PO Arcade Case Assembly Guide


This Guide will assist you in assembling your very own Pocket Operator Arcade Case. By using this guide alongside your newly purchased arcade kit, you acknowledge that you are familiar with simple hand tools and have very basic soldering skills. If you are unsure, no worries, a quick search on the web can provide you with many tutorials on how to solder. I include a lot of tips and detailed photos within this guide. please don't skip over any steps, read everything.

If you find any issues or have questions before you begin, please Contact me for assistance.

Here are the tools you'll need to get started
(NOT Pictured) Hot Glue Gun



Carefully Layout all the parts included in the kit. Verify you have everything shown in the picture. (see that blue wire in the lower left of the photo?...Ignore that, you don't need it, it just sneaked into this pic when I wasn't looking)


 Let's start with the more difficult parts first Buttons...so many buttons to glue. Take note, that blue tape they are attached to is to protect the good side (shown face down here) of the button from scratches during shipping. if you look on the black button half you'll see little swirls from the laser cut, that is the surface you put glue on. 


Pull off one of each half, add a TINY amount of super glue to the black button half and center it on the frosted layer. The key here is to use a very small amount of glue, too much and it'll squeeze out and look not so good. I did include some extras in case you made a mistake, or to practice on first. Take your time, wipe your fingers off often, careful with the glue.You may have noticed that several of the frosted halves have little nubs. These are used for the buttons on the PO with the LEDs.

If you want to get a little fancy, I did include an extra circle/write button. you can take a crayon or some paint and fill in the engraved area, then wipe it off with a rag.

Select which PO will be used for this operation and remove the batteries. Time to fire up the iron! Take the (4) Short 4-wire harnesses and strip the wire ends as shown above. Proceed to tin the wire ends, then move over to the PO and add a little spot of solder to each of the lower left button pads. Watch the tip of your iron around the screen and the plastic parts, no need to melt anything that shouldn't be melted...

We're going for flat here, so lay out the wire harnesses, use your tweezers, and solder the wires to each button pad as shown above. Go slow on this part, and be mindful of where the tip of your iron is...

Done? Great!

That was the hardest part, now sit back, take a break, admire your PO's new rainbow dreadlocks.

Time to prep the case. Start by peeling off the top side of the protective film on the middle acrylic layer. Give it a quick look and remove any dust or debris that could get stuck under the vinyl wrap you're about to apply. Peel the backing off the vinyl wrap, hover it over the acrylic case layer making sure the entire case will be covered. When ready, gently lower one side of the vinyl onto the acrylic layer. As you apply the wrap, push out any air bubbles with your fingers. If something does get trapped underneath, you can gently peel back the wrap, remove the debris with your tweezers and re-apply the wrap. Go slow, that vinyl can tear if you pull too hard.

take your fingers and press a little more firmly all around the vinyl to make sure it's stuck down. pay extra attention at every corner/hole. those mild indents you made are going to be your guide when you trim the wrap down. Get a NEW SHARP blade in your hobby knife. A sharp blade is critical, if when cutting the vinyl, it starts to bunch up or pull versus cutting cleanly, that means your blade is dull. Trim the outside edges first, then the larger holes next. I like to cut from behind for these longer cuts. Doing so prevents you from slipping and cutting into the finished surface by accident. 

See where that blade is pointing? When trimming those small holes, start at these holes first, and don't forget to remove the little bit of vinyl in the indent for the LED to shine thru. You're cutting from the top this time, and using the very tip of your blade. Be very careful not to slip.

Before finishing off the other holes, cut out the window area. cut very cleanly on that last edge as shown above, not much vinyl there and it could tear easily. Don't forget about the 10 super small screw holes around the edges.

It should look like this when done. Looks nice, right?


Flip it over and remove the brown protective film from the back of it, set it aside. Now take the thin "blue filmed" acrylic layer and remove the back protective film from it. I recommend only touching it by the edges for these next couple steps to avoid any fingerprints or smudges being trapped in between the layers. Place the top layer's freshly peeled side down onto the middle layer's vinyl face. Peel back the blue film. Do your best at this point to remove any debris caught between. Good lighting helps a lot here.

Grab your 5/64" hex driver......wait, what's a 5/64" hex driver??? 

Buy one here

Most people have one of these floating around in their tool box, pretty common in any cheap tool set.

insert the screws thru the two acrylic layers and hand tighten the silver standoff on the back. 10 screws/10 standoffs will be used.

DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, seriously....snug is enough. If you over tighten the screw, you will crack the acrylic.....don't do it!

the 4 standoffs around where the PO sits need to have the sides squared to each other, a ruler helps here.

 My favorite part, adding the buttons. Insert the two small black buttons into the appropriate holes and tighten down the plastic nuts. Looking down from the top, the button with the silver marking goes on the right hand side. The button on the left is a latching type button (clicks when pushed). Insert the pot as shown above, take note of the little nub sticking up by the shaft. line it up with the hole in the routed out area. Flip it over and tighten the nut. same rules apply here DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN.

Add the arcade buttons. On the sides of each button are two stepped clasps. these run horizontal to the case and click in to the routed out slots underneath. You should hear a nice click sound when inserted fully. If not, give the button a wiggle until it does. From here on out, I'd recommend placing something soft underneath to prevent scratching anything on the top while working from behind.

Warm up your hot glue gun. Insert the LED into the hole between the two black buttons. The thin top layer will only allow it to go in so deep. Apply a little hot glue around it to hold it in place.

Take your glued buttons and insert them into the correct holes in the case. place the white circle button first and go from there.

Gently bend back the wires you previously soldered on, Gently I say....

Peel back the green film from the double sided tape and carefully stick the circuit board onto the PO as shown above. use the PO's potentiometer solder pads as a guide. Place the PO into the case between the 4 standoffs.

 Add a small blob of solder to the + and - pads on the PO. Double check on the circuit board that the blue wire is negative and the white wire positive. then proceed to trim the wire to length and make the solder connection with the PO.

connect the wire harnesses to the male headers on the circuit board. The purple wire here is connected to P16, grey P15, white P14 etc. if you kept the wires flat, they will all line up in order. In between P9 and P8 are two blank headers. Nothing is plugged in there.

Take the bare copper wire and snake it across the 16 arcade buttons as shown, skip the 17th button, this wire does not attach to it. solder all 16 connections.

trim the resistor on the LED, attach it and the copper wire to button leg as shown.

bend the copper wire down to the pot, trim, and solder to the right pin of the pot, like the photo above.

solder the second leg of the LED to the second latching (clicky) button's leg.

Plug in 4 of the 5 wires from the long wire harness into the headers above. the important ones are the 3V and G (ground) don't mix these up....I suggest keeping the white as positive "3V" and the black negative "G".

the 5th wire gets plugged into the "BR" header on the first row.


Because cable color may have changed during prepping of the kit, use the cable colors in these photos for reference as to where the wires connect.

PM wire to middle pin of pot.

remember the black wire is "G" right? attach that to the leg where the bare copper wire is attached.

Connect the white (3v) line to the two button legs.

Then to the left pin of the pot.

add a length of wire (orange here) to connect the 2 buttons.

*EDIT While photographing the build, I got out of sequence and had to come back and add that orange wire you just soldered, thus you won't see it in the photo below...sorry.

 Let's connect the arcade buttons. If you mirror the wire colors used to connect the PO buttons to the circuit board, you won't have to worry about coordinating which button is which.

gently fold the wire down and route it across like shown. A1 (grey wire here) is soldered to the top right arcade button, A2 (purple wire) to button under that.

then solder A3 (blue wire here) and A4 (green wire) This is the pattern you'll use for the rest of the arcade button connections.

looks messy I know, but follow the pattern for each and it'll turn out fine.

Peel off the film for the back panel and the acrylic spacers. The 2 spacers are different heights. shown above is where their location when the back goes on. The taller one is on the bottom.

Press the wires down a bit making sure they remain as flat as possible.

the acrylic spacers will fit like this.

this is a little tricky. You need to put the spacers into the matching slots in the back panel and then line up the screw holes when you set the panel on. some tape can be used to hold them in place temporarily if needed.

 almost done, put in the screws (10) remember, DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN

add the rubber feet (6)

add the decorative frosted washer, and then the knob.....

Congrats! you're done!