Arcade button controller.

  • So ever since first setting sight on the midifighter, I've wanted one to mash effects when I'm playing live. I kinda wasn't up for paying that much (I'm in the UK) for what is essentially 16 arcade buttons (which you can buy for just over a quid a pop) and some kind of usb interface.

    Well tonight, months after buying a load of buttons, I finally got around to raping an old USB game controller, and soldering the contacts to my retro arcade buttons.

    It's turned out to be sooo much fun, just the feel of the things takes me back to a bar in northern Spain where I grew up which had a streetfighter machine :D

    I'd totally recommend it for an evening of fun. The USB gamepad was a couple of quid second hand, and I bought 10 buttons off a retro gaming website for 15 quid including p+p - the box I stole (with permission) from my daughter, and was from an old puzzle. Total cost - 17 great british pounds.

    I know, I know... "Cool story, bro," and all that.

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  • Very cool story indeed! Maybe you could make a tutorial, or link me to one, because I started a similar project, but stopped because I didn't know where to solder the buttons to.. I'm sort of a noob at that kind of stuff. But I can solder just fine anyways ha.
    Any reason you chose 9 instead of 16?

  • I chose 9 because it's really just for launching effects - also a standard usb game controller usually only has 14 buttons (4 standard buttons, 4 shoulder buttons, select, start, ^,V,) so by buying a cheapo second hand thing, I'd already dismissed the 16 button idea.

    As for a tutorial, It's a bit late now :p - but there are a few on the web, but most tell you to buy a USB HID - ie a board specifically for the purpose of creating a human input device. A lot of these are pretty cool, as you can use crimped connectors and never have to solder it, meaning you can make changes to the device really quickly and easily. But they cost around 20 quid each, and raping a game controller costs 2 or 3 quid. If I make another one, I'll try to take pictures along the way.

    If you're using a usb controller, just solder one side of each arcade button to the ground trace on your gamepad (it doesn't matter which side of the arcade button, and the ground trace is the one that connects ALL of the buttons together). Then solder the other side of each arcade button to the other trace coming from each button on the gamepad. Job done!

    I use Rejoice to pick up the button presses and convert them to midi. I then use Maplemidi to transfer the midi from Rejoice to Ableton.

    I hope this answers your problem, Admiral!

  • fresh. also if you use a usb controller with analogue sticks you can solder 4 pots.

    some controllers have more buttons than others so look for one with more.
    If you use mac you can use multicontrol to convert hid to midi. Its free and you can save presets.

    Does anyone know how to get multiple diy controllers made this way working at one time?