F Happ Controls + The Spinner Files

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F Happ Controls + The Spinner Files

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Wed Jan 18, 2006 5:50 pm

I wanted a controller that would allow me to play the following games as they were meant to be played:

o Tempest
o Arkanoid II
o Arkanoid II: the Revenge of Doh
o Warlords
o Kaboom
o Night Driver
o Every stupid flash game on the face of the planet

Just kidding! I would never waste my time with Night Driver.

So I ordered a "spinner."

Nothing is easy when it comes to arcade parts, so I had to get some microswitch pushbuttons with it. I didn't order the spinner from Happ Controls, but today I went looking in order to get the pushbuttons there. I wanted a "Player 1," a "Player 2" a "purple" and a "black" button. The object is to get a couple piece of wood, go over to the Milker's and see if I can't put together a little box for the thing. It's already got USB control, so I don't have to write a driver.

Anyway, long story short -- Happ was charging me $9.52 for four buttons but wanted a $10 handling fee for orders under $25. Twenty five bucks! I know I seem like I'm homeless or something, but if you had $24.99 worth of arcade crap you're looking at a $34.99 order before shipping.

(Honestly, I'm not really that outraged, because without them we'd be playing on remote controls that some crazy cog at Nintendo thought was the new joystick.)

I got the parts for a lot less than $35 at http://www.9thtee.com. Though they were a buck more expensive than what Happ wanted, it still came out to less due to Happ's handling fee.

(Edit: It looks like this is common for Happ. They really don't want to deal with individuals. I can't blame them, really. At any rate.)

Further bulletins when the crap gets here.
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Post by Jethro Q. Walrustitty » Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:45 am

I think I mentioned earlier:

Either find a local arcade-parts retailer (via "yellow pages") or go over to http://forum.arcadecontrols.com and go to the buy/sell board and buy some from one of the guys there. I bought a bunch of stuff from "ponyboy" (one of the worst handles ever, yes), and had no problems.

If what you got from 9thtee doesn't have Cherry microswitches, then you got screwed. 9thtee is decent, though, I bought my Tivo hack stuff from them. (Of course, they were the only place that sold it.)

Which spinner did you get? They're all on the expensive side.

The downside to building your own box is that you need hole saws, which can be a little pricey. I used an old one that my father had, which was as dull as (insert joke here), and hence made enough heat to nearly light the wood on fire.

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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:44 pm

I got buttons with microswitches. How could I have gotten ripped off? I got four arcade buttons for $9. Do you know how little $9 is to me? NONE OF YOU UNDERSTAND

"Cherry" microswitches. OK, let's take a look...
High Quality Pushbuttons with Horizontal Cherry Microswitch.
Well, I guess I got lucky there.

I'm really wondering how I can make the one and two player buttons map to something like a key press. I mean, I get that the spinner will probably have slots for left and right mose button for me to solder. But what about more buttons? I know how to send stuff in Assembly, but I don't know where I'd generate the impulse from to send the specific keycode for the 1P and 2P buttons. Does this make sense? Fuck. I guess I'd rather MAME be programmed than stuff hard coded to the spinner.

I am also hoping that I can send power to a blue LED for my board. But that's this whole other thing.

You know those Ms. Pac Man units that Jakks sells? I want a Tempest spinner about the same size. And I want a decal for "SUPER ZAPPER."
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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:29 pm

The spinner arrived today. (So did the "Gamer's Keyboard." I mention that because I think it would make Mike bray like a hyena to know that it was called that.) It rocks! It has three little buttons on the inside, and hopefully I can hook up those buttons, but for now it works well enough.
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Post by Jethro Q. Walrustitty » Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:34 am

If you want more buttons than the three, then you need a keyboard encoder. Best bet for a cheap one is probably the I-Pac VE, $35 w/free shipping. That's what I have in the joystick box you saw at my place, hooks in like a USB keyboard.

Of course, the spinner is basically just a mouse, like the trackball is. If you want extra buttons - well, you build an extra box. You want just one or two? Lean over to your damn keyboard and press the keys.

As for the rip-off thing - well, they could have shitty switches that'll break after a couple months, and the places I referred to will sell you the quality Happ stuff for under $6.

And the "gamer's keyboard" is a fucking joke, because it has "windows keys", which no true gamer uses nor wants nor will tolerate.

I also don't remember a blue LED on Tempest. It sounds like someone's trying to be K-RAD L33T!

A little bit of useful information, a little bit of trolling... those are the ingredients of a JQW post.

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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:34 am

Jethro Q. Walrustitty wrote:If you want more buttons than the three, then you need a keyboard encoder. Best bet for a cheap one is probably the I-Pac VE, $35 w/free shipping. That's what I have in the joystick box you saw at my place, hooks in like a USB keyboard.
Cool. That definitely explains how you get keyboard commands into the computer, which is what I needed. Who says you're just a troll? (Though it might be overkill for the spinner box I'm imagining. Still, good to know about the item should I ever make a MAME cab.)

Of course, the spinner is basically just a mouse, like the trackball is. If you want extra buttons - well, you build an extra box. You want just one or two? Lean over to your damn keyboard and press the keys.
Wha? There are three buttons on the unit, they are just inside the unit. I'll post a hi-res picture. You really can't play Tempest or Pole Position if the two buttons aren't accessible. You can play Arkanoid just fine.

Oh, by the way -- Arkanoid II: the Revenge of Doh is SHIT. Go into MAME and look at the first level. There's, what, 30 pixels between your guy and the lowest level of the bricks? 40? Fuck you, Doh, if you're reading. It's fucking impossible.

And the "gamer's keyboard" is a fucking joke, because it has "windows keys", which no true gamer uses nor wants nor will tolerate.
Hahah, you can disable it! They thought of everything! The little side pad there rocks, too, as I can't stand WASD.

Plus, it's a GAMER'S KEYBOARD. It's the GAMER'S EDGE.

But in reality I needed a keyboard in the bedroom that wasn't loud so that Dayna could sleep and I could clickety-clack a new text game at the same time, so that ruled out the Model Ms. The keyboard in the other room is a Model M, one of your old ones actually.

I also don't remember a blue LED on Tempest. It sounds like someone's trying to be K-RAD L33T!
You betcha. I want to make a black handheld box, three buttons, and then have the LED light up when it's connected via USB. If I can figure out how to put racing stripes on it you know I'm there.

A little bit of useful information, a little bit of trolling... those are the ingredients of a JQW post.[/quote]
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Post by Jethro Q. Walrustitty » Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:06 pm

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:Cool. That definitely explains how you get keyboard commands into the computer, which is what I needed. Who says you're just a troll? (Though it might be overkill for the spinner box I'm imagining. Still, good to know about the item should I ever make a MAME cab.)
There's a ton of good info over at arcadecontrols.com - or there's a quite good book. I wouldn't know for sure, but I hear there are PDFs floating around of the book, maybe a Mexican friend could hook you up.
Wha? There are three buttons on the unit, they are just inside the unit.
Err, what I meant, is if you wanted more than the built-in ones, just use the keyboard. It seems a waste to put in an i-pac just for one or two buttons. Of course, the usual thing to do in a case like yours is build a whole box and have the spinner as part of it - like the one you saw (and which I may donate if I ever get time to finish the MAME machines.)

You still haven't said which spinner you got.
Plus, it's a GAMER'S KEYBOARD. It's the GAMER'S EDGE.
A true gamer's keyboard would be made from titanium with a layer of foam rubber, so you can bang on it without hurting your fist. Also, the keycaps would have little tethers, so when they go flying off, you wouldn't have to search the room to find where they went.

Due to "never getting around to it", we missed a photo op when we were in Disney last week. We stayed at one of their new resorts, which has sections done up in different themes for different centuries. Ie, 50s, 60s, etc. We were in one of the '80s buildings - which featured Pac-Man, ghosts, dots, and bits of maze on the side. (Picture to be posted but you can find online easily by searching for "pop century".) ... Anyway, we were right near the "laptop pool", which was overlooked by an enormous '90s-style laptop, and had a giant spongy keyboard in the floor on the other side of the keyboard. The idea was a picture of me pounding on the giant keyboard as if I was just cheap-fragged in Unreal Tournament.

Alas, the picture was never taken, despite us walking across the keyboard many times. That, and the actual picture probably wouldn't be as funny as thinking about taking the picture.

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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Mon Jan 23, 2006 8:32 pm

Hey, while I have you here, Jeff... have you ever replaced the "Big Blue" capacitor on an arcade game? I am presuming that Baby Pac has one. Does it just screw on / screw off?
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Post by JQW » Tue Jan 24, 2006 9:39 am

I haven't, and I don't know. I had the repair place do all the fixin' on Baby Pac, and all I've done has been the speaker repairs (still need to resolder that one wire - honestly, I haven't even had a chance to play it since then) and a ton of cosmetic work. I don't know if you remember what it looked like before, but it was filthy - it's had a ton of cleaning, plus new pinballs, new rubbers, the playfield's been waxed, etc... all reasons why I'm confident that it plays better now than it has since it was brand-new.

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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:48 pm

(I found out how to remove the Big Blue cap. I just need a longer screwdriver.)

I also received my buttons from 9th tee. They are as advertised and have "Happ" written on them.

However, they did not come with wires. Tonight I'll post pics, but I am officially stuck -- how do I get wires from the buttons to the area on the spinner where the left mouse button, right mouse button and third mouse button are indicated? WHERE do I get the wires? If you buy a Happ trackball they are already connected. I find it odd that they don't sell wiring kits that clip onto the microswitch portion of the buttons.
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Post by JQW » Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:05 pm

No offense, but if you can't come up with your own wire and a soldering gun, you maybe shouldn't be trying to build your own controller. It sounds like I'm saying that you're a mongoloid who walks around with bent knees. Hey, if the ape-fur fits...

In your case, it might actually be easiest to use crimp-on connectors; actually that's definitely the way to go when it comes to connection to the buttons. As for the other end of the wire... well, it depends. The ipac has screw terminals, so you just stick the bare wire in and use a tiny flathead screwdriver to secure it. As for a supply of wire... take your shittiest, most-hated, worst-broken controller and slice open the cable and use those wires.

I don't think the buttons are actually attached already with a Happ trackball, it just has the connectors for them. I assume that if you crack open your X-Arcade trackball you'll see that. It would be silly for them to include buttons as everyone might want different colors and/or styles of buttons.

So WHAT FRIGGIN' SPINNER DID YOU GET? It must be the Rimjob Spinster 3000 the way you're ashamed to admit which one you got.

JQW again

Post by JQW again » Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:08 pm

Oh yeah, you can go here if you want to see the wiring on my joystick box. That may or may not be helpful.

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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:25 pm

More later, but it was the spinner at www.ezarcadesolutions.com. I didn't get one of the custom knobs for it, but I've been thinking about it for the future.
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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:32 pm

No offense, but if you can't come up with your own wire and a soldering gun, you maybe shouldn't be trying to build your own controller. It sounds like I'm saying that you're a mongoloid who walks around with bent knees. Hey, if the ape-fur fits...
Case in point -- your control panel. It looks like you have a specific product that you "plugged" your buttons into. The buttons, of course, come with three parts. The one I am talking about is the thing with the actual microswitch on it and two prongs sticking out. IT SEEMS like there should be a component that you insert the prongs into. This component would have wires at the other end. If you honestly expect me to believe that everyone just creates that component themselves, in a hobby where you can buy individual piece of half-inch metal to replace the switch in a microswitch then you're insane. Of course the wiring component is pre-made. I can't believe how smug you are about all this because you threw together a control panel that's not even officially hooked up to a cabinet yet.

In your case, it might actually be easiest to use crimp-on connectors; actually that's definitely the way to go when it comes to connection to the buttons. As for the other end of the wire... well, it depends. The ipac has screw terminals, so you just stick the bare wire in and use a tiny flathead screwdriver to secure it. As for a supply of wire... take your shittiest, most-hated, worst-broken controller and slice open the cable and use those wires.
This is where I'll need pictures of the spinner. Hi-res ones. I have never seen a connector to the mouse buttons like the one it has.
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Post by Jethro Q. Walrustitty » Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:53 am

The piece that the buttons "plug" into is a standard crimp-on connector. Those are what the metal tabs on the buttons are designed to work with. You crimp the connector onto a piece of wire. As far as I know, no one will sell pieces of wire with a connector pre-crimped on one end as it's too easy to just do it yourself. Head down to your local hardware store and buy a basic crimping kit (should be in the wiring section), that should come with a variety of connectors. Figure out which one fits the buttons, then if you need more, you should be able to buy a box of just those connectors.

I've never heard of this "EZ Arcade" spinner before. (I was going to make a "Sauder" joke but I don't know if you have "Sauder EZ Home" out there.) It sounds a bit dodgy. I would have recommended checking the hardware reviews at Retroblast (complete with videos on some) before choosing a spinner. The EZ Arcade site is woefully short on information - and it's hosted at "batman.servebeer.com" - hardly confidence-inspiring. The SlikStik Tornado is probably the best choice at the moment - but it's a bit pricey at $90. Oscar had some good ones but is "closed" at the moment. (And has been for many months.) Anyway, compare the info to those sites to EZ-Arcade...

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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:59 pm

OK, here's a picture of the spinner.

http://img308.imageshack.us/img308/8860/spinner1io.jpg

Do you see the three black things with red in the middle? If I click on the red part it corresponds to a mouse click.

My question is...

How on earth do I get that area to extend to the previously purchased microswitches??? I have no idea.
Last edited by Ice Cream Jonsey on Wed May 17, 2006 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by pinback » Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:05 am

It's the Night of 1000 Shitty Photographs!
Above all else... We shall go on... And continue!

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Post by JQW » Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:30 am

1) Try the "macro" setting on your digicam, to get it to focus closeup. The internet, as a collective, will thank you.

2) Those are microswitches, actually. That's the inside of one. I would guess that your option it to desolder them from that little breadboard they're on and run wires - or, fuck it, leave 'em and solder new wires on the back. Either way, it's a pretty basic design - but frankly, that's what you're likely to get for $35.

Did you try emailing the sleazy EZ guy? Granted, you probably don't get much in the way of support for the price, either, but it's worth a shot. Or check forum.arcadecontrols.com .

In fact, since I'm a hell of a guy, here here is a thread[/url] about the spinner in question.

There's no mention of the buttons. My guess is that nobody bothers to use them - they're all going into MAME control panels where there are already fire buttons being used via a keyboard encoder. The mouse buttons are by themselves unimportant as you can't really use it as a regular mouse since it's only 2D.

It sounds like the consensus is that it's an OK spinner if you're not a hardcore spinner nut - not a piece of junk but certainly not as good as the $80-90 ones.

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Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:05 pm

This is coming back into the queue.
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Post by ICJ » Wed May 17, 2006 11:43 pm

Does anyone know what the three prongs on a cherry microswitch are for? I wanted to swap the leaf switches in my CC as a sort of test run for the Spinner I'm making, but connecting the two wires that went to the leaf switch to the two close-together prongs on the microswitch didn't work.

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