Edit: Photobucket doesn’t allow hosting anymore so this thread/tutorial is probably done for. I don’t have the time to move my images to another free hosting service. If anybody wishes to copy my images and update this thread to a new thread, you have my blessing. Here is my photo album for this thread.
Post 1: Introduction
What is a project box joystick and why would I want to make one?
A project box joystick is an arcade stick that has a connector on the back that allows for external controller PCBs to be plugged into the joystick. On a basic project box stick, there is no controller PCB (printed Circuit board) for a game system included in the box housing the arcade parts. This is different from most sticks that have the PCB inside the box.
Instead all of the buttons signals are wired to a D-sub port mounted to the exterior of the stick. A hacked controller pcb would then be wired to a mating D-sub port and enclosed in some sort of container, usually an electronics project box.
Using this method, you can have one arcade joystick, and can switch up multiple project boxes for various systems.
To see some examples you can visit this thread:
http://forums.shoryuken.com/t/show-us-your-project-boxes/61478To see my
There are many reasons to use project box sticks. For example If I wanted to make a Mortal Kombat stick, I would make a project box stick for that. Because I already have a couple of project boxes hacked in PCBs I could just connect the appropriate connector on the back. I also make many controllers, but don’t feel like investing in a controller PCB for every one I make, and opt to just make it a project box stick. I also have a Korean and American parts arcade sticks that are seldom used.
First before we make a project box stick, we must understand how creating a regular joystick with a single PCB works. First we must make sure that we only work with Common Ground controller PCBs to make life simple.
For starters we will look at how a single button is hooked up.
There are typically two terminals on a button. In the case of 3 terminals ignore the terminal that is labeled as ?NC?. One terminal is hooked up to a signal on a PCB via soldering or screw hole and the other is connected to a common ground. You will notice on the circuit board that the side that is common ground is linked to other buttons through the circuit paths. That is the nature of common ground, one side of every switch is connected to this “Common” Ground. The Signal will typically go directly to a pin on the IC chip. Sometimes the ICs look like black chips and other times they are oval blobs . PCBs that are not common ground that require two distinct wires per button do not jive well with a DB-25 or DB 15 port if you want all buttons to function.
Common ground pcbs allow you to make a single wire to be connected to all points in a process called daisy chaining. This is important because it allows you to route a single ground through a pin in a DB 25 connector. Now let us look how a basic 1 pcb stick is wired up. You have a stick and it is wired to the signals and grounds on a PCB like so. In this case the PCB in enclosed inside the stick.
Later I will talk about how to go about putting a DB-25 port on a stick but for now here is an image of what the wiring of a project stick looks like. The PCB is encased in some sort of non conductive enclosure. Typically a project box. Mounted on the project box is a male DB-25 port that connects to the arcade stick. All of the button an joystick signals connect through the port.
What we need to do to to make a project box stick is to wire the buttons to a DB-25 connector. It is important that you have a pinout diagram for wiring buttons and keep it for future use. While there is no rule on how to do a project box, I laid out my key to take into account the placement of buttons and joystick directions according to my female DB-25 port on my stick.
Here is a female D-Sub 25 pin connector or DB-25. It is difficult to see in this photo, each pin is numbered. A male version is also numbered and the numbers are reversed so that they match up.
This is a picture of the back of the D-Sub connectors. These are the solder cup versions. I recommend these over the crimp style because the crimp style has flakey reliability.
You can also use a DB-15, but for a complete stick with 4 directions and 11 buttons and 1 ground for a console such as PS3 or Xbox 360, you will have to drop either triggers or a guide button and or place that on the project box. Below is a crimp on DB-15 male port. If using a DB-15 it is suggested that you make it Neo Geo Compatible in the case you have a Neo Geo, but more about that later.
These connectors are mounted on the back or side of a stick. Wood sticks are more difficult to mount a DB connector while plastic is easier. Typically you have to drill and dremel a hole to mount it into plastic. In wood it is more difficult. Ideally the use of a router and drill is best, but it is possible to get by with a drill, chisel, and dremel. I use 4-40 machine screws to mount my D-Sub ports.
Inside close up of a DB-25 port.
Inside a MC Cthulhu Project box with a RJ-45 port.
The reason why this is titled project box controller is that it doesn’t have to be a joystick. In this case I made a Franken Fightpad that uses a project box connector. So technically it is not a joystick, just a fightpad on steroids.
(To be continued…)