Interest check: USB/PS3/PS2/PS1/Saturn/Dreamcast/Gamecube joystick controller board

I am working on a universal joystick controller board. Basically a PCB that you connect your joystick and buttons to, which then allows you to hook up directly to the following consoles:

  • Playstation 3
  • Playstation 2
  • Playstation 1
  • Sega Saturn
  • Sega Dreamcast
  • Nintendo Gamecube
  • USB (Windows/Mac/Linux etc)

Note that these connections are all “native”, there is no need for ugly pad hacks or secondary boards. You will be able to have one DB15 on your stick, which then connects to any supported console with a simple cable.

I could also add Nintendo 64 and almost any 8 bit machine, but I don’t think there is much interest in those.

The board would support at least 12 buttons, probably up to 16. I was also thinking of having support for LEDs or an LCD screen (Nokia full colour) to show button layout (since each console is a bit different). For the LCD you could have custom graphics personalised for your stick. The LED and LCD connections would be optional.

Other ideas include configurable button layouts (so you can instantly switch from Street Fighter to Guilty Gear layout) and auto-fire.

XBOX 360 support is something I’m looking in to. It will not be easy, as Microsoft protected the protocol. At the very least, support via a PS2 to XBOX 360 converter will work fine.

I currently have a working prototype with all interfaces done except the Dreamcast one, which is tricky but doable. I am using an AVR microcontroller that costs around 2.50, and the whole thing can easily be built on stripboard (very low parts count). If there is interest, I could do PCBs and finished units with screw terminals (for no-soldering construction of your stick), and single pre-programmed chips for those who want to do their own.

Is there any interest in this sort of thing? I see a lot of people have the UPCB, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time documenting and making PCBs for my project if everyone already has one :slight_smile:

The Toodles UPCB is, like you said, already a pretty popular model around here. It already supports all those systems (except for DC) plus more.

I think your time might be better spent figuring out how to interface with the DC. Last I heard, the ins and outs of that have yet to be cracked.

But Toodles would know much better than I.

if you make it cheaper than Toodle PCB… shitz people would dig it!

Okay, so there is some interest…

Starcade: I can already read a DC controller (part of another project), I just need to code the “pad emulation” bit for this one. I am still debating whether to make the DC code open source or not. AFAIK it is the first working implementation. The rest of the code would be open source though.

Not to rail against the UPCB too much but I am surprised at the lack of support for PS2 adapters as well. I actually developed my code with a PS2 to USB adapter, and it works perfectly on both the adapter and a real PS2.

The only other thing I can say is that mine supports more buttons. The UPCB only seems to support 8 (six fire buttons, start and select) where as mine would support at least all 12 available on a PS2 pad (four face buttons, four top buttons, start, select and press down on left & right joysticks). For fighting games it’s not such a big deal as most only use six buttons or less, but still.

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to compete with the UPCB, in fact almost everything (schematics, code, PCB designs) would be open source, with the possible exception of the Dreamcast stuff. What I’m wondering is if it is worth my time tidying up and documenting everything, then making PCB designs and having a few manufactured. Not to mention that I would need to develop all the LED/LCD screen stuff and some tools for it, as well as adding a bootloader for firmware updates.

If not I’ll just do a basic web site with unaltered code and schematic.

two2tone: Price would probably be a fair bit lower than the Toodle PCB assembled. You could of course just make your own, like the UPCB.

On a related note, I am nearly finished on another project, the Retro Adapter, which basically allows you to connect almost any “retro” (32 bit era or before) controller to USB (including PS3). If there was interest, it could easily be extended to support older consoles as well as USB. The reason it only supports USB for now is that it was designed for people running emulators who want to use original controllers. For that reason I’m looking at doing a Gamecube version as well, since that has quite a lot of classic games now.

I see you’re in the UK? If you could make these cheaply, that would be a good alternative to trying to source a UPCB from abroad.

Try and see if you can make an adapter for the toodles board… or your board for non common ground xbox360 pcbs. that would be hella nice.

This stuff sounds good mojochan.

HvE: An interesting idea, would certainly be nicer than a pad hack for Dreamcast stuff. Could do full PS2 support (including adapters) too.

The 360 non-common-ground problem is unfortunately not easy to solve. If I had one to experiment with I would try using a microcontroller that watches which line the pad controller chip is trying to read and then responds accordingly. The problem is going to be that the microcontroller may not be able to respond fast enough.

Emulating a 360 pad to bypass the protection is in theory possible, but as I don’t have a 360 myself it’s unlikely I will be able to do it in the near future.

If you could do that you’d be sitting on a gold mine!

Yeah, I wish… Actually, I think one company has already done it, as I don’t think those PS2 to 360 adapters are officially sanctioned.

I have a logic analyser so could probably figure it out. They use a weird HID interface which could be emulated, but I have a feeling there is more to it than that because that alone is too easy to reverse engineer. There is probably some kind of secret handshake between the pad and the 360, maybe even cryptographically secure.

One thing I was considering was to bulk buy a load of controllers with known good common ground connections. It might be possible to do it as a group buy or something. It might even be possible to de-solder the controller chip for use on a custom PCB, or piggyback another PCB with connectors in the right place so you don’t have to solder a load of wires. The MadCatz arcade stick looks like a promising contender.

mojo i think i was trading e-mails with you about this, somehow i lost the e-mails (along with the website), but i was the guy asking about the saturn to usb adapter.

I would say that if you add both Xbox and Xbox 360 support along with the rest, you’ll have a winner.

If it works with Mac OS X, that’s perfect.

Honestly the only thing people are dying for is solderless Xbox 360 PCBs

toodles thang don’t work on dc, its CRAP lol

give him some competion, and products will only get better on both ends!

i’m freakin down if its for DC plus multi systems. and yes i love those D-sub connectors, got my sheeet 25 pin for for DC and xbox 360 rockin a P360. roll the roaches cuz!

Sounds interesting, specially support for the dreamcast, good luck mate.

Totally interested in this. If it would be possible for 360 and Dreamcast, that would be amazing.

Totally use this as a base for the very last stick I’d ever need, if it’s possible. :smiley:

I honestly feel consolidation/collaboration with toodles would be a better route, if possible.

Though honestly I think the main issue right now is the lack of a readily available, completely assembled board. You either have to order from a guy in germany for a readily made one, or get parts lists/unassembled boards from a few others, and mail chips / order programmers to complete it. Personally, I’m competent enough to do most of that, but goddamn is that a lot of effort =/

I’d be in for this if it at least supports PS2, Dreamcast, and Sega Saturn.

The latter two are really what I want for support in addition to PS2. Definitely at least PS2 and Saturn as I have converters for PS2=>PS3 and Saturn=>Dreamcast. FYI, my converter cables are from Cables4PCB (PS2=>PS3 USB) and Total Controller 3 or something like that for the Saturn=>Dreamcast.

PS3 I have plenty of controllers for now but I definitely want quality options for the legacy consoles. I’m not interested in more pointless experiments (as far as I’m concerned) on a diminishing number of elderly control pads. Uh-uh.

'Twould be nice to have a PCB that’s easy to solder connector cords (I’m assuming you could get PS2 and Saturn cords as connectors for the PCB?). I certainly don’t want tp have to do more wiring than I’m already doing at the moment and have the spare conector cables for this.

If MojoChan’s UPCB does indeed work well for PS2 and Saturn (in addition to their converters for other systems) he’d definitely have me down for 3 for later this summer… If he can make the price competitive with Toodles (converter support being a plus in his favor), I’m definitely there!

I’m interested especially for DC and Saturn capability.

A lot of people have been waiting for two things added, DC and 360. If you get those in addition to the Ps1-3 and GC/saturn, it’s pretty much a wrap.