The NEW Build Your Own Arcade Controls

Main => Project Announcements => Topic started by: rCadeGaming on March 13, 2012, 10:05:07 pm

Title: Unicade - Autoswitching Multi-Console Candy Cabinet
Post by: rCadeGaming on March 13, 2012, 10:05:07 pm
Update 9/26/2012:

There have been some major changes to this project in the works for quite some time, so I thought it was about time to update this thread.  The major difference is that the cabinet will no longer use an LCD TV, it will use a 15kHz tube TV running games in native res RGB.  Furthermore there will have to be two cabinets, one for horizontal games, one for vertical.  More details in boxes like this below.

I've been a member for a couple years, reading and lurking, sometimes posting, but I don't think I've properly introduced myself. 

Uhhh... Hi!

Anyway, I've built a couple of controllers, and I've been planning a cabinet for years, so I thought I'd share that.  Also, all my stuff uses Japanese parts, curved button layouts, and MC Cthulhu controller boards, all of which I just made a thread about here: (

Here's one I made a while ago:




Sanwa parts, Astro City layout, MC Cthulhu, Dreamcast PCB.  I wish the pictures showed off the wood grain better, it's walnut with a cabernet stain, gloss clear buffed to a shine with 3M auto polish.  I'm not the best artist, so the art took me three times as long as everything else combined to get it how I wanted.  I drew it in pencil and ink, and colored it in photoshop.

By plugging different cables in it, it works on the following systems:
Super Nintendo
Sega Saturn
Playstation 2
Wii (using Gamecube controller slots)
Playstation 3

Cables for USB and Dreamcast:


Where they plug into:


I put a Dreamcast PCB in because I made it before DC support was added to the MC Cthulhu, but it's nice to have the memory card in there instead of having to connect another controller and telling the game to load or save on port two or three every time.

Here's another one, it's the same thing, but with different artwork and Cherry Wood:



I've also made others for and with friends.

I've been planning an arcade cabinet since before I even conceived of the portable controllers.  I've renewed my efforts and hope to actually get it done this year sometime.  The plans have been ever evolving, but here are my current plans.

The control panel will basically be like two of my controllers on one panel, with a trackball in the middle and a few admin buttons.  It will be a sit-down cab.  Players 3 and 4 can either plug in portable arcade controllers or Playstation controllers.

I'm going to use a 32" LCD TV for the display, which will be on a bracket that let's it rotate quickly for vertical games.  I bought an LG 32LD450, which has only 15ms of input lag in game mode (miles faster than most digital TVs/monitors).  I'll be using an SLG-3000 for scanlines.


After playing around a lot with arcade games in native resolutions on a real 15kHz CRT, I've decided that there's just no substitute.  The cabinet will no longer use the LCD TV, but maybe I'll make one for modern games with it someday.  Instead I'll being using a 15kHz 27" Sony CRT TV.  The computer will be running CRT_Emudriver and GroovyMAME to output native resolutions, which will get to the TV through a VGA to component transcoder.  A "transcoder" means it translates colorspace only, resolution will be untouched.  This creates an image that's comparable to a CRT arcade monitor.  There's a lot more info on this here:,121491.0.html (,121491.0.html)

All the systems listed below will also be running in RGB, and transcoded to component.

Of course, a big CRT cannot be rotated easily for vertical games, so I'll just have to make two cabinets!

The cabinet was originally planned be in the style of a Vewlix, due to the LCD screen.  Since the plan is now to use big CRT's, they will be more like an Astro City cabinet, which I like much better.

It will use a custom front-end.  I already finished writing one version of it in Visual Basic, but already want to make a lot of changes to handle different controllers being plugged in.

In addition to a very fast PC inside, it will also be hooked up to the following consoles:
PC Engine
Sega Genesis
Super Nintendo
Sega Saturn
Sega Dreamcast
XBox 360
Nintendo Wii
Playstation 3


The horizontal cabinet is now planned to support all of these consoles plus Playstation 2 and Gamecube.  PS3 is no good for PS1 and PS2 games because it adds some input lag (something I'm going to be monitoring closely with MAME games as well).  The Gamecube was added to use the Game Boy Player.

The vertical cabinet is currently planned to support the PC, Dreamcast, Playstation 2, and XBox 360; "slots" will be left open to allow for later additions.

All of these will be hooked up at the same time, selectable with a rotary switch.  Right now, I'm working on the circuit to do the switching, that's currently the big hold-up.

Soon I should be in the process of mocking everything up and getting a prototype working before making the final cabinet.
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: dandare on March 13, 2012, 11:40:36 pm
Sweet work man!

I look forward to seeing a full cab done with such craftsmanship!  :applaud:
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: Uncle Monkey on March 14, 2012, 10:31:20 am
I'm watching with anticipation.....and thanks for bringing the existence of the MC Cthulhu to my attention, it's just what I need..... :cheers:
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: Green Giant on March 14, 2012, 12:01:04 pm
As pretty as these things are I think I am most impressed by the versatility of those little controllers working on so many machines at the same time.
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: bigmatty77 on March 14, 2012, 02:33:03 pm
Yeah, the MC cthulhu is a work of genius  :afro:

Very nice work on the sticks man, looking forward to seeing your cab, the multi console functionality sounds intriguing. I'll be watching   :)
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: Yenome on March 14, 2012, 06:52:05 pm
that button layout with teh 7th button on the right is how i been thinking bout doing my layout. seems to that it would be better with the 4th neogeo button on the right and out of the way. do you have a complete build log on those sticks. id like ot make me one and had been looking at the MC for a while for my cab but id also like a multi console stick.
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: rCadeGaming on March 14, 2012, 07:31:13 pm
Thanks guys.  Glad you like it.  Also glad you're looking forward to the cabinet, just don't hold your breath though, haha.  I try to get some work done on it every day if possible, but it's still going to be quite a while.

I need to keep saving some money too.  I still need to buy:
XRGB Mini ~$500 - Video Processor/Switcher/Upscaler, to handle all the different systems
Electronic Parts for the Switching Circuit ~$200
Custom PC ~$400
Controller Boards
Audio Stuff - Amp, Speakers, Volume

Yenome, sorry but I didn't make a build log for any of my sticks.  I'll try to include more pics and explanation with the cabinet though.  For excellent instructions on making sticks like this, check out this site: (

Let me know if you have any specific questions.  Also, is a great place to ask for help with Japanese parts, Custom Sticks, look in the Tech Talk section of the forums.

EDIT: you said you already know of slagcoin on my other thread, come to think of it you're probably already aware of SRK if you've been checking out the Cthulhu, but I'll leave that stuff there for others.
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: BobA on March 14, 2012, 10:34:15 pm
Nice looking controllers.  Your finish and detail work is exceptional.;  :applaud: :applaud:
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: Unstupid on March 15, 2012, 12:03:45 am
Can it wash the dishes too?   :D
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: dandare on March 15, 2012, 12:04:38 am
i got a regular Cthulhu when they came out for a fight stick i made.  great controller.

I didn't realize what the MC Cthulhu was until now, I thought it was just the addition of the 360. I cant believe how many consoles you can have now!

I'M getting one!

Oh and your rotary select switch sounds brilliant, cant wait to see!
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: rCadeGaming on March 15, 2012, 12:16:32 am
Dandare, don't buy a whole MC Cthulhu!

Toodles sells upgrade kits for the PS3/PC only ones for a lot cheaper.  Depending on how old it is, you might just have to swap the main chip in the middle.  It pops in and out in 3 seconds, no soldering.  If your Cthulhu is real old, you'll also have to add some resistors its missing, but they come in the kit and that's not too hard either.  Oh yeah, you also have to plug it in USB and update the firmware, but you should do that with that multi-console whenever new versions come out anyway.
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: rCadeGaming on March 16, 2012, 09:49:32 pm
This was asked on another thread:

i think im gonna try the astro city layout and leave the 4th button on the right as you said. are those sticks you made based from the slagcoin website. or a custom design. i cant decide on the size of my fight stick those yours looks to be a nice size.

The button layout is the exact layout from the Sega Astro City Cabinet Player 1 side; except with the top right button deleted, and the joystick in the optional wider position, noted by the small white dot all the way on the left: (

The rest of the box is a custom design, but's it kind of based on some of the instructions and tips on

On top of the control panel is a piece of 1/16" plexiglass that's 10" x 14".  Underneath that is the artwork, then a piece of 5/8" MDF of the same height/width for the main control panel.  Under that is some 5/8" MDF Framing to make a box.  Underneath that is a peice of 1/8" plexiglass for the bottom cover.  I don't have the exact measurements of the MDF framing, but it's sized to make the whole assembly so far about 10" x 14" x 2" tall.

The hardwood around the sides is two 1" x 12" x 2" pieces on the sides, and two 1" x 14" x 2" pieces on the top and bottom.  This makes the whole box 12" x 16" x 2", not including the joystick and buttons sticking out the top and the rubber feet on the bottom.

The button layout is positioned so that the center of the joystick is 3 1/2" from the top edge of the plexiglass and 4" from the left edge.  The large empty areas below the buttons and to the left of the joystick are important so that there is enough space for your whole hand to rest before reaching the edge of the plexiglass.  The buttons on the sides of the sticks are aligned with the axis of the joystick, while the top one is centered.

The control panel is routed to fit both a Sanwa JLF or Seimitsu LS-32 with a flat mounting plate, and so that the bottom of the ball top is at the correct height of 24mm over the top of the control panel (the top plexiglass in this case).

If I were to make another one of these, I would consider moving the stick down a little bit (toward the bottom of edge of the top plexiglass, not down into the box).  When I grip the joystick and put my fingers across the lower four buttons, I would like my palms to rest at the same height.  For me, this would mean moving the stick down about two inches.  I might do this on my cabinet.

Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: rCadeGaming on September 26, 2012, 10:18:09 pm
The cabinet is still moving along.  I added some updates to the original post, they're seperated in quote boxes.
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: Yenome on September 29, 2012, 12:10:52 pm
wonder if i should use powerstrip and soft15 on this 32" crt i got. it has component input on it but the max res is 480i wonder how well it would play with lower res. Have it hooking up through the s-video atm  but need to get the remote to fix the overscan.
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: rCadeGaming on September 29, 2012, 06:12:55 pm
Yes you should, and 480i being the max res is a very good sign that it will do a good job with resolutions around 240p.  I've never seen a CRT TV capable of 480p or higher that could display ~240p correctly, they either upscale it or won't work at all.  480i being the maximum means it a 15kHz tv, which is what you want.

Btw, you'll generally have to use the VGA output of the graphics card and transcode to component externally to get resolutions lower than 480i out of the computer.  "TV out" will upscale it.

If you have any more questions about this, please post them here:,121491.0.html (,121491.0.html)
Title: Re: Multi-Console Arcade Cabinet
Post by: SNAAKE on September 29, 2012, 11:20:30 pm
nice wood

.. :dunno
Title: Re: Unicade - Autoswitching Multi-Console Candy Cabinet
Post by: rCadeGaming on May 12, 2013, 01:03:56 pm
Here's a small update.  I've been playing around with CRT_Emudriver some more, and I set up two TV's and did a test setup to take a few measurements.  After play testing and adjusting for a few days I now have everything I need to know concerning the placement of the control panel and screen in relation to the player, like distance from floor to bottom of CP, dimensions of CP (will be two player), stick and button placement, distance from sticks to screen, monitor tilt angle, etc.


These cabinets will be finished someday, but progress will continue to be veeeeeery slow.  Due to very limited time and money, and other more pressing projects, it will be at least a year until any actual woodwork begins.  I'm hoping to get some time between now and then to do some of the electronics and programming of the microcontroller and front-end.