This is a guide that I’ve been asked about and meaning to upload for awhile by many people, and I finally got the time to post a guide for everyone trying to put in quality parts in their Saulabi sticks. I used a Saulabi 4K for the PS3/PC for this guide, but this modding tutorial applies to all Saulabi sticks. General Saulabi information can be found in the Saulabi thread.
In this guide, I will be replacing the stock stick with a Taeyoung Fanta stick and the stock buttons with Crown CWB203A buttons. The linked images are example pictures, and the actual stick and buttons I used for the mod are black.
It should be pointed out that Saulabi sticks follow the Korean universal joystick mounting specs, and thus any Korean stick can be used as the replacement just as easily as the Taeyoung Fanta stick that was used in the guide.
The guide can also be applied to the wooden sticks that can be found at stick.pe.kr, which is pretty much identical to Saulabi but just in a wooden case.
To start off the tutorial, here’s a list of tools I recommend for this mod.
-Solder sucker (either the pump type or the bulb type is fine)
-Phillips screw driver
-Flathead screw driver
-Long nose plier
Now onto the photos
Fresh out of the box
The stock buttons, where most of the work is needed
To open the case, you need to first turn the stick over
Use a flathead screw driver as leverage and remove the rubber feet
Rubber feet pulled out
You now have access to the screws that hold the case together
Take off the bottom case and you’ll see the guts of the stick
First thing you should do is to unscrew and disconnect the stock joystick so that you can lay the stick flat on a surface. Now would be a good time to plug in your soldering iron for the next step
You will need to remove these solder blobs from the buttons
This is my solder sucker that I used to suck up those solder blobs
1 button done. In order to remove solder blobs, you need to melt those solder blobs with the soldering iron and suck up the solder with the solder sucker. This requires both of your hands to be free, and that’s why it’s important to remove the joystick so that you can lay down the top panel of the stick flat on a surface.
Do the same for the rest of the buttons. Be careful not to heat up those buttons’ soldering spots for too long, as that can lift the soldering spot/trace from the PCB. 4 seconds from the moment of melt is a good limit
Now gently lift the PCB away from the buttons, and you will get this view. When you are trying to lift the PCB, there will be a couple of buttons that still have small amount of solder holding the button and the PCB together, so use your soldering iron to melt those points as you lift the PCB and you should be able to remove the PCB from the buttons in no time. Again, be gentle and don’t try to use force to pull out the PCB since these are single sided PCBs and their traces can be lifted with forceful pulling.
Take those stock buttons out!
The new parts that will occupy the Saulabi, Crown CWB203A buttons and Taeyoung Fanta stick
**Before you put in the Crown buttons into the top panel, you need to bend the Crown CWB203A’s pins as shown in the photo by using a long nose plier to make them fit through the much more adjacent solder spots for the buttons on the PCB. Be slow and patient when you bend the pins and don’t over bend them as you can break the pins off. The ends of the pins, once bent, should be as close to each other as the stock buttons. This does require some practice before you get good at it and not break off pins by bending too much too quickly, but I decided to do this method anyway, since it’s the easiest way to mod the buttons by far and requires no wires. Once all the pins are bent, put in the buttons. The arrows on the bottom of the button should be pointing straight up and down. **
Align the Crown buttons’ pins through the PCB like so
Solder those buttons up. Again, don’t heat up the solder spots/button pins for more than 4 seconds max. If you heat up the button pins for too long, you could melt the microswitch’s mechanism inside.
Check to make sure that you didn’t accidentally desolder circuit components while working with the soldering iron
Put in your new stick and screw it down with a phillips screw driver
Plug in the QDs for the stick. The ground chain (black wire) should be connected to 1 of the 2 tabs on each microswitch, and each directional wire should be connected to the other tab on its respective microswitch. The wire color for left is yellow, right is red, up is white, and down is orange.
Screw the top panel and the bottom back together and it’s done! Just in case someone confuses this shot with the unmodded default shot, this is the modded stick. I probably should’ve used a different color scheme from the stock parts to make it easier to distinguish, for Powerful Game.
Finished shot from a different angle.
These photos are originally 640x480, so if you wanna look at slightly bigger sizes of the same photos, you can see them at my Saulabi 4K mod flickr set.
The reason why I decided to mod the buttons the way I did above is because it doesn’t require any wires, and offers the cleanest innards compared to other methods that could be used. The downside is that you can mess up perfectly good buttons if you break off the pins on the CWB203A buttons while bending them. On my first try out of the 10 buttons, I broke off a pin on 2 buttons (you can still solder wires to the broken pins and use them though).
Let me know if I’m missing anything and I’ll add it to the tutorial.
I might add how to mod the wooden sticks as well. I just need to show how to open and close the case and the rest of the mod is the same.
I haven’t figured out a clean and sturdy way to mod with CWB203C (screw-in type) buttons yet. It requires soldering wires to all the buttons, but I really don’t like stripping and tinning wires, so this will have to wait a bit unless someone already has a good method.
I hope it helped.