Building your own Control Panel (CP) is a great way to experience classic games on MAME.
Defender and Joust require leaf buttons for optimal play
- Bob Roberts sells original Williams pinball buttons. The long E-clip model will work for a 3/4 inch wood panel
- Leaf assembly for wood panel and long pinball buttons- http://www.therealbobroberts.net/woodbut.jpg
- Leaf assembly for metal panels and short pinball buttons- http://www.therealbobroberts.net/woodsw.jpg
- Ultimarc Gold Leafs (UK based)- http://www.ultimarc.com/goldleaf.html
- Rollie Leaf conversions for standard buttons (Hawaii based)- http://www.paradisearcadeshop.com/en/microswitches/36-rollie-leaf-switch-for-pushbutton.html
- GroovyGameGear Tru-Leaf Pro- http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=73&products_id=360
USB Keyboard Interface, it integrates your computer and the arcade controls
- Ultimarc Ipac VE (free shipping)- http://www.ultimarc.com/ipacve.html
- Ultimarc Jpac, if you are using Mame with a jamma wired arcade cabinet
- The cheap chinese products break quickly and aren’t robust functionality. Ultimarc is the top dawg.
- Get 4 “PCB feet” for mounting the Ipac to the CP- http://www.shop.cajunarcade.com/PCB-Foot-with-screw-PCBF001.htm
- Great option for Robotron build- modified X-Arcade Sticks
- Great option for new Defender/Joust/Moon Patrol build- GroovyGameGear Leaf-Prof True Leaf-Switch Joystick
- Defender- I used Zippyy short shaft in a 3/4 thick pine CP– http://www.shop.cajunarcade.com/ZIPPYY-Short-Shaft-Universal-Joystick-JSZSS.htm
- How to modify a Zippyy for 2 way leaf switch action- HERE
- 30mm balltop for Zippyy sticks (“similar” to original Defender/Joust stick)- http://www.gremlinsolutions.co.uk/products/LB-30.htm
- Reproduction Defender/Joust sticks from UK- http://www.arcadeshop.de/product_info.php?item_number=1034&products_id=1006&language=en
- Defender/Joust replacement body parts- http://www.mantisamusements.com/joystick1.htm
- Robotron- I used Zippyy long shaft in a 3/4 thick pine CP– http://www.shop.cajunarcade.com/ZIPPYY-Long-Shaft-Universal-Joystick-JSZLS2.htm
- I have used jammaparts.net in the US with great success, too.
- Obviously using a real Defender or Joust joystick is the best, if you have the source for one and the resources to do the routing for the base.
- Wico Leaf joysticks are the best for Robotron, if you have a source. Wico is long gone, but NOS and used options are available in the hobby/ebay community
- In the US we would call it a 1 x 10 x 3ft. Which means a pine board 3/4 inch thick, 9-1/4 inch wide, and 3 feet long. You will have to plan accordingly to what is available in your region.
- The 3/4 inch thickness makes for a decent Defender joystick height, out of the short zippyy stick…. but you may prefer a thinner board, or longer joystick shaft. It is personal preference, no right answers.
- Minimally you need a drill and a 1-1/8th inch spade (paddle) bit. Using a drill press is optimal, if available
- When drilling take your time and stop at the last 1/4 inch of hole, flip the board over and drill through, to avoid ripping out the wood around the hole
- 3/8th inch sheet metal screws will secure the joystick bases to the board
- Note- the 1-1/8th inch diameter drill bit is crucial to proper fitting of the buttons, and also allows proper clearance for the joystick shaft movement
- Safety tip- Depending on the torque of your drill, if that spade bit grabs it’ll yank that drill out of your hand with surprising force, potentially breaking or spraining something you don’t want. Be safe and get help from a carpenter friend if you have any hesitation about what you are doing.
Although pricey, a 1-1/8″ hole saw makes for very clean work.
- Drill only slightly more than halfway through wood then drill other side to avoid wood plug getting stuck in chamber
- for drilling plexiglass. use an old soldering iron to create a hole slightly larger than the drillbit, then drill backwards to melt the hole slowly. This avoids cracking plexiglass
- If using plexi over wood, clamp them together and drill a small starter hole through both which will preserve exact line-up of the final holes.
- Use dremel to clean-up edges of holes.
Designing a Layout
Choose a layout to fit YOUR own needs. Lay it out before making any holes. Ergonomics are important for the feel of the final product, take the time to make it feel right for YOU…and the joystick bases being used….and the physical space you have available on desktop…..
2014 UPDATE- This is the best/final solution I came up with for most comfortable play ergonomics
Robo-fender CP: Robotron-Defender-Stargate specialty panel (can play any other mame games, too)
Plan for the proper distance from the reverse button to the joystick. approx. 2 inches
Putting it all together
Bottom side layed out, ready for wiring
Wiring it up- I cut wires from a $10 Jamma Harness – Robo-fender CP pictured
- IMPORTANT- Each button and joystick switch must be connected to a ground wire!
- You can use a daisy chain of ground wires, like found on a jamma harness, and connect to just 1 ground slot on the ipac.
Close up view of an Ultimarc Ipac VE
Trying it out- Williams games need three buttons to adjust settings, which you see on right side. (Advance/Auto-up/High Score Reset)
- I used the last four Player 2 button slots on the ipac which allowed for the 3 setting buttons and a pause button. But again it is personal choice on what you wish to setup.
Robo-fender panel test – Youtube
Defender Panel test – Youtube
Retrofitting original pinball style buttons-
- Bob Roberts still sells original williams e-clip buttons in the longer version, see green button. If you have some old leaf holders they can be sanded down which removes need to route panel down. Bob also sells re-popped leaf holders in the thinner model. NOTE- Both the holder and longer buttons can be salvaged from forgotten arcade control panels! This is highly recommended for the heavy traffic buttons on Defender/Stargate- reverse-fire-thrust.
Getting fancy with graphics, if you want to get detailed
Dimensions taken from a real Robotron control panel (David Gomez)
300dpi example from Jim Bowley
Bootleg Control Panel- http://www.coinopart.com/index.php?d=312
Example from Japan-