D'pad Dilemma


(Posted this in the newbie category but someone suggested this was more of a tech question, I agree.)

Looking to get into Street Fighter and being a Tekken player I’m pretty accustomed to using a d’pad. So I’m pulling of DP’s and fireballs, ultras and supers fine enough with my d’pad and the button layout of my dualshock 3 is working fine as well. However, the d’pad feels like it would be better off being a lot less rigid and pointy, I feel like I’d be doing better off (maybe playing faster and more confidently) with something that has a lighter feel to it, requiring a bit less force to input. I’ve looked up the matter and the generally overwhelming response is to have a Sega Saturn style d’pad which I’m not too sure about in terms of what I’m looking for. It isn’t like it’s a similar style of d’pad. Ideally I would like a dualshock 3 style d’pad that just has really light action. I looked up customising my dualshock 3 for this (I’m perfectly confident with taking apart the controller and putting it back together) but to no luck. And, before anyone says it, not dedicated enough for a fightstick yet. Any suggestions for my problem or am I pretty much stuck where I am?


One option is to replace the membrane switches in the d-pad with tact switches (which you can find with varying actuation force).

Ben Heck has done this, but for a slightly different application. The work is essentially the same.

Another option is to raise the height of the conductive contacts on the bottom of the membrane for the d-pad. One way of doing so is by swapping the membrane from another controller and fitting it.

What I would recommend is to get another controller. If you are familiar enough with whatever titles you play to find that the DS3 d-pad is inadequate, you are most certainly dedicated enough to justify getting a controller, even if that does not mean getting a stick.

If you are confident in your skills and believe you could assemble a stick, I strongly recommend considering Art Hong’s plexi cases as an affordable base. Buttons and lever should run you about $30, and you can drop in a zero delay PCB which provides all of the necessary cables and requires no soldering experience (everything is connected with quick disconnects and headers). Should run you no more than $100, very reasonable for a custom stick.

Note: Everything I’m referencing is hyperlinked.


have you tried a dualshock4 controller ? i know it sounds strange, but it has a very nice d-pad, a lot more curved edged, IDK about lighter force, but it does feel smoother imho…
and DS4’s have been known to work on PS3’s through wired sync. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-07-02-how-to-use-a-dualshock-4-wirelessly-with-a-ps3

if you can, try it.

it might also be worth trying out similar form factor to PS pads, but with significantly differnt D-PAD’s like these:


In before dumb “just use a stick” comments.

Let us know what you come up with. I’m always keen on ways to make the D-Pad on Sony controllers better (as I think they are the worst and are a notorious case of people using something out of necessity and not because it’s a good design).


Thanks for the replies, didn’t know there was a way to use a ds4 on ps3. I’ve yet to try one out though.
The membrane swap sounds closest to what I’m looking for, but I’m glad for any input on the situation if anyone has any.

Also, that’s interesting Undamned. The dualshock directionals have always been best with me, maybe that’s because I grew with them. Haven’t tried many others though since I grew up with Sony, Nintendo and xbox 360 directionals are the others… Xbox 360 d-pad is unbearable in my opinion. I think the best Sony dpad was original psp, if only my dualshock 3 felt like that. face of pure ecstasy