Simple Arcade Button Ideas for Your Projects

One thing that I’ve always needed for my projects is a simple form of input and output. At first, it was a simple push button and an led on a breadboard. The breadboard mounted buttons are inconvenient. So I created a 3D printed stand to hold an arcade button. Because some arcade buttons came with LEDs (and a built in resistor) it was a natural to use them as an output. These work great for Arduino and simple projects. As the projects (and processors) grew in complexity, I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) provided a solution.

Simple Arcade Button Ideas for Your Projects

This instructable describes a common configuration that I have used in dozens of projects. It will describe two different communication methods, direct and I2C. It use arcade buttons and pre-made wiring harnesses.

This instructable will describe how to build several different versions of a button pad. There are STL files provided for two different styles of mounts, freestanding and a version that is meant to attach to an aluminum extrusion like 80/20. The mounts are sized for 30mm or 24mm buttons.

This project will require access to a 3D printer and some soldering skills.

Step 1: Print the Frame

Before you can start on the electronics, download the approprate file for the use and size of button and print it.

The freestanding frames can also be attached to an extruded alumunim beam.

Three 30mm Button freestanding:

Three 30mm Button 8020:

Three 24mm Button freestanding:

Three 24mm Button 8020:

Step 2: Selecting the Parts

First decide on the button size and color to be used in the project. Decided if the buttons should be illuminated. (Note, not all colors of illuminated buttons work at 3.3V. The 12V buttons require additional circuitry to make work. Check the product description or the data sheet.)The following buttons have been tested and have worked for us.

Arcade Button with LED – 30mm Translucent Clear:

Arcade Button with LED – 30mm Translucent Blue:

Arcade Button with LED – 30mm Translucent Green:

Mini LED Arcade Button – 24mm Translucent Clear:

Mini LED Arcade Button – 24mm Translucent Blue:

There are other sources of arcade buttons, such as Amazon and AliExpress.

To complete the button wiring, pick up some arcade wire harnesses. The one listed below has a common ground cable and individual cables for the button and LED.

2.8mm Interface Wires to LED Push Button for Arcade Game

Or you can use the SparkFun QWIIC buttons. (See the description in step four for more information)

Step 3: Direct Wiring

Direct Wiring Simple Arcade Button Ideas for Your Projects

This is the most basic version. You attach the buttons to wires and mount them to the printed button holder. The wires are directly attached to your project. If the button has an LED, it can be attached too.

Some things to think about.

  1. Check the voltages your project uses. Some colors of LEDs will not work at 3.3V.
  2. Check to make sure the LEDs in the button are protected by a current limit resistor.
  3. Arcade buttons are bouncy; really really bouncy. Your code should take this into account. See debouncer-library-python for more information.
  4. The arcade button cables are a lot easier to use to connect to the buttons. Trying to solder directly to the buttons can be difficult.…

For more information:



Step 4: If You Decided to Just Use SparkFun Arcade Buttons.

Sparkfun, through Spark-x has a nice arcade button with a built in QWIIC connector.

Or just get the switch controller and use your own arcade button.

Three quick notes.

  1. These are Sparkfun Spark-x devices. So they may not be available or may have moved into the regular product category and have different numbers.
  2. If I remember correctly, the two colored buttons do not have a built in led. I had to use the stand alone controller on a conventional arcade button to use the led.
  3. Sparkfun has a great library to support the button controller.

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