Friday, 10 July 2009

Retro joypads for the original xbox

If you have done the tutorial here and wired up an old xbox pad to an output connector, then you can plug in old-skool joypads which have been internally wired up too!

Here's my slightly modified table from that site:





































































































































Xbox function


DB-15


Original controller


S-controller


Mega Drive function


SNES function


Up


1


TP13


TP13


Up


Up


Down


2


TP15


TP15


Down


Down


Left


3


TP16


TP16


Left


Left


Right


4


TP17


TP17


Right


Right


X


5


TP70


TP64


-


Y


Y


6


TP71


TP65


-


X


A


7


TP67


TP61


A


B


B


8


TP68


TP62


B


A


Back


9


TP19


near TP20


-


Select


Start


10


TP18


near C48


Start


Start


Left Trigger


11






-


Left Trigger


Right Trigger


12






-


Right Trigger


Ground


13






Ground


Ground


White


14


TP72


TP66


-


-


Black


15


TP69


TP63


C


-



This is what it looks like inside my original xbox pad:



The DB-15 plug thats in the memory slot of the pad which I removed off the pcb serves as a socket for the retro pads to plug in.

Mega Drive Control Pad

We'll start with the 3 button Megadrive pad. By the way, all the joypads are based on UK PAL ones.

What you'll need:

Open it up, desolder all components and wires off it. To remove the chip, it may be easier to melt blobs of solder all along the pins, then quickly rub with the solder to heat the legs and with tweezers lift each side a bit at a time. BE CAREFUL! Don't pull off the copper pads the pins are soldered on! It's also a good idea to clean the contact points where the rubber buttons press to be cleaned with a cotton bud soaked in isopropyl alcohol.

When all thats done, use this image to identify which solder point does what:

You can reuse the Mega Drives cable which has exactly the right number of wires which is handy! Just cut the plug end and strip it ready to solder to the DB-15 socket.

Check along the way with a multimeter that everythings as it should be.

Solder the wires to the DB-15 and check it corresponds to the chart mentioned here or mine at the beginning of this tut. Now you can assemble everything together and voila, a Mega Drive joypad ready for those old-skool emulator games!


SNES Controller Pad

Doing the SNES is pretty much the same. Except you'll need a 13 wire cable. So I'll just post the necessary images.

I should mention, the cable I used was a salvaged SCSI cable I found at a market for 50p! It had way more wires than 13, so I took them all out and cut the ones I wanted, then bought a 2m length of heat-shrink tubing. To twist the wires for a good fit, clamp down one end, and use a drill and slowly twist the wires for a nice tight thin cable. I actually got the 13 wire cable thinner than the SNES's original 5 wire cable!

And thats it folks! Award yourself a beer!

Huzzah for Super Mario World!

I plan to add the Amiga and Atari joysticks if I can find one cheap at a market, such as the Competition Pro 5000, Zipstick Super Pro or Atari CX40 like those listed here.

I've made a 9-pin to 15-pin adapter for them, but I dont know if it'll work as they might have components in the joystick that needs removing and if so, will require a rewire.


TIP: Run the gamepad.xbe which is from the XDK kit under \Samples\Xbox\Input\Gamepad\. This gives a real-time check on all the buttons!


UPDATE: I finally got a Competition Pro joystick and the adapter I made works great! Here are pictures of it and table for wiring.








































Male DB-9 (Joystick)


Female DB-15 (Xbox)


1 (Up)


1 (Up)


2 (Down)


2 (Down)


3 (Left)


3 (Left)


4 (Right)


4 (Right)


5 (N/A)


- (N/A)


6 (Button 1)


7 (A)


7 (+5v)


- (N/A)


8 (Ground)


13 (Ground)


9 (Button 2)


8 (Button B)


NB: There is no "Button 2" on the Competition Pro even though has 2 buttons on it. They both are Button 1. This is likely the same for the Zipstick.

The adapter should also work with the Zipstick and Atari joysticks without any modifications!!!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Add Digital Coax To Your Hd Pack (Original Xbox)

Credit for the idea belongs to Matt Staroscik at his site. He's got a tutorial for adding coax to the AV Pack too. I've just done mine slightly different. It's really very easy to do.

What you need:
  • Microsoft HD Pack (can be found on ebay every now and again).
  • Soldering iron.
  • Smallish phillips screwdriver.
  • Drill and 6.5mm drillbit.
  • Gold female phono socket (I use the inner colour of black, orange is also sometimes used to denote a digital input, its up to you. Bought from Maplin).
  • Some wire.


STEP 1: Unplug the HD Pack from the xbox. Poke a smallish phillips screwdriver through the Microsoft sticker on the HD Pack and unscrew. You could probably use a hairdryer to peel off the sticker to avoid puncturing holes but I don't have one.

STEP 2: Take the sockets, wires etc out of the case so you're left with an empty case. Now put the empty case together and use a 6.5mm drillbit and drill where you'd like the digital phono socket to go. I put mine opposite the stereo sockets as I found the gap between the stereo and component slightly too close together. I drilled at the split point so you should have a half circle cut out on each half of the case.

STEP 3: Solder the wires as shown. Make sure they correspond correctly. Even if you do it wrong, Ive been told it should'nt harm the xbox. It'll probably just make a nasty noise.

STEP 4: Slot the phono socket onto one half of the case, screw the nut on the phono, not too tight though otherwise the other half of the case wont fit on. Bend the "tag" on the phono socket although not absolutely neccessary. It would be a good idea to put a blob of hot-glue to the nut and body of the case to ensure it wont wriggle free.

STEP 5: Put it all together and voila! You now have digital coax out! Remember to set the audio hardware output to digital in the Microsoft dash or in XBMC.

Enjoy digital bliss!

HDD Suspension

Anybody who has had hard drives whining and buzzing away in your pc case will know how damn irritating it is!

So, Ive devised a cheap, easy and effective way to suspend your drives. It may not be the best, but I looked around on other sites and decided to do one of my own.

Alot of the sites suggest using bungee cord which is a very effective dampener, but I didnt want to faff around with tying knots and I wanted it to look quite professional and easy to setup.

You'll need (all the stuff can be bought on ebay or diy stores):
  • 7mm Hex Screwdriver
  • 2.5mm Allen Key
  • 4x 10mm M4 Button Head Allen Bolts
  • 4x M4 Nylok Nuts
  • 4x 5mm Rubber Lined P-Clips (this was the most expensive, I got a pack of 20 for £6 off ebay, whereas in a motorbike shop, they wanted £3 for EACH!)
  • 2x Hairbands (approx 4.5cm in diameter and about 4mm thickness)



Assemble everything like so:


When you've screwed the bolts through the case and alls fitted, you can twist the bands and put the drive in and youre done!



I wanted to try to keep vibration to a minimum hench the use of rubber lined p-clips and nylok nuts to avoid self-unscrewing. The only problem I may have is the metal bit on the band might rattle on the top so I might tape it down. I didnt want it at the bottom in case it touches the live circuitry.

As drives may heat up as its no longer physically attached to the case which acts as a kind of heat sink, my next project is to fit aluminium heatsinks to the sides of the drives to cool.