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Yeah, I know… it’s about time, right? This is the FINAL CHAPTER in this long term project of building my arcade cabinet! Obviously, if you haven’t see the other parts of this series, you might want to check them out. So far, I’ve setup the Raspberry Pi and controls, built the cabinet, and added paint, graphics and trim. In this part, I’ll show you how I ran electrical for the cabinet, and installed some Arduino based electronics that enable the cabinet to light up/turn on when you walk up to it!!
I also found that showing how the electronics work, in video form is an interesting new challenge. I’ll add the Arduino code, in case you’re interested in using it or just looking through it. You can find the code on my GitHub

This image is apart of the GitHub code base, but it might be interesting here as well.

arcade_bbWith these additions, the cabinet is complete, and I’m SO happy with how it came out!! Thanks for watching!


If you’re interested in buying plans to make your own cabinet like this, you can now buy those plans! Buying my plans is a great way to help support my projects and I truly appreciate it!

Buy plans for this project

I gather some basic electrical items to wire up power for the cabinet.


I cut off the female end of an extension cord, and stripped the three wires inside.


I measured the size of a remodel electrical box and transferred it to the back of the cabinet.


Make sure to put this are where it won’t be in the way of the internal drawers.


To remove this piece, I drilled holes in the corners and cut out the rectangle with a jigsaw.


The box fit right in and was held in place by turning two screws from the front. They rotate “wings” in the inside of the cabinet so the box can’t slide back out.


In the top area, I added another box, but it was the type with nails on the sides (normally made for attaching to framing).


In the bottom corner, I drilled a hole big enough for the extension cord, and fed it through.


The cord was fed through the box at the top of the back panel.


In this same box, I fed some more wire in and up to the top box.


This wire went into the back of the box, then got stripped.


I attached a simple receptacle to this wire and screwed it into the box.


I connected a black switch to both wires in the back facing box. White wires went together, green wires went to ground and black wires each to a brass terminal.


I screwed in the switch and added a black cover plate.


For the effects, an Arduino handled input from a PIR sensor (triggered by human movement) and faded on two sets of LED strips as well as turned on a relay which powered the monitor and LED buttons.


There is also a mode switch that controls where the sensor is in play, or if all of the lights are just fully on.


I cut down a panel of 1/8″ plywood as a base for the marquee lights.


I cut the LED strip into sections and removed the backing for applying the in a back and forth pattern. The strips are directional and must be connected with the correct flow.


I reconnected the rows by wiring on some simple 3 conductor wires.


I also made a chain across all of the 5v terminals since there’s often voltage drop in long strips of LEDs. This isn’t necessary, just a precaution to help the color stay uniform.


Here’s the panel all lit up!


I applied some strips across the top and down both sides of the back of the cabinet.


The adhesive backing didn’t hold great on the painted MDF, so I hot glued the ends down.


I used a little super glue to apply the marquee light panel.


On the lower cabinet doors, I follow the instructions that came with the hinges, to hang them.


I used concealed hinges so they required a large hole on the back of the doors that didn’t go all of the way through.


I used a speed square to square the hinges to the door sides before screwing them in place.


These are face frame hinges, so they screwed right into the frame I’d added to the front of the cabinet.


I drilled three holes behind the control box and monitor panel to feed wiring through.


I also drilled a larger hole up top to feed wires down into the cabinet.


To mount the PIR sensor in the control box, I drilled out a larger area (but not all of the way through) with a forstner bit.


I used a spade bit to make the final sized hole FROM THE BOTTOM.


The PIR sensor sits right down into the hole so it can see you, but you don’t see it.


I also drilled a hole for my mode switch in the corner of the control box.


Both the PIR sensor and mode switch were held in place with hot glue.


I set the control board in place and fed all of the wires through the hole in the back panel.


Then, on top of the control board, I plugged in everything to the Raspberry Pi. (Find out about the Pi setup HERE.)


I hooked up and slid the monitor into place, and added a USB keyboard for easy access to the Raspberry Pi.


I screwed on three magnetic catches to hold the side panel closed.


I put two of them under the control board, and one at the top of the back section.


After moving the electronics to a simple circuit board to make them permanent, I plugged in everything in the top section.


The only real change I made was that I replaced the relay shield with a single relay.


This is how everything looked in it’s final state. The cabinet is complete! Be sure to watch the video to see the sensor driven lights in action!


  • Harry

    Hi Bob, could you show us a layout of your buttons and let us know what each button does. I see you have some extra ones there and was not sure what each one did besides the obvious controls, player 1 and player 2. Thanks, the cabinet looks awesome.

  • Chris Houlden

    Hey Bob, I love the automation your able to achieve using the Arduino and the relay shield. I know little about programming but am intrigued to know more. I’m bringing in the parts to make my own retro arcade!! Is there anything further you can add like a wire map or some programming so I can try this out? Great project, keep up the videos.

  • Daniel Gotchy

    Hey Bob thank you so much for making these videos! I am about to graduate and i didn’t know what i wanted for a job and so by you making these it has gotten me into making things like this and have started me on a career path that i will love thanks again!

  • Michael Yoe

    Hey Bob! Just came across ILTMS for the first time yesterday, and I’m addicted! So much information, and you present it all so well! You definitely have a long-term follower/supporter, and I cannot wait to make my arcade unit one day soon. Speaking of: Have you ever considered adding light guns to your arcade cabinet one day? Although the classic arcade game emulators are more than sufficient, I find myself thinking if I’m going to tackle a project of this size, why not add the option for those fantastic shooter games like Time Crisis or Jurassic Park? Just curious of your thoughts!

    • Thanks so much Michael! Personally I never really had an interest in adding the light guns, but a cool thing that you could do would be to add some external USB ports, maybe on the front face of the control panel?) which were connected to the USB hub or Pi directly. With those, you could hook up any controller, gun, etc that you wanted to. Now that I think about it, I might add that to my system at some point 🙂

  • Simon

    Hi Bob, I’m interested in building an arcade. I only wondered what was the price of the build?

    • BigCoqSurprise

      Depending on your currency and what you already have the price will change but as for myself it will cost about 350$ Canadian to build and the only thing i already have in hand is the PI and electronic switches, wires and the electric plugs. for the joystick and buttons, look up on ebay they have a full 2 player kit (2 joysticks and 16 led buttons and the controller board) for 50$

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