Yonatan Mevorach's Desktop Arcade Machine Offers Grafana-Powered Insights Rather Than Space Invaders

Converted from a swag-bag arcade cabinet toy, this Raspberry Pi Zero W-powered build offers interactive at-a-glance metric graphing.

Gareth Halfacree
12 days ago β€’ Internet of Things

Wix Engineering developer Yonatan Mevorach has turned a toy arcade machine into something a little better-suited to his current work-from-home lifestyle: a Raspberry Pi-powered Grafana dashboard.

"It occurred to me that [the arcade toy's] small screen could be perfect for presenting graphs, and that I could even use the physical buttons to navigate through them," Mevorach explains of his inspiration, triggered by missing a dedicated metric-tracking second monitor used in the office. "Luckily, despite having no idea how an arcade machine works, I managed to modify it to display graphs from Grafana."

This arcade cabinet doesn't play the latest hits - but it will keep you up-to-date on Grafana-tracked metrics. (πŸ“Ή: Yonatan Mevorach)

The basis for the build is a miniature arcade cabinet, received in a Wix Engineering swag bag but simply gathering dust. Inside was a controller board, joystick and button panel, speaker, screen, and battery compartment β€” and enough space to fit a Raspberry Pi Zero W single-board computer.

"I could try to re-use the original screen but I would have to learn to reverse-engineer how to control it," Mevorach explains, "so I decided to get rid of it and try to find a screen with the same form-factor that's designed to be controlled by a Raspberry Pi. This meant that other than the plastic exterior, the only original part I would need to re-utilize are the physical buttons and the circuit-board that controls them."

Key to the conversion was adapting the control board to work with the Raspberry Pi's GPIO header. (πŸ“Ή: Yonatan Mevorach)

With the control board wired to the Raspberry Pi's general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header, and the batteries replaced by a suitable micro-USB power supply, Mevorach's arcade machine became a lot less fun but considerably more useful. A replacement 2.4" display slots into the original housing and offers a look at Grafana dashboards, while the controls flick through the possible metrics on display β€” all updated live over the Raspberry Pi Zero W's Wi-Fi connection.

"Don't worry if you've never tinkered with electronics or used a soldering-iron before," Mevorach notes. "I didn't either before starting this project."

The full build log is available on Mevorach's website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles