Archive for January, 2010

Mayflash Hori Mod

Posted in Mod Projects, Peripherals, Tutorials on January 6, 2010 by satoshimatrix

At this point, I have a lot of console arcade sticks. From the awful Naki-Tec Mini stick to the fantastic Hori Real Arcade Pro, I’ve got arcade sticks for most of the consoles I own.

The Hori Real Arcade Pro 2

As much praise as I heap on the PS2 RAP2, it has one main problem: the stick is simply too big and to fit comfortably in my lap. It’s great if you set up a table or if were to be mounted into a custom arcade cabinet, but the majority of the time I want to use an arcade stick, I simply want it to rest in my lap without any additional setup required. My Sanwa modded Hori EX2 for the 360 fits that bill perfectly, but since I also still play my PS2 and Xbox 1 a lot, I started to look for an arcade stick for that system of around the size of the EX2.

After hearing really good things about the Mayflash arcade stick, I asked a friend for one for Christmas. The Mayflash Arcade Stick is a standard home arcade stick with an 8-button layout and connections for PS2 and PS3 & PC USB.

The Mayflash PS2/PC Stick

The stock components are pretty awful on the Mayflash. Not the
absolute worst, but they do have that cheap feel and design. The arcade stick shaft and balltop are one piece and cannot be separated!

The buttons, rather than be cheap microswitches, are even cheaper and are simply pushbuttons, meaning an entire PCB is below the eight main buttons.

The Mayflash is the perfect size to fit in your lap, has a great curved to the human hand 8-button layout and is lightweight but sturdy. It even works with my PS2-to-Xbox adapter! The only problem with it is the feel and response of the stock parts.

One of the nice bonuses of my Hori EX2 to Sanwa mod upgrade is that since I had to remove theEX2’s stock parts to replace them with the improved sanwa parts, I of course was left with the Hori parts that were in the EX2. Since I had those parts onhand and although they are not as good as sanwa parts, the hori components are still much much better than the Mayflash stock components.

Luckily for me, both the Hori EX2 buttons and the Mayflash stock buttons both are the same non-standard size of 28mm instead of the usual 30mm. This meant that the Hori buttons could simply be dropped in without any modding at all. Sweet!

The one issue was that the EX2 was a six button stick while the Mayflash is a full eight button stick. Without two additional buttons onhand, I was forced to keep two of the eight Mayflash buttons in place.

This presented a bit of a problem internally. The six EX2 stock buttons are microswitch buttons that send electrical signals via wires to the main PCB. In contrast, the Mayflash stock buttons are push buttons, the same kind as found on a normal sized controller. These buttons work by pressing against a PCB and sending a signal along a trace.
Therefore, inside of the Mayflash stick behind the eight stock push buttons was an oversized daughter PCB. That PCB would collect the signals from each button and relay them to the main PCB via a small connector.

the board for the eight buttons

Because I planned on using the Hori microswitch buttons, the PCB was both unnecessary and simply in the way. But before I could cut it and scrap it, I realized that I would still need at least part of it since I intended to use two of the eight stock Mayflash buttons.

By simply using a knife, I was able to cut away the PCB that would sit behind the last two Mayflash buttons. Lucikly for me, on both ends of the PCB were points where it was screwed into place by default design, so I didn’t even have to worry about keeping it in place somehow. All it took was exposing small trace points for the PCB and soldering to it to convert it and its push buttons into pseudo microswitch buttons. Hurrah!

Again luckily for me, the old stock eight button PCB for the pushbuttons was held in place by screws, and the part of the PCB I needed to keep has a hole for one of those screws. One screw alone is enough to hold the small amount of the main PCB that remains, so once more no glue was required.

The cut PCB and two Mayflash buttons remain while the other six Hori buttons snap into place

Now that all the buttons were in place, I needed to figure out how to connect them to the actual PCB. The mayflash daughter PCB had all the buttons interconnected and were thus common ground. For my purposes, without that PCB I would need to connect all the buttons together with wire, a process called “daisy chaining”.

The most challenging aspect of the project was figuring out which inputs on the PCB controlled what, and where.

After much experimenting, I finally got it down :

With this figured out, I soldered it all in place.

Once everything was in place, it was just a matter of putting the case back on and testing it out. I’m now happy to say that the Mayflash arcade stick with six Hori EX2 buttons works flawlessly!

And we have here the finished stick. Total mod cost: $0

Since the stick itself was a gift and I already had the Hori buttons, this arcade stick cost me a grand total of $0.00 and is almost as good as my godly RAP2. Maybe someday I’ll upgrade the Mayflash once again to full sanwa. In the meantime, happy gaming!

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“Dream” Castlevania

Posted in Mod Projects, NES on January 6, 2010 by satoshimatrix

One of the coolest discoveries in recent memory for 8-bit tech geeks like myself was indisputably 133Mhz’s Dream Mary tutorial, where ordinary copies of Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt could be converted into copies of the illusive Famicom pirate Mario cart dubbed “Dream Mary”.

As soon as I heard of this, I set to task converting my own copy of Super Mario Bros. into Dream Mary. What a cool way to enjoy your favorite classic games in new, unique way that the designers had never envisioned.

I want to do this to as many NES games as possible, but there is a slight catch. Although not technically permanent, soldering and desoldering my humble NES collection isn’t something I am very comfortable doing. Instead, I intend to buy an extra copy of each game I will alter.
The first game was SMB into Dream Mary, and soon after, I bought another copy of Castlevania.

I’ve since recorded a short demo of my Dream Castlevania to show you guys. Hope you enjoy!