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Converting A Sega Saturn Controller To Xbox 360


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#1 twistedsymphony

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 04:01 AM

I've been pretty dormant in Xbox modding for a while now (well not really, I just don't publicize my work).

In any case I wanted to tackle an interesting project. Every 360 owner knows the D-Pad flat out sucks, and with fighting games like DOA out and SF2HF and UMK3 speculated to hit the XBLA soon a controller with a solid d-pad is important. While the Playstation pad is widely popular, most hardcore 2D fighter fans agree that the Japanese Saturn Pads are some of the best fighting games pads ever made. Not to mention picking up old Saturn pads and joysticks is relatively cheap. If you really want a PSX pad there is bound to be a converter eventually, whereas it's highly doubtful you'll ever see one for the Saturn.

This of course involves gutting a perfectly good 360 controller... luckily I just picked up 2 wireless controllers for $20 a pop, both have analog stick problems, which make them perfect for this mod (considering we wont be needing analog sticks).

Aside from that I'm going to take a slightly different route then other converters. Rather then taking the EASY route and gutting a Saturn controller, I'm actually going to convert the OUTPUT of a fully functional Saturn controller. This means I'll have a Saturn controller port (stripped from a cheap controller extension cable) so that ANY Saturn game pad or joystick can be used. The whole thing will be wireless to boot so I'll have a little black box sitting on my coffee table that the Saturn controller will plug into.

The Saturn pads are relatively simple beasts, basically all the buttons are wired into a single encoder that is nothing more then four "4 into 2" multiplexers running from the same signal wires. It's so simple in fact that you could very easily build a Saturn joystick of your own from scratch using off the shelf parts (from digi-key, I'd have a heart-attack if you could find that stuff at the shitty-shack).

A good primer and where i got most of my starting information is over on gamesx.com they have great AV and controller pin-outs and diagrams if you're ever doing console mods like that, especially on classic consoles. You can find the Saturn controller page here: http://www.gamesx.co...data/saturn.htm I should warn you that Kashi's diagram (the first link) has some incorrect labels that if followed would fry either your controller or you Saturn... or both. I've contacted GameSX about it so until they fix it be weary.

From that diagram you can see the Multiplexers converting the direct (parallel) button input into the muxed Saturn Connector output.

Basically by simply reversing this process using demultiplexers I hope to convert the Saturn Controller's muxed output back into a direct parallel output that I can then map to the specific points on the 360 controller's PCB. Simple right?... I thought so smile.gif

One other thing, the signal wires need to be generated by the "console" since it's a 2 signal mux basically we need to create a 2 bit binary counter. this can very cheaply an easily be made using a 555 Timer and a dual J/k flip-flip chip. The signal wires will continuously count 0 through 3 and send that back through the controller cable to feed the multiplexers at the same time it feeds the demultiplexers. As an added bonus the Saturn protocol has a 5V feedback wire that lets me know when the controller has been connected, using this I can make the whole circuit go dormant when not plugged in, this will certainly save power.

So without further ado Here is the preliminary schematic I've drawn up (literally) for the above described process. http://www.web-nine....ATto360RevA.pdf

I've left out values on the timer circuit as I plan on playing around in the prototype to get a feel for a good speed, The faster the better but I would assume there is an upper threshold somewhere.

I've ordered all the parts and they've already been shipped, I plan on diving into this as soon as they arrive. and I'll post here with any progress

In the mean time I'd like some feedback. I've never actually worked with muxers before. My biggest concern is that the parallel outputs get strobed when active by going high whenever the signal isn't directing output to that pin on the demultiplexer; which would work horribly for a controller. Can anyone who's worked with these before lend some output? I would imagine if that's the case/worse comes to worse I can rig up something to bleed the signal enough that it wont drop off until it's finished a complete binary count cycle, thus removing the strobe effect. Alternatively i could use timers in a monostable operation to hold low whenever it gets a low pulse. Neither I feel are really solid solutions, so again I welcome any advice.

#2 Alex2x3

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 04:30 AM

Ohh.. Ohh, ohh, okay. I understand... huh.gif

#3 Jelly4000

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 06:45 AM

I look forward to seeing this work smile.gif

If i understand correctly, it sounds a bit like this mod

http://www.althack.c...id=50&Itemid=37

But you aren't hurting the saturn controller at all, good idea smile.gif

#4 twistedsymphony

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 11:12 AM

QUOTE(Jelly4000 @ May 2 2006, 01:52 AM) View Post

I look forward to seeing this work smile.gif

If i understand correctly, it sounds a bit like this mod

http://www.althack.c...id=50&Itemid=37

But you aren't hurting the saturn controller at all, good idea smile.gif


Yes exactly, rather then sacrificing a classic controller I intend on simply converting it's output. That gives me access to a number of controllers available for that system.
Something like an NES/SNES controller would be simple as well as that's just serialized data, you'd simply use a shift register in as a serial to parallel converter. thought the hardest part there is finding a "controller port" to use to plug it in.

#5 Shinamano

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 01:18 PM

I can't wait to see what you come up with. Keep up the good work.

#6 89c4l98

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 01:53 PM

pop.gif very interesting concept..

#7 jizzlobber

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 02:02 PM

great idea, especially for SF2.
there's no doubt in my mind the saturn is the best pad for 2d fighters.

if you can get this working 100% you'll have a blast with SF2, the nice loose disc pad and the 6 face buttons is perfect.

#8 Jelly4000

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 03:07 PM

Edit-Nevermind, i said a load of stuff you already knew tongue.gif Shows me up for not reading the post properly...

Edited by Jelly4000, 02 May 2006 - 03:12 PM.


#9 twistedsymphony

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 04:22 AM

I got my parts in today...

Before I got started I had to finish modding a DVD drive for another project (the shipment in-cluded one last part I needed for that one). Once that was done and tested I started in on this one.

Here is the prototype circuit thus far:
IPB Image
I've thrown a pin header on the Saturn cable, Opened the Saturn controller to test all the pins for accuracy of the pin out on GameSX, and I built the first half of the circuit. (the timer and 2 bit binary counter) which are all working properly up to this point.

Tomorrow I hope to devote another hour or two and should be able to get at least one of the demuxers wired up and see if this thing actually works smile.gif If the results of tomorrow are successful then all I've left to do is bust out the soldering iron and make it look pretty cool.gif

#10 OMERTA

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:57 AM

Haha thats awesome, <3 the Saturn.

#11 jizzlobber

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 07:10 AM

have you tried the 2nd gen saturn pad?
much better imo

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#12 twistedsymphony

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 05:02 PM

QUOTE(jizzlobber @ May 4 2006, 02:17 AM) View Post

have you tried the 2nd gen saturn pad?
much better imo

IPB Image


I plan on using this with a Japanese saturn pad, maybe even modifying the circuit to work with the analog pad.

for now I'm using the trashy 1st gen pad, because I'd hate to fry one of my USEFUL controllers in the prototyping process. wink.gif

Edited by twistedsymphony, 04 May 2006 - 05:02 PM.


#13 sicknasty413

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 05:46 PM

This is intense.

#14 pablot

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:54 PM

QUOTE(twistedsymphony @ May 4 2006, 06:09 PM) View Post

I plan on using this with a Japanese saturn pad, maybe even modifying the circuit to work with the analog pad.

for now I'm using the trashy 1st gen pad, because I'd hate to fry one of my USEFUL controllers in the prototyping process. wink.gif


You know where to find me if there is anything I can help out with.. though I doubt it =)

Very nice project.

/pablot

#15 twistedsymphony

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 07:36 PM

QUOTE(pablot @ May 4 2006, 02:01 PM) View Post

You know where to find me if there is anything I can help out with.. though I doubt it =)

Very nice project.

/pablot


have you ever used multiplexers at all before?

If they don't work out I'm thinking I might just make this a single chip system using a PIC or Amtel... if it comes to that I might need your help wink.gif




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