Project AmpStick: Jumping in balls first

Alright, I’ve put this off long enough. I’ve been wanting to play Fighting games properly for awhile now, and now with Super Turbo HD, it’s time to get off my ass and do it!

I’ve decided to jump into this stick business balls first. I want to build my own stick, and have it be a bit of an ambitious project as well. I want to build a stick that will work on my PS2, 360, and PC.

Although this will be my first real project building ANYTHING, so I have to start from scratch and learn as I go. So then, why am I posting it here when I haven’t even really started, you ask? Simple:

1) So I can keep a public reminder up for me so that I’ll stay off my ass and make sure shit gets done.

**2) So that if someone notices that I’m fucking something up, they can remind me, “Hey, might want to go ahead and do this blah blah etcetc.”

  1. So I can keep an organized list for myself of progress as it does slowly happen**

I began gathering materials for the project recently. And now that I’ve actually paid for shit, being the dirty Jew that I am, not finishing this project means I’ve wasted money, and that shit won’t fly.


Current Materials, assume that I’m only working with what I’m listing, if something seems missing, let me know.:

So there you have it. Project AmpStick has kinda-sorta officially begun.

As for why I’m going for the Norris prefabbed body, I don’t have any place to put all the extra wood and tools I’d need to get the wood fabrication done. So, to the guys at Norris, you guys have no idea how much of a Godsend you are :smiley:

You need to add at least two male DB-15 connectors and matching hoods, preferably with thumbscrews. A spare female DB-15 will help with initial building of the UPCB because you can just slide it onto the edge of the board and use it to test the board and cables without the IDC->Dsub cable in the way. The steps I’d take, in order:

  1. Remove the USB cable from the madcatz, writing down someplace safe which colored wire when into each hole.
  2. Solder together the USB button select cable using the directions on the Instructable.
  3. Solder together the UPCB board itself using the directions on the Instructable.
  4. Test them out outside of the case to make sure both work.
  5. Install them in the case; take care to install the d-sub securely and cleanly.
  6. Make the PSX cable and test.
  7. Hack the 360 board for piggybacking, and test.

Thanks for that, Toodles, editing now.

Also, I’m having trouble finding out where I need to go/what I need to do to buy one of your UPCB kits. Just PM you?

Finally, a problem that just sprung to mind as I was looking through the discussions about DB-15 vs. DB-25, will using the 360 Guide Button be a problem? since of course DB-15 only allows for stick+buttons+Start/Select, will I even need the Guide Button since this will be wired?

For ordering, the prices and details are listed in the UPCB trading outlet thread here:

As for the guide button, you seem to be under the impression that the piggyback controllers are connected with a DB-15; this is not the case. Please read through the Instructable for piggybacking a 360 pad here:

Please make sure to read at least the very first post in the UPCB thread, and perhaps the linked Instructables. They should give you and idea what you’re looking at doing.

Another option would be to check through the Cthulhu thread. ZombieCPT and I think ShinJN have both made three system sticks using a Cthulhu, madcatz pad, and PSX pad. Links to various Cthulhu projects on listed in the first post of the Cthulhu thread. The upside of going this route is easier and possibly cheaper assembly and working PSX converter support; the downside is that you won’t be able to just throw a cable together to get it working on a different console.

if all you need is ps2, 360 and PC support why not go with a madcatz 360 and PSX pcb set up? that’ll save you some headache.

Perhaps I was reading the Instructable wrong. The Piggybacking Instructable, when I read it, seemed to indicate that the 360 PCB was receiving AND sending signals through the uPCB, and thus would need to go through the uPCB’s DB-15 to connect to the console. From your post it seems that piggybacking the 360PCB to the uPCB means that the PCB is only RECEIVING signals from the buttons through the uPCB, but the 360PCB will be sending signals to the console directly via USB w/o having to go through the uPCB.

Do I have it right now?

As far as the Cthulu suggestion, I had thought of that, but I’m scared of working with 2 PCB’s, let alone 3, mostly due to making sure all the wires are set in properly.

That, and assembling PCB’s and learning how they work is something I’m trying to prepare to learn how to do anyway, as it is at least slightly relevant to my career and education path. This project merely serves as the perfect opportunity, in my opinion, for a starting point for self-learning.

I said I was being ambitious, and I’m thinking I may want to cover some more bases just in case. That and I was thinking it might even potentially cause more headache as I have to make sure the PSX PCB I’d buy is common ground, and from the SlagCoin site, most of the models that are purchasable have “sub-models” that could be either/or.

Also, guys, don’t think I don’t appreciate the help even though I’m being a little resistant. I’m just trying to point out why I’ve made the decisions I’ve made. If you still think my decisions are stupid/wasteful and I’m being an ignorant fuckhead about it, please point out so, but also why. Much love to anyone posting here offering help/support.

Did someone say balls? I could’ve sworn I heard someone mention balls…

Nah, we’re just talking about my stick.

But sticks are useless without balls. If your shaft’s short, you can easily make up for it with enormous balls.

Anyways, I hate wasting post space since I don’t really have anything useful to contribute. Regardless, I wish you the best of luck on your stick endeavors and I hope you also plan to play SHMUPs with this since (from what I hear) it’d be a waste to have an LS-32 without playing them. Also, I hope you’ve got a lot of sand paper.

I have Ikaruga on XBLA, and a few of the Touhou games that I got bored of pretty quickly however, but I at least intend to see what’s up regarding arcadestick + SHMUP.

Thanks for reminding me. Am I looking at multiple kinds/grits? What would be suggested?

Err, kinda and maybe. The main thing I wanted to get across is the connections. The piggybacked pcb stays inside that stick case, and the only thing it is connected to is the UPCB board via a ribbon cable. You can unplug the 360 board and remove it without affecting anything else. There is no d-sub involved at all for the piggybacked board; it doesn’t have any wire or cable going anywhere except that one ribbon cable.

The USB signals themselves do go through the USB cable to the DB-15 connected to the UPCB. When using a piggyback, the UPCB doesn’t touch the signal at all; it simply turns on a gate (the 4066n chip) that connects those wires to the 360 pad, and then steps back and lets the two talk to each other with no interference. When the gate is turned on, the USB signals get sent by the 4066n chip to the ribbon cable connected to the 360 pad, and that ribbon cable is connected to the USB wires on the pad.

So, the USB wires do get sent to the 360 board in an unmodified fashion, electrically, but they still go through the UPCB board, and the only thing directly physically connected to the 360 pad is the ribbon cable that plugs into the UPCB.
You can see pictures of one completed here:

Haha, I can see why one would get bored of Touhou. Honestly, it’s really not very challenging even as a Bullet-Hell SHMUP. But Ikaruga was a great purchase choice on your end and I can tell you that even on my HRAP2:SA (which has a Sanwa stick, which isn’t very great for SHMUPs) the experience is greatly magnified. My second all-time favorite SHMUP just got that much better. I’m still actually waiting to buy a Seimitsu joystick before trying out stick with my number one, Radiant Silvergun since I don’t want to defile the experience and I want to play it with the alleged best parts I can. 'Til then, I’m stuck on Saturn pad.

As for sandpapering, there’s a thread a little ways down on page 1 regarding painting. This link might be useful:

Basically, medium grit’s what you outta be using and you should work up to finer and finer grits the more layers you paint and sand.

Sent money for a uPCB order today, trying to get confirmation on common ground for this pad.

Going to visit Radio Shack tomorrow to see if I could maybe get my wire and DB-15 equipment.

Don’t waste a good Ps2 pad when you can wire it up, use a Ps Extension Cable.

Ordered 360 sacrifice pad and PS2 extension cable today from Amazon. Bought 1 Male DB-15 connector, no hood, at Radio Shack today.

OP updated to reflect this.

Buttons and Stick are IN, thanks Chad from LizardLick!

Edit: uPCB kit is in, thanks Toodles.

Bumping (triple posting faggotry) to remind myself that all parts are IN save for managing a case.

Gonna try and snipe off a Norris Original Rounded tomorrow.

wait, you got the male db-15 from radio shack, i thought they only sold those 3 row types

oh wells as long you solder the parts correctly, it doesn’t really matter which type you use.

where’s all the cave love. lol lately been playing progear.

So I was informed that my case (A Kaytrim box, offered when I did -not- get a Norris DIY. Thanks man) Has been shipped.

This means, barring the paint and artwork, I will soon have all the parts needed to actually begin.

So I just began to do some of the legwork to get this project working.

Mostly it’s just looking at the bare uPCB and visually studying it.

I also put a few of the 4.7k Ohm resistors in place (have not began soldering yet) to see what kind of work I’ll have in front of me once I actually begin soldering.

I also took pictures of the current state of the PCB.

EDIT: Inventory Check w/ Picture


I got a little ahead of myself and wanted to see if soldering would be as tough as I was told it would be.

It’s easier than I expected.

So my uPCB stands to with 8 of the resistors currently in place.

Couple of random tips:

  1. Solder in the 22 Ohm and 1M ohm resistors FIRST. After those are in, everything else marked as a resistor is the same value.
  2. Don’t even think about keeping that D-sub connector attached to the board where it is. That spot would be to use it as a Neo-Geo->Whatever converter. Where it’s at in the picture with the tools can be helpful for troubleshooting, but do NOT solder it on permananently there unless you’re 100% sure.
  3. Try to work with the smallest components first (resistors) and progressively go to the next tallest component. Resistors, ceramic caps, crystal, the IC sockets, rest of the capacitors, IDC connectors, bare header pins, keyed header pins.