Balltop LED modding

hi, i need some advice and help, i plan on building an arcade stick soon, and i want to use lots of led mods in it, the buttons are easy enough to figure out, but doing the ball is something thats been eluding me. i’ve looked at other threads and that hasnt been very helpful. all that i’m 100% i know i have to do is get a hollow shaft, and drill a bit into the center of the ball, everything after that is sort of over my head at the moment i was wondering if it was possible to use a second sparky and attatch the directions to the terminals it has on there ie. up for p1 down for p2 left for p3 right for p4 etc. so any advice on that, and how you did your own led mods in the ball top would be greatly appreciated. thank you very much

What are you looking to do? Do you want it lit all the time, during directional input, during button input?

The things that you will definitely need is a drill and a bit that can go through metal (mine are titanium coated). That, and a proper resistor for the voltage.

i would like to have it lit violet all the time, maybe with a pulse on directional inputs, provided my idea with the sparky is do able. it all really depends on the difficulty to do this. i can buy hollowed out shafts from so i’m not to worried about that part, more so just how to wire it.

there’s a few problems with light up balls

one is the torque from twisting the wires consistently, at some point it just snaps. Even purplearms, the creator of the arc-eyes had this problem on his stick. That can be solved with something from paradisearcade which i forgot what it is…

The next thing is the limitations of sparky. Since it’s built for buttons rather than balls, you’re going to have to go with the basic method of wiring it. It’ll be always on using a single 3mm violet LED. You’ll directly wire it to the VCC with a resistor coming before the LED to turn down the brightness and make sure you don’t short out your connection. If you want it to light up per direction, you’ll need some form of logic chip which a tutorial can be found in the intro stickies somewhere.

I use 26awg with a 3mm LED for my balltop mods… no problems with it catching and twisting… just make sure you have some play at the bottom of the stick… you dont need any special attachments… 8 ball top LED’s no issues… I have had one on my personal stick for the past month and had multiple people use the stick at a local fight night I attend with no issue…
just remember…

  1. Drill ball top so LED has a little play to move around if needed…
  2. 3mm LED’s… the ones I use have a little edge at the base of the diode so it rests on the shaft without falling through… its not needed but handy just to keep it from slipping out
  3. 26awg wire the lines will not grab and with a little play at the base there is no issue with it binding up.
  4. as neat as possible and it creates less problems in the long run…

dismantling a uila from the pcb and using it with an fdwidget wouldn’t work, would it? beause aparently fdwidgets have suport for directional inputs aswell as buttons, wich would also save me some money aswell.

There isnt a RGB controler yet that does that… YET… but yes the FGwidget controls the LED with directionals…
I havent seen ulia led’s but I’m thinking its an SMD led and not a 3mm led like I was mentioning… If you wanted it violet you can order a 3mm colored LED but honestly I think your better off getting a purple ball top and using a white LED… the color stands out better that way… other color LED’s you really have to play with the resistance to have it sparkle like your buttons if you use something like ulia’s or KNserts…

the online LED color resistor calculator helps greatly joe

have you used it?

thank you both very much. so for the joystick then, if i dont want directionals and just have it lit the whole time it’s on, i can use the colored balltop, a white 3mm led, and a resistor. and i can just use a sparky and uilas for my buttons, and have the buttons match the color that the joystick emmits. it’ll probbaly take a little playing around with, but it should be pretty simple then. and now for the part where i show off how much of a begginer i am. the power supply i can use from the controller right? so the power on the board acts as the - or the + side? and then i connect - to the led, resistor to the other side, and then resistor to the + side right? i plan on using a paewang for the controller’s pcb if that helps make any dfference about where the power supply is coming from.

ground line of the led you can connect to any ground point you have on the pcb… the vcc is where your red wire from your usb is connected to the pcb you are using… if you are using the FGWidget you can also connect the power to the vcc point on the controller board. good luck with your project!

alright thank you very much, this helped me a lot with my plans

Just memorize the formula.
I did for electronics class.

Resistor Ohm = (Source Voltage - LED Forward Voltage) / LED Current

Current for LED are given in mA, so you have to convert to A for the formula.

The online LED Calculators will be easier when you need to do a lot.


That is how you wire up the Ball Top LED.

Put a Resistor in series with the LED Anode.
Other end of Resistor go to the +5, the red wire of USB.

Cathode of LED go to Ground.

I drink too much to care about memorizing that stuff haha… thats what I have you for kitty!

on an LED the LONGER pin goes to VCC… the shorter one is GROUND…
attach the resistor to the line going to VCC…

okay, now sense of what i have just been trying to figure out for the last couple minutes has been made.

I’m such a fool for not using these forums sooner, just never been a forum guy, for my first hori stick I got the hollow shaft, drilled the ball, got the LED and resistor after blowing up a few LEDs, but back then I had now clue how to draw power from the USB, so I made a battery operated switch just for the ball top. Only worked for like two days, lol. I also didn’t know how to solder at the time, everything was crimped in some way or twisted together.

wait a sec, so when I’m installing button LEDs, I could put the ground anywhere, and just connect the red power to the usb!? I feel like a fool. Instead of splicing the wire into the USB can I just connect it with the red wire at the PCB? or would that mess up the PCB in some way?

I tried to find information on this and not sure where to ask. But on a LED controller like Sparky or FGWidget, do you need to connect a resistor between the LED controller and subseqient LED or are there resistors on the controller chips to do it instead?

I use the Sparky PWM SMD and you don’t have to do anything with resistors. The only time I used a resistor was when I was adding lights without a light board.