Here’s a very rough sketch I knocked up during lunch to illustrate my idea of using a network patch panel and Cat5e cables for hot swappable Control Panels on my Mame cab.
- You wire the Joystick and Button microswitch ‘+’ terminals to the IPAC
- You daisy chain all the Joystick and Button microswitch ‘-‘ terminals to the IPAC
- You plug the Ipac device into the PC keyboard socket (there’s a through-port on the Ipac allowing you to connect a keyboard too)
- You configure the controls through Mame/Mame Frontend and /or Ipac mapping software.
The downside is that the CP is wired permanently to the Ipac and the only way to change CP’s is to unsolder the wiring. i.e not a practical solution to have swappable CP’s.
On the right hand diagram shows my new idea.
- For each CP, you wire the Joysticks and Button microswitch ‘+’ terminals using Cat5e network cable.
- For each CP, you daisy chain the Joystick and Button microswitch ‘-‘ terminals using Cat5e network cable.
- You terminate the other ends of the the network cables with Rj45 plugs.
- You note down every cable connection. So for example ‘green cable on Cat5e cable no.1 is wired to fire button 3
- Using the wiring notes, you wire the Ipac to the patch panel rather than the CP As long as the wiring is consistent you should be able to swap multiple CP’s at leisure by unplugging the network cables (which have rj45 plugs on the end) from the patch panel, grab the the next CP, plug it into the patch panel and hey presto – as easy as connected/disconnecting a network cable in your home PC/Router….so i think !!
I think the trick is to ensure that the wiring is correct so for example pressing down on Joystick One has the correct wiring all the way through to the Joystick One ‘down’ pin on the Ipac.
Will it work, not sure but I’m certainly going to give it a go.