Opti-PAC Optical Interface Board

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The Opti-PAC (Optical Interface for Pc to Arcade Controls) is an interface for easily connecting optical-type arcade control devices including trackballs and spinners to a PC for use with emulators such as MAME.

Opti-PAC Installation Information

One USB cable handles up to two trackballs and 4 spinners/rotary joysticks.
No external power needed.
The active control (trackball or rotary) is automatically selected.
Supports buffered controls or unbuffered, high or low polarity.
Configurable via software utility for active high/active low.
Full-Speed USB Interface. 16 Bit data.
Will work alongside PS/2 or USB mouse if required.

Optical Controls Technical Info:
A one-axis optical control such as a spinner has one LED which shines across a spoked wheel onto two sensors.
The two sensor outputs are compared with each other to generate movement direction.

Therefore the interface requires two parts:
A voltage supply for the LED.
Inputs for the two sensors.
The OPTI-PAC has voltage outputs for the LED and the 2 inputs for the two sensors. It takes all voltage needed from the USB port.

A dual-axis device such as a trackball has all the above multiplied by two. Two LEDs, two pairs of sensors. So the board has two independent circuits for the X and Y directions. These two circuits can either be used on the same dual-axis device or separate single-axis spinners.

Opti-Pac FAQ
What controls can I use?
The Opti-Pac Plus supports all controls which use an optical wheel sensor system. This includes trackballs, spinners and rotary joysticks of all makes. It supports buffered types which include Happ devices, unbuffered (Suzo), high or low polarity. Don't worry if you don't know what these terms mean, there are easy wiring instructions for the various types of controls.

Do I need a power supply?
No. Power comes from the USB port.

What about mouse buttons?
Inputs are provided for mouse buttons. These inputs can be wired up together with I-PAC button inputs so that control panel buttons can perform dual function: mouse buttons and normal key-type inputs. So you could use your trackball as a mouse with two of the control panel buttons working as mouse buttons and also have these buttons work in games via the I-PAC.

What does the labelling on the input connections mean?
The input connections are labelled Player 1 Trackball, Player 1 Rotary and Player 2 Trackball, Player 2 Rotary. There is no difference in functionality between a Trackball input and a Rotary input. The different terms are used only for convenience. Each of these four inputs has two axes. This means each of these four can handle one trackball or two spinners or two rotary joysticks. There are also power connections. Multiple power connections are provided for ease of wiring, they are actually commoned on the board.

What happens if I have a trackball connected to Player 1 Trackball input and a spinner connected to Player 1 Rotary input.
How does the board know which one I actually want to use to play the game via Player 1 mouse device?

The movement of both controls are simply "added" together to determine mouse movement.


  • 5
    Retropie fun

    Posted by Unknown on 26th Jan 2022

    Have this running on RetroPie CRT Evo, works nicely with mame2003plus using spinner for driving games etc and trackball for analogue stick games and shooters. Simple as plugging a mouse in after some simple wiring.

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