ControlBlock – Game Controllers, Power Switch, and I/O for the Raspberry Pi
The ControlBlock is an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi. The two key features of the ControlBlock are
- a safe power button functionality to shutdown the Raspberry Pi without the risk of any data losses and
- terminal blocks and a driver for connecting original game controllers for arcade machines and various game consoles.
The ControlBlock makes it very easy to connect arcade controllers or console controllers, for example, for (S)NES, Atari, Genesis/Megadrive, or Sega Master System consoles. Up to two players are supported by a single ControlBlock. Stacked upon each other, up to four players are supported. The open-source driver for the ControlBlock is easy to install and can be configured to your liking.
The power switch functionality allows to turn on and off the power to the Raspberry Pi with a toggle switch without the risk of data loss. You can also connect a status LED for indicating the power status of the Raspberry Pi.
Features and Technical Specifications
- Additional 32 channels via SPI GPIO expander
- Supports arcade and original game controllers
- Arcade controls
- SNES and NES controllers
- Atari controllers
- Sega Master System controllers
- Sega Genesis / Megadrive controllers
- All supported controllers for up to two players
- Safe power button (includes the same functionality as the PowerBlock)
- Supports toggle and momentary switches
- Automatic detection of switch type
- Smooth power status indication via optional external LED
- Input Voltage: 5V
- Output Voltage: 5V
- Continuous Current @ 25°C: maximum 3.7 A
- MOSFET Static On-Resistance: 0.065 Ω
You can order the ControlBlock here:
What our customers say
Truly, it took this project to the next level. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
This is by far the most effective way of providing control inputs and start/stop your Pi without coruupting the filesystem with hard resets. It’s exactly what is needed and nothing you don’t. Delivery was good. Doc is excellent.
Buy a Pi3, add this control block and a class D 20w Adafruit amp and you’re done. Everything just works without any stress. And, don’t forget to donate to RetroPie. Worth every single cent.
Used this in a super Famicom retropie build. Wanted to use original case controller board, power, led, ect. Very easy to install and use. Did not run into a single problem.
I purchased this ControlBlock to build a RetroPI. I was impressed with the look and quality of the board, and included parts. After receiving my board I went to the website and followed the assembly instruction. It was very easy to assemble and looks great. I have not had a chance to try it out yet because I’m still waiting for some other parts. I even have my son interested in building a RetroPI after I get mine completed. Thanks Florian for a great product.
Getting Started with the ControlBlock – Hardware and Software Setup
- If you do not want to use the power switch functionality you can disable this in the configuration file /etc/controlblockconfig.cfg by setting “powerswitch”: false.
- The power switch circuitry of the ControlBlock leads to a tiny voltage drop and we made the experience that a good quality power supply and a good quality USB cable are mandatory for a working setup. If unsure, we can recommend the official Raspberry Pi Power Supply.
The LED will blink in four different patterns that depend on the power state of the Raspberry Pi:
- Off: The LED is simply off.
- Booting: The LED slowly fades in and out.
- On: The LED constantly stays on.
- Shutting down: The LED fades in and out twice as fast as during boot up.
Detailed instructions for the individual controller types are given here.
Regarding the software you need to install the ControlBlock driver to enable the power switch and game controllers functions. You find detailed instructions for the driver installation here.
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