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360 Controller D-pad Issues


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#1 RDC

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 01:06 PM

Here's a little info that I've been mulling over for awhile and haven't seen anyone get into when talking about how crappy the 360 D-pad is, which it is, very.

What happens when ya try and push in just one direction on the D-pad is you also end up pushing on the adjacent directions somewhat, it's not you, it's what happens when ya have a flat disc and try to only push down on 1/4 of it. When ya push up you also end up pushing left right some on the rubber pad under the D-pad, that's what has the contact material on it that makes the connection with the carbon trace contacts on the board, there's no way around that with this setup. It's also the exact same setup as what's in the S-controller, there is no difference there other than color and one alignment tab that serves no real purpose other than to keep the thing from spinning around, it could be 4 or 1 or 3 and make no difference, so ya go looking a little bit further and what do ya find that is different...

The way the carbon contacts are designed on the actual board is where the real problem is at. Tear apart an old S-controller or even a Duke and look at those contacts, then compare them to the ones on a 360 controller. The ones on the S/Duke are just 2 big pads while the ones on the 360 controllers are fanned out like interlocking fingers that don't quite touch.

S-CONTROLLER
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360 CONTROLLER
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Now some may argue this carbon trace setup is used on a ton of good controllers, and I agree it is, but we're talking about the 360 controller here vs. the S-controller, which granted has no 1st place prize for a D-pad either, but is by far much better than the one on the 360 controller. Others may also notice a controller that has a good D-pad it's usually thiner and the D-pad is somewhat bigger around, neither of which the 360 controllers are.


If ya look at the way these contacts are setup on the S/Duke controllers also you'll see that they're laid out so when ya push up you really can't get the left/right set to make full contact, even if the pad is pushed halfway down trying to, it's only able to make contact with half of the thing and that's not enough to make it work, same if you push left/right, ya can't really get a full connection to be made on the adjacent directions contacts because of how they are designed on the board.

S-CONTROLLER
IPB Image



On the 360 controller you can make contact with the adjacent directions when trying to push in only one because of the way these contacts are laid out on the board and that's the main reason I believe the thing is so picky and misfires all the time.

360 CONTROLLER
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Just navigating thru the dashboard can be a real PITA sometimes as I'm sure a lot of ya have experienced and forget about playing something that ya actually want to be accurate in with it, like an arcade game or THPS. If M$ would just redesign that part of it on the board I'd wager the D-pad issues would drop significantly.

(NOTE: I haven't tried any of these methods yet as I took the entire D-pad setup from an S-controller and 'graphed' it onto a 360 board)

A couple of things someone might try (besides sanding out the inside edge of the shell which IMHO does nothing for the actual problem and only keeps the thing from making that tarded clicking noise some controllers make in one direction or another) is to tape off the 'problem areas' and see how it plays then. Use a very thin tape, like scotch or some packing tape and cover just the spots in blue.

IPB Image


Alternately, or use it with the above method, you can change the pivot point some of the D-pad which should also make the thing work a little better since it will not be able to push down as much on the adjacent pads when only trying to push in one direction. This can be done by stacking a couple pieces of tape in the very center of the D-pad area, less than 1mm high, you'll have to experiment with it.

IPB Image

#2 Protolisk

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 08:57 AM

Yeah I get this thing all the time like Ipush down and nothing happens so then I push harder and I end up putting in left and botrtom at the same time.

#3 twistedsymphony

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 03:06 PM

That might be PART of the problem but the root issue with the d-pad is more a problem with the actual shell design and PCB placement than anything else.

the S-Type is horrible in this reguard as well but the 360 controllers have an additional problem



The problem with the S-type and the 360 pad is the THICKNESS of the D-pad... meaning the distance from the surface of the d-pad to the PCB... it's nearly an inch. Compare that with other contollers that have more accurate d-pads, the nintendo controllers and old saturn/genesis controller all have a very short distance from the pad surface to the PCB.

The closer your thumb is to the PCB the more accurate your movements will be recorded plain and simple. Fix this and the trace design on the PCB wont even matter. The only way to remedy it with the current shell design would be to make a completely separate daughter PCB with a Dpad that sits closer to the surface of the shell... I believe one of the Mad Catz controllers for the 360 did this since they recognized the problem with the Xbox design.


The 360 has an additional problem of the shell colliding with the d-pad itself the d-pad isn't centered well enough and can "float around" slightly this means that if it has floated to the right a little bit when you push right the pad it will hit the shell before the traces make contact, this has the effect of feeling like you pushed the button completely but the game doesn't respond. You can sort of fix this by sanding down the inside of the shell do make it more accommodating to the way the d-pad floats about but it still don't solve any of the other problems the pad has.

#4 REDMODS

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 08:17 PM

Something I've thought of doing, how about bondoing the whole dpad area and drilling holes, and replacing the dpad with buttons, PS style

#5 RDC

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 04:52 AM

QUOTE(twistedsymphony @ Jun 30 2008, 10:42 AM) View Post

That might be PART of the problem but the root issue with the d-pad is more a problem with the actual shell design and PCB placement than anything else.

the S-Type is horrible in this reguard as well but the 360 controllers have an additional problem
The problem with the S-type and the 360 pad is the THICKNESS of the D-pad... meaning the distance from the surface of the d-pad to the PCB... it's nearly an inch. Compare that with other contollers that have more accurate d-pads, the nintendo controllers and old saturn/genesis controller all have a very short distance from the pad surface to the PCB.

The closer your thumb is to the PCB the more accurate your movements will be recorded plain and simple. Fix this and the trace design on the PCB wont even matter. The only way to remedy it with the current shell design would be to make a completely separate daughter PCB with a Dpad that sits closer to the surface of the shell... I believe one of the Mad Catz controllers for the 360 did this since they recognized the problem with the Xbox design.
The 360 has an additional problem of the shell colliding with the d-pad itself the d-pad isn't centered well enough and can "float around" slightly this means that if it has floated to the right a little bit when you push right the pad it will hit the shell before the traces make contact, this has the effect of feeling like you pushed the button completely but the game doesn't respond. You can sort of fix this by sanding down the inside of the shell do make it more accommodating to the way the d-pad floats about but it still don't solve any of the other problems the pad has.

Too bad Mad Catz controllers just about suck the entire rest of the way around.

I completely agree with the distance being a serious factor in the 360/S-controllers D-pad design versus any controller that does have a good D-pad, but comparing just the 360 to the S there's no difference there at all as far as distance and dimensions go. That's why the D-pads can be swapped between the two controllers with little or no modification, yet the S-controllers D-pad overall (while still not the greatest) is better than the one in the 360 controller by a good margin, and all that leaves is how they designed the traces on the board for the contacts.

I'll have to look into making a riser board now an redo the D-pad low profile and see how it goes. I know the Sega pads are pretty much right under the D-pad, so going after something closer to that I'll have to add to the list of controller things to try out, maybe right after I get around a PS3 controller issue I'm messing with, freaking Sony and their 3 common line setup and impossible to mod daughter board.




QUOTE(REDMODS @ Jun 30 2008, 03:53 PM) View Post

Something I've thought of doing, how about bondoing the whole dpad area and drilling holes, and replacing the dpad with buttons, PS style

The only real problem you'll have there is the PS controllers don't use buttons, it's actually an all one piece D-pad, they just have it made so only those 4 parts of it are stuck thru the shell. You could transplant over the button side of another 360 shell to where the D-pad is, similar to what I did on the Sinister controller, so ya have a controller with 8 buttons, or go with whatever setup and buttons ya want, there's a lot of work involved there either way ya go about it, but there's no reason ya can't. wink.gif

#6 Murderface

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 08:21 AM

twistedsymphony is right about the distance between the pc board and the top of the d-pad being too much, but how can anyone fix this cheaply? Having a daughterboard custom made is not cheap and the d-pad hole in the shell would need to be filled in and then cut out for the shortened dpad assembly.

#7 RDC

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 09:41 AM

Nice of ya to get around here almost a year later to agreeing with him. wink.gif

Cheaply is the trick, and while it can be done with tact switches, diodes and some plastic pieces, it's not exactly a 'smooth' feeling D-pad IMHO, accurate yes, but that 'click' feel isn't for most people.

I've swapped over the PS3 controller D-pad into the thing and it works leaps and bounds better than the 360 D-pad, haven't had one person do anything but rave about having that done, but it's only cheap to do yourself if ya have an older version PS3 controller to trash and the time to do it, also did one with an NES D-pad.

In order to really do some kind of D-pad swap kit cheaply it would have to be mass produced and somewhat easy to install, which isn't gonna happen anytime soon and even if it did there would still be soldering involved, so it's never going to be both. Anything that just 'snapped' in place and required no soldering would be very likely to fail sooner rather than later, especially under the thumb of some of the more aggressive and long time gamers that play fighting games for hours on end.

M$ really should do something about the D-pad, and the people that have no issues with it at all are just used to using the crappy thing, all there is to that, and if ya gave them a more accurate D-pad they'd notice it right quickly. The first PS3 D-pad swap I did was for a heavy DOA4 player and at first he noticed the difference right away and thought something was wrong with the new D-pad, but then realized it was just that much more accurate and that's what was 'off' about it, nothing wrong with it at all, it was just doing exactly what he was telling it to, just how a D-pad should be.

#8 tokyostomp

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:07 PM

hi, i've been searching for info about the 360 controller recently and came across this great post. i've tried to mod the 360 controller (the sanding to eliminate the click as well as adding a spacer between the pad and on top of the rubber thing(forgive my non-tech talk) while it did make the pad overall more responsive i still have the problem of hitting multi directions when only wanting to hit one as your post mentioned. anywayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyssssssss


my main question was when taping board to help prevent accidental contact with another directional input, do i have to use some specific tape? or will scotchtape be fine. please also note i'd rather not have to open the control monthly etc for maintenance. thanks


(didn't really how faulty the dpad was until i started playing street fighter on 360)

#9 Mholt215

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 12:54 AM

QUOTE(tokyostomp @ May 18 2009, 03:59 PM) View Post

hi, i've been searching for info about the 360 controller recently and came across this great post. i've tried to mod the 360 controller (the sanding to eliminate the click as well as adding a spacer between the pad and on top of the rubber thing(forgive my non-tech talk) while it did make the pad overall more responsive i still have the problem of hitting multi directions when only wanting to hit one as your post mentioned. anywayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyssssssss
my main question was when taping board to help prevent accidental contact with another directional input, do i have to use some specific tape? or will scotchtape be fine. please also note i'd rather not have to open the control monthly etc for maintenance. thanks
(didn't really how faulty the dpad was until i started playing street fighter on 360)


Any kind of tape will work except for double sided tape.

#10 RDC

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 02:32 AM

Taping it may or may not get ya a better result, it's just something that's worth a try. Replacing the wretched D-pad is really the only thing that will work well. If yer feeling really froggy, stick a PS3 controller D-pad in there, that'll pretty much solve the D-pad issue right there for ya, long as ya don't hate the PS3 D-pad style, and even if ya do I guarantee you'll like it better since it actually does what ya tell it to. wink.gif

http://forums.xbox-s...howtopic=655017



QUOTE(Mholt215 @ May 18 2009, 06:46 PM) View Post

Any kind of tape will work except for double sided tape.

Foil tape isn't going to work too well, it's conductive. wink.gif



#11 tokyostomp

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 07:29 AM

hey all just tried tyhe tape mod based on the schematics above and i am having mixed result. while it does in fact rediuce misfire with the diagonals it also does make pressing horizontal and vertical directions a bit of a chore of as well. maybe you were to liberal in you taping guide? i'm gonna give it a lil more slack and post results. as of now you literally have to press down the button pretty hard to get something to register. oh yeah using electrical tape

Edited by tokyostomp, 19 May 2009 - 07:36 AM.


#12 RDC

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 07:47 AM

The words in the thread are for reading, don't just look at the pics. wink.gif

QUOTE("June 7 2008")
(NOTE: I haven't tried any of these methods yet as I took the entire D-pad setup from an S-controller and 'graphed' it onto a 360 board)

QUOTE("Yesterday")
Taping it may or may not get ya a better result, it's just something that's worth a try.


Electrical tape isn't very thin either, hence having to press harder to get it to make contact.

#13 tokyostomp

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 08:00 AM

did a bit of a more generous job and it seems pretty good overall. as best as a cheap fix as anyone is gonna get. op had best solution by using s-control pcb.

#14 RDC

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 08:08 AM

The best solution is to replace the D-pad, the PS3 D-pad is a far better solution than swapping in the S-controller part of the board, and technically easier to do. Anyone that's had a 36D (PS3 D-pad in the 360 shell) made up for them or done it can vouch for it.

#15 beardawg252002

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 01:34 AM

nice idea RDC. if you didnt really care that the controller was original, cause i know thats one of your concerns, one might try to just carefully scrape off the other carbon fingers with an exacto. would serve the same purpose as taping over them but would add no bulk. interesting thread. i dont have that many issues with the d-pad. it stinks, but i play all my arcade games that use the d-pad on the arcade controller. the only issue is menu/weapon selection in games. i may try this and see if it helps. thanks.




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