With a few exceptions, I used 22AWG stranded wiring for all of the control hookups, and 18AWG stranded wiring for anything power-related. I used solid wiring on Arcade Paradise 2, mostly because it was easier (for me, anyway) to solder solid wiring to the D-SUB connectors that I used to attach the controls to the encoder. This time, however, I wanted to use molex connectors (specifically, .187" crimp-style molex connectors) for all of the connections.
I chose this route for a few reasons:
So why didn't I just have the wiring from the controls go straight to the encoder instead of having everything connect through molex connectors? Well, a couple of reasons:
I basically recycled the Hagstrom Electronics KE72-T keyboard encoder from the Arcade Paradise 2 cabinet. One thing that the KE72-T doesn't have that I really wish it did is screw terminals for connecting up the wiring. When I used the KE72-T in the Arcade Paradise 2 cabinet I stripped and soldered an IDE hard drive ribbon cable, but it wasn't the greatest solution on the planet. Hagstrom now offers the IOX36 Breakout Board which connects an IDE ribbon cable to screw terminals.
The Hagstrom KE72-T's biggest "competitor" would probably be the I-PAC and Opti-PAC combo from Ultimarc. Also, if you're not needing an optical encoder, I've heard really good things about the KeyWiz keyboard encoder from GroovyGameGear.com too. Each of these keyboard encoders have some advantages over and some disadvantages below each other, but they all seem to be solid pieces of hardware from good reputable companies, so check them all out and see which one suits your needs and pricerange.
<Old-Timer Rambling>I remember when we basically had no keyboard encoder choices offered to us. We had to hack up keyboards to interface our controls to the PC and we liked it!</Old-Timer Rambling>
Truth be told, no, we didn't like it...it sucked. So the fact that there are multiple companies that are currently offering really good keyboard encoding solutions is a thing of beauty in my opinion.
The Hagstrom KE72-T only has one optical hookup on it (for a trackball), and since I also wanted a spinner, I needed a way to interface that. Yeah, I guess I could've just spliced off of the trackball connectors, but I really didn't want to have to futz with the potential problems that might create.
OSCAR Controls sells a USB Mouse Interface Kit, so I just picked one of those up to connect up my Vortex spinner. Windows XP recognized it immediately as a "USB Human Interface Device" (which I guess is the fancy way to say "USB mouse") and loaded it up the instant I plugged it in. No configuration or "tweaking" was necessary.