Jump to content

Photo

X-Arcade Mod with Spinners


15 replies to this topic

#1 akator ONLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • 2,281 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Tue May 22, 2012 6:58 PM

A while back I bought 2x TurboTwist spinners to add to my X-Arcade Tankstick. Sure, the trackball could be used for analog input, but I always wanted some spinners for linear action.

Today I took a break from other things and tackled the X-Arcade mod. I replaced the top left button on each player's side with the spinner, then moved the old button to the bottom right. Next I mounted 3 new buttons on the front for mouse inputs. It took about 4 hours to get everything done, but it's all tested and working.

DSCF3769 cropped.JPG

The spinners are from http://groovygamegear.com and work perfectly. They also fit perfectly in standard arcade button spaces (1 1/8"). I got the ones with a counterweight so they spin smoothly. I'm very happy this turned out well...

There's still a ton of stuff to setup for the "emulation station," but hopefully it will be done sooner than later ;)

#2 akator ONLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,281 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Tue May 22, 2012 7:23 PM

Here's another pic from the top.

DSCF3774 cropped.JPG

The problem with the X-Arcade is that you rarely need all 8 buttons for a game. I always wondered why they were 3-3-2, since the few games that require more buttons (like SF2) need 6 buttons towards the bottom. This resolved the issue. 6 buttons are available in the bottom 2 rows, then the spinner and 2 buttons if those last 2 are ever needed. This way the spinner is still accessible but out of the way, yet within reach of buttons if those are still needed in the same hand...

Edited by akator, Tue May 22, 2012 7:44 PM.


#3 akator ONLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,281 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Tue May 22, 2012 9:48 PM

I have wanted these Arcade Guns light guns for years, but I could never justify the money. HatefulGravey had some for sale for almost half-price here on Atari Age, and even though our budget is tight, that was too good of deal to pass up.

Sweet awesomeness. As I'm setting up the "emulation station," I plugged these in and they are completely awesome.

Problem is, I don't have the light gun sensor mounted properly yet. Tomorrow I will buy the correct stuff to do that, calibrate the guns, and be very happy. I can't wait to play some shooters with my wife... let alone anyone who shows up...

The only thing I'm missing from the "emulation station" is a high quality driving controller... which will have to wait for a while. The spinners are awesome, even with Stella, making even 2600 games perfect for 2 players. They work for driving games, but no one wants to use a spinner for something as awesome as OutRun even if the controls work perfectly...

Edited by akator, Tue May 22, 2012 9:49 PM.


#4 SoundGammon OFFLINE  

SoundGammon

    Dragonstomper

  • 572 posts

Posted Tue May 22, 2012 10:41 PM

Thanks for posting for this idea! I've got 2 X-Arcades, original one without the trackball, and one just like in the pics. Also have a X-Arcade Trackball controller, rare now that they're no longer made. Anyway, my original one without the trackball, I got used and is a little beat up. I know I can get some new molding for it, but I'm open to ideas for the overlay. Any suggestions?

#5 akator ONLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,281 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Wed May 23, 2012 12:29 AM

I once had both the dual joystick and trackball models. Once I got the Tankstick, I didn't use the other ones ever. Still, I held on to them for years. Last year I sold both of them here on AA. I hope the people who bought them love them as much as I did.

You can get new T molding for the edges from Happ/Suzo controls. They also have a ton of awesome arcade controls for more ideas. If the actual melamine surface is messed up, there isn't a way to restore it that I know of, but you can always recover it with other materials (even with custom printing) usually in vinyl.

So far, I haven't worried about an overlay on the "X-Arcade" top, but one day I will cover it... probably with a custom vinyl that I mentioned before.

The ccolest thing now is that with the spinners, I can play 2600 paddle games perfectly with Stella. No more worrying about real jittery paddles ;) There are tons of other advantages to having spinners for arcade emulation... but I haven't had a chance to explore everything yet.

One thing is that I like is how I setup the control panel with the additions. The spinners are accessible, but not in the way for games that don't use them. The X-Arcade Tankstick is already a "frankenpanel" as stock, and I didn't want to make that worse. If anything, I think my solution may have made it better :)

Edited by akator, Wed May 23, 2012 12:31 AM.


#6 atarilovesyou OFFLINE  

atarilovesyou

    Stargunner

  • 1,534 posts

Posted Wed May 23, 2012 2:25 AM

Cool! I have the Dual Stick model and was considering adding a spinner. I guess the only easy way to do it is to replace a button though, correct? Could I maybe mount it between the sticks?...I'm only really adding to play one of my all time faves, Arkanoid. :thumbsup:

I'm happy with my X-Arcade overall but unfortunately I didn't get great results using it with my Playstation 2 (lag issues). But at the price, you can't really go wrong with it. I'm still working on getting my MAME setup on my XBox, a work in progress!

#7 akator ONLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,281 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Wed May 23, 2012 9:20 AM

Cool! I have the Dual Stick model and was considering adding a spinner. I guess the only easy way to do it is to replace a button though, correct? Could I maybe mount it between the sticks?...I'm only really adding to play one of my all time faves, Arkanoid. :thumbsup:


The easiest way is definitely to replace a button, although the dual joystick should be a little easier to add a spinner since IIRC there's a little more space in it for options.

#8 atarilovesyou OFFLINE  

atarilovesyou

    Stargunner

  • 1,534 posts

Posted Thu May 24, 2012 2:42 AM


Cool! I have the Dual Stick model and was considering adding a spinner. I guess the only easy way to do it is to replace a button though, correct? Could I maybe mount it between the sticks?...I'm only really adding to play one of my all time faves, Arkanoid. :thumbsup:


The easiest way is definitely to replace a button, although the dual joystick should be a little easier to add a spinner since IIRC there's a little more space in it for options.


Was there any modding to the board inside the X-Arcade cabinet?...or is there a place where you can add the spinner? I really have no idea how to go about it, but if it's relatively straight forward to do, I just might!

#9 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

ClassicGMR

    Dragonstomper

  • 739 posts
  • Location:Northeastern U.S.

Posted Thu May 24, 2012 9:45 AM

Was there any modding to the board inside the X-Arcade cabinet?...or is there a place where you can add the spinner? I really have no idea how to go about it, but if it's relatively straight forward to do, I just might!

I would also consider this if it's not too difficult. Please... dish on the details. :)

#10 akator ONLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,281 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Thu May 24, 2012 7:59 PM

No modding to the X-Arcade "guts," including the controller board, was necessary. The buttons that I moved had enough wiring, so there were no changes to that either.
  • Bought a 1 1/8" paddle bit. Use a new bit, it will minimize any damage to the finish or other complications.
  • Opened the X-Arcade and made sure any wires and other guts wouldn't be hit by the drill bit.
  • Measured and marked the locations for the new button holes. Measured again. Measured again. Measured again.
  • Taped the drill areas with masking tape to minimize any chipping of the melamine surface finish.
  • Drilled carefully from the outside in. I did get a little chipping with one of the front buttons, but it's almost completely covered by the button itself so it's not noticeable unless you know where to look.
  • Removed the 2 top left buttons closest to the joysticks.
  • Mounted the removed buttons in the new holes in the bottom row.
  • Mounted the spinners in the old holes at the top row, making sure to leave room for the wiring to be plugged in.
  • Mounted the 3 new buttons on the front.
  • Carefully pre-drilled for the new spinner control board.
  • Carefully mounted the new spinner control board.
  • Read the spinner instructions several times to make sure I didn't screw up any wiring and potentially damage any components.
  • Ran the spinner cables to the spinners.
  • Ran the spinner cables to the 3 new "mouse" buttons. This required me to "extend" one of the new spinner button ground wires, not a big deal.
  • Carefully removed the USB wire grommet from the back of the X-Arcade. This was a pain because it was tight.
  • Neither end of the new spinner USB cable would fit through the existing hole. There were 2 options, to drill a bigger hole or to cut the USB cable and splice it back together inside the X-Arcade. I didn't want to drill more holes, so I spliced the cable.
  • Before putting the back on, I plugged everything in and tested the inputs. The spinners and new buttons worked, and the old controls all worked too.
  • Using band ties I gently bundled and offending wiring that might rub against the spinners. I also wrapped the USB cable splice with electrical tape to minimize any future possibilities of shorting.
  • With things wrapped and bundles, there was always a chance something came loose. I tested everything again to make sure.
  • I put the bottom panel back on.
The biggest worry is messing up the melamine finish during drilling. As long as you take your time and drill carefully, there shouldn't be any problems.

Edited by akator, Thu May 24, 2012 8:00 PM.


#11 JL OFFLINE  

JL

    Moonsweeper

  • 251 posts

Posted Sun May 27, 2012 3:26 PM

Nice work!

Which conterweight did you get?

I've been thing about picking 2 groover gamer spinners. For now I'm still using my USB Oscar Controller spinner [remember those?] in of my old HotrodSE's that I added on of those X-Arcade USB controller boards in. Not sure if I want to use my other USB "modded" Hotrod SE or my X-Arcade for the groovey spinners.

Edited by JL, Sun May 27, 2012 3:26 PM.


#12 akator ONLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,281 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Mon May 28, 2012 5:52 PM

The counterweight I got was the "energy storage cylinder" further down the page. I also got the "black dimple" knobs because I like the dimple for one finger spinning ;)

#13 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

ClassicGMR

    Dragonstomper

  • 739 posts
  • Location:Northeastern U.S.

Posted Wed Jun 6, 2012 7:32 PM

Do the caps come off easily? I see mini steering wheels that mount on the spinners and was wondering if they are interchangeable. :)

#14 akator ONLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,281 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Wed Jun 6, 2012 9:38 PM

Do the caps come off easily? I see mini steering wheels that mount on the spinners and was wondering if they are interchangeable. :)


The knobs are attached via a hex screw, which is easily loosened with an included tool (or any other standard hex tool). I wouldn't recommend it for quick and easy changes, because while it is easy to change the knob still takes 5-10 minutes to do properly for each spinner. Even if you managed to do it often and cut down the time, it would wear on the shaft and probably isn't the best solution...

Edited by akator, Wed Jun 6, 2012 9:39 PM.


#15 Hatta OFFLINE  

Hatta

    Stargunner

  • 1,262 posts

Posted Thu Jun 7, 2012 7:48 AM

[*]Carefully pre-drilled for the new spinner control board.
[*]Carefully mounted the new spinner control board.
[*]Read the spinner instructions several times to make sure I didn't screw up any wiring and potentially damage any components.
[*]Ran the spinner cables to the spinners.
[*]Ran the spinner cables to the 3 new "mouse" buttons. This required me to "extend" one of the new spinner button ground wires, not a big deal.
[*]Carefully removed the USB wire grommet from the back of the X-Arcade. This was a pain because it was tight.
[*]Neither end of the new spinner USB cable would fit through the existing hole. There were 2 options, to drill a bigger hole or to cut the USB cable and splice it back together inside the X-Arcade. I didn't want to drill more holes, so I spliced the cable.
[*]Before putting the back on, I plugged everything in and tested the inputs. The spinners and new buttons worked, and the old controls all worked too.
[/list]


So, if I understand correctly, you now have 2 cables coming out the back of your X-Arcade?

#16 akator ONLINE  

akator

    River Patroller

  • Topic Starter
  • 2,281 posts
  • Location:Virginia, US

Posted Thu Jun 7, 2012 9:16 AM

So, if I understand correctly, you now have 2 cables coming out the back of your X-Arcade?


There's actually 3: the Tankstick originally had 2 USB cables, one for the joystick/buttons and a second for the trackball. Now there is a third for the spinners and new buttons coming out of one of the existing cable holes.




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users