We are not responsible for anything wrong (including electric shocks, malfunctions, fires, accidents involving a soldering iron) that might happen during the assembly of the kit. Everything you do while assembling the kit is at your own risks.

Bill of material:


-R1, R2 and R7, R8, R9 : 4,7K , Yellow, Purple, Black, Brown, Brown
-R3, R4, R5, R6: 390R, Orange, White, Black, Black, Brown (or Orange, White, Brown, gold)


-1x 5mm RGB LED


-1x Programmed Arduino Nano


-2x 50K Lin (or 20K lin) -1x100K Lin


-9x Push Button Momentary Switch ON/OFF 6x6mm

Pin headers:

-2x 15 Pin 2.54mm Single Row Right Angle Female Pin Header


-1x Black PCB
-1x cable with DB9 female connector (or 2x flat cables, 1x black cable housing, 1x 3D printed shell and 1x DB9 female connector)
-1x DB9 Male edge connector
-1x2,9x100mm Zip ties black

Ready for populating the main board?

Step 1: 

How to soldering Trough Holes components as Surface mount components:

Only one rule for soldering CMS: Apply solder on the first pad only, solder the first leg of the component, and then directly solder the rest. Using solder flux for the Euro connectors and Op-amp prevent the troubles as solder bridge and insufficient solder.

Important note:

If you have a good tool to hold the PCB during the soldering stages, you can start soldering the switches, so jump straight to step 6, then go back to step 2.

Otherwise, stick the PCB on a sheet of paper using an adhesive tape, this way you can easily solder the surface components because the underside of the PCB will remain empty and the PCB will be stable, however the switches of the Step 6 will be a little bit harder to weld and you will have to be fast ;)

Step 2:

The Resistors:

At first, put R1, R2 and R7, R8, R9 : 4,7K , Yellow, Purple, Black, Brown, Brown

And R3, R4, R5, R6: 390R, Orange, White, Black, Black, Brown (or Orange, White, Brown, gold)

Step 4:

The RGB Led:

Pay attention to the orientation since its a polarized component. Flat side on the footprint= Flat side of the Led package. Longuer Leg : Longer solder pad (V+)

Bend the legs as the pic below in order to spread the Legs then make a 90° angle. As the other components: Apply solder on the first pad only, solder the first leg of the component, and then directly solder the rest, if they are perfectly aligned to the pads.

Now, gently bend the LED in front of the hole. double check if the legs don’t touch each others.

If you are afraid of having made a mistake, remember that:

If the big leg is on the biggest pad and the FLAT side of the Led closed to the Autofire’s Trimmer your Led is welded in the right direction

Step 5,

The Arduino board:

Solder the 2 x 15 pin header on the board, immediately verify the solder quality & if you didn't forget any pin. Take care to the solder side!!!!!

Now plug the Arduino Nano board on the female pin headers as is (right angles pins turned to the external sides)

And now, a difficult part of the build, soldering the Arduino Nano female socket to the board:

-Apply flux on all the pads. Then solder the first pad only, solder the first leg of the right angle pin header, center the Uno and apply solder on both pads. Remove the Uno and check every solder.

Step 6:


Solder first the two X and Y Offset trimmers. They can be 50K or 20K, it doesn’t make any difference for the Vectrex circuitry)

Start by the trimmer’s midle pad, adjust the trim and solder quickly the two others. The PCB is labelled «100K» because you can use 50 to 100K lin trimmers, but 50K offered a finest tune.

note: The solder is on the game button side, so don’t forget to cut the Legs on the other side.

And now solder the Autofire Speed Trimmer, it’s the big one with the cool button.

Step 6:


Mount these 9 switches. Ensure they snap-in fully into the holes and are flat against the PCB.

Hold your soldering iron straight because there is not much space between the LED and the resistors

Solder one of the side pads, and check if they are nicely aligned. Solder one other side pad and re-check the alignment. Finish soldering the 2 other pads
Work quickly! No more than 3 seconds per joint! If you must resolder a joint, allow Switchs to cool for 20 seconds.

The Switch labelled SW1 (It’s the Vectrex Button 1) is a little hard to solder because it is located between the pin header from the Arduino: Put your soldering iron well in the free axis of the pin header and quickly solder the switch. If you happen to burn the pin header a bit, do not worry, this will not affect the proper functioning of the Arduino ;)

Step 7: 

The DB9 Male connector:

Like the trimmers, it’s welded on the button side, no need to cut the legs. First solder 1 leg, check the alignment then solder the others.

When the pin are soldered, immediately verify the solder quality & if you didn't forget any pin.

Step 8: 

Cable Assembly:

It’s look hard but it’s pretty easy! And after this training you will be the king of the controller of Vectrex, to you the most fantastic restoration or creation !!!

The Silkscreen on the PCB exactly represents the female connector of the Vectrex.

We start with the female connector, the one that plugs into the 1st Player or 2nd Player port of the Vectrex.

1 to 9 is engraved on the connector face:

And now, look at the PCB’s silkscreen: The connector is shown flat, from pin 1 to 9.

Pin1 from the connector = Pad1, labelled SW1 on Up and 1 Down.

Pin 5 from the connector is labelled X on PCB and 5.

Pads 1 to 5 (SW1, SW2, SW3, SW4, X) on the PCB represents the top row of the connector

And pads labelled  6 to 9 (Y, +5V, GND, -5V) represents the bottom row of the connector

Hack: If you do not want to use the flat cable provided in the kit and prefer a DB9 cable cut from a Sega Genesis controller, remember to match the wire colors  and the connector (use a multimeter) before soldering them on the pads of the PCB and jump to step N 9.

And now we will start soldering the flat cable! To avoid making mistakes, we will use a convention of the world of modular synth: The red line on a cable is still -5V! This avoids polarizing the devices on reverse side and making funny smoke ...

We will do the same: Separate the wires on 2cm, strip them and weld the red wire first.

Then weld the other 3 and then do it with the second ribbon:

And now, position the ribbon with 4 wires under the 5 Wires ribbon and slip it into the black cable housing and do not forget the plastic insert. The cable housing is elastic and can be retract in length. You can use a plier or wire to pull the ribbon through the sheath.

At the end it looks like this:

And now denude the wires and solder the bottom row, starting with the red wire on PIN 9.

Attention, we return the PCB and the wires to weld first the lower rank

You can secure the cables with a clothespin, nobody will know it;)

And if we return the connector again, it looks like this:

And we can finish welding the top row.

Note that the insert and black housing are free to move because they have not yet been glued, they will be stained once the device is tested and calibrated.

Step 9:

Now you finished the build, it’s time to calibrating your device and bond your cable:

Connect your Arduino Nano to the board, USB closed from the REG LED side and power it via a USB cable (Not included).

But do not connect your gamepad to the Vectrex !!! Flip your gamepad and press one of the buttons 1 to 4: The LED should light up Blue with each push. If you press the mode button, according to the autofire mode, the LED will turn red. You will be able to regulate the shooting frequency once the Vectrex is powered on with a game.

And if the LED does not light up? Look in what orientation you soldered the LED and in what orientation is connected your Arduino. This is why you have to test the Arduino with the USB before connecting it and power it for real via the Vectrex: This prevents it from smoke !!

You can now connect the gamepad to the Vectrex.

Attention: You will find that the DB9 female connectors is the wrong way compared to the Gamepad: It's true and it shows with flat cable, but we will then fix it in the right direction with the help of Zip Ties black.The connector is welded to the pads of the PCB, which take the logical view of a DB9 female connector to avoid mounting errors during wiring.

Now plug the DB9 connector into the Vectrex, turn on a game using all the functions in a simple way (VecZ is perfect for that) and test the directional pad: The ship must go from left to right, up and down without touching the factory setting of X and Y position trimmers (They are usually positioned at the center of their stroke) otherwise turn a little one or the other to adjust the stroke. Now plug a classic Vectrex controller into the male dB9 port and adjust the X and Y axes again because the settings on your controllers may not be standard, but usually when the trimmers are in the center it works with all unless the controls of these are really unbalanced in + 5 / -5V)

You can also ajust now the Autofire Frequency trimmer, but this value can change from games, it’s why the trimmer comes with a built-in button.

Now You can twist the ribbon so that the connector is in the right direction, pass the two Zip Ties black and tighten them:

To attach the plastic insert to the connector, warm up a glue gun, put hot glue between the two rows of the connector and immediately slide the black housing over it so that it gets caught in the glue.

Then slide the insert and fill (modestly) the glue insert. When it's cold, your new controller is ready! Good game!!!!!

Hack and sourcecode:

-Coming January 2019 with Batch #2


-RevA: Original release (Black PCBs) December 2018. 20Kits.