These directions are for the current “Gen 3” Cupcade kit.


No soldering for this first step…

Plug a quick-connect wire set into each of the four buttons.

There’s no specific polarity to these…either wire can go to either pin.

PiTFT Display

On the back of the PiTFT, near the GPIO pins, are two pads labeled “#18” with a narrow PCB trace between them.

Using a hobby knife or pointed file, scrape between the two pads to cut this trace. (It’s OK — if you ever need this back, a blob of solder between the pads will make the connection again.)

This makes sure the backlight stays on at full brightness. RetroPie otherwise has a tendency to make things dim and muddy.

The remaining parts all require some amount of soldering…


The analog thumb joystick board has a 5-pin header and quite a few pins on the stick component itself. Some of the pins may be a little bent from shipping and need to be nudged into place. The “hat” simply presses into place.

Install a 5-pin header from below, so the pins are pointing “back” as shown here.

Make sure all your solder connections are smooth and clean, like tiny Hershey’s Kisses®. There should be no solder balls or bridges, no gaps between pins and their corresponding pads.


The plug on the end of the speaker cable isn’t needed. Cut the wires to about 12 inches (30 cm), strip a few millimeters of insulation off the ends, and tin each wire with solder so they don’t fray.

Arcade Bonnet

Three components are soldered to the Arcade Bonnet board:

  • A 2-pin screw terminal goes at the bottom center, where there’s a small speaker icon. This goes on the top side of the board like the other components, and is soldered underneath.
  • A 4-pin header goes to the ANALOG pins, also inserted from the top and soldered underneath.
  • A 40-pin GPIO stacking header is installed the opposite way — inserted from the bottom and soldered on the top (component) side.

As always, be mindful of solder bridges, cold joints, etc.

Not shown here: If using a Raspberry Pi Zero board, it must have a 40-pin male GPIO header installed. The Pi Zero WH already includes this header. For other Pi Zero variants, such a header must be soldered in place, or there are solderless variants as well.

After inspecting you work, switch off your iron, all the soldering’s done now!

This guide was first published on Apr 04, 2014. It was last updated on Feb 21, 2014.

This page (Assemble Components) was last updated on Mar 18, 2018.

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