One of the most common questions we receive is from people who are confused about wiring arcade controls, buttons, and joysticks to their computer or Raspberry Pi. This task is generally accomplished using a USB encoder.  These encoders convert the presses of the buttons into keystrokes on an keyboard that MAME and other emulators can understand.

Many assume that you would use the GPIO pins on the RPi for this purpose, and while that is definitely possible to do, support from the emulators is very lacking. The best way is to use an encoder.  This has the side benefit of allowing us to use the GPIO pins later for lights, cabinet shakers, and other cool features.

While it is true that different arcade encoders, joysticks, and buttons are wired using different methods, they mostly are all wired the same. In this demonstration we will be working with the Sanwa joystick/buttons and the Easyget encoder; two very popular configurations. If you run into any trouble post your comments below.

Wiring arcade controls doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It’s really quite simple!

Wiring Arcade Controls Preview Video


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