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MotoRacer

Anyone build their own joystick?

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I'm curious if anyone has been able to build their own joystick here. I'm looking to try to build my own USB arcade stick with happ competition joysticks and, if I can figure it out, a trackball as well. But I can't solder and figured someone here might be able to help if they have the experience.

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I used Happ buttons and microswitches with a DIY X-Arcade pcb in a custom 2 player stick I assembled in college back when I had access to my college workshop. I don't like X-Arcade's buttons and switches, but I do like the pcb/brains so I just used that with some quality parts. I haven't experimented with a custom trackball yet. I'll post pics later. My twin 1 year old daughters love to hammer on it.

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I'm curious if anyone has been able to build their own joystick here. I'm looking to try to build my own USB arcade stick with happ competition joysticks and, if I can figure it out, a trackball as well. But I can't solder and figured someone here might be able to help if they have the experience.

I've built a few different game controllers, but not USB for use with PC.

Do you already have some kind of joystick that provides the USB interface that you're going to tie into?

There must be pre-built circuits with USB that let you just tie in your joystick and possibly trackball/spinner encoder inputs. Gotta be a lot of this stuff out there for the MAME crowd.

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I have hacked controllers to work for completely different system like making NES Advantage work with PC Engine Duo (chip swap and some rewiring, auto fire and slo-mo preserved)

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There's a usb board you can buy which converts all the wire signals of each button and the joystick to a usb feed. Can't remember what it's called, but it's pretty cheap. They sell them online for less than 20 bucks I think.

 

I don't have anything right now. I plan on getting a HAPP competition joystick, some buttons, and a casing I can paint/build/skin myself if need be.

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ATmega series chips can be used like game controller to USB converter, requires bit of C or Arduino IDE knowledge but there's no limit to what one can do with the $3 chips. ATMega328p has up to 20 input/output pins and can handle all but the most complex controller.

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Sure, I've built/rebuilt a couple, here's my latest--though it's neo geo, not usb

Dm1mdQMm.jpg

 

 

TIPS:

  • Don't cheap out on the USB encoder--this thing's going to cost a ton to build anyway, and the board is probably the bit with the most to go wrong, so why cheap out? "zero delay" means something totally different in chinese, I think.
  • Secondly, the 'happ' of today isn't the 'happ' you remember. The happ you remember sourced its controls from industrias lorenzo and combined them with cherry switches. Modern happ uses chinese everything and it feels wrong. Buy IL/Cherry, it'll only cost a little more, and it's what you want.
  • Also you shouldn't need to solder. Most usb boards have screw terminals, or pin headers, and your switches will be connected with quick disconnects so you can replace your buttons or switches regularly.
  • If you think you're going to save money by doing it yourself, you are wrong. Consider commercial alternatives if budget is a factor, but be aware of what is inside, because some of them are quite sketchy.
Edited by Reaperman
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Sure, I've built/rebuilt a couple, here's my latest--though it's neo geo, not usb

Dm1mdQMm.jpg

 

 

TIPS:

  • Don't cheap out on the USB encoder--this thing's going to cost a ton to build anyway, and the board is probably the bit with the most to go wrong, so why cheap out? "zero delay" means something totally different in chinese, I think.
  • Secondly, the 'happ' of today isn't the 'happ' you remember. The happ you remember sourced its controls from industrias lorenzo and combined them with cherry switches. Modern happ uses chinese everything and it feels wrong. Buy IL/Cherry, it'll only cost a little more, and it's what you want.
  • Also you shouldn't need to solder. Most usb boards have screw terminals, or pin headers, and your switches will be connected with quick disconnects so you can replace your buttons or switches regularly.
  • If you think you're going to save money by doing it yourself, you are wrong. Consider commercial alternatives if budget is a factor, but be aware of what is inside because some of them are quite sketchy.

 

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

Yeah, I heard about Happ parts and who really made them in the past. The problem is, I don't know where to get a shell. Finding the parts seems to be fairly easy (though I don't have a clue how to set up the wiring yet. Need to look into that yet). I know it sounds like a cop-out, but X Arcade has their joysticks on sale right now at a huge discount. I was thinking about just replacing the buttons and joysticks on them. The trackball is good, and the shell/usb setup works great. But the thought of having to mod something that's brand new, kinda pisses me off. But in regards to commercial options, for what I want, I don't know what else I can do. No one really makes bat style commercial arcade sticks anymore. They're all lollies, and I personally can't stand them.

 

PS: That's an awesome job you did. Totally Lando! I'm good at the artistic stuff. Not so much on the mechanical. I'd love to do something custom, and i know I could, but getting it in working order is what's making me nervous.

Edited by MotoRacer
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So, the pelican sticks are pretty cheap "tempting" as either a base for modding, or they may have even done a usb one.

 

DdQfHQw.jpg

 

I considered buying one as a base, but didn't because something with fewer buttons came along. Should be easy to research mods on it. Make sure the holes are the right size, and that the materials are good, etc. (I've never owned or handled one)

 

The xarcade gets very mixed reviews in terms of its usb control board, and IIRC their quick disconnects are the wrong size for easy control swaps. I considered their small one once, since it was ~$65 on black friday, but the neo-geo forum's take on it scared me off. It's got a nice shape, in terms of total gut and replace jobs.

 

MAS sticks sometimes show up at good prices on ebay. I've got a couple (one for genesis, one for neo geo). The cases are of decent (not perfect) quality, and the wiring isn't my favorite, but they're certainly solid enough. Biggest problem, is that for every one that goes for a good price, 5-6 don't.

 

I also like the cases used on these. Case was from here. I'm more of an MDF case person, personally, but they are pretty.

Edited by Reaperman
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So, the pelican sticks are pretty cheap "tempting" as either a base for modding, or they may have even done a usb one.

 

DdQfHQw.jpg

 

I considered buying one as a base, but didn't because something with fewer buttons came along. Should be easy to research mods on it. Make sure the holes are the right size, and that the materials are good, etc. (I've never owned or handled one)

 

The xarcade gets very mixed reviews in terms of its usb control board, and IIRC their quick disconnects are the wrong size for easy control swaps. I considered their small one once, since it was ~$65 on black friday, but the neo-geo forum's take on it scared me off. It's got a nice shape, in terms of total gut and replace jobs.

 

MAS sticks sometimes show up at good prices on ebay. I've got a couple (one for genesis, one for neo geo). The cases are of decent (not perfect) quality, and the wiring isn't my favorite, but they're certainly solid enough. Biggest problem, is that for every one that goes for a good price, 5-6 don't.

 

I also like the cases used on these. Case was from here. I'm more of an MDF case person, personally, but they are pretty.

 

They are pretty. Great looking sticks. There's so many options but so few options at the same time. haha

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Whoah, I'm super bummed to hear about Happ. I would have bought them sight unseen since I haven't really done anything with them since early 90's.

 

Sent from my LG-H901 using Tapatalk

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I built a few controllers, some pad hacks but mostly neogeo stick conversions.. thanks to grips03 and his PCBs that he created. I did Vectrex and Intellivision arcade controllers so far.
post-37932-0-48582300-1457060972_thumb.jpgpost-37932-0-81104500-1457061322_thumb.jpg

Edited by SiLic0ne t0aD85
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Most of Ultimarc's sticks come in Bat-top too. (I'm still in the research/pullthedamnedtriggeralready phase of building personally so I can't personally review stuff sadly)

 

Everybody and their mother pretty much tells me that straight japanese style will make my life easier... but I grew up with Happ bats and Concave buttons dammit! I'm pretty sure you can buy (no experience, again) bat tops for Sanwa sticks for pretty cheap too.

 

I'm no soldering expert but as mentioned even if you go the build-it-yourself route, soldering is usually unnecessary.

 

I have heard obviously many mixed to negative reviews of the X-Arcade stuff but the temptation is strong for me to get that sort of functionality (with a trackball!) out of the box. Tracks, spinners, etc. can get the DIY price up pretty quickly it seems!

 

I'll have to dig around too: I know there's a handful of pre-cut cabinet and control-panel options for arcades, but I believe I've seen a few guys that offer pre-cut single joystick/fightstick packs too, that might be a good compromise of being able to still use the parts you ideally want without going straight commercial or hacking up something pre-existing.

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I'm actually looking at trying out a Crown joystick. Seems to offer the springy nature of the HAPP, with the precision of the Japanese sticks everyone else seems to love.

 

I figure I've had 3 HAPP sticks so far, might as well do something new. Now on to buy some parts and to start brainstorming the top's design.

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I love arcade sticks; built and modded a few and directly bought a few others. I have a pure Happ setup with a Hanaho Hotrod modded to USB, modded an iCade with a Sanwa stick and American-style buttons (concave), and modded a PS3 crappy wireless stick to use all Sanwa parts (much better as a result). In the end I caved for some of the high end stuff though, I love my VLX stick :)

 

None of my mods use solder except for the DB15 terminal. I use "quick disconnect" plugs crimped at the end of cables, so I can rewire at will. I also have one of those screw terminals so I can "map" buttons to the DB15 output if needed.

 

Plenty of other techniques as well:

http://wiki.arcadecontrols.com/wiki/Wiring

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