It’s nice that you were able to fix your problem BUT long-term that’s the only way it’s going to be practically fixed.
The pads are long out-of-production and you had to cannibalize another one to fix it.
Think about it – you had to sacrifice another pad to fix one… That essentially takes another controller out of circulation. Yeah, they made millions of these things, but there’s still a limit to functioning pads and how many of them have already ended up in landfills or destroyed by some little kids??? (Over the years, I’ve seen TONS of control pads destroyed by “little tykes” on demo systems at every store from Toys 'R Us to Software Etc to Babbages to GameSpot. Some people have it in them to ruin other people’s fun because they just have to destroy everything they run across!)
(To be frank, I’ve owned both PS2 Saturn pads and USB Saturn pads in addition to the Sega Saturn pads. The original Saturn pads are much better than the the PS2 and USB pads. The weakness of the D-pad in the renewed productions pads is something that always made those pads less comfortable for me to use. I can’t say I actually miss owning those pads after I sold them. Good for the new owners to get use out of them! I have seen the light and switched to joysticks for everything that doesn’t need analog controls! Now, as for the Sega Saturn pads, I’m keeping those forever!)
(To me, it was a big disappointment Sega got out of hardware accessories… How many years has it been since they OFFICIALLY released anything that was hardware-based and not software? Too bad because they really did release some of the best controllers ever made for their last 3 systems…)
Long-term, I think I’m going to look into a joystick solution for my Saturn needs. I’m getting so used to joysticks that I think this is the way I’m going to go for Saturn games even if the system(s) breaks and I end up using an emulator to play the games.
The Saturn has a unique 8-button configuration (9-button if you count START) that has to be taken into account. Although you DON’T need it for every fighting game (SF Alpha anyone??), the problem is that there are still plenty of other games that use all eight buttons or combinations of them. Heck, I can remember playing Starlancer on the Dreamcast and that game used EVERY button on the official Sega DC pad plus combinations of buttons and the analog triggers, D-pad, etc.!
The restriction for 7-buttons ( X Y Z A B C START ) that the MC Cthulu has is one of the few weaknesses of that particular PCB which is otherwise great and one of the few third party PCB’s that supports the Sega Saturn. There are some good reasons to keep a few control pad PCB’s or at least project-box some of the Sega Saturn PCB’s for the official joysticks and any other modded joysticks you might use.