Why pad hacks over I-pac?

Hi all,

Going to have a go at making my 2nd stick. I was pleased with the first one but now I’ve discovered SRK and seen some of the customs you guys knock out I’m blown away!! I don’t expect to pull of anything quite as special, but there’s something about the satisfaction of your ‘own’ stick from concept to to double perfect on mame :wgrin:

There are loads of relevant threads here, too many and too long to read the lot and it may be here somewhere and I’ve missed it. If I have I’m sorry!!

Why use a pad hack instead of a specific purpose built solution like an I-pac? Is there a performance difference or is it just the price?



I do not believe there is a preference over the I-PAC. I know some people that use it for their PC joysticks. The I-PAC is made just for PCs. Most of the joysticks people make are console specific or even multi-console. If Ultimarc released console versions of their I-PAC, then our awesome resident Toodles wouldn’t have had to make his own UPCB. Hacking pads is the next best and affordable way to make a joystick for a console…unless you are hacking a PS3 or 360 controller.

  1. We mostly play on consoles. There is not yet a solution like that that works well with consoles. This will no longer be true here soon, but for the time being, its true.

  2. The actual I-Pac connects through PS/2 pass through. That requires power cycling a computer and isn’t exactly easy or clean. The newer I-Pac’s use USB which is FAR better, but I’ll get to those in a sec; your question asked about the I-Pac.

  3. Buying a digital PSX pad for hacking will run you only a couple of dollars, sometimes even a single dollar depending. Compared to $35 for the USB economy I-Pac, that’s a no brainer.

  4. Converters to run on other systems, including PC, are cheap and ubiquitous. For the cost of the USB I-pac, you can get converters to run your PSX based stick on pretty much everything.

  5. For about the same cost as the USB economy I-Pac (slightly less for a kit, a couple of dollars more for fully assembled. About half the price for a kit if you don’t want screw terminals), you can get a Cthulhu board which has all of the USB functionality of the I-Pac, plus works on PS3 consoles including BC games.

Performance wise, I haven’t heard anything about lag on the I-Pac or similar. Price is definitely an issue, but it all boils down to the fact that it isn’t the right tool for the job. The I-Pac is made to go into a dedicated PC MAME cabinet. Sticks are made to plug and go with console(s), some of which may include a PC. Use the right tool for the job.

To add to the responses, it does take some time, effort, and equipment to familiarize yourself with soldering. But because most want to use their controller on certain consoles, hacking has been one of the few means of doing this. But this is different now since Toodles has started making a simple PCB that the buyer can use without solder and use on PS3 (and other systems in the future). Custom X-Box 360 and Dreamcast PCBs will remain a problem for the foreseeable future.

As for the I-PAC, it is mainly PC compatible and costs a bit much for what it does. It also takes a long time to arrive if you do not pay a lot for shipping. I have one, and I do not notice lag (but I cannot say I have done testing like Markman and others have done). Another option is the GP-Wiz with similar things to say about it. I really just recommend Toodles PCB (which has a similar structure and does not require soldering) over the I-PAC and GP-Wiz; it is better already, and will get even better in the future.

You can also often find people selling pre-soldered PCBs if you do not want to spend effort on soldering.

This forum’s great!! :wgrin:

Thanks for the promt and very informed replies all. Is there a link to this PCB made by Toodles?
I’m just starting to put together the concept for my stick and it’ll be used exclusively on my PC so I was pretty set on using a USB I-pac, but if this indy PCB is any good I’d be happy to use it instead. I’m all for supporting things like that, it’s what keeps the scene alive :slight_smile:

Edit: Ignore my lazyness!! UPCB thread here :slight_smile: http://forums.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=131230

If you’re going exclusively PC, I suggest the Cthulhu board by Toodles. The UPCB is way overkill for your application. The Cthulhu is PS3/PC compatible and is a lot less complex. Here is the thread


And here is the post with pricing. http://forums.shoryuken.com/showpost.php?p=5545036&postcount=43

I just bought 3 myself and cannot wait to try them. In the future, the Cthulhu will support multi console. You can’t beat that. Toodles is the man.

Thanks for the kind words, guys.

For a dedicated PC stick, go Cthulhu not UPCB…nevermind. ShinJN just said it for me. :slight_smile:

Blinding. consider one bought!!

Just two quick questions…

Can you wire more than one button to each port? i.e. Can I have the same button twice? (I know it sounds like an odd thing to want, but the setup I’d idealy like uses the same button in two different locations for MAME).

Second question I know I read somewhere but I can’t find it again!!
How many button inputs does it have? Am I right that it has 4 for the stick plus 10 buttons?


Hi, for MAME you can assign different keystrokes/button presses to the same function so this would be a way to get around it. I’ve just tested this to make sure it works. I mapped ‘z’ and ‘x’ to move left and both keys register as a ‘move left’.

So you want to have two buttons that trigger the same input? That is possible. Just insert two wires for the input and two wires for the ground. Then run a pair of signal/ground to each button.

The board has 4 directions, 8 main buttons and 3 function buttons (start, select, home). So that is a total of 11 buttons.

I have the USB I-pac. Bought it a couple years ago. I went for that over hacking a pad initially because I wanted to use it to run 2 arcade sticks that would only be used for emulation on a PC.

Also, I figured in the future it could be useful for consoles if I wanted to use it for that since they have I-pac->Xbox, PS2, Gamecube adapters for sale on their site (and they sell the PSX adapter + 2 total controls to make it work on DC, lol). But I never got that far.

It could never actually handle the play. At least not for 2 sticks. Mashing the P1 side would cause the P2 side to drop inputs. (Folks that stopped by the UMK3 setup at NEC the last time it was running off PC’s got to see the lossiness first hand)

Eventually I just disconnected the P2 side and tried to use it that way but it never felt responsive. I eventually switched to a DS1 pad (bought 3 for $0.79 each at the local gamestop X-D) and it felt much more responsive.

Overall, the I-pac feels like something for casual games only. But not for a fighter.

EDIT: Wow, totally forgot. I actually got the USB and the PS/2 passthrough models. Both performed the same as far as I could tell.

Gos probably has a lot more experience with the I-PAC, so take his word for it. I have not used mine so much.

As for putting two buttons to the same signal, there are two options as have been mentioned.

First option, you definitely can fit more than one signal wire into the terminals on Toodles’ PCB.

But the second option is better if you are using MAME. In the configure you can enter multiple buttons for single commands; if you want two buttons combined for a function, hit them together; if you want each to individually do the same thing, hit them in sucession, pausing as each registers.

Guys, you’re all legends and I’m sold on Toodles board. I’ll PM him and get one ordered. Can’t wait!!

Chris[BEANS]: This solution really is the best. You can wire up multiple buttons in parallel exactly like ShinJN described, but slagcoin’s solution means you get the exact same functionality in your games, plus have the option of treating them as two different buttons in case you need them down the line. Use whichever method you like best.

I am just posting this to give Toodles props. His chtuhla board is fing amazing. I have both an I-PAC & a Toodles board. Both are great products but Toodles board is cheaper & works for both PC & PS3 which makes it godlike. Toodles is the fing man and a genius.