N64 Stick Converter PCB v3 / firmware v3.5 - PCBs available again (August 2017)

Started by micro, March 13, 2015, 08:57:38 AM

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Fuddman

@AndehX
Do you know how the stick that came with your controller works? It might be that it works differently than the ones in an original Nintendo controller -> "talks another language" -> no easy way to wire micro's PCB to it. :(
Apart from guessing and being lucky you would probably have to analyze each brand and come up with a solution for that.

btw, what brand is it?
Yeah Oh! Fuddman

AndehX

It doesn't have a brand, its just a cheap knockoff controller that came with my Japanese N64 I bought off Ebay.  The analog that was on it was absolutely garbage.

After looking closely at the traces, the 4 pins seem to be GND,X,GND,Y   Which i'm guessing just leaves 3.3v which I could wire up easily.  Thing is, I don't know what the 6 pins on Micro's PCB are as they are simply labled 1,2,3,4,5,6

Fuddman

Well, I fear it won't just work like that.

You could try looking at the pinout of the AVR, find ground and test which pin is connected to that, etc. but it's probably easier to wait till micro tells you the pinout. :)

Micro's PCB has to have the same pinout as the original Nintendo one (correct?) so you could also look at that. I didn't find that much documentation on the workings of the N64 controller, is that info available somewhere? Things like how the small PCB in the stick communicates with the bigger PCB in the controller.
Yeah Oh! Fuddman

AndehX

yeah I tried looking around for the pinout of the analog in the official N64 controller but couldn't find anything.

Link83

Quote from: AndehX on January 26, 2016, 12:15:55 AM
So I got my GC stick from japan today, and I can confirm that Micro's PCB is fully compatible with the new GC design.  It doesn't even need to be screwed in.
You beat me to it! I just received an 'old' GC-style stick from "Classic Game Source Inc." (Thanks Fuddman) and micro's N64 Stick Converter PCB v3, and just took some photos to post in the thread...Well, I guess I may as well post the pics anyway! :P

Until now I was not able to compare the old and new versions, but now that I can I have made some observations:-

Old Version
-PCB labelled "SIMPLE JET V2.0 C"
-Case is glued shut and is missing the screw post in the top half of the shell, so it can only be closed shut with glue
-PCB is held in place with four small black screws
-The two plastic side posts do not protrude high enough to secure the PCB in place.
-Stick is made of solid plastic with a small hole in the centre.

New Version
-PCB labelled "N64-3D-A05"
-Case is held together with one screw, screw post has been 'restored' to the top half of the shell.
-Instead of screws the PCB is held in place by plastic posts; two side posts prevent sideways movement, the old screw posts prevent downward movement, and the top half of the case now has four extra plastic posts which prevent upwards movement, effectively 'sandwiching' the PCB in place.
-The old PCB and micro's PCB are both slightly thicker than the new PCB (The new one is a really cheap/shoddily soldered single sided PCB) which means that there is a tiny gap when initially closing the two halfs of the shell. Inserting the screw applies a small amount of pressure which is enough to remove the gap, or I guess you could also shave/sand off a tiny amount of the four top posts.
-The screw posts in the bottom half of the case are considerably larger then the old versions, and the old versions screws are too small to be used in them.
-Stick now has a rubberised top, however it is a hard/smooth type of rubber so it doesnt add much additional grip. The stick also has a thicker base post on the bottom, which should give it additional strength over the old version.

Old and New GC-Style N64 Analog Sticks Parts Comparison


Old and New GC-Style PCB's and Sticks


micro's PCB in New GC style casing (Note the plastic securing posts)


Quote from: micro on January 26, 2016, 02:33:54 AM
But I also like to say that I'm not happy about the hype that has been built up around these PCB's. Not at all...
In my opinion you should get the GC-style stick first and see for yourself if you're satisfied. If not, you can get the N64 Stick Converter PCB to improve it. But to me it seems most people do it the other way round. :/
Sorry to hear that micro  :-\
I am guessing someone has complained? In which case they only have themselves to blame - if someone cant understand the benefits of your PCB (60° analog stick instead of 38°, Calibration mode, Extended range mode) they shouldn't have ordered it! Hope you dont take it to heart.

Fuddman

Thanks, Link83, very useful pics!
Is it possible to swap the stick (plastic part with rubber on new style) between them?
Seems the new style is not an improvement over old style(..?) My new style one hasn't arrived yet.

The restrictor is still the same shape and size though, isn't it? Why couldn't they just fix that with the new revision...  :-[

Some people say the best option is still a new original stick (yeah, if only there was an unlimited supply of those..) but afaik all new consoles now do use potentiometer sticks, so is there any downside to those? (I mean, right now the only thing we seem to be missing are correctly shaped restrictor gates. And I don't remember feeling that every non-N64 controller was somehow less precise. GC controllers with digital shoulder buttons and a proper Z button would rock (for N64 games).)
Yeah Oh! Fuddman

AndehX

I agree the restrictor gate could do with being maybe 1mm smaller in diameter as its just slightly too big for the stick.  If I push hard enough, I can get the stick to hit the restrictor gate, but with normal use, the stick stops less than 1mm away from it.

Fuddman

Quote from: AndehX on January 27, 2016, 01:45:25 AM
I agree the restrictor gate could do with being maybe 1mm smaller in diameter as its just slightly too big for the stick.  If I push hard enough, I can get the stick to hit the restrictor gate, but with normal use, the stick stops less than 1mm away from it.

Are you talking about the 38° or 60° one?
Yeah Oh! Fuddman

Link83

Quote from: Fuddman on January 27, 2016, 01:33:28 AM
Thanks, Link83, very useful pics!
Is it possible to swap the stick (plastic part with rubber on new style) between them?
Seems the new style is not an improvement over old style(..?) My new style one hasn't arrived yet.
Yes its possible to swap the sticks :)

Its hard to say if its an improvement or not :-\ I like that the new version doesnt use glue and can be opened and closed with just a single screw (Cutting the old one open was a pain) However I like that the old version has the PCB screwed in place, rather than just held in place by plastic poles (Screws just seem 'sturdier' to me, but perhaps i'm being biased!) If I can find some screws the exact right size for the new version, I guess that would resolve the issue.

In regards to the two types of stick, the rubber is nice but I dont feel that it adds a whole lot (Its hard and smooth, not soft and grippy like modern analog sticks) I do like the sturdier base post though.

I guess if I had to pic between the two types, I would probably pick the new version since its not glued shut.

Quote from: Fuddman on January 27, 2016, 01:33:28 AM
The restrictor is still the same shape and size though, isn't it? Why couldn't they just fix that with the new revision...  :-[
I know! It was the one thing I kept thinking about when examining the two. Considering they were redesigning the case anyway, its a real shame they didnt fix the restrictors size/shape. My only guess is that they wanted to keep using the 38° analog sticks, and so adjusting the restrictor size/shape would affect that.

If they had just switched to using 60° analog sticks, and changed the restrictor to be the same size/shape as the original N64's, then it would be almost perfect!

Personally I am going to dremel out an original N64 stick case so I have the correct restrictor size and shape. I see people have done this before using a Lodgenet Stick:-
http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/single/?p=8120863&t=7389142
http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/single/?p=8170660&t=7389142

AndehX

Quote from: Fuddman on January 27, 2016, 02:02:36 AM
Quote from: AndehX on January 27, 2016, 01:45:25 AM
I agree the restrictor gate could do with being maybe 1mm smaller in diameter as its just slightly too big for the stick.  If I push hard enough, I can get the stick to hit the restrictor gate, but with normal use, the stick stops less than 1mm away from it.

Are you talking about the 38° or 60° one?
the new 60 degree stick

Link83

Quote from: AndehX on January 27, 2016, 02:13:47 AM
Quote from: Fuddman on January 27, 2016, 02:02:36 AM
Quote from: AndehX on January 27, 2016, 01:45:25 AM
I agree the restrictor gate could do with being maybe 1mm smaller in diameter as its just slightly too big for the stick.  If I push hard enough, I can get the stick to hit the restrictor gate, but with normal use, the stick stops less than 1mm away from it.

Are you talking about the 38° or 60° one?
the new 60 degree stick
Are you sure you calibrated it correctly when you first turned it on?

AndehX

Quote from: Link83 on January 27, 2016, 02:08:05 AM

Personally I am going to dremel out an original N64 stick case so I have the correct restrictor size and shape. I see people have done this before
Tried this myself.  Doesn't work.  The neck on the analog stick is too thin and the gate is just too wide for the stick to reach the edges.  If you use a PS2 analog or an original GC analog, the neck is too thick and the stick wont have enough movement.

AndehX

Quote from: Link83 on January 27, 2016, 02:16:55 AM
Are you sure you calibrated it correctly when you first turned it on?
no no, im talking about the physical size of the restrictor.  Nothing to do with calibration.  The stick physically wont move far enough to hit the restrictor gate.  The gate needs to be 1mm smaller in diameter, or the neck on the analog needs to be 1mm thicker.

Fuddman

Strange, so we could need a smaller gate? I thought it was just too small in the upper/lower-right/left corners.
Or are there >60° sticks? ;)

Any idea where I could get a Lodgenet controller? :D
Yeah Oh! Fuddman

Link83


AndehX

Quote from: Fuddman on January 27, 2016, 02:27:01 AM
Strange, so we could need a smaller gate? I thought it was just too small in the upper/lower-right/left corners.
Or are there >60° sticks? ;)

Any idea where I could get a Lodgenet controller? :D
The gate on the current GC sticks is ever so slightly too big for the stick to touch, so yeah, we either need slightly smaller gates on these, or slightly thicker necks on the stick.

Fuddman

So does the original N64 stick have more range than most others?!

It seems 60 degrees is the most you can get so I guess Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are limited to those as well (otherwise there would at least be some chinese knockoff ;)).
I never knew the N64 stick was such a special beast!
Yeah Oh! Fuddman

AndehX

I would imagine simply based on the fact that the N64 stick is not potentiometer based, that it probably does have more range.

Fuddman

Well, it seems that way. But why did they decide that all of a sudden 60 degrees was good enough?!  :'( ;)

But is that what's causing aiming in Zelda and other things being best on an N64? Is it just that there is more range to the N64 stick or is there some bad calibration and/or programming involved...?
I have to find some time to mod one of my n64 sticks...
Yeah Oh! Fuddman

libwilliam

Has anyone tried one of the new stick revisions by itself (without micro's PCB)? The poster on assemblergames.com didn't notice any dead zones when he tested it, although he never tried OOT.

dav3yb

Quote from: libwilliam on January 27, 2016, 05:28:34 AM
Has anyone tried one of the new stick revisions by itself (without micro's PCB)? The poster on assemblergames.com didn't notice any dead zones when he tested it, although he never tried OOT.

I'll probably test out one of my new ones soon, but i remember the last batch i got was OK at best. OOT worked ok, and you could do spin attacks pretty easily, but overall they were just too sensitive. i expect the same from these tbh, but if i can think to do it when i get my boards together and ready to install ill put one through the test rom and see what it looks like.

Phuc_Xbox

Received my new PCBs today.. work like a dream. By far better than the original GC style, and I prefer them to the original (now that they have the proper sensitivity) Thanks Micro!!

Crosz_

Hey guy´s asked an question before with no response, so i try again. Does anyone of you know any replacement stick for these boards? I don´t like this hard plastic at all and i was just tried switch the stick with Xbox-, Xbox 360-, Playstation 4-, Original Gamecube-, Wii u controller- Sticks.
So far i didn´t find any fitting Stick... Anyone got an idea?

dav3yb

Quote from: Crosz_ on January 30, 2016, 02:10:00 AM
Hey guy´s asked an question before with no response, so i try again. Does anyone of you know any replacement stick for these boards? I don´t like this hard plastic at all and i was just tried switch the stick with Xbox-, Xbox 360-, Playstation 4-, Original Gamecube-, Wii u controller- Sticks.
So far i didn´t find any fitting Stick... Anyone got an idea?

Outside of some of the new versions coming with a more rubberized stick, i don't know of anything.  you might be able to find something to glue to the top of the plastic ones to make it a bit more soft, but other than that i wouldn't be too sure.

Fuddman

Have you looked into rubber caps for joysticks? There are some on ebay, maybe they would fit. Very cheap, wonder what the quality is like...
Other than that, what's not fitting about them? Is it the shaft or can't you close the housing? Maybe you could modify one, but I can see that getting messy :(
Yeah Oh! Fuddman

Crosz_

Most of the time its the shaft wich is to big to fit for the joystick. Sometimes the height of the shaft is too smal so it doesn´t fit into the housing.
I´v tried to glue an xbox 360 stick onto the Analogstick with liquid plastic but it turned out quite bad.
Hmm i guess i´ll try the rubber caps... but i can´t find any rubber caps for the n 64 and as far as i see every other strick as an wider head so the caps won´t fit

Is the head of the newer version wider? i´m not sure if i see it on the picture above.

Fuddman

If I hold them side by side the new one does in fact look slightly larger, but it's almost nothing, barely noticeable, so the same caps should fit the old and new gc style sticks as well as an original N64 stick. Sorry, didn't know they were PS and Xbox mostly/only :(

Won't somebody just redesign and produce the whole stick + housing? :D

How about liquid rubber? Seems you can use it for putting grips on tools, so maybe a very thin one would work. you could even slightly modify the shape of the stick and hide the mess under the rubber coating ;)
Yeah Oh! Fuddman

Informationator

February 03, 2016, 01:10:42 AM #187 Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 04:58:34 AM by Informationator
I recently bought this for my dishwasher:
http://www.amazon.com/Rerack-Dishwasher-Rack-Repair-630076/dp/B00I9SK73K

Is probably more durable than normal liquid rubber.  Just a thought in case anyone wanted to give it a shot.  I like the hard plastic as-is since it's more true to the way the original N64 joysticks were, so I don't want to try it on mine, but it's not a terribly expensive product.

Quote from: libwilliam on January 27, 2016, 05:28:34 AM
Has anyone tried one of the new stick revisions by itself (without micro's PCB)? The poster on assemblergames.com didn't notice any dead zones when he tested it, although he never tried OOT.

Yep, search through the thread for a video I posted reviewing Micro's mod compared to original joysticks and 38 degree sticks.  Unmodified aftermarket sticks (38 degree) are oversensitive for sure.  They're better than really worn out originals in my opinion, but they're still "wrong" and will not be the same experience as either a new N64 joystick or a modified one with Micro's hardware in it.

By the way, I got my order of 5 items in the mail.  Love the white PCBs.  I have a friend who's hankerin' for some restored controllers, so hopefully he can get in on the March lot.  Thanks again, Micro!

mrwhit08

I would also like to be put on the list for FOUR for the march'16 shipment if still anticipated. Amazing work going on here kids micro and forum for all the feedback.

Malcolm

Chaps92

I was wondering if it's possible to reproduce micro's pcb here in Brazil. Importing from him became way too expensive, 1 euro is equivalent to 4.50 real nowadays. So, 17€  is R$75, almost a good quality used controller.  :-\

Informationator

February 18, 2016, 04:32:42 AM #190 Last Edit: February 18, 2016, 05:33:52 AM by Informationator
Quote from: Chaps92 on February 18, 2016, 04:11:36 AM
I was wondering if it's possible to reproduce micro's pcb here in Brazil. Importing from him became way too expensive, 1 euro is equivalent to 4.50 real nowadays. So, 17€  is R$75, almost a good quality used controller.  :-\
He'd have to release his specs and he won't do that until he's done selling them for good (understandable, since he spent a lot of time designing the board).  Even if you could produce them in Brazil, I can tell you it'd cost you a lot more than buying from Micro, because you'd either have to order them in bulk, or you'd have to pay a premium for a custom order of just a few boards.  The nice thing about Micro's solution is that it should be more durable than a standard joystick, so it might cost close to the same, but it's a much higher quality solution.

public-pervert

@Chaps92: I'm from Brazil aswell. It's really insanely expensive (at least for us). There's no way to buy it, unfortunately.

You can make your own boards though. Micro released the files of his previous versions, so it's very possible.

I work with CAD and have a CNC machine, but don't have one of those chinese replacement sticks. If you're interested, send me one board and I'll copy it's exactly format. Programming the AVR and put electronics is cake (thanks Micro!). I think I have some spare ATTINY24 somewhere as well as the programmer.


Xerrah

I really do hate to be bothersome, but being as it is halfway through March, are these available yet? I would hate to miss out again, I have 4 N64 controllers with GameCube style sticks that could really use the upgrade.

dav3yb

Quote from: John Dwaynsen on March 02, 2016, 02:24:33 AM
Has anybody had any experience with these vs Gamecube Style?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nintendo-N64-Ersatz-Analogstick-Thumbstick-Joystick-Replacement-Hyperkin-/391393811042?hash=item5b20e39a62:g:WYMAAOSwnLdWqiW4

I decided to try those out once, and for the most part they were pretty bad.  They use a similar design to the original sticks, but when i tested one out, it had massive dead zones in a couple directions, and wasn't really at all feeling like an original. 

Steve069

Quote from: dav3yb on March 16, 2016, 01:50:59 PM
Quote from: John Dwaynsen on March 02, 2016, 02:24:33 AM
Has anybody had any experience with these vs Gamecube Style?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nintendo-N64-Ersatz-Analogstick-Thumbstick-Joystick-Replacement-Hyperkin-/391393811042?hash=item5b20e39a62:g:WYMAAOSwnLdWqiW4

I decided to try those out once, and for the most part they were pretty bad.  They use a similar design to the original sticks, but when i tested one out, it had massive dead zones in a couple directions, and wasn't really at all feeling like an original.

Same here. I joined this forum after lurking for several months waiting for these to be back in stock. I bought those same exact "replacement" thumb-sticks for all my old/losing response N64 controllers and threw my old original ones out after swapping them. I ruined all of my controllers...playing goldeneye or mario kart is an absolute nightmare. Avoid buying those sticks on ebay or amazon, they are nothing like original!

micro

The PCB's are back in stock! :)

It seems this might be the last batch... To make it last a little bit longer than the previous one, there will be limit on how many PCB's you can order (= 4).

Steve069

April 12, 2016, 02:25:35 PM #197 Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 05:29:03 PM by Steve069
Quote from: micro on March 18, 2016, 05:58:33 AM
The PCB's are back in stock! :)

It seems this might be the last batch... To make it last a little bit longer than the previous one, there will be limit on how many PCB's you can order (= 4).

Got mine this week, went ahead and installed one of them but after it was all said and done my L & R top triggers were stuck into the on position.
Any ideas on what I could have done wrong? I wired them up per your instruction PDF for the optional Range mode and re-calibrate mode.
I knew they were stuck into the on position because the start button would only work at the beginning of Mario kart and would not pause/jump, and in Goldeneye the weapon zoom was stuck on from the beginning.

I de-soldered the extra wires and the controller works great with the new stick, but removing the optional features obviously.

dav3yb

Picked up my final 4 PCB's @ the post office yesterday.  I've got a decent stash of them now.  Happy to have been able to get a hold of these. 

Hopefully if you ever release the schematics, someone will pick them up and make some, or maybe the manufacturers of the current GC style ones will update to something that actually works worth a damn out of the box. 

micro

Quote from: Steve069 on April 12, 2016, 02:25:35 PM
Quote from: micro on March 18, 2016, 05:58:33 AM
The PCB's are back in stock! :)

It seems this might be the last batch... To make it last a little bit longer than the previous one, there will be limit on how many PCB's you can order (= 4).

Got mine this week, went ahead and installed one of them but after it was all said and done my L & R top triggers were stuck into the on position.
Any ideas on what I could have done wrong? I wired them up per your instruction PDF for the optional Range mode and re-calibrate mode.
I knew they were stuck into the on position because the start button would only work at the beginning of Mario kart and would not pause/jump, and in Goldeneye the weapon zoom was stuck on from the beginning.

I de-soldered the extra wires and the controller works great with the new stick, but removing the optional features obviously.
If the L and R buttons are stuck on the "on"position then that means they're shorted to ground. Can you post some good pics showing your wires and solder work?