Mame Arcade Machine – Control Panel.

It’s too cold to work out in the garage on the Arcade machine so I’ve detached the Control Panel and brought it inside to do a little bit of work in the warmth.

Top tip – using a suitable old dust cover on the kitchen table means that you keep in favour with the good lady  –  which is always handy if you plan to buy even more crap  retro gaming stuff from eBay 🙂

Here’s the CP ready for stripping and cleaning. The wooden board in the picture is the PCB shelf that  had the original game board on it…soon to be a shelf for the PC.



Here’s the original Jamma wiring harness. I won’t be needing it for his particular project but it may come in handy for another especially as the contacts are all in very nice condition. As I removed the harness though I noticed that some of the buttons and micro switches were broken. More than expected would need swapping out.




The harness is removed and I’ve starting to unscrew the original buttons. Some of them were in a right state and some fell to pieces as I removed them. Once the CP was devoid of all the controls I cleaned it inside and out. I’ll be revisiting the inside of the CP again when the weather is better as the rust on the inside could do with being treated and painted. Under better lighting I also noticed that there were quite a few  specs of white paint on the front side too. Being on a navy background they were quite noticeable but a splash of soapy water and a spot of elbow grease soon shifted them.




Hmm, I wasn’t expecting to be replacing as many buttons/microswitches. I fear I might not have enough…time to raid other spare parts boxes.



In the end I settled for what I could lay my hands on. Ideally I’d like to replicate the original red, white and blue scheme of the original cab but after cleaning up some of the original buttons, they still looked a bit rough and discoloured.

Ready for a bath….or the bin?



So, at the moment I’ve gone for red, red and blue and sadly they’res a mixture of convex and concave buttons. It looks bloody awful to be honest, but a shopping list is being devised and a new order to will be placed later on today.

All switches are cherry microswitches – They aren’t the most silent, but will be buying some more of those leaf switches  I used to replace the originals on my iCade – See previous blog post –

The 1-up and 2-up (acting as Coin 1) use two of the original (very cheap) switches I removed from my iCade. They are nice and stiff, useless for gaming but are perfect for secondary controls like coin/start/select etc………besides, I was running out of Cherry switches!



Next up was to wire the controls to the Mini-iPac wiring looms and connect to the iPac board. First up was the positive connections (middle pin), followed by the daisy chained common wire (top pin). I’ve done this quite a few times now so it becomes almost second nature..having said that, there’s always  mistakes made and today was no different –  I had coin/start wired the wrong way around!



Looking pretty messy but will tie up once tested.

IMG_3286.JPG (2) (Custom)


You can use any text editor to test the controls but I prefer to use this freebie iPac testing program from Ultimarc.


All good to go…once coin and start were rewired 😉



Now the fun bit, game testing time! I’ve got my netbook setup with Mame32, connected the iPac and fingers crossed.

Woot woot, all working perfectly….first game, Rolling Thunder.

IMG_3288.JPG (2) (Custom)

The thing I  like about the Mini-iPac are the shift key functions. By default, pressing the 1-up button and simultaneously pushing one of four directions on the one player joystick  will give access to the Mame main menu, volume controls, exit game etc.  It can also be used with other buttons to perform other emulator functions including credit control if say for example you don’t want to have a dedicated coin button. It’s a great feature and cuts down the need to have ‘non gaming’ buttons on your CP.

Next test, 2-up mode and I even persuaded Curstie to come and clear out the streets of Metro City with me.



That’s the control panel done for now. Like I mentioned above, the buttons aren’t exactly matching but for the time being they’ll suffice.

I just need to finish off setting up the emulation PC….which is proving to be a bit of a nightmare but more on that to follow. For now, it’s twin stick Robotron time!



4 responses to “Mame Arcade Machine – Control Panel.

  1. This thing is impressive. So you have been getting the random components off eBay? You wouldn’t happen to have a basic running tally of parts and costs would you? I guess I could look into that myself but I thought it would not hurt to ask.

  2. Hey there, have not really got a running cost as most of stuff I’m using are bits and bobs I already had lying around that where previously purchased from ultimarc or gremlin solutions and used/or no longer used on other projects.

    I guess if you we’re starting with absolutely nothing I.e no cabinet, no PC, no monitor, no controls or ipac then I’d guess, and its only a rough guess then maybe £200-£300 would get you a nice machine for playing the classics. Obviously this depends on many factors and I’m sure you could really go to town and up into the £1000’s for a custom built cabinet.

    What kind of machine were you thinking about building. Budget classic or custom dream machine?

  3. Well, I was thinking nothing too crazy and I would take my sweat time building it. Basically I would utilize my old PC that I am replacing soon and go from there. I have the resources and can get material to build an old school housing and even add art of my own design. The hardware will be new to me but I think with some instruction and time I could manage.

  4. Sounds good mate, then I guess all you would need is the controls and keyboard interface which can be brought new and are not that expensive (or a lot if you want very high quality sticks, spinners, trackballs). Personally, I’ve had cheap before and have not been disappointed but I do favour a higher quality micro switch and prices between low and high quality are only a few pounds.

    Kind regards


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