Modular Control Panel Design

I wanted the modular panels to be able to be shared between both cabs, so the control panel dimensions are the same depth. The full-size cab has a 24” wide panel, while the cabaret has an 18” wide panel. The full-size cab is designed to accomodate one and two player games, while the caberet is primarily designed for one player games.

Several games are important to me and have special requirements:

  • Arcade
    • Tron: flight stick & spinner
    • Robotron: dual 8-way joysticks
    • Track & Field/Hyper Sports: 3 buttons
    • Tempest: Spinner, 2 buttons
    • Battlezone: dual 2-way (vertical) joysticks
    • Spy Hunter: I wish
    • Crazy Climber: dual 8-way joysticks
    • Q*Bert: 4-way joystick, rotated at 45 degrees to match isometric view
  • Atari 800
    • all games need dedicated Start, Select, & Option buttons
    • joysticks have one button
    • paddles have one button
    • Miner 2049er: keys 1-4 for transports, spacebar for lift
  • Atari 2600
    • all games need player difficulty, select, color/bw, reset
    • joysticks have one button
    • paddles have one button

Fixed Button Panel

Top section of the control panel is fixed, or rather hinged, and used as the locking mechanism to hold the modular sections in place.

The required buttons are:

  • Player 1 start (key 1 on 800)
  • Player 2 start (key 2 on 800)
  • Player 3 start (key 3 on 800)
  • Player 4 start (key 4 on 800)
  • Atari 800 & 2600 section:
    • Space (Player 1, Difficulty A on 2600)
    • Option (Player 1, Difficulty B on 2600)
    • Select (Game Select on 2600)
    • Start (Reset on 2600)

Initial Design of Modular Panels

The modular panels are 9” deep and have various widths. Blank spacer panels are necessary with certain combinations.

_images/cp_panels1.jpg

Joysticks

These panels are 5” wide and only have joysticks. There are no buttons mounted on the panels, although the flight stick does have integral buttons.

  • 8 way joystick (x3)
  • 4 way joystick (x3)
  • 4 way Q*Bert joystick (rotated 45 degrees)
  • Flight stick (with 2 buttons)

Analog Controls

  • 3” trackball using a 7” wide panel (x2)
  • Spinner using a 4” wide panel

Button Panels

5” wide panels

  • 3 button panel (e.g. thrust, fire, hyperspace), ergonomic left-hand layout
  • 3 button panel, ambidextrous layout (x3)
  • 4 button Vanguard panel (diamond shaped layout)
  • 3 button Track & Field panel (x2)

Spacers

  • 4” spacer (x3) used:
    • in the full-size cab for two player games – 5” joystick panel for player 1, 5” button panel, 4” spacer, 5” joystick for player 2, 5” button panel = 24”
    • in the cabaret when using 5” button panel, 4” spinner, 5” joystick
  • 3” spacer (x2) used:
    • on cabaret when using 5” button panel, 7” trackball

Mockup

_images/cp_mockup1.jpg
_images/cp_mockup_panel_out.jpg

Redesign of Modular Panels

I changed the depth to 7” and to use a large bar magnet in the cabinet to clamp the far side, and a tongue and groove on the user side.

Instead of the 3, 4, and 5 inch panels, I switched to 2, 4, and 6 inch panels. I had thought 5” panels would be necessary for joysticks, but the sticks I have can fit in the 4” panels.