How many of us are using projects boxes with external encoders now? Quite a few I’ve gathered, and I believe that the numbers are just going to go up.
For any that don’t know what this issue is about, external encoders are the same PCBs from your Dual Shock or S-Type that we’ve been using, but shoved in a plastic box and wired to a serial port. You then wire an arcade stick to a serail port, with the mirrioed pinout of course, and now that unit functioins with the console supported by the PCB in the box. Make three different sticks and three project boxes for three different consoles and you have nine different combinations. It is true universatility <- made up word
Being that we design for and sell to each other, I submit that it would be prudent to decide on a standard pinout for the D-sub connectors that most, if not all, of us have been using to hook out PCBs up to our hardware.
This way, you could buy a custom unit for one SRKer, and an encoder box from another, and know that they would be compatible. We can set the standard.
Firstly we need to agree on a D-sub size. Personally I am sold on two row DB15, but it is one pin short to do everything we want and handle a 5v for optical joysticks. A move to a DB20 or 25 might be prudent.
Next is the pinout itself, which is a mere formality if we choose a D-sub size large enough. I understand that several are using a Neo Geo pinout (somebody post it) because you can connect directly to a Neo Geo or supergun with no encoder. Personally I have always viewed the Neo pinout as chaotic, and nearly any pinout can be adapted to this standard with a small project box.
So I want to hear everyone’s opinions on this. Let’s get Shin Ace and Toodles in here; maybe Arm will come back. Let’s have experienced perspectives as well as novice. We need to understand our collective needs before we can address them with a standard.
I’ll kick it off with my preferences.
One thing I prefer that will differ from the majority is that I only want six gameplay buttons - ever. I cannot stand units with eight buttons on the face, so I’d like to cut buttons 7-8 out entirely.
With those buttons removed, I’d take a two row DB15 and run my four directions, six gameplay buttons, start button, select\back button, two grounds, and a 5v.
Arbitrarily layed out it would go something like this.
- Button 1
- Button 2
- Button 3
- Button 4
- Button 5
- Button 6
The order is off the cuff, but I really like this content. It allows me to have a 5v at the ready whenever I need it (I only have one P360 and Flash each, so I’ll rig my voltage stepping circuits to the unit containing the optical stick) and it also allows me to keep a seperate ground for both joystick and button rows, if for no other reason than internal neatness.
I’ll admit that this DB15 has a flaw in that DB15 cables that actually have all 15 pins instead of 14 are might be rare. (does thisa only apply to 3 row VGA DB15?) However, I plant to mount the encoder box right on the stick, no cable for me. Plus I could place the second ground on what would be the dropped pin, since it is the least important, and plan the cable needing unit for one ground only.
Of course, even if we do decide on a standard here, there’s nothing preventing anyone from doing something different for a personal project. I believe that I will keep the above example as my personal standard for a while, for example. However, if I agreed to do work for someone, and they requested SRK DB standard to function with their existing hardware, I’d know what they were asking for and honor that.
Get to posting.