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Building a deck to enjoy emulation

Arcade deck with joystick and buttons

I recently built up a deck for a couple of reasons: 1 I wanted to verify how well the USB encoders we sell work across a variety of platforms, and 2 because I felt like playing some Raiden and I’m yet to obtain a full arcade cabinet 🙁

I chose a Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT joystick, 6 Sanwa OBSF-30 buttons and 2 Sanwa OBSF-24 buttons for ease of wiring – we can package our USB encoders with 2.8mm spade connectors which fit snuggly onto the button lugs and we can supply a 5 pin double ended cable that makes wiring the joystick really easy.

Under deck wiring

The 2.8mm female spade connectors slide on to the Sanwa lugs. They can be a tight fit – I’d prefer to leave them not fully engaged rather than risk bending the lug or snapping it off. Even half engaged they’re a solid connection.

The wiring has ended up a touch messy but that’s OK! I just shoved everything into the case and screwed the lid down.  Double sided tape works great to hold the encoder up out of the way.

You need to have a look at the labelling on the encoder to figure out the cable orientation. Note the labels – AU for up, AD for down, AR for right and AL for left. VDD really means ground in this application.

Joystick Encoder Connection

Looking at the stick from underneath the pins are (from top to bottom) – up, down, right, left, ground.

This is perfect for our double ended 5 pin cables – use the ground pin (VDD) on the encoder as your reference and make sure it goes to ground (the bottom pin) on your joystick. Everything else will work just fine.

Joystick Encoder Connection

This deck works really well for playing any game on my Windows 10 PC as it appears as a standard joystick in Windows.

I’ve also tested this setup in Retroarch on a Raspberry Pi 4 and on a MiSTer FPGA – all flawless and perfect for those seeking a reasonably priced deck.  Next steps now are to tweak the deadzone on my JLF stick and have fun with it.

You can purchase this setup as a bundle from us and save a few bucks and you can choose the button colours individually if that’s what you’re after. We’ll even assemble and test it if you’d like.

Here are the items in our shop used in this project:

Just use the coupon code DeckInABox when checking out to get $10 off the total price!