Project Almond Joy

Project Almond Joy

Almond Joy

Wire Preparation

After browsing a lot of the nicer builds out there, I decided I wanted to try using some cable wrap on the various harnesses and such. For this you need:

  • Wiring harnesses
  • PET cable wrap (I used 1/4 inch)
  • Heat shrink tubing (1/4 inch)
  • Heat gun
  • Toenail clippers
  • Mini-Blowtorch or hot knife
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Scissors
  • Thick straw
  • Pliers

This is arguably the most tedious step in this process, but the idea is fairly straightforward. We’ll start with the L3/R3/Touchpad cable as an example, since that’s a simple one. Cut a piece of heat shrink (the pre-cut tubes I had lent themselves to be cut in half, then cut in half again) and slide it past the quick disconnects to the base of the Dupont (black 1 by 3 pin) connector. Next, measure a length of cable wrap and cut (leave space to connect the pins to the buttons – at least a few inches). Use the blowtorch or hot knife to sear and melt the ends so the wrap doesn’t fray apart. Open a ballpoint pen and push that inside the wrap (both ends) to break up any melted together strands. Now you just need to get the wires through the wrap – the straw method is very effective. Once you have that on, slide the end of the wrap under the heat shrink and cover half of the end with it. Give yourself a little bit of room between the heat shrink and the Dupont connector so you can see what wire is what, then use your heat gun to seal the heat shrink. Apply another piece to the opposite end in the same manner, again leaving enough space for the wires.

For the 20 pin main harness, leave the joystick connector alone (it’s possible to do by removing the connector, but given I didn’t trust myself to remove it without breaking it, I left it out – spiral wrap will be applied later). Separate out the wiring bundles (there will be a few; one for start/select/guide, one for punch buttons, one for kick buttons, and a ground wire chain). Carefully clip the zip ties for just one bundle at a time with the toenail clipper; don’t cut into the wires. Use the above wrapping process for one bundle at a time.

Repeat the process for the other wiring harnesses (L3/R3/TP and so on).

Other tips:

  • Always get that heat shrink piece on first.
  • Always measure and cut the wrap first – trying to cut on the wire doesn’t work well.
  • Make sure to melt the ends, otherwise the wrap will fray horribly.
  • The cable wrap has some flexibility once you’re on – it can stretch out a bit and compress somewhat. This can help with measuring mistakes.
  • Leave some wrap on a pen or straw to stretch it out and make it easier to work with.
  • The straw method will save you hours of time.
  • It goes without saying, but be careful with the heat gun.
  • If you have trouble getting a wire through with a quick disconnect on it (the plastic cover keeps coming loose, for example), fold it over and insert the half loop first.
  • It’s up to you if you want to wrap the single wire items.
  • This still takes quite a bit of work, but it’ll be worth it. Have patience.

Harness Creation

Some of the Brook Retro functionality doesn’t have ready made harnesses available (you can use an L3-R3-Touchpad harness as a Turbo harness since they both have four wires and use a JST-PH, but no such luck for the lighting option. Some harnesses we’ll need:

  • Status lighting array
  • Turbo (made my own)
  • Retro/UFB switch
  • Converters for the tournament lockout

Lets start on the bottom and work our way up. The SCI switches have big pins that don’t interface with the tournament lockout harness. To correct this, we just need three pieces of wire (preferably a bigger gauge for the quick disconnects), some compatible quick disconnect terminals (large female and small male), quick disconnect covers, crimper (1.0mm), toenail clippers, wire strippers/cutter.

Cut three lengths of wire (20 gauge or so), preferably different colors – 5-6 inches should be good. Strip a slight amount off the end (a couple mm), twist the strands together, and measure against the quick disconnect cable. The jacketed part should fit in the large locking tabs and the stripped portion should fit in the center underneath the smaller locking tabs, and no further.

Once you have your wire end stripped properly, insert the QD into the 1.0mm opening into your crimper. The ratcheting crimper has two depths; one for the large tabs, and one for the short tabs. The QD tabs should point down like a tent into the valley of the crimper, forming a diamond-like shape. Click the crimper into position to hold the QD, but don’t compress it yet. Next put the wire in and check the alignment on both sides. Once ready, squeeze firmly to lock in the wire. Slide on the plastic cover for the QD, then put on the cover for the other side. Repeat on the other end with the other QD (one side should be large female, the other should be small female), then perform the same process on the other two wire lengths. Bind the wires together (wrap, heat shrink, zip ties, whatever works). Test with a multimeter if desired.

If you need to make small adjustments to the exposed wire, toenail clippers and a magnifying setup help quite a bit.

Retro/UFB Switch

This build doesn’t have a UFB (yet), but I’m planning to add it later. For this connector, we’ll need:

  • 24 AWG stranded wire (recommend Red, Green, Black)
  • QD connectors (large) & covers
  • 1×3 Dupont connector
  • Dupont female pins
  • Small crimpers (1.6 and 1.9 settings)
  • Pliers
  • Wire making tools from previous steps (stripper/cutter, etc.)

[Crimping pins video demonstration here.]

Start by getting the female pins on to the wires. Strip the end of the 24AWG wire (just a mm or two) and check it against the pin (same idea as the making the QDs above). Use the 1.6 slot on the mini-crimper to crimp the middle tabs, then the 1.9 slot to crimp the larger tabs. Once the pin is on, insert it into the slot of the Dupont connector.

Most of these “black box” connectors have an arrow marker to indicate the first pin; it’s suggested you use this with the red wire, green in the center, and black on the other side.

Optionally wrap the wire. Apply the large quick disconnects on the other end with covers, but be careful: you’ll want to use pliers to further compress the tabs (the 24AWG wires are a bit small for these).


This is fairly similar to the previous step, though it uses a 1×4 JST PH connector. I used White, Red, Blue, and Black wiring for this.

I found the pins in the JST PH to be much more finicky than the Dupont pins, though the latter’s head more readily deformed under pressure.

Pins one and two go to an LED; I’m using ring connectors connected to a small socket and a 3.3V E10 LED. The other two pins go to a button (I reserved the side button for this). Again, be mindful that the initial crimp will be a little too large for this wire gauge, so give it another squeeze.

If you wrap these cables, separate the two bundles so you can get one to your LED and one to the button.

Player/System LED Status Array

This is a lot like the Turbo setup, but with a JST PH 1×5 pin connector. I used black (pin 1), red (pin 2), yellow (pin 3), green (pin 4), and blue (pin 5) wiring, ring terminals, four E10 bulb sockets, and 3.3V E10 LED bulbs. The black wire needs to be daisy-chained to the positive terminal for each socket, while each individual wire needs to be connected to the negative of the socket for the light it represents.

(not complete, more details soon!)


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