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Affordable Analog Arcade stick?

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Hi. I have been building arcade boxes using Arcade replacement parts, for my own personal enjoyment.


Have a look:


NES, Atari









My next project will be a 4-in-1 Genesis/Atari/SNES/NES controller with alternate SNES button layouts for RPGs/Fighters and 3-button platformers (SMW, DKC, etc...). It will feature dual ports for Genesis and SNES. The Genesis will be backwards compatible with Atari 2600 and SMS by default. Backwards compatibility with NES will be supplied by a patched extension cable (SNES and NES use the same protocol, different plugs).


Back to my original topic: I already have plans drawn up for a 5th controller box: N64! :cool:


The N64 arcade box will use a clone controller since the official controllers used a mouse style optical rotary wheel. Most N64 clone controllers as well as every dual stick console controller I've seen use pots. Problem is finding a suitable analog joystick that uses pots and isn't in the $100+ range. I've done some exhaustive Google searches and the cheapest joystick available is $162! :o




But I could buy 10x competition joysticks for that price! I did find some cheaper solutions but most "analog" joysticks, for instance the Ultimarc UltraStik, use a Hal effect sensor and a dedicated onboard microcontroller to translate the signals to USB HID for MAME use. That's fine and dandy for emulation but useless for console use, since it's impossible or extremely difficult to convert this signal to a usable voltage divider the way a pot does.



Seimitsu used to sell an LS-64 analog arcade joystick for $80 which was suitable for pad hacks, but sadly, it has been discontinued. The product apparently has been completely removed from the site.


Other solutions I have found online seem geared towards mobility or industrial applications, but I'm wondering if some of these solutions are too stiff or slow. Most I've seen have ugly rubber grommets on them. Just because a particular joystick might be suitable for operating a power wheelchair or a forklift doesn't necessarily mean it will be suitable for twitch precision gaming. Many of them aren't even available to inidivual DIYers as half the sites seem only to cater to industrial customers.


Adafruit and several other companies sell nice thumb nubs for cheap (can be found elsewhere cheaper than Adafruit), but the point is to build a real arcade box/panel, not a homebrew gamepad:




Adding extensions to a thumbstick would likely result in a joystick that flops around under it's own weight and would probably break extremely easily due to the force applied to it.


Then there are a couple niche products designed for people with disabilities that prevent them from holding a controller:



The analog nubs are tiny compared to a full arcade joystick, but it appears they would work well. Sadly, none of these companies seem to be selling the parts individually for DIYers. Furthermore I have no idea how sturdy or durable those pea shooters are but they are certainly better than thumbsticks. Either way I would love to get a source for these.


Another option I have found some enterprising DIYers hacked old PC Gameport flight sticks into their arcade panels. That is a distinct possibility albeit clunky but again I am concerned with the durability of the setup. Even so, I could go look at the electronics bin of a discount shop or used game store, but it may not even be possible to tell if a stick is analog or digital just by looking at it. Many PC sticks were purely digital even if they interfaced with an analog 15-pin gameport so it's hard to tell. It seems that there would be a market for DIY analog joysticks, but the vast majority of existing solutions, DIY or prefabricated, are all digital. Even most "fighter sticks" for modern systems are digital only and may not work properly for genres like FPS or 3D platforming. I would absolutely love to play Mario 64 or Mario Kart with a real joystick. Don't forget anyone whose a 5200 fan could really use something better than the failure prone stock joysticks that came with the system.


If anyone knows of a cheap but good (and still in production) full scale analog joystick/flightstick with pots or have their own solutions, please let me know...

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Ultramarc sells an arcade stick that's both analog and digital 4/8-way which might help you out... http://www.ultimarc.com/ultrastik_info.html


As for those joysticks you made, at that scale all I can say is this... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pig6xZdptL4

LOL, they are huge. I could picture Shriek or some Ogre playing NES holding it like an ordinary controller... :P


The Ultrastik is a nice piece of tech, but I need a joystick with pots. Even if the usable range of the joystick pots are too small or large, an Op Amp with trim pots could be used to calibrate the output. Problem with the Ultrastik is it uses Hal effect and requires a dedicated digital logic controller to convert it to USB. I believe it's only compatible with PC or Xbox360 (and possibly PS3). Pad hacks require a voltage divider, typically supplied by a potentiometer. The issue is further compounded when you consider some gamepads run on 3.3V so you'd have to stuff some sort of external 5V source into it to get it to work. Sure you can wire the Ultrastik into an arcade cab with a variety of programmable digital output configurations, but I'm not sure it would work as an analog pad hack.

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  • 6 years later...
On 7/12/2020 at 3:49 PM, fdr4prez said:



except for the fact that it is a bit on the small side.





Nothing a 3D printer cant fix.  Would not be hard to make something that slips right over top of it, and you would never know the difference.


Edited by scotty
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3 hours ago, scotty said:

Nothing a 3D printer cant fix.  Would not be hard to make something that slips right over top of it, and you would never know the difference.


Yeah, thanks.  That is something I've not thought of.


One more reason for me to get a 3D printer :)


These are a little cheaper off of ebay, but i like Adafruit 


3 hours ago, scotty said:

Hmmmm, I might have to make my own 5200 controller when I get the time.   :)


For the real 5200 controller experience you can get one of these in the "non-auto-centering" versions :banana:




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