NES controllers on the DC?

Discuss modifications you have done or plan to do to your Dreamcast or any other hardware, or discuss devices you want to build. If your console does not work or is acting up, ask about fixing it in here.
Lartrak
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NES controllers on the DC?

Post by Lartrak » Thu Feb 21, 2002 9:22 pm

I know many hate them, but I've always loved the original NES controllers. Now that NesterDC is virtually perfect in full screen, I'd like to mod one of my NES controllers to play on the DC. I took one look at the standard DC board and decided sticking it's guts in there wouldn't work to well. I have one of those PSX adapters - would it be possible to somehow get the guts of a PSX controller in a NES controller? What about crossing some wires? I'd rather not do to much of that as I don't have a soldering iron - well, not one fine enough for that kind of work at least.

Suggestions?
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Post by MidnightObsidian » Thu Feb 21, 2002 10:00 pm

This is going to be hard. I don't know enough about it to discredit or approve the idea... but I do know that it will be hard.
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Post by ps2insight » Fri Feb 22, 2002 1:00 pm

Well I would scratch the PSX controller idea and try a direct port of the controller.

I havn't tried a nintendo controller but I was able to convert a Atari 2600 controller to work on Dreamcast. So it should be possible. Be sure you know what you are doing because I blew a controller port on my DC. Luckily it was still under warrenty. :D

Good luck on your endevor. If I can find a couple Nintendo controllers that I could tear apart I will try to draw up some sketches if I get it to work. Only bad thing is the Nintendo controller is small.
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Post by MidnightObsidian » Fri Feb 22, 2002 4:19 pm

Hmm. Well if the Atari 2600 controller can be manipulated into working with the Dreamcast, then I have no doubt in my mind that the NES controller will work just fine. I was thinking that the speed of the NES interface would be too slow for the Dreamcast interface... but I guess the speed isn't maxed out.

Well regardless, good luck. >= )
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Post by TheDumbAss » Fri Feb 22, 2002 9:31 pm

There was a guy who was a regular on the old forums called Marvin...

He wired up an NES controller to a Mad Catz 6button DC controller to use with nester. He had explained how he'd done it and I beleave he'd done some controllers for other systems too.

Problem is... it was on the OLD forums that we (the mods) had no access to after it was switched out. He wasnt really ever on the forum that replaced them. And he's never around now... :(
So basicly the information is lost...

I do know it required soldering to the Mad Catz controller. It probibly also required soldering to the NES controller.
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Post by Marvin » Fri Feb 22, 2002 10:21 pm

I have not updated this mod for the newer version of Nester, but the idea is still the same. I used to map multiple buttons to the NES pad for full functionality, but that causes problems with all of the new (cool) features that Nester has added. If I ever get arounf to updating it I will post a better description.
Here is an old post that I had up at one time:
Using a Mad Catz controller as a pass through host for other controller types:
"The one and only reason that I used this particular controller for this project is that I bought it for fighting games (six button layout), but I was not happy with the way the directional pad functions. I was not too fond of the rubber and it seems to be tilted at an odd angle for my hand. I had been a PC gamer since I finally donated my Genesis to my little brother and had grown quite fond of the Microsoft Sidewinder game pad. The Mad Catz turns out to be a good choice because of the C and Z buttons. There is no need to use the analog triggers at all when patching to another six button layout.
The following parts are needed: 15 wire cable (I used a ribbon cable for the Mad Catz, and a PC joystick extension cable for the other controllers)
Male and female db15 connectors (The extension cables already have them neatly molded on for you)
Proper tools for soldering
An ohmmeter/multimeter helps a lot ? doesn?t have to be a nice one
A small double-pole/single-throw switch
Open up the Mad Catz (or other controller of choice). There are 11 digital buttons: A B C X Y Z Start Up Down Left Right. Each of these buttons has two contacts on the circuit board. One is unique to each button and the other is a common ground that they all share. All of the contacts run down the board to an IC on the bottom of the board. Somewhere in these paths they all have a through-hole in the run. Follow the traces from each of the button?s individual contacts to a hole and solder a wire at that point. Choose any one of the common ground points that they share and solder one wire to it. Keep track of which wire went to which button for later, be it a color or number in a ribbon cable. This uses up the first 12 of our 15 wires, covering all of the digital buttons.
The analog stick is a bit more complicated. If you don?t need it for your desired controller (Sidewinder pad, NES pad, Arcade stick, ect?) you can skip this section and cut the mod time in half. The analog controls are very different than the digital ones. Connecting another control directly to the analog stick will give you a sluggish unusable reaction to movement. Moving the stick around will vary the value of two variable resistors ? connecting resistors in parallel will severely screw up these values. I then removed the Madcatz?s stick and wired a Dual Shock to work with it. The Dual Shock worked fine, but the controllers without an analog control did not. The Mad Catz seems to freak out when there is no analog device present. My solution was to add a switch to the Mad Catz, taking the analog stick out of circuit when needed and returning it when it is not needed. I used a double-pole single-throw switch to do this. I found plenty of room to mount it near the bottom right of the Mad Catz. There are two variable resistors in the control, each one has three legs. One on each is the same ground as the digital buttons. The next leg is individual to each axis. The last leg is a dc voltage value that the two axis share. I removed the stick, bent the middle leg of each variable resistor up, and then replaced the stick. I wired the now disconnected center leg of each to the middle contacts of the switch. I wired the contact points where the legs used to go to one side of the switch and the other side went to two of the three remaining wires in my ribbon cable. The last wire of the cable is connected to the path of one of the legs where the dc voltage is present. I fired up the controller with my Dreamcast to test this, but all you need to do is choose the leg that is not the common ground. Throwing the switch now removes or adds the middle leg of each axis to the circuit and swaps it with what ever is at the end of wires 13 and 14. This may not be written all too clearly, hopefully the pics help out.
I then cut an opening in the back cover of the Mad Catz below the VMU connections and fed the cable through it. I wrapped a zip-tie around the cable inside to act as a stop to prevent the wires from being pulled out if the cable is pulled. Then I terminated the cable with a female db15 connector and that finished the Mad Catz?s end of the work! The Mad Catz still works fine as long as the added switch is in the position that leaves the stick in circuit.

The next step is to rewire another controller for use with the above device. By far the easiest to do was the first one I attempted: the Sidewinder six button pad. Whatever controller you use for this method will be permanently altered and will no longer function with anything else. The Sidewinder already has a 15 conductor cable terminated with a 15 pin male connector. Open up the controller and unsolder the cable first. The next thing is to remove all of the components from the board. This is to prevent the circuitry of the Sidewinder from interfering with or damaging the Mad Catz circuit. Then I used my ohmmeter to determine which color wire of the Sidewinders cable went to which pin (such as black to pin 1, brown to pin 2?). Refer to what you kept track of when wiring the Mad Catz and reconnect the 12 wires needed to the Sidewinder?s circuit board. If pin 1 of the Mad Catz female db15 jack goes to ground, wire pin 1 of the Sidewinder db15 jack to a ground point. Do this for all 12 of the digital buttons, using the same methods used for the Mad Catz. I also jumped wires to the two shoulder buttons of the Sidewinder so that they also work as buttons C and Z. Just find a contact point for button C and wire it to the right shoulder button, same thing for Z to the left one. Reassemble the unit and you should be ready to play!
The reason that I said the Sidewinder was the easiest to convert is of its lack of analog control and the already present db15 plug. Less time and parts were required. The Capcom Arcade Joystick I made was the same thing, you just need to discard the original cable and replace it with a 15 conductor cable terminated with a female db15.
Next controller I used was a Dual Shock. Same method as the Sidewinder for the most part. I wired the two shoulder buttons on the right side to C, the two left ones to Z. I also connected the A button to both the X button and the Select button. I did this just so that the Select button would have some function, and most Dreamcast games I have use A to select within a menu. The biggest difference is adding the analog control. Wire the middle leg of the stick?s X and Y axis to the corresponding pins 13 and 14 of the db15 plug. The 15th connection wires to the leg of both axis that is not common to ground, but common to each other (the dc voltage level from the Mad Catz analog control). It now should function fine if you flick the switch removing the Mad Catz?s own analog stick.
The NES pad is also very quick and easy to do. Use the same method as above, keeping in mind what Dreamcast control performs what action in the emulator. This means that in Nester, for example, the NES Select button will be the Y button from the Mad Catz. The NES A goes to Mad Catz A and NES B to Mad Catz X. This works perfect and it is a cool feeling to play those games once again on the NES pad. This left the Mad Catz Y, Z, and C buttons unused. I could still press them on the Mad Catz when I needed them for the option menu (B) and to exit a game (both triggers together ? or C and Z). To fix this a reopened the NES pad and connected Z to NES Select along with Y, connected C to NES Start along with Start, and connected B to the NES d-pad Left contact along with Left. This means that pressing NES Select actually activates Y and Z. Pressing NES Start activates Start and C. Pressing NES Left activates Left and B. This makes it fully functional with Nester. During a game the B command has no function, so Nester only reacts to the Left when you hit Left. In the options menu the Left command has no function, so Nester only reacts to B when you press Left. The C and Z only reset when presses together, to pressing NES Select and Start at the same time will exit the game in progress. I have only used Nester, I would guess a different configuration will be needed for different emulators.

Have fun!"


That was it. I don't know if I can post pics on this new forum, but if anyone wants them just let me know.

-Marvin
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Post by TheDumbAss » Fri Feb 22, 2002 10:55 pm

Wow... speak of the devil :)

Thanks Marvin!

Umm... You can post pictures on the forums here... but you cant upload them. If you want you can send them to me and I'll upload them to my space (which does allow outside linking) dumbhatesicq@icqmail.com
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Post by Lartrak » Sun Feb 24, 2002 1:48 am

"Somewhere in these paths they all have a through-hole in the run."

I can't seem to find this. The paths unique to each button all just seem to go into the VMU connector glue and stop. Could you get a pic for the mad catz controller? If you don't have a digital camera I can supply a high res pic of the board..
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Post by MidnightObsidian » Sun Feb 24, 2002 11:05 am

Marvin, thank you very much for that information; the second I can get my hands on a NES controller, I'm going to set it up with your directions. >= )
>= )
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Post by Marvin » Sun Feb 24, 2002 3:38 pm

I had promised to do this before, but I kinda got away from my Dreamcast for a while....
My brother has given me a NES pad and I have a brand new MadCatz controller. I will see him in a couple of weeks and plan to give these to him. When I mod them I will take step by step notes with pictures.
Hopefully this will produce a proper tutorial for anyone interested.
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Post by Lartrak » Sun Feb 24, 2002 5:47 pm

Image
This is the catz board. Where do I solder on this?

Image

I'm assuming the solder points here are where it looks like there already were solders. Right? I'm new to this.
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Post by Lartrak » Sun Mar 03, 2002 2:56 pm

I feel like bumping this, as it's about to go the next page. Any updates Marvin?
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Post by TheDumbAss » Sun Mar 03, 2002 8:50 pm

He said he was going to redo the mod from scratch for his brother... and that he was going to take step by step pictures and write instructions. This might take him awhile.

He has sent me some pictures of his first ones he did. Some arent that great. The ones of the dc controller board arent close enough to see whats soldered where... but it might help.

Ive uploaded them here...
http://dumbass.hypermart.net/presents/dc/marvins/
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Post by Lartrak » Mon Mar 04, 2002 2:43 am

Ugh. The layout of that board is totally different from my mad catz. I might try popping open one of my official boards to see if the layout is any less confusing then mine.

Blah, thing I'm curious about is if it would be possible to just cut the cable off the mad catz and solder the NES's on. if it was possible, I'd do that.
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Post by TheDumbAss » Mon Mar 04, 2002 6:56 am

No... you cant simply cut the wire and solder it the other controller...

The reason why you HAVE to solder to another DC controler is because the dreamcast requires the maple bus chip (in all DC controllers) to
recognize the controller and convert the signal from it to what the dreamcast understands.

What your doing is basicly hard wireing so that when you press the button on the new controller... that chip thinks a button on the mad catz was
pressed.
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Quantum Fighterpad

Post by pipa » Mon Mar 04, 2002 12:00 pm

The Quantum Fighterpad is an awesome pad to hack - the best part is ... no soldering required at all (I suck at soldering). I am halfway thru my tutorial on hacking it - take a look:
http://joystick.virtualave.net/images/dreamcast/QFHack/

Questions/comments welcome. I'm hacking them to us in my Dreamcast arcade cabinet:
http://joystick.virtualave.net/dreamcast.html
but it would be easy to use it as a basis for a NES hack instead. The only trick would be whether or not the Fighterpad's PCB would fit into a NES controller. You may have to make the NES controller a little thicker to make it fit.

Brian
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Post by Lartrak » Mon Mar 04, 2002 5:42 pm

No soldering? What do you do exactly? I'm not sure if I understand... Have you taken a look at the picture of the nes pad? I'm not sure if I understand how you'd wire controllers with this pad w/o soldering.

Pretend I'm an idiot here, as I'm very new to this kind of thing. How would sticking the fighterpad PCB in there help? I'm gonna go pick up one of those fighterpad's today as I saw them on sale for like $5 recently. If nothing else, I could use an extra controller.. :)
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Post by tom61 » Mon Mar 04, 2002 7:29 pm

No soldering? What do you do exactly? I'm not sure if I understand...
He meant for his arcade hack, all he needs is a barrier strip to complete his hack. If you're going the NES pad hack with this controller, you won't need to solder directly to the DC controller.

Maybe I'll post more later, need to grab one of those Quantum fighter pads from Radio Shack (last place I saw them for around $5).
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Post by TheDumbAss » Tue Mar 05, 2002 3:09 am

Marvin has came through with his tutorial for Mad Catz :D

Something thats wierd... seems there are two versions of the Mad Catz controler :roll: The one in his tutorial is differant then the one he'd modded before. This time its like Lartrak's.

Marvin sent it to me as a .doc which I've uploaded it HERE.

I took the time to convert his tutorial into HTML and split it into two parts
How to use a Mad Catz as host for other controllers
and
Get an NES controller to connect you Mad Catz (host)

Seems simple enough... I think I'm going to try it if I can find a Mad Catz. If I can find a Quantam Pad first I may try using that instead.
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Post by pipa » Tue Mar 05, 2002 11:55 am

No soldering? What do you do exactly? I'm not sure if I understand...

For the arcade hack I am showing, you simply twist wires together (and maybe use some heatshrink tubing) - you don't have ot solder anywhere.
Have you taken a look at the picture of the nes pad? I'm not sure if I understand how you'd wire controllers with this pad w/o soldering.
I haven't seen a picture of the inside of a NES pad, but You can probbaly hack it without doing any soldering either. I'd have to see the inside though.
Pretend I'm an idiot here, as I'm very new to this kind of thing. How would sticking the fighterpad PCB in there help?


The NES cannot be connected straight to a DC. The QFP can. If you do the hack the way I showed, you can hook the wires to the inside of the NES pad and put the PCB in there - then, when you press a button on the NES pad, it would press a button on the QFP and send hte signal to the DC. Make sense?
I'm gonna go pick up one of those fighterpad's today as I saw them on sale for like $5 recently. If nothing else, I could use an extra controller.. :)
DO NOT use them for an extra controlelr - they are horrible!!!! :0

If you have any other questions, you can email me directly - dreamcast@nojunkmailpipa.net (remove nojunkmail to email me)

These pads are perfect for making your own standalone arcade stick too. Forget Agetec - make your own out of REAL arcade parts. The parts should cost about $35 give or take. If I wasn't making hte arcade cabinet, I'd probably make an arcade stick.

Brian
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