Wrecked my Happs trackball

Uh-oh. The other day I was checking the fit of the drilled out control panel backing (mdf) to the actual control panel overlay. In a total blonde moment I picked up the CPO and moved it to my workbench, but forgot to detach the trackball – which was not fixed to it permanently – just holding there via friction.

Two steps away the trackball’s usb cable pulled taut and ripped the trackball from the CPO. It was going to do a 5 foot fall to concrete. I couldn’t do anything but watch (as my hands were full holding my just-delivered CPO). Luckily the usb cable was not long enough to let the trackball reach the floor. It fell short of the floor by only a few centimetres, but managed to de-tail the connector from the cable.

The pic below shows the trackball, with the de-tailed connector sitting near it. The individual strands of wiring have been expertly photo-shopped in to demonstrate where they should be :-/ I had to use this web page to determine the pinouts : http://pinouts.ru/Slots/USB_pinout.shtml

The fact that the wires had been pulled out did me no favours. It was really hard to solder the wires back in the slots as they still had the remnants of wires in them. I tried to solder them back but to no avail. I suck at soldering:

I thought of soldering the wired directly to the board, but the previous soldering attempt, along with a modicum of common sense led me away from that very bad idea.

In the end I rummaged through my spare parts drawers and found an old floppy drive connector. They are four-pinned, so should fit perfectly. Unfortunately the keys and slots on the trackball connector are different to a floppy drive connector. A little bit of work with my trusty exacto nice trimmed the connector to fit. A quick bit of easy soldering, and the application of some world-renowned duct tape, and wallah:

I tested it with my multimeter and was getting good results. Final test was to hook it up to the PC. Mouse-up; Mouse-down; Mouse-left; Mouse-right – all good. Yay!

What was it actually printed on?

The Control Panel

I created a vector image in Adobe Illustrator CS2. (I couldn’t use CS3 as I am running Win2K still – not exactly sure what i am going to use when I migrate to Ubuntu). I got the two biggest images – the galaga logo and galaga bug from http://www.localarcade.com/. Everything else I screen-captured whilst playing Galaga and traced them in Illustrator.

I provided the final Illustrator vector image to Wild Digital. One of the layers in the Illustrator image indicate where the edging should be routed and where holes for buttons, joysticks and the trackball were required. Wild Digital provided the acrylic (3mm perspex) and did all the cutting.

The final image was reverse printed directly onto the underside of the acrylic. They then put a white protective layer over the printed image. They did a fantastic job. It came out much better then I expected.

I was originally going to purchase a piece of laminex and do all the cutting and routing myself, but after seeing how good the Wild Digital job came out I am really happy I let the pro’s do it. It would have been cheaper if I did it myself AND didn’t make a mistake. That’s a pretty big if on the mistake.

I was originally going to use this design:

Galaga was/is my favourite old-school arcade game, so I thought I should stick with what I know.

I’ve uploaded the Galaga Illustrator files to localarcade in the homebrew section.