OK, since I haven't been able to find a chunk of free time to finish painting the cabinet, I decided to wire up my control panel while watching TV. It was pretty easy to do - the whole process took less than an hour from start to finish. Wiring can be an intimidating part of building an arcade cab but once you know what to do it actually turns out to be the easiest part of the entire build.
The first thing I did was make a map of the wiring harness that came with my Ultimarc 360. There are 10 nodes and 9 wires coming out of it. One is "ground" and the other 8 can be hooked up to any button for any use. Since I only have 7 buttons on my control panel (Action 1, Action 2, Action 3, Player 1 Start, Player 2 Start, ESC and Coin) this is the perfect solution and it also means that I do not need any type of keyboard encoder like a KeyWiz or iPac.
As you can see from the diagram, the wiring harness is completely color coded which is very helpful - it doesn't even matter what button you decide to wire up to what color since the entire thing is customizable. The purple node is not being used currently but I'm debating on wiring up a hidden "pause" button so Bella can take a break if necessary - I haven't worked out the logistics of that though (there's nowhere to put it!).
Each button is operated by a microswitch which looks like what is pictured to the left. The top prong typically isn't used for an arcade button, the middle prong receives the wire from the wiring harness and the bottom prong receives the ground wire. The ground wires can be "daisy-chained" together meaning that the black wire from the wiring harness will be run to "ground" on the first microswitch and then to "ground" on the second microswitch and so on until it ends at the last button's "ground" prong. There is no need to complete the loop and wire back to the harness. That's all there is to it.
In order to connect the wires to the microswitches, I used "female wire disconnects" (shown) - they are sold in packs of 100 for less than $5. You strip the end of the wire, stick it in the insulated end of the connector and then crimp it shut so the wire stays in place. The connector then just slides on to the microswitch prong. Easy!
Here are some pictures of the completed wiring job:
Thanks for looking!!