N64 Stick Converter PCB v2.2

Started by micro, January 16, 2013, 06:04:42 AM

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Andy-Antsinpants

February 15, 2014, 06:39:31 PM #120 Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 07:27:33 PM by Andy-Antsinpants
That's why all of his posts end with an ;D-emoticon.

micro

Of course I've tested a single one. But it's still a big relief when someone else can confirm the first successful installation.

Nukkus

After 10 mins of work, and even though my stick cap is half broken, this board DELIVERS. I have never seen such a smooth accurate stick. Feels better than a brand new stock OEM controller. I am going to recommend this kit to everyone I know!


TheDrifter363

Anyone know how to open these sticks? I attempted to open one that I didn't care too much about for practice but damn is it hard! I even bought a box cutter/utility knife for the occasion and it was still hard. The knife would barely fit and there's knife marks all across the case. Eventually I got it open but not before the clips broke and the case looked like a mangled mess. There seems to be 2 clips or something near the circles where the screws would go in. They're inside the case. But these can be damaged if you're sticking a knife in the seams near the circles. Anyone have any idea on how to open this stick without breaking the clips and causing the case to become mangled with knife marks? Any other tools I can use? I thought a box cutter would be the smallest knife I could use but I also have a butter like knife that has a thin blade. Hmm, I'll need another practice dummy but advice would be appreciated!

(After all these sticks cost roughly 8 to 9 dollars a pop. Pretty expensive for practicing. I wish I knew where I could buy these in bulk without spending an arm and a leg.

snucked

Quote from: TheDrifter363 on February 19, 2014, 07:17:52 PM
Anyone know how to open these sticks? I attempted to open one that I didn't care too much about for practice but damn is it hard! I even bought a box cutter/utility knife for the occasion and it was still hard. The knife would barely fit and there's knife marks all across the case. Eventually I got it open but not before the clips broke and the case looked like a mangled mess. There seems to be 2 clips or something near the circles where the screws would go in. They're inside the case. But these can be damaged if you're sticking a knife in the seams near the circles. Anyone have any idea on how to open this stick without breaking the clips and causing the case to become mangled with knife marks? Any other tools I can use? I thought a box cutter would be the smallest knife I could use but I also have a butter like knife that has a thin blade. Hmm, I'll need another practice dummy but advice would be appreciated!

(After all these sticks cost roughly 8 to 9 dollars a pop. Pretty expensive for practicing. I wish I knew where I could buy these in bulk without spending an arm and a leg.

I use a chisel and a hammer. One decent hit from the front separates most of the glue. Then I lift the clips and open.

Nukkus

Quote from: snucked on February 20, 2014, 01:20:16 AM
Quote from: TheDrifter363 on February 19, 2014, 07:17:52 PM
Anyone know how to open these sticks? I attempted to open one that I didn't care too much about for practice but damn is it hard! I even bought a box cutter/utility knife for the occasion and it was still hard. The knife would barely fit and there's knife marks all across the case. Eventually I got it open but not before the clips broke and the case looked like a mangled mess. There seems to be 2 clips or something near the circles where the screws would go in. They're inside the case. But these can be damaged if you're sticking a knife in the seams near the circles. Anyone have any idea on how to open this stick without breaking the clips and causing the case to become mangled with knife marks? Any other tools I can use? I thought a box cutter would be the smallest knife I could use but I also have a butter like knife that has a thin blade. Hmm, I'll need another practice dummy but advice would be appreciated!

(After all these sticks cost roughly 8 to 9 dollars a pop. Pretty expensive for practicing. I wish I knew where I could buy these in bulk without spending an arm and a leg.

I use a chisel and a hammer. One decent hit from the front separates most of the glue. Then I lift the clips and open.

That sounds a bit perilous o_O;

TheDrifter363

Quote from: snucked on February 20, 2014, 01:20:16 AM
Quote from: TheDrifter363 on February 19, 2014, 07:17:52 PM
Anyone know how to open these sticks? I attempted to open one that I didn't care too much about for practice but damn is it hard! I even bought a box cutter/utility knife for the occasion and it was still hard. The knife would barely fit and there's knife marks all across the case. Eventually I got it open but not before the clips broke and the case looked like a mangled mess. There seems to be 2 clips or something near the circles where the screws would go in. They're inside the case. But these can be damaged if you're sticking a knife in the seams near the circles. Anyone have any idea on how to open this stick without breaking the clips and causing the case to become mangled with knife marks? Any other tools I can use? I thought a box cutter would be the smallest knife I could use but I also have a butter like knife that has a thin blade. Hmm, I'll need another practice dummy but advice would be appreciated!

(After all these sticks cost roughly 8 to 9 dollars a pop. Pretty expensive for practicing. I wish I knew where I could buy these in bulk without spending an arm and a leg.

I use a chisel and a hammer. One decent hit from the front separates most of the glue. Then I lift the clips and open.

Ouch! Sounds risky. I'm thinking of super gluing the old one since I don't want the 9 dollars to go to waste. It won't look pretty, hell the tabs will be broken but it'll get the job done. I'm still eager on any other ideas on how to open that joystick.

GSM

I just used a stanlyknife and just kept prying it open around the seams.. eventually I could crack it open. Just be carefull not to stab yourself :P

micro

Maybe this video of the very first version of the PCB helps you:
http://youtu.be/gD9FbgNcnFc?t=3m59s

1st rule: don't cut yourself
2nd rule: keep calm!  8)

BonaC

I received my PCBs today, it took three days in shipping.

My Ebay GC style shell had it glued all the way around. I got it open though, it took about 30 minutes to open the shell. After that it was a breeze to solder up and install.

My N64 controller skills are a bit rusty - I wasn't able to finish the Dam map in 007: Goldeneye. But man, it is precise and smooth. I noticed no problems with it - I even managed to calibrate it right on the first try.

I have to fix the other one and take a 1 on 1 with a friend!

TheDrifter363

I have a question. What do you guys use to hold the PCB in place? Do you use a helping hand or the panavisr junior/201? I was thinking about the panavisr junior since soldering the bare PCB is hard. I've been practicing on the default GameCube PCB and it keeps on moving when I try to solder. Not only that but there's not a lot of room to soldrt.

By the way I wanted to point out that I'm an extreme beginner at soldering. You learn with failure though.

BonaC

I had a pair of helping hands and I also bent the thicker pins outwards a bit so it would stay flush against the PCB. For the wires I stripped off 2-4mm of the wire's coat and put them into the hole and let the connector end pull down on the wire so it would stay in the hole while I was soldering it.

TheDrifter363

How did you strip the wire? My stripper goes to 24 awg and that's not small enough. Do you know the gauge of the wire?

jpetruccirulz

HI everyone. My boards made it to me a few days ago, all the way to the US. A few minutes of work (Mostly opening the sticks) and they were installed and functioning flawlessly. My suggestion for opening the sticks without completely destroying the housing is to use a very small screwdriver and a small hammer. Tap around the housing at the seam just enough until the glue breaks. Then peal the glued tabs from the back gently enough to break the glue but not the tab. Thanks Micro for everything. Now my N64 will function perfectly for a very very long time.

BonaC

February 24, 2014, 12:46:58 AM #135 Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 12:52:29 AM by BonaC
Quote from: TheDrifter363 on February 23, 2014, 01:01:06 PM
How did you strip the wire? My stripper goes to 24 awg and that's not small enough. Do you know the gauge of the wire?

I used a pair of semi-sharp side cutters and carefully peeled back about 2-4mm of the wire's insulation.

Andy-Antsinpants

February 24, 2014, 08:24:02 AM #136 Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 05:55:51 PM by Andy-Antsinpants
Getting the two cover halves seperated was the hardest work. An sharp hobby/X-acto knife helps a lot, along with very thin blade screw drivers.

Soldering wasn't that hard, just keep an eye on not accidentally creating shortcuts were there aren't supposed to be any. Check every pin twice with your multimeter's beeper function for them.

The new stick is gorgeous. It has the right amount of resistance that you would expect from a brandnew genuine Nintendo 64 control stick. Playing GoldenEye and Super Mario 64 went with excellent accuracy, perfect deadzone and instant response to inputs - thanks to micro's PCB and potentiometers.

Great! Many thanks to micro!

Nukkus

Ok, I know that I was doing some gushing over this kit in my last post, but I've now had the chance to try my friend's Hori mini pad and compare it to the stick built with this kit... This kit destroys the Hori. It has a smoother feel for the stepping IMO, and not to mention it's installed in a full size pad with no cramping. I'm going to save up and order another three kits, and put together an arsenal for Goldeneye tourneys.

colon247

Wow....just installed both of the ones I got. They are awesome!!!!

A first one would not work....then I found out that I had not soldered one of the wires.... :-[

Anyway I droped my iron onto my lap myself putting these on.. >:( .so in a way I can say I bled for this.... LOL

Thanks Micro your #1 !!!

Nukkus


TheDrifter363

Has anyone from the US received theirs already? I live in Virginia and I still haven't received mine. I'll make sure to check the mail today just in case.

I've also decided to use leaded solder since I can't work with lead free solder. I'm practicing on the pcb that comes with the gc stick and the holes are pretty tiny. I'm using a radio shack 25 watt iron so hopefully it'll be enough. All I need is some stabilizing force, which I bought a panavise, so we'll see how it goes. Anyone ever use the radio shack desoldering iron, the one with the bulb?

jpetruccirulz

I live in PA and received mine. Hopefully yours will arrive soon. I have a cheap radioshack soldering iron and it worked out flawlessly. If you can get a fine tip instead of a chisel one, that would be beneficial. I used the corner of a small chisel tip against the work and it heated the joints fine. I've also been soldering for quite a few years so I have some experience. Watch the video posted earlier on this forum for some good info or a quick refresher if your rusty.

TheDrifter363

Thanks! I've checked out that soldering video by curiousinventor many times. Lol. My pcbs also arrived today so that's good. Now I'm just waiting for the panavise so I can have some stability while I solder. I'm going to practice first though, just to get the hang of things. I've been soldering on and off since 2012. To think it started with removing a battery in my metroid zero mission for the gba.

jpetruccirulz

One last suggestion I can offer is that I used a small set of vice grips to hold the pot "lever" gently, if you will, and let the board sit on top. if you get anxious like I did, that will work well. Definitely make sure to solder one pin first and check to make sure it is flat. from there it should fly by! Funny you mention the battery thing, I was thinking about checking all of my batteries and replacing the ones that were shot. Lol.

TheDrifter363

Thanks for the tip! So far for the batteries I've used the electric tape trick as I'm not too confident on my soldering ability to replace the batteries especially when there's so many components next to them. This is especially true on the gba games. So I just used a flat blade screwdriver and carefully pried the tabs from the battery. I then slipped a new battery in between the tabs and electric taped everything. It works well and the pressure from the game case should keep it stable. It's not ideal however. Ideally I would love to use a battery holder but I have no idea which type to use. I don't have to shave them down or anything like that. Maybe I'll find something someday. I also have a retrode that I can use to backup most of my games. A DS flash cart will backup the gba games so I should be covered.

Andy-Antsinpants

February 25, 2014, 04:55:45 PM #145 Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 05:48:04 PM by Andy-Antsinpants
Pro-tip 1: The long cable supplied with replacement joystick can get in the way of the Z button movement range. Cut the cable as short as possible, using the original control stick cable as a reference.

Pro-tip 2: While you're at it, clean the controller from all the sweaty dirt that got into the gaps over the years.

TheDrifter363

So the soldering didn't go so well. I attempted to solder the potentiometer but it's not flush with the pcb. So then I attempted to desolder the potentiometer but it wouldn't come out. Now I just called it quits. Maybe I don't have the high quality tools needed to get it done, I know my soldering experience is zilch. I'm attempting to find someone to do the soldering for me, if not maybe I'll try again. I still want to know why that potentiometer is not coming out. How rather unfortunate. Great packaging though micro.

PLT

Got mine too!!! Installed on two controllers and i have to say, it's something awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have to agree with Nukkus, this kit tops the hori hands down, amazing job micro! And thanx again a lot!

TheDrifter363

I think I figured out the issue. The potentiometer has 4 ground pins and 6 pins for each of the axes: x and y. The ground pins must be what I'm having trouble with. My 25 watt iron is having a hard time desoldering them. Wick is not helping, neither is that radioshack desoldering iron. I guess this is where a temperature controlled station would help. I want to desolder this so I can re seat the potentiometer and make it straight again. Anyone have any suggestions? If I can't desolder that potentiometer, then I"ll have to put this on hold until I figure something out.

Andy-Antsinpants

Try a desoldering pump, even the cheap ones will do a decent job.

nathan118

Couple tips to people having trouble. I start each one by holding the potentiometer/stick in a pair of helping hands, UPSIDE down, and then setting the fresh new pcb on top of that. I just grab the little metal controller stick with the helping hands, get it level, and then slide the pcb onto it. Make sure it's all level first, and then start soldering (and even though it's facing up, this is technically the bottom).

For the wiring...I had great luck reusing the original wires. As you all know, the plastic connector on the replacement sticks doesn't fit 100% perfect. What I would do is just desolder the wires from the original n64 pcb, then peel/break off the clear plastic that holds all 6 wires together. Now I have 6 pre-stripped and pre-tinned wires! For this, I'd hold the pcb in the helping hands (again, upside down), then go wire by wire from underneath (so technically from the top, and up through the holes so I'm soldering on the bottom).

cumberworld

I got my GC style replacement joystick in the mail this week, and it has a problem. The connector on the cable appears to be a little too big to fit, so I am unable to plug it in. I tried for like 20 minutes, yet was unable to fit it on there. Any tips? Should I just contact the seller on eBay and ask him for a new one?

TheDrifter363

Great tips for soldering. I got a panavise junior instead of helping hands since it seemed like it would be more stable. I originally probably didn't have the potentiometer level when I first soldered. I'm taking a break though, I'll come back to it probably in the summer as it'll be warmer to solder in the garage. Also it'll allow me time to get a temperature controlled station as I think the radio shack 25 watt didn't have enough power to desolder those ground pins. If anyone has had any experience desoldering the potentiometer then I'm all ears. Those ground pins are pretty stubborn. I will say the leaded solder works great, very smooth.

On another note, if micro ever looks or anyone else, where can I get replacement potentiometers with the right specifications? It's pretty hard to find potentiometers that meet the length width and height requirements. I found one that looked identical to the one you sent but the website was in dutch and they would only ship to the netherlands. Any advice?

Oh yeah on the connector being too big. You have to trim with a nail clipper or any other tool. Here's a youtube video. Be careful not to trim too deep cut off the wire.

Custom Mod the Connector for Your N64 GameCube Styled Joystick

cumberworld

Quote from: TheDrifter363 on March 01, 2014, 10:41:46 AMOh yeah on the connector being too big. You have to trim with a nail clipper or any other tool. Here's a youtube video. Be careful not to trim too deep cut off the wire.

With the help of the video, I trimmed the plastic down with a box cutter, and managed to connect it. It works great! Hopefully it should work even better when I get the new PCB. Thanks for the help!

MockyLock

Hello !
I bought some of your kits long time ago, didn't take time to install it since today :)
I was searching some stick on eBay to do the swap, but there are different kinds.
Could you please give me a link to the good one so i can order some, and test this wonderful mod :D
Thank you very much

micro

Yes, it seems like some sticks got a connector that doesn't fit very well... You can trim down the connector or just use the original Nintendo cable as nathan118 suggested

@MockyLock: These should be the right ones: http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=5023.msg34861#msg34861

@Drifter: The four big pins are not ground pins. Here's a pic of all the ground pins: http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=5023.msg34760#msg34760
With a little bit of experience it should be a breeze to desolder the stick, either with desoldering braid or a desoldering pump. But as you don't have enough experience that can be a difficult job for you.
It's also possible to carefully un-clip the two orange potentiometers from the stick. Then the stick and the two potentiometers can be desoldered individually. An easy way to desolder the a potentiometer is to heat up all three pins at once. The potentiometer should fall out off the PCB automatically. Remaining solder in the holes can then be removed with desoldering braid or a desoldering pump.

Maybe it would be best to wait if you got more experience with desoldering. Or give the PCB a buddy who's more experienced :D

The joystick is made by the chinese manufacturer Polyshine. This is the only source I know: http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/product/425609/3D-Joystick-L-x-B-x-H-167-x-167-x-182-mm-ohne-Schalter-10-k--20-?ref=searchDetail (wrong stock photo with switch, but the description says it's the stick without the switch)


Andy-Antsinpants

March 02, 2014, 12:30:41 AM #156 Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 03:55:26 AM by Andy-Antsinpants
Quote from: TheDrifter363 on February 26, 2014, 08:58:25 PM
My 25 watt iron is having a hard time desoldering them. Wick is not helping, neither is that radioshack desoldering iron. I guess this is where a temperature controlled station would help.
25W could be a bit on the weak side, indeed. 40W and above will help you with large connections.
For your information, I'm using a Weller WHS40 (40W) temperature controlled station. However, you don't need temperature control if you're using regular solder with lead content (e.g. Sn40Pb60), as I do. From my understanding, temperature control is necessary when using lead-free solder which needs higher temperatures for melting.

Another big deal is finding the right solder tip for your job. Pencil tips may give you a quite hard time unless you want to solder small things. You'll benefit from using chisel tips for medium sized connections and wide flat blade tips for large connections.

But give the desoldering pump a try.  :)

Yurkie

Micro could you please post the N64 controller test rom?


TheDrifter363

So apparently those 4 pins I was talking about, they're not connected to ground as micro said but they're connected to the metal body of the potentiometer. I guess that's what I was trying to get across. Since the heat is distributed all across the metal body, that's why it was hard for that 25 watt radio shack iron to desolder those points. So I'll come back to this when I get a nice chisel tip with a temperature controlled station.

By the way, micro I found some potentiometers on mouser that would be equivalent; however, the dimensions of length and width are slightly larger. The ones you supplied are 16.5 mm length and width, but these are 21 and 20 mm for those dimensions. Would they still fit on your pcb? I know your pcb has two different sets of holes for potentiometers but I don't know if the latter dimensions that I mentioned are too big for your pcb.