Has anyone done a stick mod with a Sega Saturn PCB?


I guess I should reword it a bit…

Has anyone done a Hori stick mod with a THIRD-party Sega Saturn PCB?

I ask because I have two old Sega-licensed Saturn joysticks that I’d like to cannabilize to utilize the PCB and connections cords with PS2 Tekken 5 joystick bases. I’m considering dual mods because I really want to keep the number of joysticks I own down a bit!

Most people here seem to be throwing away the Saturn/licensed-Sega PCBs and just using the controller shells for other PCBs such as 360 and PS3 PCBs.

There also seems to be something weird about the Hori and Ascii PCB boards I’ve examined. There is no direct wiring or soldering between the buttons and PCB boards! The PCBs seem to react to contact pressure from the pushbuttons and I’m wondering how they could be wired/soldered to a Hori PCB if that’s the case… Very, very strange thing and I’ve looked around the Tech Talk board and done searches and I can’t seem to find any record of any one else having tackled these issues…


ahhh i almost thought i was going to be able to answer your question, but i just hacked a first party saturn PCB =[

one of the older style controllers. soldered that bad boy up and stuck it in my broken down HRAP. just waiting for the artwork/plexi now.

edit: maybe if you post some pics of the pcb’s though people can help :slight_smile:


I’m probably going to post a picture of some Sega Saturn stick PCBs within the next week.

The PCBs for the Hori Fighting Stick SS and the Ascii Fighting Stick have broad similarities in layout but are very different where the Start Buttons are concerned. I do think I’ll have to do some scraping on the PCBs to get to the contacts since these sticks seem to operate on a “pressure sensitivity” mechanism as opposed to circuit breaking like current Hori sticks. They should still be able to be wired, though.

The Hori PCB is the only one that supports Turbo function but that’s going to go unused. I’ll have to keep that whole part of the PCB since the Start Button contact is wired into that whole mess. I do think the Hori T5 base should be able to fit in two PCBs no problem as l long as the JLF doesn’t go to far down into the base. I’m already looking at mounting the stock T5 PCB on pegs to keep it from scraping on the base and possibly shorting/wearing out the wiring. I might also mount the pegs on Velcro pads to make the PCB removable for future soldering work/fixes.

Right now, I’m occupied with work matters and modding my first T5 stick which is an adventure in itself without adding a second PCB into the stick base! :rofl:

I figure a T5 stick mod will take around a week average for me assuming I spend no more than 3-4 hours per day on tasks. This is just for a regular mod, not the dual PCB mods with the Saturn PCBs that I plan for two sticks…

Anyhow, it’s going a bit better than I thought AFTER I figured out how to desolder the stock Hori buttons in the T5 stick (instructions for desoldering were all wrong – I found the best way to desolder was liquify the solder THEN pick it up with the braid while still liquified). Everything else has gone much faster. The most time-consuming things after desoldering were coating the faceplate with Rustoleum AFTER I finished dremeling the Hori button tabs off (in the faceplate) and cutting and primping 20 wires with female quick disconnects.

Soldering the new wiring and installing the buttons should go a lot quicker once my parts (JLF stick and Sanwa pushbuttons) arrive.

I’m really most concerned about my new JLF stick since I’m not entirely clear on how to wire the JLF into the terminal. I bought the wire harness and saved as much as the Hori stick wire as possible but still am a bit unclear on how to wire this stuff together…


Could you show us how you’ve done this? Looking at the saturn PCB, the points to solder on look really small. I’m having a hard time doing this. How did you get rid of the paint on the copper, did you use a knife or sand paper or something?


I haven’t started the dual-PCB mod yet… I just finished my first T5 mod which was a vanilla mod – I just added Sanwa parts and repainted the cabinet and put a new image on the faceplate!

Anyhow, the PCB I am going to attempt to use is NOT a first-party (SEGA) PCB but a PCB from the Hori Fighting Stick SS. It’s a third-party PCB but probably similar to the Sega Saturn digital pad PCB.

Most companies do reverse engineering for their peripherals anyway so there should be some similarities with the official Sega Saturn pad’s PCB. I just think the Hori SS Stick PCB will be easier to work with since it’s so much bigger than the official Sega digital pad PCB.

I would imagine with the “paint” on the pressure points of the stick – it’s NOT a wired stick like the Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 but a stick with pressure/suction pads for the buttons – that you DO have to scrape a bit to get to the electrical contacts on the PCB.

I’m not 100% of this but it sounds similar to the situation with an earlier Hori PS2/PS1 fighting stick that also has pressure pads. A person who modded one of those had to scrape to get to the electrical contacts, too. After exposing the contacts (I think he scraped an H-shape or something like that into the button pressure points?), then you solder the wires to the contacts and run the crimped ends to the Sanwa/Seimitsu buttons you install on your stick’s faceplate…

At any rate, I have to disassemble my Hori Fighting Stick SS and get a picture up of the PCB sometime tomorrow so that sometime that knows more about electronics could possibly guide us on whether we have to scrape for the contracts and where the proper voltage and ground points are for doing a dual mod for people interested in doing this for the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast compatibility…

(Note: I mean to do a dual mod for Saturn/PS2… Once I get a Saturn PCB working in the T5 case it’ll be compatible with Dreamcast via the Saturn-Dreamcast adaptor I already have… The stick as is already works with the PS2 and PS3.)

P.S. – To get rid of the “paint” to get to the contacts — assuming my guess is right —, use whatever tool is more comfortable for you… A utility knife, X-acto blade, or fine/medium sandpaper should work. Just don’t go at it roughly and be patient! I definitely wouldn’t use sandpaper rougher than medium if any sandpaper at all. I’ll probably stick to the knife since that’s what I’m comfortable with.

I think half the problems some people here have with mods is that they just don’t know how much force to apply to things and they overdo it…


I took apart both my Hori Fighting SS Stick and the Ascii Fighting Stick that I owned…

(At this point in time, both PCBs post-initial modification are within their respective joystick casings for protection from dust and static…)

I’m committed one way or another (dual or single PCB mod with the T5 bases) to upgrades for these.

You definitely have to scrape some “paint” off the contacts on both PCBs (very easily found and located within the “footpad” for the button contacts) to be able to solder. The contacts on both PCBs are roughly the size of the head of an average nail. Not difficult at all to get to – you only have to scrape a little bit of black “paint” (plastic?) off to get to the contacts. Very easily done with an X-acto blade or utility knife. Wiring pushbuttons to these PCBs should be very easy. Everything is labelled (“X”, “Y”, “Z”, etc.) on the PCBs for the buttons. The only thing I haven’t scraped is the Start button for the Ascii. I’m not sure if “Gold Paint” is covering the contact point for the PCB in that stick OR if that’s the area to be soldered. I’ll have to post a picture of this online and maybe someone more electronically inclined can hazard a more educated opinion on this.

I think I can probably figure out the joystick wiring for grounds and directional connections to a terminal strip but don’t know where to begin for the common grounds and voltage connections for the soldering between these PCB boards and the stock Hori PCBs used in the Tekken 5 (USA) 10th Anniversary sticks.

I took plenty of digital pictures BEFORE I clipped the wiring from the joysticks and scraped the paint off the contact points on the PCBs. Those pictures should easily cover the major internals of both the Hori SS and Ascii SS joysticks.

I’ll try to get those pictures posted by Tuesday (setting a deadline for myself) as well as pictures of what I saw AFTER I scraped the paint off.

My problem with grounds and voltages is that I don’t know where to look for those and frankly have never used a multimeter and wouldn’t know how to use it if I owned one!


Pics for both the internals of the Hori Fighting Stick SS and the Ascii Fighting Stick.

The Ascii Fighting Stick was the only third-party licensed Saturn joystick that I’m aware of. Sega also produced a Virtua Stick for the Saturn.

Here is a pre-dissambled, pre-mod Hori Fighting Stick SS –

Hori Fighting Stick SS guts unveiled after removing the metal back…

Note 3 main sections – main action button PCB, Start Button PBC, and the Joystick assembly. The two PCB components should be kept since all the wiring flows through/into the Start Button PCB.

Here is the exterior of the yellow Start Button, front side.

Backside, interior of the Start Button PCB as it appears still screwed in.

The cover for the Start Button PCB was hard to remove after unscrewing the PCB… After so many years clipped together, it was hard to remove. However, after removal you can clearly see the yellow button and the white plastic plunger that rests under it. Note that this is NOT the normal position of the yellow button. It would be UNDERNEATH the white plastic. Saturn controllers were NOT directly wired between the buttons and PCBs. The action buttons and start buttons on these systems used a plastic plunger system to make contact with the PCB. Note two plastic plungers in the white plastic. Hori released a PS1 version of this stick so the “Select” button for the PS1 stick was probably to the right of the Saturn yellow Start button. Note that Saturn AND Dreamcast controllers never had select buttons…

Here is the Start Button PCB panel reversed. I’ve circled in red where I scraped off black “contact plastic” to reveal the contact that has to be soldered for the dual-PCB mod. Sorry for the cut-off in the picture but I’m still getting used to my digital camera!

Here are the joystick guts. I won’t be reusing much besides the wiring here. Like the Tekken 5 10th Anniversary US stick, there are 8 wires. I’m assuming half of those are ground wires although I still don’t know which in each pair are ground…

Here is the Main PCB/Action Button PCB with its plastic guard removed…


I chose to label the Action Button positions on the backside of the PCB. Hopefully, it will simplify wiring connections after I get wires soldered into the PCB contact areas. I plan on using a terminal strip instead of direction connection to the buttons.

As I stated before, the Saturn controllers used contact plastic plungers instead of soldering for the action buttons. You see what the Hori SS stick action buttons look like with the Main PCB removed…

Here is the Main PCB/Action Button PCB pre-mod…


The same PCB with the black plastic contact scraped off to reveal nail-sized contacts to be soldered. I scraped off a bit more than I had to on the upper left button area but didn’t make the same unnecessary effort with the remaining seven buttons. Scrape areas are circled in red.

This is as far as I’ve gone with this mod… I’m waiting on Sanwa parts for the T5 cabinet I plan to install this PCB in. I’m also soliciting help from anybody who knows or can figure out the correctage areas on the PCB to solder between this Hori PCB setup and the Hori T5 PCB. I honestly do not know where the voltage and ground connections are on the Hori T5 PCB or the Hori SS PCB…

NOTE: Larger versions of all these images are available at ImageShack. I used Thumbnails to save on bandwidth.

I will post images of the Ascii Fighting Stick PCB’s on Wednesday. The Hori upload took a bit longer than I expected!


i used this pcb,

first soldering job, 22 gauge stranded wire and it was pretty easy. so if you can get your hands on one of the old fat controllers you have those points just waiting for you and you don’t have to worry about scraping anything off anything except well the start button. but for that i just used whatever, probably a screwdriver or something. nice and small pcb also as you can break off the area for the dpad and buttons.

as far as a how-to, i fail at explaining myself i think. but it was as simple for me as tinning the wire and heating the solder point on the board and attaching them. (i had no experience with this and simply learned as i went, kept some wick around to clean up my mess.

but yeah try it out on the older controller, the s-pads are still worth playing on =O

i’d take a picture of the final job but it’ll just be messy and confusing. (all hooked up in the stick with wires going everywhere and it mushed inside =[ i don’t have it secured to anything inside.


I can follow what you’re saying fine…

It’s a LOT easier to understand this stuff after you’ve read other people’s mod experiences and have actually done at least one yourself!

I actually DO have two of those old-style pads myself but don’t use them…

Hmm… Might be a workable alternative if I can’t figure out the third party joystick stuff!

Unfortunately, I do think I’ll have to use the entire PCB(s) in my case. I’m not confident to shred PCB like you did although I do have a hacksaw and access to a family friend’s toolshed for this sort of thing.

Soldering doesn’t look that bad on the small PCB board as long as you have a diagram to work from…

It’s just that those solder points are SO close together on the control pad.

Man, whew!


If you want to make this easier on yourself, get one of the Model 2 (Japanese style) Saturn pads. They’re even easier to solder than the fatty in the example above. I threw something together for you:


Scrape the little rectangles that are shown with an xacto/phillips head screwdriver. You’ll have nice fat points to solder to.


you can just gently rock the PCB where it’s connected by the metal, both sides broke off nice and cleanly for me. but don’t consider anything i did confidence, it would be inexperience that allowed me to just say “okay lets do this and hope for the best”

and Kyle the only reason i suggested the fatty is because the solder points are already there so you don’t have to tin the surface to get it to stick, the bulges of solder on the PCB do most of the work for you. (as a rookie i had a hard time getting it to stick when i did my start button)

also i have somewhat shaky hands when i try to get down to working in small unknown spaces for the first time, so if you are even remotely steady, while they are close it shouldn’t be bad at all. i only had to do a clean-up job with the wick twice.


I appreciate the feedback with the Saturn pad PCB info guys…

I’m probably still going to charge ahead and use the joystick PCBs since I’ve pretty much modded them beyond most reuse in their original cases. The stick on the Ascii is pretty much gone except for the bat handle!

Your information has not gone to waste. It’ll probably help me figure out what’s going on with the PCBs I’m working on. I already think I may have figured out the voltage connection on the Hori Saturn PCB at least. I definitely I’m going to have to play around with the stick wires until I find out what works. This is why I’m using at least two terminals with the dual mod set-up. It’ll be much easier to switch wires around in a terminal than having to resolder all the time!

I think it would be in the best interests of people interested in Saturn tech if this thread (or labeled pictures) somehow got preserved/saved.

It certainly is hard to find anything about the first-party and third-party original Saturn pads in the threads. Believe me, I’ve looked!

There’s plenty about the PS2 Saturn pads but those are entirely different beasts with different PCBs. There are people who still want to use Saturn equipment on the old 32-bit beast and the Dreamcast via Saturn-to-Dreamcast converter.


you know George i was sorta surprised myself i didn’t find any info on it here, especially considering the library of 2d fighters on the Saturn. though i suppose with roms these days it’s understandable.



I ruined my Hori Saturn SS PCB board!

I was trying to connect solder a wire to the Start button and I lifted up the trace! Got burns all over the place and I just got fed up with it!

After that, I tried to replace the tip of my solder because it was in sad shape and now the solder iron is broken. It’s still under some kind of replacement guarantee so I’m going to get a new solder iron tomorrow.

As for the Hori SS PCB, it wasn’t a complete loss. I’ve saved the ball handle, joystick washer, and the power cord. The power cord uses the same colored wiring as the Mark I American Saturn pad. I can probably sell those as well as the joystick casing here on Shoryuken to whoever can use the parts. The PCB is shot though since the Start button is shot to heck with trace lift-up.

I did go ahead and try something with the Hori SS action button PCB. I tried practicing drilling holes next to the contact points which I think will simplify soldering if I make a go at this on my Ascii Saturn PCB. 22-gauge wire fits nicely through holes made by 1/16 bit drills. I tried a 5/64 drill bit but it was harder to control the larger bit and I actually uncovered some of the circuitry on the Hori SS PCB…

In the meantime, I’m going to use one of my original Saturn Pad PCBs to make a dual fighting stick. It’s probably what I should have done in the first place…

I did figure out that it would have been possible to do similar soldering to that of the regular Saturn control pad PCB on the Hori PCB if I’d wanted to but soldering such small points can be a pain. Might still be easier to heat up the wiring and place it on the old solder points on the Saturn control pad, though.

The problem with what I was trying to do with the Hori SS PCB is that the connection area is SO small. It’s very easy to lift the trace and burn the circuitry… I will drill holes on the Ascii SS PCB if I decide to use it to make the soldering a bit easier. I think part of what made soldering to the Hori Tekken 5 PCB so much easier were the holes AND the larger connection/contact points on that PCB. Any way you slice it, the Saturn PCBs have very small contact points for soldering!

I do have a question or two still about the Saturn control pad PCB. Where IS the common ground for the power cable on the pad? I don’t see a label for this on the Saturn MK-80100 diagram. I found everything else in the diagram fine on my Saturn pad PCB except that. There were a “Ground” marked next to the Start button but that frankly made no sense to me as I don’t any connection point there…

I also haven’t been able to find the “Ground” for the Power Cable connection on the Hori Tekken 5 (American) PCB, either…


I’m throwing in the towel on dual mods for the time being… probably for good to be honest. You have to be aware of your own shortcoming and live with them. I just can’t solder some tiny things to save my life.

I’ve just found trying to solder these old PCBs to be a pain-in-the-neck!

I’d rather buy a much simpler to mod Universal PCB or something like that. At least it looks like the UPCB has decent size contacts. I couldn’t find contacts on either of the Saturn joystick PCB boards that would take solder well at all! You could get it on them but trying to get the wires to stick just was next to impossible…

As for the Saturn pad PCB itself, I’m glad I only ruined one Mark I PCB. Not going to do this with the other one – even though – it’s my least favorite Sega controller. As for the S-pads (Japanese style controllers), I like them too much to mutilate them like that!

I have managed to salvage something from the joystick controllers, though. I have 3 controller cords that can probably be reused with UPCBs if-and-when these become available again as well as stick parts (ball handle, bat handle, stick shaft washers) that fit Sanwa JLF stick shafts well (I’ve tested them on Hori T5 sticks which are the same diameter as JLF’s) and can be sold when I become eligible for that… The stick cases are still good, too, although I wonder how well mods can be done with Hori SS or Ascii SS cases. These cases are literally half the depth of the HRAP casing!


I know i’m bumping an ancient thread here but i’ve been following it for years. Just finished modding my ASCII pcb and plopped in a TvC shell. The whole process was fairly easy except one part. I got frustrated as hell when one of the B button solder points got cold as ice and I couldn’t for the life of me clean it up to get the solder to stick. I tried flux and I tried even Isopropynol nothing worked. Everything else was done mind you. Just that one goddamn stubborn point.

At that point I thought about drilling holes in the pcb so that it would be easier to bypass the point, similar to the T5 pcb (which was a breeze to solder to) but didn’t want to take a chance in screwing anything up. Ended up soldering directly to the source and its working fine now but I still kind of want to drill holes in the pcb for a cleaner presentation.

Any tips on that?


If you were going to do a multi-console PCB joystick, you’re probably better off just getting an MC Cthulu from Toodles.


It now has support for the Dreamcast and Saturn now in addition to the 16-bit consoles, NES, XBox, and 3DO.
I kept 3 Saturn cords from ruined mod projects ready in case Toodles cracked the console and I wasn’t disappointed… Saturn support was added to the MC Cthulu within a year and Dreamcast support not much longer after that.

As far as drilling holes into ancient PCB’s go, I wouldn’t! That’s a good way to break traces or just plain ruin the PCB. The material PCB’s are made is really cheap and you’ll probably end up doing more damage than good. These PCB’s weren’t engineered for mods… quite the opposite!


I see so I should leave well enough alone then. Gotcha!

As for MC Cthulu boards, that was my first choice. I would like to try it out but they aren’t cheap and I have zero experience with that type of mod. Also, I don’t know the first thing about making RJ45 cables or setting up the port to use them. I am aware of the MC board tutorial and I have read it and the RJ45 tutorial. I’m still a bit reluctant to try it out. To be honest, i’m not entirely sure how it even works.

This setup will suite me for now until I build up the experience to use an MC board.


You may need to hold the iron down on the PCB longer (than you think you should have to). That usually does it for me when I have stubborn points that don’t want to take solder. Best of luck!


Argh fuck this PCB. Its trashed. Thing was too old, worn out and in the end wasn’t even worth trying to mod. ugh what a waste of time.

I have a couple of spare MK-80100 pcbs that i’m going to use to replace this one.

I suppose the only way to use this pcb is to daisy chain the ground?