"Custom" Happ/iL stick project. Also questions about modding in general

Well, as you guys could probably tell, I’m new and a noob. If not, you shall soon see so.

I finally got myself a SE stick and I don’t like the feeling of Japanese buttons/stick too much (even if they are a knock-off). I even tried a TE to see what all the fuss was about, but I honestly couldn’t tell a difference. (Again, I’m new to all this) I guess it’s my fault for growing up on MvC, Street Fighter, and Tekken all in America.

After a bit of research about Happ parts and modding in general, I got to thinking. Since there’s not enough space in a SE stick box for Happ parts, could I take out all the innards (pcb and everything) and stick it into a case (http://www.qcfgaming.com/Happ_DIY_New.html) along with some Happ parts, would I have a viable option (obviously not the cheapest/smartest option) for an American stick?

(On another note I want to have an American stick with a balltop, but I’m not quite sure how to go about this.)

I also want to make this stick work for the PS3 (my friends own PS3’s) and Wii (for Tatsukuno vs Capcom). I read something about doing this with this guide (http://forums.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=184787), but I still do not quite get the concept, or more just what the hell I’m doing. I feel like it might be easier for me to get more sticks (but I also feel like that’s a waste of money)

I guess the only questions I have are:
Is this worth it? (Monetary-wise)
Am I better off sticking with Japanese parts?
And is it possible to get an American stick with a ball top? (Search didn’t really help me)
What do I do with the Cthulhu to get this working on a PS3 and Wii?

Essentially, I don’t want to start this and find out I broke my stick while having no idea what I’m doing/what to do.

I’m honestly trying to learn about how to solder controllers and stuff. Besides the fact that I lack the tools (it looks like I need to get a multimeter among other things), I also do not have the knowledge to even start or attempt this.

I have experience in modding guitar controller for Guitar Hero and Rock Band, so I’m pretty sure I could get into stick modding (even if it’s in a league of its own).

I’ve been reading about common ground controllers, Cthulhu, and a bunch of different guides. Everything seems pretty scattered and the search function almost seems like a grab bag for me.

If you guys could point me in the right direction, whether it be guides, thread, advice, criticism, etc I’d really appreciate it.

Many of your questions are really subjective, thus difficult to answer.

If you really want an American style stick, there are not many commercially available options, so putting a custom together from a premade box is a decent option. Alternatively, you could order a MAS (a semi-commercial stick builder) or mod in Arcade parts and a new generation PCB to a Street Fighter Anniversary stick.

That being said, I wouldn’t pull the PCB out of your SE in case you decide you want to mod it with Sanwa parts or something later. Just hack a new pad for the project.

Japanese vs American parts is an issue of preference. I grew up playing on American parts, but I prefer Japanese. It took me a while to adjust, however. Personally, I find Sanwa stuff to be of a higher quality in general, and more responsive. Especially the buttons. I like American stuff fine still though.

On that topic, Sanwa parts and the stock parts in a SE are miles apart. If you can’t tell the difference, you haven’t adjusted yet.

You can fine ball tops for American style sticks, but they’re custom made. I’m not sure where to find them exactly as, frankly, the idea of a ball top American stick doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t like bat tops on Japanese sticks either though so…

As for your general knowledge questions, go read slagcoin from start to end. If you have specific questions, look for something in the sticky thread. If the topics in the sticky thread don’t address your question, come back and ask something more specific.


The sticky:

slagcoin.com would be a start.

The official Cthulhu thread has links to info on the MC Cthulhu to work with Gamecube/Wii and PS3. There is a Networking port mod but I wouldn’t tackle that as a first stick project.

Before you dive into building a stick I would try to make a cheapo ghetto test project with radio shack buttons and a old broken controller or even a cthulhu pcb just so that you get the hang with it.

This place that sold Clear ball tops for iL/Happ sticks but the company that made them went out of business I think. All they have left is silver

I ordered one of these a while ago but I thought it looked like ass.

As far as American vs Japanese parts, Japanese joysticks with square gates are more reliable for hitting multiple diagonals. I find it impossible to play Virtua Fighter 3 Akira because of this. Even though I grew up playing with American sticks, I now prefer Japanese but still do well with American sticks.

Re-using a SE PCB in another stick isn’t worth it money-wise, because you can get a MadCatz 4716 for $25 and it will accomplish the same task. Granted, performing a padhack for the first time is a lot more difficult, but it’s still a lot better than using a $60 PCB for your first mod, where the risk of making a mistake is extremely high. In addition, the SE PCB has been known to go bad over time, so you would be better off starting with a PCB that works better and costs less to replace. For complete noobs, there’s a detailed guide for padhacking a 4716 in the intro thread. That said, Modchipman sells prewired 4716 PCBs for $60, which eliminates the need for soldering at the cost of not really saving you any money. Still, I trust the 4716 more than the SE PCB, and at the very least you’ll still have a working SE stick. That should complete the Xbox 360 portion of the stick.

The next step is working with the MC Cthulhu. Most guides would suggest that you also pair it with an Imp board, which eliminates the need to install a switch to change between the 360 and Cthulhu boards when plugging them into their respective consoles. There’s a detailed guide to that in the intro thread as well, showing how you would go about installing it alongside a SE PCB. A 4716 can be installed in the same way, or you can arrange the buttons to run through the Cthulhu instead. Basically you just need to ensure that both PCB’s are connected to the buttons at the same time, via directly connecting the PCB’s or running two separate sets of wires to the buttons.

After you have all of that figured out, you’re going to need to install a RJ45 jack and connect it to the MC Cthulhu. From there you’ll need to find a Gamecube controller extension cable, hack off one end, and then mod it with a RJ45 connector, and you’ll then use that cable to connect to the Wii.

For the case, QCF Gaming is a good choice. The last case I bought from them worked flawlessly. You’ll have to do the sanding and painting part yourself, but you can also be lazy and just leave it unpainted.

Overall, you’re looking at a lot of work for a first-time mod. But since you can buy a 4716 and MC Cthulhu with wire terminals, that leaves only a small amount of soldering for the Imp and RJ45 jack. Basically if you can strip wire and work a screwdriver, you can complete this mod. It might even be worth it to find a friend to take care of the soldering for you if you’re not very confident.

Total cost, depending on the case and materials, should come out to around $200. Money-wise, it’s more expensive than three cheap sticks, but less expensive than three expensive sticks. If quality and authenticity are your primary concerns, then I say go for it.

I’m in a similar boat as you are. I wanted a happ/iL stick since I just could never adjust to the sanwa style sticks and buttons. I didn’t go the MC Cthulhu route because I’m only using it with my PS3, so I got an old sixaxis and the axisdapter instead (my guess is you’ll end up spending close to the same amount with either way you go). I ordered the QFC rounded box, buttons and stkcks from Lizard Lick, some 22 gauge wire and quick disconnects from Radio Shack and a few other odds and ends. You can get an idea of my progress in my photo album, which I’ll update ad I go on…

I managed to get it roughly wired and working in 2 days (but if you had a free day, you could get the bare minimum done in a few hours depending on your skill and patience; I only had a few hours to work with after I put the kids to bed). The finished product, however, will probably take a week or more, depending on how you want it to look.

Cost depends on what material you have and what you want your stick to look like in the end. I think I spent close to $100 on bare minimum parts (box, doner pad, adapter, buttons, sticks, etc) and maybe as much on extra stuff (paint, forstner and countersink bits, sandpaper, plexiglass, etc) which, depending on what you want the stick to look like in the end, you may or may not need to spend. For me, it’s worth it in the end to have a custom that looks like you want and you can say you did yourself (well, most of it anyway!)

Another option you may have is hit up Ed at Arcade-In-A-Box. I believe he is now selling Happ sticks without the electronics. Spring for one of those, add your own MC Cthulhu and roll with that.