My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Discuss VO-related projects (Twin Sticks, etc.)
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Trump111
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My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by Trump111 » 13 Jul 2009, 01:14

With the help of MentholMoose and lots of people here at the Oratan forum, I have completed my Dreamcast Twin Stick mod!
It's a first-time attempt at hardware modding for me and I learned how to solder just for this project, so I'm rather glad it actually succeeded.
DCTS000.jpg
The mod itself is MentholMoose's reversible design plus the popular Japanese method of running a connector off an intact 360 pad.
I choose this particular combination because I wanted to mod a DualShock later on to play the Sega Ages Virtual On and probably a bit of MARZ. It also elegantly solves the problem of needing to add in a guide button and allows comfortable navigation of the game menus with the pad.

I made two sets in total and one went to a buddy.
Here is a quick rundown of the two mod kits...

Naturally, you need a set of Dreamcast Twin Sticks.
I got mine off ebay for a total of $160 (shipping included) and it came from Hong Kong.
DCTS008.jpg
Much to my surprise, it came with the original box, which was kinda old.
The sticks themselves are in pristine condition without a scratch or smear to be seen anywhere.

Set A:
  • 4ft beige PC game port/midi port extension cable ($5 from ebay)
    JST connectors as specified in MentholMoose's guide
    Microsoft XBox 360 Wired Controller ($25 with free shipping from Amazon)
DCTS001.jpg
The Game Port cable saved me a lot of time from soldering the connectors and they come in a nice plastic housing. I snipped it in half, drilled a hole in the game pad's shell and then measured out the length I liked.
DCTS002.jpg
Soldering the JST connectors are somewhat easy. You just have to remember to put some electrical tape around the pins. When I tested the kit, they touched and my right weapon would fire when I dashed...
DCTS003.jpg
The pad with all the wires soldered on. This was just before I accidentally pulled off the trace for the 360 start button. That never got fixed, though the game runs just fine without it. You just can't play the arcade mode, but who does that anyway?
DCTS004.jpg
First run after everything checked out on the PC test. It is very strange to navigate the dashboard with Twin Sticks...
DCTS005.jpg
While it's hard to see here, there is a wire running to the Y button which I also pulled the trace out of on the back. Bricks were shat as I ran the line to the front and tested if it still worked there. Luckily, it did.
Set B:
  • 3ft 15-wire shielded cable ($1 from a local hardware store)
    Pair of VGA connectors with metal housing ($0 from work)
    JST connectors
    Microsoft XBox 360 Wired Controller ($25 from Amazon)
DCTS006.jpg
Here's my little friend sitting with my second mod kit. He looks kinda like MentholMoose's avatar. Nothing really different with this one from the previous other than a thicker cable which didn't help the mod work at all.
DCTS007.jpg
The Twin Sticks with Set B's metal VGA connector.
A quick note to everyone planning to buy an extension cable: Do NOT buy a VGA one because while there are 15 pins on the connectors, there are, at minimum, only six wires inside! Sometimes there are 13, but that's still too few for what we need here.
The easy fix is to get a Game Port/Midi Port cable like I did since those almost always have all 15 wires inside. They're also pretty cheap since they're generally in low demand these days.
Of course, if you have an old printer cable lying around, you could use that too, but they have 25 and it's kind of an overkill.

So that's it for the mod show-and-tell.
Hope more people here will try out this rather risk-free mod for themselves and join me online for some Twin Stick dueling.

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Nusakan
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by Nusakan » 13 Jul 2009, 09:46

Nice man, I was gonna go with the VGA route til I saw how thin the cables were. The VGA cable I had was an old skool one when they actually wired all 15 wires. That unfortunatly was asking to be broken at some point in the future. I thought about MIDI cables but decided not to. Right now I'm just waiting for the JST connectors to come in as well as the twin sticks (toysnjoys.com is starting to tick me off tho. Put in the order June 29th and still not shipped yet...wtf?)

The mod I'm doing involves a MadCatz wired controller since I got two for only 7 bucks for two of them (thanks to bestbuy gift certs woo!), and the inverter added for the triggers. Info found here -->http://forums.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=197388". Problem with madcatz is there's enough varation of these that mapping of signal and ground WILL vary.

I haven't decided what to do with the guide button tho. I actually tore off an old Saturn fighting stick that was "thrown" away cause the dude couldnt' get a trade in value back when i worked at EBgames. I can actually put the button on where the VMU is and just wire it to the back. I also thought about tearing apart an old 3rd party VMU and mount the button to that and just inserting the VMU.

Anyways LOL Nice man!

Trump111
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by Trump111 » 13 Jul 2009, 10:21

Thin wires were actually the easier to solder for me.
The thick ones had the problem of pulling off easier and being not nearly as plyable.
I think the button would be quite elegant if mounted on the VMU hole. I considered that before discovering the Japanese pad-dongle method. Sadly, they don't sell push buttons in that same shade of gray as the Twin Sticks or else I'd like that.
One reason I forgot to mention why I used the official MS pad is because I use the chatpad quite a bit and wanted access to that. That way, I can easily send thank yous to good players which I do quite a bit.

And as for toysnjoys.com, I've actually heard some pretty bad things about them.
Not that I want to scare you or anything, but I would keep a close eye on your order and go after them about it as much as you can, since they are sluggish at the very least.

Do keep us updated.
Last edited by Trump111 on 13 Jul 2009, 10:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Nusakan
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by Nusakan » 13 Jul 2009, 10:35

Lol the jinx was already made before you actually. I've never had problems with them before but this was years ago when DDR was the "thing" and I got my twinsticks brand new from them too. But ya I made the order on the 29th of June, got an invoice a week later (the next day i sent them an e-mail wondering wtc? which i still haven't gotten a response back from anyone) but if i hear nothing from them by friday I'll send them another e-mail.... *sigh* that's unfortunate that they've changed.

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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by MentholMoose » 13 Jul 2009, 14:39

Congrats on the successful mods! Sorry about suggesting the VGA cable, I didn't know it would be a hassle to use.
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jamtero
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by jamtero » 10 Apr 2010, 22:01

Probably missing something pretty obvious here. But if the extension cable only has 15 wires, where are you getting the extra 5 wires shown in the picture?

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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by MentholMoose » 10 Apr 2010, 22:15

jamtero wrote:Probably missing something pretty obvious here. But if the extension cable only has 15 wires, where are you getting the extra 5 wires shown in the picture?
In this photo:
DCTS002-edit.jpg
There are 20 connections, but only 15 are unique. From left to right, the connectors have 1, 1, 1, 1, and 2 ground connections, which can all be connected from a single wire. It's kind of hard to see in the photo, though, so I traced a couple that I can clearly see.
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by jamtero » 10 Apr 2010, 23:41

Thanks for the reply. Its difficult to discern in the picture, but basically is the intended ground wire for each of the JST connectors shared to each other with just one JST connector's ground taking up one of the 15 unique wires? Hence the name common ground setup?

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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by MentholMoose » 11 Apr 2010, 00:07

jamtero wrote:Thanks for the reply. Its difficult to discern in the picture, but basically is the intended ground wire for each of the JST connectors shared to each other with just one JST connector's ground taking up one of the 15 unique wires? Hence the name common ground setup?
Yes that's correct. There are 14 wires for signals (buttons, directions, etc.), and 1 for the common ground (shared by six connections).
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jamtero
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by jamtero » 12 Apr 2010, 16:05

Thanks for your help and the various others who posted their guides. Took a little longer than I had anticipated but It was successful. I reversed one of the JST connectors and had to resolder and when putting the controller back together the ground point came undone. But all is well.

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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by MentholMoose » 12 Apr 2010, 19:53

jamtero wrote:Thanks for your help and the various others who posted their guides. Took a little longer than I had anticipated but It was successful. I reversed one of the JST connectors and had to resolder and when putting the controller back together the ground point came undone. But all is well.
Cool! If possible, post a new thread with pics.
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jamtero
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by jamtero » 13 Apr 2010, 19:48

I ended up packing it all in the body. The loose controller was pretty shoddy with lots of tension on the wires so this works better.
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by MentholMoose » 13 Apr 2010, 21:23

jamtero wrote:I ended up packing it all in the body. The loose controller was pretty shoddy with lots of tension on the wires so this works better.
Looks good. I did the same thing with modded DC Twin Sticks. The only problem is the headset jack. Do you use it? I was actually able to relocate it so that it is accessible, but it was a major hassle.

Does anyone know of an extension cord for the Xbox 360 headset?
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jamtero
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by jamtero » 14 Apr 2010, 14:22

i hadn't even thought about that. I think there's a wireless headset I could probably use. Otherwise I'm going to have to figure something out.

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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by MentholMoose » 16 Apr 2010, 13:46

jamtero wrote:i hadn't even thought about that. I think there's a wireless headset I could probably use. Otherwise I'm going to have to figure something out.
You can probably flip over the controller PCB so that the headphone jack is available through the VMU slot.
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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by jamtero » 18 Apr 2010, 14:20

I might try to string it similarly like the controller cord cause I have access to the guide button as is. On a side note, what kind of maintenence is indicated for these? Already I feel like I'm too rough on them and jiggling them for "looseness" in between matches often. Hell, it was fun making them I might have to track down an arcade panel too.

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Re: My Dreamcast Twinsticks Mod

Post by MentholMoose » 18 Apr 2010, 18:54

jamtero wrote:On a side note, what kind of maintenence is indicated for these? Already I feel like I'm too rough on them and jiggling them for "looseness" in between matches often.
The main thing that you need to do is keep it well lubricated. The lubricant it comes with wears out quickly, and the plastic parts will wear out fast if there is no lubricant. I bought an aerosol can of lithium grease from Home Depot and it's lasted me years.
jamtero wrote:Hell, it was fun making them I might have to track down an arcade panel too.
Modding can indeed be quite fun! Good luck with future mods, and post if you have questions.
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