Wiring The Switches


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Ok basically what you'll be doing now is getting your arcade controls to work with your game pad that you're using. Let's take a look at our buttons and joystick. Notice that both use what are called "Cherry Microswitches". They're called that because Cherry is the name of the company that makes them. Well, you see those three metal prongs sticking out of the switches? That's where you'll be attaching your wires to. The three prongs are Common, Normally Open, and Normally Closed. If you look at the switches closely you can see that they are labelled COM, NO, NC. If you were holding your switch with the prongs straight up, the lowest would be Common, while it's closest neighbor is Normally Open. You won't need to use the Normally Closed prong. So what does all of this mean?

Well your Common is where you will wire your ground connection to, and Normally Open (NO) is where you'll wire your "hot" wire to. What I do is strip the wire back about an inch, bend it over, then crimp a .187" quick disconnect on the end. I like to twist off the plastic shielding on these before I do this, it just makes it easier. When you press the button, it closes the switch, and that's how it works. If you are using the DreamPad in this project, you'll be happy to know that there is only one ground that you need to wire to the pad, then you can just daisy chain the ground from switch to switch on the common prongs. If you are using some other type of pad you'll need to examine it to determine if there are multiple grounds. Looking at the pad it is easy to see what is ground, because the green copper "tracks" connect to every hot point on the board.

Here is a picture of how to locate the ground on your pcb. The red is outlining the copper pathway that is ground. You can see that ground touches many different hot leads, which is why it is also referred to as "common". If you have a type of pad that has more than one ground pathway, you'll have to wire a separate ground connection for each of these. If you aren't sure if your pad has more than one ground, use a continuity tester and put one probe at a ground connection on the pad, then touch all other ground connections for each button. Each one that you get continuity on means that you can daisy chain between those connections. If not, you'll have to wire each switch individually. The very early versions of the MadCatz Dreampad had two grounds, one of them connected the three top buttons, one connected everything else. So you could still chain most of it together. That seems to have been changed on the newer versions. Click for a larger image.
Ok, next. Here are what quick disconnects look like. If a switch ever wears out on your arcade control, using these will make replacing it a snap. They're pretty small, you can find these at pretty much any electronics parts store or Radio Shack. You need the female end, the part that goes onto the switches, to be .187". That's a perfect fit. Make sure that the ones you get are the right size for the wire that you're using.
I prefer to remove the plastic jackets from these, but you don't need to. In order to make these stay securely on the wire, you should strip about 1" off of the end of your wire. If the strands are frayed, twist them around so that they are straight. Next, bend the exposed wire in half, then slide the disconnect on, and use a crimping tool to crimp the connector over the wire.
When you want do daisy chain your ground wire, take two wires, then twist them around each other. Then bend the wire over just like with one wire, and crimp a connector on.
Doing this will allow you to run one wire across several switches. If your pad has one ground connection you can connect this to every switch. That way you won't have tons of wires soldered to your pad.


Congratulations! Your arcade joystick should be fully operational at this point. For artwork and other things, continue on.

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