Arcade Mouse

I wanted a trackball on my arcade cabinet, mostly so I could play missile command but I know my mom likes centipede and I’ve always wanted to try marble madness.  Trackballs are common, lots of people put them on arcade machines so it should be cheap and easy to interface with.  Wrong.  Or, somewhat wrong.  This all depends on your level of cheap.  For me I thought the big trackballs were too expensive, and the ones that connect to a computer were even more.  If you think differently just remember this was a few years ago.  If you still think differently pretend it was a long long time ago when my point would be valid even to you.

I came across a trackball on ebay available for purchase.  It was 2.25″ across (boo), about $25 (yay!) and ps/2 (…good enough!).  It had three sets of wires for left right and middle click as well as a ps/2 cable coming out of it.  I have put a picture of it above. If you’ll notice there’s no convenient way to flush-mount this in a wood and acrylic control panel.  My solution involves a 2×4, some brackets, and shims to bring it to the right height.  As imprecise as this method is, I prefer it to a ‘trackball mounting plate’.  Those are ugly.  They also make highball versions that can be mounted like I want to, but they are more expensive.

Over time I came to find that the trackball didn’t work anymore.  I attribute it to me plugging the non-polarized harness in backward and frying the chip on board.  It turns out that all that’s needed these days to make a ps/2 mouse is one monolithic chip, some ir beam break sensors and some buttons.  I reverse engineered it and found that the circuit was as simple as one of these ps/2 mice I got at black friday a long long time ago.  They were $0.50 at abc warehouse so I bought 20 or some stupid number like that, I figured with a fleet of identical ones I could use them in projects… just like this!

Now, I’ve tried before to mod trackballs with a different controller but I wasn’t able to make the new IC like the old sensors so I gave up and stuck an optical mouse sensor under it (and flipped the axes). That led to some skipping because of the mechanical advantage I had over the mouse now that it was a trackball, so I actually prefer this method of modifying it.

I recognize that it’s stupid to hold out for a ps/2 trackball and then replace the controller anyway, but that’s all I had at the time and since it worked I will accept no criticism on it.  I will concede the point that the original PCB is un-needed and I probably could have removed the chip and dead-bugged it, but this was a bit easier and I’m more confident in it.

There you go, no code, no real difficult parts.  If you have an old ball mouse there’s a good chance you can use it as a trackball controller.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Arcade Mouse”

  1. Arcade Track-Mouse | Hackaday Says:

    […] But proving Edison’s famous statement that innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% having the right stuff in your junk bin, [Evan] dug deep and came out with one of twenty (!) old ball mice that he had purchased for just such an occasion. (Yeah, right.) Since a ball mouse is essentially an upside-down trackball, all that remained for him to do was reverse-engineer the mouse and swap its controller in for the busted trackball. […]

  2. Arcade Track-Mouse - SHelfinger Says:

    […] But proving Edison’s famous statement that innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% having the right stuff in your junk bin, [Evan] dug deep and came out with one of twenty (!) old ball mice that he had purchased for just such an occasion. (Yeah, right.) Since a ball mouse is essentially an upside-down trackball, all that remained for him to do was reverse-engineer the mouse and swap its controller in for the busted trackball. […]

  3. Arcade Track-Mouse | BH Says:

    […] But proving Edison’s famous statement that innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% having the right stuff in your junk bin, [Evan] dug deep and came out with one of twenty (!) old ball mice that he had purchased for just such an occasion. (Yeah, right.) Since a ball mouse is essentially an upside-down trackball, all that remained for him to do was reverse-engineer the mouse and swap its controller in for the busted trackball. […]

  4. Arcade Track-Mouse – Hackaday | Meek Voices Says:

    […] But proving Edison’s famous statement that innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% having the right stuff in your junk bin, [Evan] dug deep and came out with one of twenty (!) old ball mice that he had purchased for just such an occasion. (Yeah, right.) Since a ball mouse is essentially an upside-down trackball, all that remained for him to do was reverse-engineer the mouse and swap its controller in for the busted trackball. […]

  5. Arcade Track-Mouse | Ad Pub Says:

    […] But proving Edison’s famous statement that innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% having the right stuff in your junk bin, [Evan] dug deep and came out with one of twenty (!) old ball mice that he had purchased for just such an occasion. (Yeah, right.) Since a ball mouse is essentially an upside-down trackball, all that remained for him to do was reverse-engineer the mouse and swap its controller in for the busted trackball. […]

  6. arcade button matrix/control panel | Evan's Techie-Blog Says:

    […] arcade games, sci-fi, and some very bad ideas with possibly humorous consequences « Arcade Mouse custom arduino sound board and example […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: