Designing the original LCARS panel was fun and I had a lot of ideas on how to execute it if it had actually come to fruition. With the minicab I knew I at least wanted to try SOMETHING that I hadn’t seen before, even if it was not as impressive as a functional LCARS panel.
Knowing that I was going the white acrylic route for the control panel, I figured there had to be something I could do to take advantage of the light-transmitting capabilities of that material.
Yeah, so there are two sets of holes because I was an idiot and tried to free-hand it using a hand held drill. Stupid idea considering I had a drill press just sitting on the table watching me… Mocking me even.
I re-drilled the holes so they were evenly spaced this time and dropped the LEDs in.
Also, side note; you can see I painted the CP. This ended up being a terrible idea. I thought that painting it white would look better and more seamless with the white acrylic applied on top. And yes, it does look better (as in, the white acryclic looks more white), but the main problem is that white acrylic on top of latex paint sticks a little bit. And when you apply the weight of your hands on the CP pressing buttons, that stickiness doesn’t allow the acrylic to move around freely. You can hear the acrylic squeaking as it tries to flex and gets stuck on the paint. If I had the patience to re-cut and re-drill the MDF for the CP, I’d definitely have finished it with a different type of paint, or maybe just used a matte primer instead, with a light pass with 500-grit sandpaper.
After the LEDs are dropped in, I hot glue them into place and begin soldering all the positive legs together. I’m awful at soldering. Pathetic really, but I got the job done. The 5v is shared across all the LEDs, and the negative leg is what goes to the LED-Wiz for control over which LEDs are on or off.
I bought a second LED-Wiz because my ultimate goal is to not only light the main set of buttons for player 1, but also to light controls for player 2. Ah, player 2 you ask? Yes I’m planning on adapting the TE stick I already have to be a detachable second controller. I can’t do this via USB, because the PS3 TE stick has some known issues connecting to certain USB cards on PCs, and the motherboard I picked out happens to be one of the ones that doesn’t recognize the PS3 TE stick; but not only can I not get control via USB, I also couldn’t get LEDs via USB. So the idea is to wire it just like the player 1 controls. I’ll cover that later.
So anyway, because I have a second LED-Wiz anyway, I have a lot of extra LED inputs to spare. May as well put them to use and wire up all these LEDs individually. This also allows me control over marquee lighting, and my insignia lighting on the sides of the cabinet.
The work is finally done. This stuff was really not difficult, just time consuming. That doesn’t bother me so much. It is a bummer though how much space all this wiring consumes. Another hindsight modification I’d have made; use smaller gauge wire for the LEDs. I think this was 22awg? I can’t remember but it was way too think and definitely overkill for this application.
I tried to make it look as nice as possible, it’s still pretty tacky looking but my OCD seems satisfied with the result. The gray cable running along the bottom of the image is a DB25 cable that’ll be used to connect to the TE stick for player 2 controls. Next will be the serious rat’s next of wiring, the local player 1 controls.
Tonight, I sleep.