Building the Control Panels

That last step was difficult, so now it's time for something a bit more fun. Each control panel has a joystick, and two illuminated action buttons. The player 1 panel, has a 1 player and 2 player start button as well.

The illuminated buttons look nice, but ship with 14v bulbs in them. They will look awfully dim (if they illuminate at all) at 5v. They need to be replaced with 6v bulbs, which are pennies a piece. Simply give the base of the button a twist, and remove the entire lower assembly. Pop the bulb out, and replace it with a 6v bulb. Leave this apart for a moment.


The 1 player and 2 player start buttons need the microswich itself removed from the button before installation.

The pushbuttons each come with a plastic nut that is used to attach them to the acrylic. Unscrew the nut from the button, insert the button through the acrylic, and put the nut on from the bottom. Install the lower assembly in each illumnated button, and reinstall the microswitch on the 1 player and 2 player buttons.

The joysticks have a complicated set of directions to assemble, which I am not going to repost here. Suffice it to say that the main body of the joystick is under the panel, but some pieces are inserted from the top. To secure the joystick in place, I used aluminum "binding posts", and found that 3/8" works the best. The advantage of the binding posts is that they have a smooth surface on the upper side. I have not, however, found a reliable source and my local hardware store seems to be perpetually out of the 3/8" length. Any screw and nut will do here, however.


This isn't such a bad job, if you kept good notes earlier when building the cape. There is only one tricky thing. The illuminated pushbuttons use 1/4" quick disconnect connectors. The joysticks and start buttons use 0.187" quick disconnect connectors. They do have holes, and you can solder to the tabs to save time. I used the connectors.

Each microswitch has a COM terminal. This will be a GND signal, connected to all switches in common. Using quick disconnect crimp terminals, hook a wire to each COM terminal, and then back to one of the GND wires on the cape that were installed during that step.

Now, take each of the signal wires from the cape, and used the appropriate sized quick-disconnect terminal to attach it to the N.O pin of the appropriate microswitch. Watch carefully with the joystick, as the switches are mounted strangely. It is probably easiest to experiment, push the joystick left, and see just which switch gets pressed.

The illumination is easy. To save on using any 'active' compoments, these are just wired straight to the power bus.

Make a short length and a long length of red 14 gauge wire, and a short length and long length of black 14 gauge wire. Using a blue quick disconnect, crimp the short and long red wire together. Do the same with the black wire.

Crimp a red quick disconnect onto the end of the short length of each wire. Crimp a spade connector onto the end of the long length of each wire. Attach the spade connectors to the power bus, and the quick disconnects to the side terminals of the illuminated buttons.


Again, repeat the smoke test. However, if the control panels are all wired correctly, the Bricks game should now be playable. Take a break and get a glass of lemonade. A lot is working.

Last updated on 2015-05-04 at 04.27.37 PM Published on 2015-05-04 at 04.05.58 PM