Work Log: Dreamcast Innovation Arcade Stick Repair and Mod


I not too long ago got from eBay a broken Dreamcast Innovation Arcade Fight Stick.

Here is the stick as it appears on eBay. It looked about the same when I received it.

Plug it in to my Dreamcast, yep its not working, so lets go open this sucker up.

No insulation on many of the solder points, yes this stick had built in rumble support.

And here is the propriety stick. The mount plate is also the restrictor in this stick.

I took the stick apart to find that it uses levered micro switches. I Did not want to have the hassle of figuring out how to fit a Sanwa JLF or a Seimitsu LS. So I tested the switches, they checked out, and I cleaned and lube this joystick.

As you can see here, the default ball top is smaller than a standard Sanwa ball top, but the threads matched.

A quick dry fit to see how much room I got to play with here. And yes that is a receiver to a wireless PS2 controller from Game Stop.

Trouble shooting this board got nowhere quickly, no true common ground, the PCB is warped and there is a white substance all over the pcb. I did keep the PCB that had the contacts for the Start, Slow, Turbo and “CLS” buttons

I desoldered the PCB from the micro switch array that the 6 face buttons went to.
All the micro switches work, and they appear similar to Sanwa or Seimitsu style push button switches, so I decided to keep them.

I checked the button holes for size, they are too small for 24mm push buttons and each button hole is too close to each other to try to wide. So I decided to keep the stock push buttons as well.

Back to the smaller PCB that held the contacts for Start, Slow and Turbo.
I cut and redirected some traces, I also soldered off the tack switch button for the cls button since that will not be used.

Now we got 3 common ground buttons ready. I made these the Start, Select and Home buttons.

Here is the stick all wired up. I decided to use the metal plate the button switches were attached to as a "ground plane’. 2 system cables are wired to the MC Cthulhu, a USB cord and a Game Cube cord. I also decided to keep a switch as a Tournament Lock, which is places on the ground line going to the Start, Select and Home buttons.
Yes I gutted out all the parts that went to the VMU slot on the stick.

And the Finished Product

I had the smaller ball top replaced with a larger Sanwa top in the same color to match the color scheme.

Of encase your wondering I going this to a friend for his birthday, he has a PC and a Wii; hence why I wired only a USB and Game Cube cord with no RJ 45 pass though.

I later had to do some repairs on the joystick, I ended up fitting 24mm screw-ins for replacement buttons. So you do not need to stick with stock buttons.

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Good stuff. That joystick looks just like the one in the old style NeoGeo sticks; I didn’t know they were available in anything else. I already ordered one of these sticks from ebay so I could take out the stick to find out. Thanks for the new info!


Hope you guys didn’t pay that much.

Innovation 91562 Sega Dreamcast Real Arcade Stick - Joystick-Like Controller at

Tigerdirect seems to have at least one listed as New for 22 dollars.

Apparently they make color VMUs as well.


very nice sir. love it


Oh So that what type of stick that was in there. It seems to be okay so I keep it in there. And Thanks for the support.

The Stick was $14.99 with shipping, so add with what I ordered from lizard lick the whole project cost me maybe $55 total

Thank you


Not bad. The shaft hole is tiny though, there must be like no throw.


Hardly any throw at all, and Zero dead zone unlike any Happs, IL, Sanwa or Seimitsu I ever seen. Very accurate but very sensitive. Its kinda noisy though, the stick clicks very loudly my JLF with circular restrictor in my Gundam stick feels like silk in comparison.
It is great with SHUMPS, but a little getting used to for fighters.


You didn’t reuse the DC cord with the MC Cthulhu?


Since it was going to a friend, I only included the system cables he would need/want. It does not mean I would not use the DC cable in future projects.


Definitely keep the cables from system cords that the MC Cthulu supports or COULD support in the future!

Every cable you save from a busted or salvaged controller saves you $5-$9 from having to buy an extension cord online.

Oh, and like Toodles says, that Innovation joystick does resemble a Neo Geo joystick!

Seeing as how cheap it is online… so very tempting to mod one…!

Glad someone blazed the trail for it. I wouldn’t know where to start for soldering.

I assume that the Quick Disconnects that attach to the joystick are 0.187’s?

I have few issues with the tutorial. The biggest is that some of the pictures are kind of blurry. It’s hard to see how you made the PCB your Start, Select, and Home are on common ground. My other question is about the wiring for the joystick. I think you connected the common ground points together and ran them as one to the MC Cthulu but I’m not really understanding the directionals there. It’s the coloring of the wiring that’s throwing me off I guess…


Yeah I used 0.187s, they are a little tight, but I got the disconnects to fit by adjusting the disconnects with a small screw driver.

Sorry for the blurred photos, I didn’t realize I had a camera with a macro function till after the fact.
The directionals on the joystick are as follows Up Orange, Down Red, Left Yellow and right green. Keep in mind the switch your attaching to is not in the same position and the direction its meant to pick up. Also the metal, mount plate for the Joystick is in the way. My snaking the wires around does not help in that pic. The ground for the joystick was connected to the big metal plate the buttons are on, than connected that plate by another wire to the MC Cthulhu.

As for the smaller PCB that had start, select and home, I had forgotten to mention I desoldered off some resistors (as well as a tac button), thus breaking the circuit, as well as not all the buttons share a common ground.
I cut a trace going from the signal side of the start button to whats labled as slow, and slow’s other side connected to the CLS button I got rid off. Then I bridged the start’s ground trance with one side of the slow button’s pad. And where there a gap where the transistors was I soldered another wire to a point when I can attached the slow button’s signal. there is a few ways how you can go about modding that PCB to be 3 common ground buttons since there so many trances I left unused.
I am assuming that originally the PCB used some sort of High/ Low logic instead of common ground with individual signal lines.

I hope that clears it up for you. If I have time, (I still got the stick) I can pull out the PCB, and try to take better photos later on.


Oh while I was doing some online research on Neo Geo joysticks I found this

Joystick part number? - Neo-Geo Forums[joystick]-snk-neo-geo-stick-132265/#post3956481

It might shed more light on that joystick, according to those guys on that thread, the Neo Geo stick is a modified Seimitsu.

I didn’t expect for me to start anything from this guide, I am honored others want to take suit.


this is interesting to see. I’ve been running into this stick online for years now but always wanted to see what the innards are like. At first I was surprised to see the stick mounted in such a strange way, but it looks to be done exactly like the Neo Geo stick, which I believe is mounted just like the old SNK Rotary sticks?

Anyway, I’d bet the stick is just fine and you could get away with putting in 24mm buttons. A sanwa balltop would help too.

thanks for posting this!


I did put a Sanwa ball top on that stick, I just happen to choose the exact same color as the stock ball top. The original balltop was much smaller.


I was thinking the very same thing Toodles… I might have to look into this myself…


Great work, interesting to read about the stick itself.


Well, just received mine and had it field stripped in no time. The DC cable is nice and will make a very nice RJ-45->DC cord here soon. Also, the VMU connector is attached to a SWEET little header connector. If you ever destroy your innovation stick, please save that piece for me :slight_smile:

On to the stick. It is DAMN close to the AES stick, but not 100%, but without them side by side it’d be very very hard to tell.
The big different is the main body (orange on Innovation, green on AES). The AES one has the four holes in a square around the shaft for attaching plates to is like the VF mounting plate:
Seimitsu VF Mounting Plate
The Innovation stick does NOT have this. This means the only way to mount it is using the long screws and the bottom plate, just like what was done in both of these sticks. That’s a bit of a deal breaker for me.
Other differences (minor minor nitpicks)
-Actuator on the Innovation actually has a little recess in the end that covers over the E-clip. Makes it harder to pull the E-clip out.
-Flat ‘hat’ piece is slightly wider on the Innovation
-Metal bracket on the bottom, where the center square hole is that restricts move, the edges are sharp where the actuator would rub against it. I think it’d cause a bunch more were and tear on the actuator without polishing it.
-Screws that hold the metal bracket to the main plastic body are cheap and short on the Innovation compared to the AES stick.
-Spring on the Innovation is stiffer than the AES stick.
-Pivot bushing on the Innovation has visible circles where the injection molding took place on the surface that rubs in the main housing. AES stick has the same holes, but on the surface that doesn’t make contact with anything. This has to affect the feel and long term wear.

Pics below. Its a knockoff for sure, and its close, but not quite. If I had to replace the stick on an AES, I’d use this for sure, but if I wanted to use one of these in a separate stick, AES stick wins hands down, IMHO.

Left side: AES Right side: Innovation
(The ‘hat’ piece I may have backwards though. It looks like the orange hat piece is AES and the black hat piece is Innovation.)

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Hey I still got my VMU header PCB intact if you are still interested Toodles.

Also you think a LS 32 with a VF mounting plate would fit? I got to keep a note on that, since the guy I gave this stick to is now reporting to be that the stick is physically getting stuck in the down position from time to time with out having to manually return to center. Till I can figure out a good stick replacement I told him we could try to replace the spring, and maybe alternate the locations of the switches to reduce the wear (like rotating tires on a car).

What do you think?

  1. Sure, I’d love another but I don’t know how long it will be until I actually used it.
  2. Nah, I dont think anything other than the original and the AES stick will fit in there. None of the other sticks I know of use that bottom mounting plate, and the case won’t easily handle one with a top mounting plate. If you can, take the stick apart, clean it up getting rid of the cooking oil stuff they used for lube, use some good silicon lube in its place, and see if you can identify the spot that gets stuck.


I already got some Dow Molycoat 44 (that tube last forever)
And I got some spare springs, So I see how it works out.

As for the VMU board, I got no use for it I rather it goes to someone who could have a use for it than for it to waste space in my spare part bin. If you don’t mind I message you later about that VMU board.