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My custom PS2 arcade stick


Whenever I first bought my Neo Geo cab, I became reacquainted with how great it was to actually use an arcade stick versus the shitty d-pads found on most controllers. After several sessions of KoF '98 and SSIII on my Neo, I came to the conclusion that I had to have a real stick for my home consoles. When I started digging for info on sticks I was overloaded with info on brands and performance. Most good sticks cost upwards of 100$, and even then opinions differed on which was worth the money. Also, which system was I going to buy this thing for? My Xbox is loaded down with arcade emulators, but the PS2 seemed to be getting all the recent Capcom and SNK conversions. After a bit of research I found some tutorials on building your own sticks using arcade parts and a controller PCB as your base and decided to take that route. I decided on a PS/PS2 stick, since I have several converters that would make it useable on 5 different systems, along with having all the parts I need laying around the house!

Since I'm not writing this as a deep tutorial, I'll skip most of the technical bullshit. If you're interested in building on of these there's a ton of info available. Don't be intimidated by the process, all it requires is basic knowledge of soldering and wiring. 


 

To the left is a close up of the PCB. I chose a crappy 3rd party PS1 controller to start with, since most of the solder points are huge. I can't solder for shit, so I need all the room I can get. The bottom half of are the analog sticks, which I removed later by cutting the wires. I also cut off the vibrating motors. 







On the right is a project case I used whenever I thought I had everything wired

up correctly. It's an old VHS tape with holes drilled in the top for the wires
along with a layout of a regular PS pad that way I could tell what went
 where. It really served no point other than to protect the PCB from my clumsy ass from stepping on it. 

After much cursing and burnt hair, I managed to get everything soldered in correctly without fucking it up. 

Next was the interesting part; building the case. The whole point of this project was to do it as cheap as possible so I wasn't going for something fancy. Dug through my scrap wood pile and made the sides of the box out of 2 x 4's which makes it sturdy as hell. Top and bottom are from 3/4 inch planks that worked out great. The bottom is attached with hinges on the right side so if any work has to be done to the stick the box itself doesn't have to be disassembled.

Drilling the button holes was almost as hard as the soldering part. A combination of ignorance and laziness made me not use a pre-made template, and I was space constrained due to the great forethought of having 8 buttons yet making the sides of the case out of 2 inch thick wood. I did all that shit freehand, so it's not perfect. The "angled" layout of the buttons helped in several ways:


 - Less space used horizontally for buttons
 - Original PS diamond shape of face buttons is somewhat there
 - Layout fits perfectly with the way my hand relaxes on the box
.

Right is the finished product. My digital camera sucks, but you can get the general idea. One thing I should note is that after I got the case done and the buttons/stick installed, I did a final test run on the PCB before I installed it, & I'm glad I did because it was screwed up. Come to find out the shitty Mad Catz PS1 pad I used was not compatible with PS2 games, even though it worked correctly on a PS2 system. Being the lazy shit that I am, the only game I had within arm's reach was Marvel Super Heroes for PS1, and I kept popping it in the PS2 to test this thing. At the end when I put in King of Fighters 2000 I found out the horrific news. I ended up trashing the original PCB, I went to the local department store and bought a digital-only PS1/2 pad for 5$ and soldered everything back up to it.