MadCatz 360 TE/SE Triggers Problem


Most of you should already be familiar with this problem. Randomly during play, both of the trigger buttons RT and LT will just stop working until the stick is replugged. Annoying, and you can never tell when it will happen, and no one knows how to deal with it. It’d be nice to change that.

The reason I’m starting this thread is because it’s come up a couple of times in the past couple of days, so it’s gotten me thinking about the problem. Thinking led to ideas, and now I finally have something solid to offer.

In short, I can now recreate the problem on whim, and Im sure any of you techs can do the same. If we can recreate the problem, we can solve it. I’ll spare the random stuff I tried before.

Recreation: In order to recreate the problem, I had to apply a voltage of 8v to the trigger signal line. I used a CR2032 coin cell battery, put the negative side connected to the USBVCC point (+5v) from the main board, and lightly brushed the signal lines for RT and LT against the positive side of the coin cell. This quickly placed a voltage of 8v on the signal line. When I did this to the RT signal line, the same ‘triggers no workie’ problem occured. When I did this to the LT signal line, all buttons, triggers, and directions stopped working, but the controller remained connected to the Xbox360. Replugging resolved all problems. (Applying -3v to signal: no problem, so I believe it’s too high voltages causing the problem, not too low. )

Recreation prevention: Using a 10k ohm resistor in series with the 8v source stopped the issue from occuring. Using a 3.0v diode (white LED actually) as a shunt for the signal line did NOT prevent it from occuring. But, in case the charge buildup causing this problem is on the board and not from the buttons or external static through the case, I’d still feel a lot better about a shunt diode being in place as well. A ‘belt and suspenders’ solution; you may only need one, but it doesn’t hurt to have both.

Proposed solution: Use a shunting diode of 3-5volts (zeners and white or blue LEDs are acceptible, zeners are WAY recommended over other diodes though. Its kinda what they’re made for.) between trigger signals and ground, and a resistor of 10k ohm in series with the signal to the buttons.

The closer to the ‘black blob’ on the main board the better, so that best and cleanest place to put the resistors is on the BE3 and BE4 surface mount pads on the top of the main TE board. Use an Xacto or VERY fine Dremel tip to cut the trace between the two halves, and solder a 10k ohm, 0603 size resistor to the pads over the now-cut trace. 0805 is too large, and frankly, 0603 is cutting it close. 0402 is probably the best fit, but sucks to solder that small.

If you can’t or won’t use the surface mount spots on the top of the board, you can put the resistor on the distribution board. Cut the trace between the CN connector and the where the QD is soldered, and solder the resistor in place, one leg on the botton of the CN connector pin, other left to where the QD is soldered. Remember, do this twice, once for each trigger.

The shunting diodes are recommended, but since I cant tell where the charge is building up 100%, I cant be certain if they will help or not. So please do it anyways, and mark it up to ‘Toodles says it might help’. The best recommendation I can provide is to install it on the bottom of the button distribution board, between the two large blobs. If using a zener diode like recommended, the cathode end must be connected to the signal, and the anode to ground; yes, this is counter intuitive. If you’re using a normal diode or LED, cathode end must be connected to the ground, anode to the signal. The easiest way to do this I can think of is between the two QDs on the bottom of the distribution board.

Suggested, but not tested, parts for this:
Zener diode shunt:
Resistor, surface mount 0603:
Resistor, surface mount 0402:
Resistor, through hole for non-surface mount:

If anyone with more analog experience has anything to add, I’m all for hearing it, good or bad. I may be off base, but since I can recreate the symptoms, and the fix prevents it from occuring, Im fairly confident this will prevent the issue commonly seen in the wild.

Edit 5/17/2010: Linked and description updated to 10k ohm resistors from 4.7k ohm based on report from beefmissile.

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Walkthrough of the fixes done on an SE stick. Portion dealing with the diodes, the resistors, and the securing of a wire to the joystick bolt are all the same on TE sticks, so mod without fear. Securing the wire to the bottom panel is different, since the TE has nice sized bolts holding the feet on.

And wear eye protection.

  1. Collect parts and tools. Digikey links for the diodes and 0603 resistors are given in the first post. You’ll also need two lengths of wire, maybe 10" each. Screw drivers, wire strippers, Xacto/hobby knife, pliers, soldering iron, solder, clippers, and a good pair of tweezers are all needed.
  2. Open the stick. For the SE, you need to unscrew and remove the six screws holding the botton plate in place.
  3. Secure the two wires to the ground screw terminal. Remove 1/2"-3/4" of insulation off of the end of each wire. Pull off the QD for the ‘A’ button from the distro block. Check the photo to make sure you pull the correct one; you want the one on the far edge of the board, not the middle. Lift up the insulation sleeve, and run the exposed wires through the grooves/tunnels on the side of the QD . No insulation should be in those tunnels, just the exposed metal of the wire. Then place the QD back onto the distribution board. It may be a bit snugg, that’s fine.
  4. Take the free end of one of those wires, and remove about a 1/2" of insulation off of the end. Look at the four bolts securing the JLF to the top panel. Loosen one of them, and wrap the exposed wire around the center of the screw in a clockwise direction, so that tightening the bolts will hold the wire in place, sandwiched between the head of the bolt and the metal underneath. Tighten the bolt so that it all stays put and connected.
  5. Cut the trace for the resistors. You can follow the two ribbon cables from the button distrobution board to the main board, you should see them plugged into the connectors labelled CN5 and CN4. The two we’re concerned with are on CN4, the two immediately beside the GND. You’ll see the spots we need to work with on the top of the board, and the spots are labelled BE3 and BE4. If there is any glue over top of these spots, pull them off with a pair of pliers or whatever you can. Trust me, that glue, when heating by a soldering iron, smells nasty and totally gets in the way. Between each of the pairs of pads for BE3 and BE4 is a very small copper trace that is almost invisible. Trust me, its there. You can check with a multimeter if you like, but each pair of pads are connected together. We need to cut that trace before we put the resistor on.
    Take your Xacto knife, and cut across. Be precise; if you arent careful, you can mess with that BE5 spot to the side, and you dont want that. Run the knife across a few times to try and cut that copper trace between the two pads. If you think you’ve got it, use your multimeter to check for continuity between pads. If they’re still connected, keep cutting.
  6. Solder the resistors. Once you are sure the pairs of pads are no longer connected with copper, time to add the resistors. Use your iron to heat up the copper pads next to the ribbon connector. The copper pieces need to get pretty warm for the solder to actually stick to it, but of course dont burn the pad off the pcb. As long as solder is sticking to the copper, you’re good. Once there is solder on one pad for each spot, use a pair of tweezer to get the resistor in place, and reheat the solder so the resistor is soldered on one end. Make sure there is some copper exposed on the un-soldered pad so you can solder it down afterwards; if not, remelt the solder side and use the tweezers to get the resistor into place. Once both resistors are cleanly in place, let the solder cool, and then solder the other side down.
    To verify your work, check the resistance between the spots shown in this photo. You should see the resistance of your resistors between these each. If you show 0 or uber low resistance, you shorted your resistor or didn’t cut the trace underneath.If you see infinite resistance, then your resistor isn’t properly connected on one or more ends. The ends on the left are the metals crimped on the ribbon wires in the connectors, and the spots on the right are the vias that go through the board. I may have some difficulty getting the probe to contact the vias, but it can be done.

  1. Zeners. Undo the screw on both side of the distrobution block. Look at the black plastic on the top, and find the two for RT and LT; if you’re using a TE, it may be in different spots. Find the solder spots for the tabs on the bottom for RT and LT, and use your iron to add some new solder to those blobs. MadCatz uses environmentally and health safe solder; no lead, and doesn’t want to melt at less than 5 million degrees. Use your unhealthy, easy melt solder and add it to the existing solder so your job is easier. You’ll want to add it to all four spots. Take one of the diodes, fine the leg of the diode that does NOT have the band, and solder that leg to one of the blobs along the edge of the board, opposite the ribbon connectors; check the pictures below if you have any doubts. Once the solder has cooled, solder the leg that does have the band to the other blob closest to the ribbon cable connectors. Repeat for the other diode for the other trigger. Trim any excess legs off. Place the distribution block back and screw it back down.

  1. Bottom panel. This is different on the TE, since you can use the nut to hold it down. For the SE, you kinda have to wing it. Remove 1/2" to 3/4" of insulation off of the free end of the wire you added earlier, and run the exposed metal through the corner hole of the bottom plate. You want the insulation to end right where the plate it. Use your finger to hold the wire in place, so you can screw down one of the screws for a different corner to hold the plate in place. Take the rubber foot that will go to the wired corner, and run the exposed metal of the wire through the center hold. Screw down the foot so that the screw makes contact with the wire metal. If your meter shows connectivity between the plate and the screw, you’ll know it’s done right. Screw back all of the rest of the screws to secure the bottom plate, then go test the stick out.

SDTECHIN.COM (Formerly SDTEKKEN.COM Tech Area) - 2014 Project

pics plz <3


I’ve posted this a few other times, but I’m curious if this has anything to do with the USB cord or how it was soldered on. I had a SE stick that I got at sf4 launch. This happened to it very often. Later I got a ps3 TE stick, and dual modded it with the PCB from this 360 SE stick(one of my first mods). The problem disappeared, until recently. I open up my stick and the tape I had on the usb splices had fallen off. I haven’t had a chance to fix it, as I want to redo the wiring there, but I’m assuming the problem will disappear again.

Does anyone have this issue on a reused board or one with the USB connection resoldered?


Finally something other than that damn “static cling” theory… I have to look but I have a bad 360 te board that had issues with RT… I’ll mess with it and send you some results toodles…


Sure, but that doesn’t tell exactly how, if at all, the trigger signal gets +8V in the face. Still, thanks Toodles for trying to find a cure for this !


Yes, plz, pics! One of my TEs has the LT problem. Haven’t bothered to call up 'Catz yet for a replacement pcb b/c that would involve unsoldering my MC Cthulhu from it. Would be cool if I got one and was able to still salvage the current pcb.

My question is though (longshot), if I got a TE Kitty, would that be able to bypass/fix the problem in a way? Sounds like some voltage needs to be controlled one way or another, and if the TE Kitty were updated by some firmware to handle this somehow? Forgive my lack of knowledge in this area if this isn’t possible. :slight_smile:


Firmware update wouldn’t be able to do it. It’d need a change to the TE Kitty board itself, and that’s not going to happen for quite a while.


I dual modded a 360 TE with a Chimp for a friend. Would this flaw affect the R2 and L2 buttons when the Chimp is being used as a PS3 stick, or does it affect the 360 functionality only?


It’s a 360 only problem.



When you get the chance, can you clarify in your original post or just confirm? For the minimum, we’ll want to either surface mount solder on the mainboard, or solder on the distribution board between CN and QD, and as an additional preventative measure, solder an additional diode on the underside of the distribution board between each QD? I guess, maybe I should just wait for the pics/tutorial update.

My round 2 TE actually goes out somewhat frequently. While I can’t reproduce it on whim, it’s gone out at least three times the last month. If there’s something I can do to confirm that this is the issue, let me know and I can break out the multimeter the next time it happens…


Well I have a shit load of zener diodes and 10k ohm resistors (both 0805 and 1/4watt pass through) already so I could try this out. Would putting two of the 10k resistors in parallel to get 5k be okay? What about 10k itself?


I think installing the Zener diodes is only a prevention measure when the issue is still only temporary. Is there anything doable when the stick exhibits the problem permanently ?


10k by itself should be fine. The 4.7k I used was just what I had on hand. I wouldn’t even bother trying to do two in parallel for each line.
Is this your own stick you can beat on for a while and reliably test? Because we do have that one guy who said after a month with the top panel grounded the problem stopped as well. I would like just one confirmed from multiple sources solution for the problem, but the problem has been reliably making the problem occur.

Meaning RT and LT are always not working even after replug? I haven’t heard of that happening. Check the voltages on those signal lines on the main PCB; maybe something has them pulled to ground for some reason. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of it as a problem before.



good to know I can just use the 10k. I don’t actually have a stick at the moment with a 360 TE pcb installed, but I’ve get asked about this problem a lot at tournaments so I’ll be able to try this out on multiple stick. I’ll give them my business card so they can contact me and give me feedback.


SF Punker sent me his problematic SE stick for me to try this mod out on. He had tried to connect the top and bottom panels to ground, but he shoved the wires into the signal QD for ‘A’ instead of the ground QD. So, we’ve got one person who said the grounded of the metals helped, and that’s it. It could still very well be possible that grounding the metal panels is enough, but it’s not like I could send the stick back without doing the full fix I outlined above. So, pictures/guide of the mod on an SE stick will be up in the second post of the thread shortly.


So, every indication is that the trigger problem was fixed. Still don’t know if it was the corrected wiring of the top and bottom panel, or the diode/resistor installation, since I had to do both, but that should make it pretty easy for anyone suffering from this problem:

  1. Do the top and bottom panel ground wire first. Super easy to do.
  2. Test it out for a while. If it happens again, do the diodes & resistors install or get a soldering-capable person to do it for you.
  3. Profit.


Grounded the panels of my own stick with this issue. I’ll reply if the problem continues.


I tried just grounding the panels on one of my SE sticks that has this problem a few days ago but the RT/LT failed again yesterday. I also have 2 TE sticks that have this problem, i’ve installed the grounding wires, resistors and zener diodes. So far the TE sticks have not had the problem again but they’ve only seen around 4 hours of use since i installed the fixes. At this point i’m going to remove the grounding lines from the panels on all 3 sticks and install the resistors and zener diodes into the SE stick. I’ll report back once the sticks have been put through more use.


Please do, that sounds awesome.