Raspberrypi/ Retropie inside an arcade stick.

guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi ViciJoined: Posts: 79
Hi guys, do you know what the best option is for putting a raspberry pi inside an arcade stick. I've done a search and most come up with arcade cabinets . Basically I just want a hdmi going from the stick into my tv.

Is it possible to connect it inside a ps3 stick and how would the controls wire up to raspberry pi? All help or recommended links appreciated.

I want this to be a newbie project of mine.


  • jopamojopamo Stuck in Silly-con Valley Joined: Posts: 1,369
    edited July 2017
    Just build a stick (or gut an existing stick), and install within the following:
    - a Raspberry Pi 3b
    - a Zero Delay Encoder Board (comes in a kit with wires and USB cable)
    - a USB-based battery pack (I recommend Anker. The larger mAh rating, the better) with a port with at least 5V 2.5A output

    1. Wire the stick and buttons to the ZD Encoder board.
    2. Connect the ZD Encoder board to Pi via included USB cable.
    3. Connect the Pi's Micro-USB power port to the USB battery pack via a Micro-USB to USB Type-A cable.
    4. Buy a long HDMI cable, connect it to the Pi, then to the TV.
    5. Call it a day.

    P.S. You'll need openings to allow for the HDMI cable to exit the stick, and a USB charging cable to enter the stick (for when charging the battery pack is needed). Neutrik and Switchcraft make HDMI and USB pass-thru's that will keep things tidy.

    P. P. S. Searching Google and/or YouTube with the text string "Raspberry Pi Arcade Stick" works like magic :wink:
    Post edited by jopamo on
  • guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi Vici Joined: Posts: 79
    edited July 2017
    Wow Jopamo, thank you very much for the detailed response, appreciate it mate

    I already own a ps3 stick with sanwa parts so that should eliminate these getting purchased but would I still need a ZD?

    And is there anything you recommend such as raspberry pi 1,2,3 etc. ...any specific make or model?

    And what about cooling fan(s) ....and the arcade stick shell i own is large with plenty of space
  • The_Real_PhoenixThe_Real_Phoenix electronoob Joined: Posts: 225
    edited July 2017
    You don't even need the Zero Delay board, since Retropie (or Recalbox) allow to directly plug the controls on the GPIOs of the Pi.

    But panel mount HDMI is a must have, as much as a micro USB one to power the Pi.


    I've already done it on an old Tekken 6 Stick for PS3, works like a charm.

    As for the Pi, the Pi 3 is the most powerful, and have Wi-Fi built in. Don't forget to take a big micro SD for storage.
    For the cooling, get a Pi 3 kit with some heatskin, and breathing holes would be enought.
  • guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi Vici Joined: Posts: 79
    So I could plug all my buttons and stick into a Retropie? I thought Retropie was an app that was installed on the raspberrypi? ??

    What would I need WiFi for if i was just wanting to plug n play? Any benefits of WiFi on these?

    How much am i looking at for the items listed, i use £ but if you paid $ what did it cost you total guys?
  • jopamojopamo Stuck in Silly-con Valley Joined: Posts: 1,369
    edited July 2017
    You don't even need the Zero Delay board, since Retropie (or Recalbox) allow to directly plug the controls on the GPIOs of the Pi.

    I know, but GPIO connections require knowledge of crimping. How many .110" or 187" quick disconnect-to-DuPont wire harnesses do you know of that are easily accessible via retail? Zero delay Encoder is plug and play without extra work (this is coming from a guy who practices crimping for a hobby)
  • The_Real_PhoenixThe_Real_Phoenix electronoob Joined: Posts: 225
    Yes Retropie is software, but the GPIOs of a Raspberry Pi can be configured to do whatever you want. Retropie (or Recalbox) are already preconfigured to use them as input for the controls.
    Recalbox is even more ready since you just have to follow the wiring diagram on their website and it works without doing anything.

    The benefit of the Wifi is to connect the Pi to a network, and then put your roms in it. Of couse you can just plug a normal ethernet cable.

    Check on EBay if you can find what Jopamo and I told you in £, or Aliexpress.

    If you have already the stick, targeting something around 60£ is doable (with the Pi3 kit at 50£ from Amazon.co.uk).
  • guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi Vici Joined: Posts: 79
  • jopamojopamo Stuck in Silly-con Valley Joined: Posts: 1,369
    edited July 2017
    In my experience, the ZD Encoder kit with red wires support connections to Japanese-style controls with .110" connections. The kits with the blue wires support American-style controls with .187" connections.

    The Raspberry Pi kit looks ok. Note however that some bundles secretly edge you up on price somewhat compared to buying separates. Heat sinks are a good addition, though I'd suggest going with a larger card--32gb at least.

    One more thing, the Raspberry Pi is without a power button. You can add a momentary button (like on our arcade sticks) with signal and ground wires bridging GPIO pins 5 and 6, respectively. Then you'll need to inject a short script into the OS to activate the shutdown function during a press. Here are two quick video links to illustrate, based on which OS you plan to run:



    Actually, just subscribe to that dude's channel. It's awesome! Reason why the button is important is due to the possibilty of corrupting (damaging) your OS/Game installation by cutting power without proper shutdown.
  • guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi Vici Joined: Posts: 79
    edited July 2017
    Ok noted thanks. The power button thing seems a hassle, ive noticed on some kits there's a wire with a power button/or switch that basically is on/off..... is this the same thing? I'll keep in mind about the red wires thanks
    there was a page about modding a ps4 venom on here is there a similar one with the Rasp pi3 (price guide and links) or is the starter kit just easier?
  • jopamojopamo Stuck in Silly-con Valley Joined: Posts: 1,369
    edited July 2017
    If a Raspberry Pi case has a power button, then it works exactly as in the videos I've shared. the Raspberry Pi lacks the innate (on-board) capacity for self-managed on/off functions. That's all reliant on the OS, and some gaming based OS's don't have that embedded by default. This is not much of a hassle:
    1. Plug in the button wires to the appropriate GPIO pins.
    2. Start the Pi and inject the script via your method of choice.
    3. Power on and off the Pi with ease.

    Nothing worthwhile ever comes without a bit of work. If that's still a hassle, I strongly suggest you go with Recalbox as your OS. It's much more plug and play than Retropie.
  • guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi Vici Joined: Posts: 79
    Yeah I'm keeping on the lookout for the power supply which has the on/off switch.

    I know this may sound like a silly question but rather than wiring it up to the zero delay and gpio etc, could I simply plug my arcade stick wire into the usb port of the Rasp pi and tuck the whole thing into the case of the stick with only an exit for hdmi and power supply?
  • jopamojopamo Stuck in Silly-con Valley Joined: Posts: 1,369
  • wigsplitterwigsplitter Joined: Posts: 139
    Hey @guyvin_juyvin_83 I'm looking at doing the same thing and stumble over this vid

    seems to be the best on/off device you can get man.
  • jopamojopamo Stuck in Silly-con Valley Joined: Posts: 1,369
    edited July 2017
    The Flirc USB controller is primarily meant for HTPC. While it may work with the Raspberry Pi, it's important to note that the Raspberry Pi does not have on-board power management. That means--even with the Flirc USB connected, you'd still need a script (usually python) injected into the system to properly interpret the IR on/off command as Pi wake/shutdown.

    At best, there might be code within the Kodi app that allows for this with the Flirc USB connected, however (1) I'm just guessing that such is the case, and (2) if it IS the case, you'd need to navigate to and launch Kodi (then pick up your remote and point it at your stick) every time you wished to shut things down.

    The method I shared with the Sanwa (or Seimitsu) button, two wires and a python script are the most practical means to facilitate boot/shutdown. ETA Prime's videos that I shared have a text description with a link to the text file that's needed. It's just copy, paste, enter, wait, repeat down the list. I've done it like 7 times already. It's foolproof.

    I have my case already with a button installed. It works great with the script.
    Having an arcade button wired remotely to the Pi and mounted on the stick case is a more elegant option, though you could just get one of these cases and tuck it into the stick like was previously mentioned.
    Post edited by jopamo on
  • wigsplitterwigsplitter Joined: Posts: 139
    @jopamo I see what you're saying. With no on-board power, there's no way for the usb dongle to power it up. Sorry about that man. Dont know what I was thinking. Now this one should work correctly because the pcb board attaches to the pi, the down fall is trying to find a case for it other than on their site. Im most likely will go the the arcade button. Thanks for the correction jopamo.

  • jopamojopamo Stuck in Silly-con Valley Joined: Posts: 1,369
    No worries. That HAT board looks promising. If the Pi is going inside a stick case, a case for the Pi itself isn't really required. I'd recommend getting a heat sink kit for the CPU and GPU. They're pretty cheap and quite effective.
  • guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi Vici Joined: Posts: 79
    So wait a second..., the on/off switch I have on my micro usb lead (the power supply to the rasp3) which I have just purchased specifically, is this redundant?
  • guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi Vici Joined: Posts: 79
    edited July 2017
    Right ok i think i get it, basically it needs powering down safely and my purchase just acts like pulling the plug out?!?

    And props to Jopamo for recommending ETAprime his channel is awesome (subscribed)
  • jopamojopamo Stuck in Silly-con Valley Joined: Posts: 1,369
    edited July 2017
    Cutting power instantly (like in a switch-on-a-wire scenario) is like rolling the dice on the data on the sd card. I might do nothing, though it also might make you cry. Not worth the gamble. I'm glad that you got things sorted. Take pics once it's all set up! Good luck and PM me if you need any more help.
  • guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi Vici Joined: Posts: 79
    Ok so got all parts for the pi sorted, i opted for 128gb attract mode, looks sweet from what I've seen online.

    .... I'm in the midst of sorting new stick/buttons as my ps3 stick I own I'm finding it emotionally difficult to tear apart. That being said, for the moment I am still going to use the pi3 as a standalone console (or consoles for that matter) just to plug my ps3/ps4 stick and play some classics through. Soon after I've been properly introduced to this whole thing then I'll start on with it inside a stick case.

    I've just tried to set it up there and completely forgot I need a usb keyboard so I'm going into town tomorrow to pick one up.

    One thing I've noticed from booting up emulation station with the initial screen with button mapping is that it's the A,B,X,Y layout which is cool by me, and I've noticed the some button assign differently than I thought. From what I guessed it seemed xbox controllers would be better choice but then again I've seen online so many people using ps3 controllers.

    I'll post pics once sorted.
  • wigsplitterwigsplitter Joined: Posts: 139
    I just wanted to thank you guys for inspiring me to do a project like this. I was able to put everything in my stick and it works perfectly. the products I used are
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Anker-PowerCore-13000-Portable-Charger-Compact-13000mAh-2-Port-Ultra-Portable/322188858187?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 ( I have not tested more than 2 hours of full use but I know it has powered my system on idel for a day off a full charge with 2 bars to spare).

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Micro-USB-Male-to-Female-Extension-Data-Charging-Cable-Black-20cm/182601748772?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 ( I use this cable to connect to the charger without having to open up my case)

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Anker-PowerLine-Micro-USB-10ft-Charging-Cable-with-Kevlar-Fiber-Space-Gray/222207278791?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 ( I like this cable for the lenght so if Im playing on my consoles or PC I can charge the portable charger with no problme. Seems to be a pretty solid cable).

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-Cable-with-Switch-Power-Control-for-Raspberry-Pi-2-A-B-MicroB-On-Off-Toggle/181667613446?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649( I know yall dont care for the switch but i only use it to turn on the system from the outside of the case. For the most part to shut down the system I just go to the menu and shut it down. After doing that, I just flip the switch to off).

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-Panel-Flush-Mount-Cable-Rerii-1M-3ft-Dual-USB-3-0-Extension-Mount/201917905925?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 ( I like this because it gives me access to two of the usb ports from outside of the case. Seem to be a pretty solid cable).

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Neutrik-NAHDMI-W-HDMI-Feed-Through-Panel-Connector-NICKEL-1040/302149495303?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 (got this to connect from the outside of the stick.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual-USB-2-0-Male-to-Standard-B-Male-Y-Cable-80cm-for-Printer-Scanner-Hard/142451260883?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 ( This is the only product that I had a problem with. Im thinking it may be just the cable I got. Im hoping that's the case. The prolem I have with this is I wanted to use the cable to connect from my Brook UFB to the raspberry pi and my Neutrik passthough USB. So when I wanted to play on any system I just plug in my usb cale and when Im finish playing on a console I just unplug my usb cable and when I want to play on the pi just switch it on with not need to have my usb cable that I use to pley on the consoles plug becaue the I have a cable already plug in ready to play inside of the stick. Well it looks like the dual cable does not have enough power (just guessing ) or I have a falulty cable. I cant have both the Neutrik and pi pluged in at the same time with the dual cable from the Brook UFB. So for now Im just keeping the Brook board connected to the Neutrik and running my usb cable to one of the flush mount port that is connect to the Pi. Not what I wanted to do but it works.

    I know this was a lot and most want even read but I do hope you two read it @jopamo @guyvin_juyvin_83 .

    Again thanks for the inspiration.
  • guyvin_juyvin_83guyvin_juyvin_83 Veni Vidi Vici Joined: Posts: 79
    Awesome mate. I see you've went the whole hog. I'll bookmark this page for reference for sure :)

    This is a great idea especially with the brook ufb. Multi console platform plus Pi. Ultimate stick!

    What did it set you back in total? $
  • wigsplitterwigsplitter Joined: Posts: 139
    edited August 2017
    Well minus the Brook UFB the total was around 125.00. That's including Pi and micro SD card. A lot of the stuff I have you may not need for your build. Also, I have an American style Stick (street fighter 15th anniversary) that I gutted out years ago so it was easy to put all the parts in because of its size. I'll post pics later. I really wanted to put a Pandora's box 4S in the stick at first but was having problems getting info on how I would be able to power the Pandora without having a power supply the size of my case LOL. Then I stumble upon this here and was like ok let's do this. I still want to do the pandora in my stick. Good thing I have another Anniversary stick I can play around with. Just need to figure out my power issue. I know there's a way to do it, just need to do some more research that's all. Anyway, hope the info I gave you helps. I know if it was not for you making this I would not have started this project.

    Thanks man.
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