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November 17, 2010

Xbox360 Control Board for the Amusement Industry.

At the time i was working at a local arcade amusement vendor, we put games, juke boxes, and pool tables in locations.

The industry was suffering, and not to many new games were coming out. The Xbox and the PS3 were indirectly to blame. So in order to have a new, and profitable machine, someone made a Xbox360 based arcade machine. You put your money in and get a X amount of time to play that game. My company wanted to make our own, based on the Xbox360 and the, then newly release Halo3. SOmeone else in the company worked on the software to run on a computer to display the game, timers, and credits for the machine. I worked on a way to control one or all 4 controllers at a time.

Basic theriory of operation:

The unit was plugged into  a 12VDC power supply. Serial cable was connected to the unit and the computer. One USB cable was connected to the Xbox and the upstream of the unit. Four “wired” xbox controllers were plugged into the USB  controller ports of the unit. The unit was then placed in front of the IR sensor of the Xbox.

The player would deposit money in the machine, and select a controller. More money equals more time or more players. Once all players have selected a controller, the computer would send a simple serial command to a PIC micro controller. BTW, i wrote the code for that too. Then the unit would turn on or off any of the four connected controllers. This way the user was not stuck using the first position controller, they could use any of the four.

The game would play and a timer on the computer would let them know when their time was up, they could insert more money or just walk away. At the end of the game the computer would send another serial command that the game was over. The unit would turn off all controllers, then send a command to the IR output. The IR signal would tell the Xbox to open and close the drive very fast, I found this to be the best and fastest way to reset the game.

The machine then would go into a attract mode and wait for new players money.

I had a board company make 5 of these boards, but only enough parts for one prototype. I gave the 100% working board to the guys doing the software end of it… and never saw it again. They don’t know what happened to it, and each one blames the other. AARRRGGG!!

So this is what it looks like…

Xbox360 arcade control unit.

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