Raspberrypi/ Retropie inside an arcade stick


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.


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:


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


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.


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?


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)


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).


Bearing in mind i already have the arcade stick buttons etc so for the zero delay which one do i need, I looked and there very slightly different models or maybe it’s product numbers?

And for the raspberry pi, should I get a starter kit, and within the below link there’s basic, complete or an ultimate kit??

Whats your thoughts guys?


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.


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?


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.


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?




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.


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.


@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.


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.


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?


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)


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.