« on: September 01, 2019, 09:24:29 pm »
I am working on making a new control panel that will sit on my desk.  It is a 12" by 24" 1/2" laminated shelf that I intend to angle from the front edge on the surface of the desk to about 4 inches high at the back edge.  If I put a trackball on there, it would have a pretty steep incline.  If I did that, would it still roll ok?  Any recommendations on a trackball?  It would need to be USB at the end of the day.

Thanks,
Mike

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2019, 10:31:28 pm »
It is a 12" by 24" 1/2" laminated shelf that I intend to angle from the front edge on the surface of the desk to about 4 inches high at the back edge.  If I put a trackball on there, it would have a pretty steep incline.  If I did that, would it still roll ok? 
1. That's about a 19.4 degree angle.   :scared

2. Even if you put the trackball as far back as possible, you may not have room under the panel.

You may want to consider going back to the drawing board on this one.   :dunno

Can you position the panel so the bottom of the trackball is in a drawer?
- More clearance.
- Less of an angle.

Any recommendations on a trackball?  It would need to be USB at the end of the day.
Ultimarc U-Trak or Happ are common choices.

If you get a Happ trackball, avoid the ones with the built-in USB and PS/2 interface like this.


They are really expensive and there have been complaints of backspin.   :angry:

Get an arcade version with Red Boards and a Molex harness instead and use the GGG Trackball Cable for Opti-Wiz "No-Solder" to replace the Molex harness.



If you want to use the GGG cable on the Dupont pins of an IPac, you'll need to extract the ground pin (2 black wires) from the black Dupont housing since the 5v and ground pins aren't next to each other on the IPac.




Scott
« Last Edit: September 01, 2019, 10:41:03 pm by PL1 »

thorr

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2019, 12:11:47 am »
Thanks for your help.  Time to ramble and tell my life story... ;-)  I think I am trying to be too economical which is ironically why I am doing this in the first place. 

I made my first joystick in a metal enclosure and I wanted it to have 4-way and 8-way joysticks on it and use the same buttons for both.  It can be seen here: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=156197.0  It contains a Dominux 8 and a leaf switch PacPro with a taller and bigger handle that I got from another similar joystick from arcadeshop.com.

Although my joystick works ok, it sits up high and there is nothing for my arms to rest on so it is not exactly comfortable to use when sitting in my chair at the desk.  Also the buttons are higher than they should be but at least my hand can rest there so that part is more comfortable. 

So, I decided that I wanted to fix the ergonomic issues and expand my arsenal starting with a much larger surface.  I don't have a lot of tools or money, so I am trying to make something as simply as I can and still have it look nice, hence the laminated shelf that doesn't require T-molding.  https://www.homedepot.com/p/Rubbermaid-12-in-x-24-in-Oak-Laminate-Decorative-Shelf-1891903/204660679  I bought several of these so I could do the sides and the back, and I don't plan to have a bottom.  Eventually, I may cover the surface with vinyl artwork and keep the sides the way they are.

Then I decided I wanted to have two player 8-way capabilities so I could play Robotron and two player games, and I wanted to have plenty of arm room so there are no sharp edges to worry about when using the joystick.  So I decided that rather than cramming everything on there again, I will make two of these 24x12 panels.  One would be with two Dominux 8's, and the other with a 4-way and possibly a trackball since I would have room on the other half, hence my original post and question. 

For the 4-way, I decided to order a Wico 4-way reproduction joystick from arcadeshop.com.  I hope I like it.  I don't really care for the bouncy springy clunky 4-way I am using now (the big handle makes it this way, and the original handle is far too small and plasticy for my liking).   Also, I really want my 4-way to be a grommet and leaf joystick.  I didn't want the clover leaf restrictor plate that the Dominux 8 uses.  I could have gotten a leaf pro, but I read that they are kind of cheap and break easily and it uses a spring.  I still will probably get one because I want to make a handheld 8-way Atari joystick and these have a low under the panel depth, but that is a separate discussion lol. 

So, now that I am thinking the trackball idea is not so great especially after reading your post, PL1, I am thinking about turning the second 12x24 board 90 degrees and cut it in half and make a half-sized 4-way, or I could make a two-player 4-way panel since I have my existing frankenstein 4-way joystick I could throw on there.

And for the trackball, that would become its own panel, making that three separate units total.  I still have the same concerns about the design though.  I don't want it sitting up high with no support for my arms.  Perhaps I can make a slanted design leading up to the level area where the trackball is, sort of like this: http://www.hammondmfg.com/dwg16Steel.htm  I am very open to suggestions.

Thanks for the suggestions on the trackballs.  Is this one ok too?  https://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=74&products_id=363  It says in the description there is a High Ball option, but I don't see it as a selection when ordering. 

Thanks again!
Mike

thorr

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2019, 12:47:54 am »
This forum software is a bit annoying because it logs you out if you don't submit your post fast enough and you lose everything.  I wrote a follow up that I will just abbreviate here:

The Ultimark looks excellent because it can be put into a wooden panel making that part of it easier.  However, it is super expensive at $79 plus $39 for the USB converter.  The groovygamegear looks good, but is still kind of expensive when combined with the USB converter and I am not sure about the enclosure options.  I am kind of having sticker shock with these things.  I was hoping there might be an easy plug and play USB standalone option.  Something like this:  https://www.amazon.com/Kensington-Orbit-Trackball-Scroll-K72337US/dp/B002OOWB3O/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=trackball&qid=1567399150&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyWURSOVBJTzU5TlM3JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTM3MDkzMkJIR0dXRjk5SUhQTiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNTkwMTM5M0pQTExZUzdKMkFNVyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

I am sure that works perfectly for arcade games, considering it even has a built in spinner.  ;-)

Edit: searching the reviews for the trackball I linked, it seems people do like it well enough for arcade use.  Considering all of my build challenges and cost constraints, maybe that is a good option after all.  For games like centipede it is probably fine.  I am not sure about Golden Tee or Bowling games though.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 01:07:33 am by thorr »

PL1

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2019, 01:32:09 am »
And for the trackball, that would become its own panel, making that three separate units total.  I still have the same concerns about the design though.  I don't want it sitting up high with no support for my arms.  Perhaps I can make a slanted design leading up to the level area where the trackball is, sort of like this: http://www.hammondmfg.com/dwg16Steel.htm  I am very open to suggestions.
Post a picture of the desk.
- If there is a center drawer, open it.
- If there is a keyboard tray, pull it out.

Thanks for the suggestions on the trackballs.  Is this one ok too?  https://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=74&products_id=363  It says in the description there is a High Ball option, but I don't see it as a selection when ordering. 
It would be an excellent choice.   ;D

Randy starts with a Happ trackball and offers some great upgrades.

He just reopened the store and it's in-stock so get it while you can.

Leave him a note with your order askng for the High Ball version if available.

I am kind of having sticker shock with these things. 
Decent quality trackballs aren't cheap.

I was hoping there might be an easy plug and play USB standalone option.  Something like this:  https://www.amazon.com/Kensington-Orbit-Trackball-Scroll-K72337US/dp/B002OOWB3O/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=trackball&qid=1567399150&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyWURSOVBJTzU5TlM3JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTM3MDkzMkJIR0dXRjk5SUhQTiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNTkwMTM5M0pQTExZUzdKMkFNVyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

I am sure that works perfectly for arcade games, considering it even has a built in spinner.  ;-)
Don't be so sure about that.

40mm = 1.57" ball.

IIRC my dad had that model and the ball pops out pretty easily.   :(


Scott

thorr

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2019, 02:01:51 am »
I don't have a keyboard tray, but I came up with a great idea!  My current joystick metal case could be repurposed for a trackball case (just turn it upside down and I have a fresh clean canvas).  It would have enough surface area on it so for my arm to rest on it.  I am not sure if it would be better in portrait or landscape mode, and it would depend on where the buttons go.

Is three buttons enough for most trackball games?  With the Opti-Wiz I see I can also add a spinner, so I may do that too.  Is three buttons enough for spinner games?  Alternatively, I may be able to use my Teensy Arduino in one of my new panels for the spinner.  That might be better having that 19 degree angle for driving games, etc. 

What is the mouse button harness for?  Do I need it to get the three buttons working? (Edit, I found it listed separately on GGG and I don't need it. I can wire this up myself with stuff I already have). 

I didn't realize GGG was open for business again.  Great timing!

Edit: I see there are lots of upgrades available for the trackball making it quite expensive too.  It seems like they would be worth it though.  Not sure.  And dang, spinners are expensive too so forget those for now.

Thanks again!
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 02:35:23 am by thorr »

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2019, 02:45:25 am »
Note at he login screen there is a 'stay logged in' box you can check. Above that is says 'stay logged on for 60 minutes'.

thorr

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2019, 03:37:24 am »
Thanks for the login tip!

Well, I just pulled the trigger.  $209 later, I will have my fully upgraded $100 trackball, $55 second Dominux8, and the additional buttons I need.  I decided to make the 4-way a single joystick panel because all or most of the real 4-way arcade machines only use one joystick anyway.  The only games I will have issues with are Qbert, etc.  I wanted to also order a Leaf Pro joystick to make an Atari joystick, but they are unfortunately sold out.  I guess that idea will be put on hold indefinitely since the shipping cost would kill me later. 

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2019, 03:42:36 am »
Is three buttons enough for most trackball games?  With the Opti-Wiz I see I can also add a spinner, so I may do that too.  Is three buttons enough for spinner games?
Off the top of my head it probably is, but it could depend on which games are on your list.   :dunno

If you haven't made that list yet, go to the wiki (link above) and read the part of the FAQ titled, "What type of build meets my needs?"
------------
The three buttons on the Opti-Wiz are mouse buttons.

I usually avoid using mouse buttons as player buttons.  YMMV.

You'll also need admin buttons like Coin and Start unless you use a keyboard for those.

The least expensive alternative is to load the KADE miniArcade 2.0 firmware on an Arduino Pro Micro.
- It can output keyboard keystrokes or gamepad buttons, whichever you prefer.
---------------
MiniArcade 2.0 can't do trackball inputs, but you can use StefanBurger's Illuminated Spinner firmware on another Pro Micro for that if you're looking for an inexpensive optical (mouse) encoder.


Scott

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2019, 07:19:44 am »
It's always something.  Thanks for the heads up.  I programmed my Teensy for my existing joystick myself and added some nice features like enabling turbo using button combinations, so I am definitely familiar with that option.  It's just disappointing that I might have issues with the mouse buttons, but I can image why I would. I will give it a go and see if it works for me.  I can get another Teensy LC for another $17 if I need to.  The cheap Pro Micro's on Amazon seem to have bad reviews about reliability.  I would need two USB cables coming out of it or an internal hub.  I don't mind using the keyboard for the start buttons, etc., or I could hook up some Happ buttons.  I have a ton of extra red ones.  I didn't want to use them for my main joysticks because I wanted ClassX True leaf switch buttons.  Another option is I could have my 4-way joystick panel sitting next to the trackball and use its buttons.

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Re: Is it ok to mount a trackball on an angle?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2019, 07:19:26 am »
I can get another Teensy LC for another $17 if I need to.  The cheap Pro Micro's on Amazon seem to have bad reviews about reliability.

A quick search to see what you meant (because I use lots of these) revealed a bad review because someone ripped the usb port off.  This is a weak point/bad design of many of these boards (including some teensy) but there are better designs out there lately.

The worse designs have pure surface mounting, with just two solder pads on a very small connector. The best designs now have 4 prongs soldered into thru holes (so they are effectively soldered to pads on the backside).  And you can get all sorts in between, eg 4 surface pads on a bigger connector is better than 2 on a small connector.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 07:36:07 am by jimmer »
On forums jimmer speaks for himself as a Defender fan, not as proprietor of www.jbgaming.co.uk  << Is that advertising or disclosure ? or both ?