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Thread: Madcatz Fightstick Pro TE - DB15 Neo Geo mod wth pictures

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    Madcatz Fightstick Pro TE - DB15 Neo Geo mod wth pictures

    Hi All,
    Just wanted to share the Madcatz Fightstick Pro TE mod I finally got around to doing this weekend – basically converting PS3 dedicated sticks for dual use also with a Neo Geo / supergun DB15 connection.

    By way of background to the project, I was looking at getting some dedicated Neo Geo joysticks, but more often than not the condition of the used sticks on offer as well as prices didn’t support this course of action. Finally picked up a pair of new Madcatz Fightstick Pro TE on Amazon a month or two ago – played a bit with them on various PS3 titles and in the meantime I was thinking about the DB15 mod.

    My first idea was to place a DB15 female connector on the back of the stick – once I got the connectors it quickly occurred that there wasn’t really a good place to put this on the back of the fightstick – basically the only place was inside the cable compartment but as I was looking to keep the PS3 functionality I needed that space to store the USB cable which fitted very snuggly into the compartment in standard form.

    So I basically decided on:
    - using an OEM style Neo Geo joypad plug and cable (available on ebay for about 8 dollars or so) to which I would then connect an DB15 extender cable.
    - trying the solderless connection method – all required info on this page: http://setaoffice.com/2011/09/18/dis...ament-edition/ - really helpful and informative

    Anyway started of with the cable, stripped a lot of the black insulation of, and also stripped the individual cable ends exposing the copper:

    1. DB15 cable.JPG

    Then opened up the joystick (very easy, just 4 big corner screws and about 6 small ones and the back plate can be removed no problem. Below are the internals with a few adnotations as to what is what:

    2. plan.JPG

    I then got a multimeter (affixed a sawing needle to one probe to be able to put it inside the plug holes) and basically going pin by pin located the corresponding cable ends and using the solderless method plugging them under the quick disconnects.

    I did not have any problems with the cable breaking etc when sliding on the quick disconnects. Basically you can use either the buttons or the terminal block connectors – I used those on the buttons, since there was more room to work but also gave the terminal block a try by connecting ground there. The quick disconnects sit rather tight and pliers are required to remove these. After I did all the buttons I proceeded with the joystick. The place to get the joystick signals is the plug I marked in red on the above picture. Comes off very easy by just pulling on it with your fingers, as for inserting the wires it’s a little bit fiddly but entirely doable.

    After connecting everything its worth plugging it into your system and if you have an MVS doing the hardware test and going into controller test and testing out the individual buttons etc. Sometimes after pulling on the quick disconnects the button gets stick in the down position, so check first that all buttons work normally – otherwise you may have a short circuit somewhere.

    Last step is to tidy up the cables inside – I used some zip ties and duct tape to make sure nothing was loose and in the way.

    4. finished.JPG

    And finally the finished article:

    5. finished1.JPG
    6. plugs.JPG
    7. plugged in.JPG

    In case anyone is wondering - the solderless connections are VERY solid - they will not come off unless you go at them with a pair of pliers ('...and a blowtorch' ).

    Everything works fine, finally I feel I am playing these games the way they are supposed to be played, the arcade stick really does add a lot to the overall experience / special feeling of the system.

    If anybody is thinking of such a mod or has any questions let me know. Going slowly and methodically and including the time needed to get set up it takes about 2-3h but is generally doable with minimal risk of damaging something and with practically no extraordinary equipement required.

    Any other comments etc welcome.

    Just a question at this point – thinking of:
    - changing the bottom row buttons to Neo Geo colours – what size and type do I need to ensure a plug and play fit?
    - How do you change the artwork on these sticks?

    All the best and thanks for reading
    Regards, MtothaJ

  2. #2
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    nice mod, thanks for the write-up. There's too many buttons on that thing for my taste though ^^ Have fun with it, the Neo really is meant to be played with "arcade style sticks".

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    wow, im literally about to do this same thing with a sf4 te stick. One question, did you need the +5v for your stick?
    I think the sanwa in mine might need it. if so where did you tap it?
    nice job btw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballzdeepx View Post
    wow, im literally about to do this same thing with a sf4 te stick. One question, did you need the +5v for your stick?
    I think the sanwa in mine might need it. if so where did you tap it?
    nice job btw.
    Thanks man, just to confirm that you do not need +5V, I was extra careful and actually insulated the end of that cable so as to not fry anything should it close a circuit with something - unlikely scenario but still...
    The other one I did not connect was the Test button (Pin 9) - I have this on my supergun if I need it and it can be accessed via Unibios anyway, and having this on the joystick could result in an accidental pressing in the heat of gameplay and in effect Test mode with a system reboot being the only option.
    Before going ahead with the mod, I would suggest watching all those videos I linked to regarding disassembly just to get the feel of it - you only need to remove the backplate, no further disassembly is required. As for tools, definietly want two phillips head screwdrivers (a bigger and a smaller head), some pliers, a multimeter, a good wire stripper, some scissors (small ones, like for fingernails, some duct tape and electrical tape) and thats about it I guess - if you have any questions just ask away.
    Regards, MtothaJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by xsq View Post
    nice mod, thanks for the write-up. There's too many buttons on that thing for my taste though ^^ Have fun with it, the Neo really is meant to be played with "arcade style sticks".
    Yeah, I know what you mean with regard to the number of buttons - a dedicated, clean looking four button layout would be nicer.
    Still on the brightside at least I am getting my money's worth with these sticks, being able to use them on two systems (PS3 and Neo Geo MVS) and if I get some other Jamma PCB's the additional buttons may come in handy.
    I am using the bottom four buttons so at least the slightly curved line Neo Geo layout is accurate.
    With these Madcatz sticks its nice to be able to do the mod without any cutting / soldering, the other upside is that its possible to get them at very reasonable prices (at least by EU standards) when they are periodicaly on sale.
    Regards, MtothaJ

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    So it looks like you grabbed the ground off the actual stick then?
    The thing I dont get is I thought the USB on these sticks is what actually powers the joystick due to their optical nature. Maybe it's only needed for the other PCBs then.
    So the stick is working ok then? No issues with the other PCBs acting as a "closed switch" or anything?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballzdeepx View Post
    So it looks like you grabbed the ground off the actual stick then?
    The thing I dont get is I thought the USB on these sticks is what actually powers the joystick due to their optical nature. Maybe it's only needed for the other PCBs then.
    So the stick is working ok then? No issues with the other PCBs acting as a "closed switch" or anything?
    I actually got ground from one of the terminal block points, but you can use any place you like since they are all connected. I would probably advise against using the joystick since the joystick connector is fiddly enough attaching four wires for the directions so no need adding an additional wire there.
    Probably the easiest place is just get the ground from anyone of the buttons. A good method in determining which of the two cables connected to a button is the signal and which te ground is to give the cable a pull. If the other end is connected to the top row of the terminal block then its a ground, if the bottom line then then its the signal. You basically need to get just one ground for Pin 1, the rest is just signals.
    No problem at at with any interference etc. since by doing the mod you are not adding any additional PCB's to the joystick etc, just making addional conections to the points which are already in place. The only way that there could be any interference / malfunction etc. is if you plugged the stick simultenously to the Neo Geo and PS3.
    When doing the mod the main thing is to work methodically, double and triple checking every connection. As mentioned, I did two stick over the weekend - needless to say the second went much faster. Its good to get the wire prepared beforehand since this is actually rather time consuming - especially removing the insulation without nicking any of the wires inside.
    Regards, MtothaJ

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    Sounds good, thanks for the advice. I'll give it a whirl this week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballzdeepx View Post
    Sounds good, thanks for the advice. I'll give it a whirl this week.
    Let us know how it worked out!

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    I did something like this to my Qanba Q4RAF
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...d28PQBlI#t=127

    You're ghostin' us, motherf***er.
    I don't care who you are back in the world.
    You give our position one more time,
    I'll bleed you, real quiet, and leave you here.
    Got that?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockstarRunner View Post
    I did something like this to my Qanba Q4RAF
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...d28PQBlI#t=127
    Nice. The Neo color sheme works quite well with that one. You have a cool accent btw

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockstarRunner View Post
    I did something like this to my Qanba Q4RAF
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...d28PQBlI#t=127
    Looks good! Using a DB15 port was actually my preferred option also, however as I mentioned I couldn't find a suitable place for it on the back of my sticks and I didn't really want to place it on the sides of the stick since the cable could get in the way during gameplay. I guess all in all this is a slightly more difficult option for the mod since there is a little bit of cutting and soldering involved.
    Regards, MtothaJ

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    Heres where im going to put mine. I started on this, it's not elegant as all I had was a drill but you get the idea





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    Quote Originally Posted by ballzdeepx View Post
    Heres where im going to put mine. I started on this, it's not elegant as all I had was a drill but you get the idea
    I think its a pretty good spot, that said from what I remember on the inside its a bit cramped around this area, so probably need to cut off some internal plastic for the wires etc. to fit. Keep us updated - I still have my DB15 ports so depending on how you go I might think of adding the port somewhere on my sticks.
    Regards, MtothaJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtothaJ View Post
    Just to add that in the near future I intend to change that PC style shallow male plug on the DB15 extension cable to a OEM Neo Geo style deeper port, for better connection / looks. So in effect I want to have an extender cable that has a shallow PC style female plug on one end for the supergun and a deeper OEM style male plug on the other end of the extender cable for the DB15 modded fightstick. Obviosuly another option would be to just place a shallow DB15 port somewhere on the stick but I also have Neo Geo CD pads which I occasionally want to use so this way I will have a proper connection to all the devices.
    Regards, MtothaJ

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    I did a very similar set of mods to a HSS-0130 gutted and wired to MC-Cthulhus. I was surprised how easy it was to get sticks set up with Neo Geo stuff.

    attachment.jpgfront.jpg

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    is their a pcb for the neo geo so people like me can do a custom job on making a fightstick on that console

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    Quote Originally Posted by djexotic View Post
    is their a pcb for the neo geo so people like me can do a custom job on making a fightstick on that console
    The Neo Geo actually requires no PCB at all. It is only wires directly connected to things. You can use a Multi-Console Cthulhu board though; You would connect your DB-15 port (or extension cable) directly to the same connectors that the buttons are wired in at. It's pretty easy, as far as modding goes... you don't even need to solder anything on a Cthulhu if you elect to not use an RJ45 (data jack) and use only the provided USB instead.

    That said, be sure your connections are correct, and if it's a multi-console setup never connect two systems at the same time to the stick.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by djexotic View Post
    is their a pcb for the neo geo so people like me can do a custom job on making a fightstick on that console
    As already mentioned, there is no PCB in the NG controllers.
    On this subject, I recently bought a Sega Megadrive (Sega Genesis in the US), and am slowly in the process of doing some mods to the console, once these are done, I will try to use the PCB's from the Megadrive joypads so that I can use these fightsticks also with the Megadrive. My initial plan is to put the controler PCB's in a small enclosure, put DB15 ports on one side and wire those to the PCB and have the standard Megadrive joypad cable sticking out the other end for connection to the console.
    Regards, MtothaJ

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    Hello,
    Is the Fightstick common ground?

    Le moutòn!

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    The madcatz sticks are, yes. The Hori 360 sticks ARE NOT.
    It's impossible to be a nice guy on the internet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtothaJ View Post
    Hi All,
    Just wanted to share the Madcatz Fightstick Pro TE mod I finally got around to doing this weekend – basically converting PS3 dedicated sticks for dual use also with a Neo Geo / supergun DB15 connection....
    That is one clean mod. Great job.




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    These multicarts will eventually burn up your mvs board.
    ^ the above statement is absurd and was quoted sarcastically, if that doesn't come across clearly enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemony Vengeance View Post
    The madcatz sticks are, yes. The Hori 360 sticks ARE NOT.
    Pretty sure that's only true for the earlier ones.

  24. #24
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    Guys, just thought I'd give you an update on the stick / mod - its working great, but in the meantime I also:
    - got a Mega Drive and made a padhack box using soem Mega Drive pads to be able to use this stick on that console
    - got a Blue Elf Jamma cart
    While the stick behaved just fine with the Neo Geo MVS, with the above two devices it would either not function at all (Mega Drive) or behave eratically (Blue Elf)
    The solution, which I found was that I needed to solder the +5V line to a +5V point on the stick (just follow the red line from the inside the USB connector cable). DOn't really know what the rationale for this is from a technical standpoint, but probably somethign to do with the fact that the USB hardware was still in the stick and in any case still connected with the switches / button contacts (along with the red lights displays for buttons etc. ) - maybe the whole thing was sapping too much power from the signal lines or something.
    Regards, MtothaJ

  25. #25
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    moar pictures!

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