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  #1  
Old 03-10-2013, 09:38 AM
Wictorsson Wictorsson is offline
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Default iCade Core button and joystick mod

Hi!

Inspired by the excellent discussions in the [URL="http://cdn2.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=106853"]iCade button customisation.[/URL] thread, I went out to give my iCade Core the same treatment.

Another excellent guide I recommend with good pictures!
[URL="http://www.myglasseye.net/news/how-to-customise-icade/"]http://www.myglasseye.net/news/how-to-customise-icade/[/URL]

My goal was to use:
  • Sanwa JLF TRG 8YTH SK Silent Arcade Joystick (removing the top plate with four screws)
  • Sanwa LB 30N Bat Top Handle
  • Sanwa GT Y Octagonal Gate
  • Sanwa JLF H Cable connector/adapter
  • Sanwa OBSFS 30 Silent Arcade Buttons
  • Pinball side buttons (same as above but different surround/plunger colors)
  • On/off switch (to be able to quickly access the on-screen keyboard for Highscore lists for example)

I actually got the new silent joystick and buttons just to make sure it would be as silent as possible. Since I haven't tried the non-silent counterparts I cannot compare if the extra expense is worth it. All I know is that I am very pleased with them! They are by no means perfectly silent since the plastic of course rattles a bit but there is no sound at all from the switches!

I guess it is a matter of preference if you want a click sound or not. If the sound is faint, I would have been equally happy with the standard Sanwa joystick and buttons I guess.

The differences I have found between the iCade and the iCade Core are:
  • Different joysticks (no circuit board on iCade Core)
  • iCade Core seems to have slightly more space around the joystick


Joystick

Joystick comparison, Sanwa to the left, iCade Core to the right. Identical measurements on all plastic parts.

[URL=http://imgur.com/MxbDQV7][/URL]

[URL=http://imgur.com/zkF0Uwi][/URL]

I was worried that the large cable connectors on the Sanwa would make it hard to fit it between the side wall and the buttons but looking closely at the pictures in the thread mentioned above it sure looked like there was more space inside the Core! If it did not fit I figured I could just solder the terminals and save a whole centimeter on each side. Fortunately I did not have to do that.

The Sanwa fits perfectly! It can be rotated any way you want and no sanding required here whatsoever. Just mount it with the original screws and your done.


Connecting
Since the joystick cables are clearly marked on the circuit board with Up, Down, Left, Right, it was easy to just follow the cables from the microswitches on the Sanwa joystick and solder the corresponding wire. I chose to solder all four black cables from the circuit board U/D/L/R cables to the single black one from the joystick adapter cable (Sanwa JLF H) and putting a shrink tube around it.

Sorry for the bad picture.
[URL=http://imgur.com/7oku01h][/URL]



Buttons

Sanding
The button holes did require a bit of sanding with the Dremel, increasing the diameter from 28 to 30 mm. Taking it slow, sanding, testing, sanding and testing again and it was done in an hour.
The pinball side buttons required a bit more work since I had to drill these holes myself with a small drill and then increase the size of the drill in several steps. The last half centimeter of the radius was done with the Dremel.

(!) I would also like to mention that to be sure that you can use the pinball buttons (or any button) correctly you have to be jailbroken and use the Bluetooth configuration software Blutrol. Definitely a recommended purchase! Then you can map on-screen presses to individual buttons making all games with on-screen buttons possible to play with the iCade!


Connecting
I decided to just connect the pinball side buttons to the lower outer buttons (labeled 6 and E2). I only had a few short cables left so I chose not to solder these on the 6 and E2 button connectors. I just stuck the wires in the small holes in the terminals and then attached the flat connectors (which was first tightened a bit with a pair of pliers to grip the smaller Sanwa terminals better).

[URL=http://imgur.com/ucKVG5d][/URL]


Power button
I positioned the power button on the back left side. It is connected in line on one of the battery cables. I found a small snap-in switch which was easy to flip with my left index finger when necessary.
I am actually using this a lot when taking a break in the gaming session to do something else on the iPad. Now I don't have to wait for the time out or switch off Bluetooth to get my on-screen keyboard back!
When flipping the switch back to "On" it only takes a second to connect again.

[URL=http://imgur.com/rys7BQJ][/URL]

[URL=http://imgur.com/qge7ddK][/URL]

[URL=http://imgur.com/MKU5a9v][/URL]



The result

[URL=http://imgur.com/lGzutPV][/URL]

Daughter play-testing the pinball buttons!
[URL=http://imgur.com/3qYuLbU][/URL]


The joystick
The difference in feel compared to the original joystick and buttons is huge.
The joystick have only a few millimeters of dead zone and the spring is much lighter. It is much easier to move around with great control in the games!

The buttons
The buttons also require A LOT less force to push and having a lot less throw it is easy to rapidly tap them.
The pinball buttons are really great! It is much more fun to play that way!


The iCade Core is even easier to mod than the original iCade since the joystick mounting needs no modification. Only some sanding and soldering/connecting eight cables for the joystick is needed!
A really great upgrade for the iCade Core!


Thank you all for a great forum and please let me know if you have any questions!

Cheers
Martin
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  #2  
Old 03-10-2013, 01:48 PM
Connector Connector is offline
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I LOVE my icade core even unmodified, but wow it would be awesome with your stick and a little looser buttons. Those side buttons are sexy too for pinball games.

Was wondering if you or others know, is it easy to make the joystick not be able to rotate and stay in a fixed position? Since sticks in the arcade are fixed, I wonder which I would like better. The constant rotating of the joystick is nice in some games like for shmups, but the more traditional feel maybe better in most games, maybe.

Anyone modded their joystick not to rotate? Is it easy? And what do I need to do on the icade core? Thanks.
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2013, 08:55 AM
Wictorsson Wictorsson is offline
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I haven't thought about the joystick not being fixed.
These particular joysticks would be difficult to fix due to the way they are built.
Maybe other brands are non-rotateable?

Throw away a question to the peeps at arcadeworlduk.com for example about that and I am sure they can help!

I changed the default ball to a bat handle instead since I feel this gives me a better grip for the fine-tuned movements required in platformers for example. Especially when playing C64 games where you have to move the joystick diagonally to jump instead of pushing a button!

I haven't felt that the rotation was a problem for me at least. Seeing your post was actually the first time I came to think about the rotateability. Some joysticks I grew up with were fixed (TAC-2, Slik-Stik and even the Wico Red Ball I believe) and some were possible to spin around (Wico Ergo, Konix SpeedKing).

Last edited by Wictorsson; 03-11-2013 at 08:59 AM..
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  #4  
Old 04-01-2013, 01:30 PM
foxhoundl foxhoundl is offline
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Great work especially with the switch and a great idea (It is a feature I wish was included in the stick). And I want to do this but have no idea in how these things work, I see what you did, the white wire stays the same and the red wire from the battery goes into O, then the other red wire that comes from the PCB goes into I, seems very simple to do.

But I was looking on ebay for some switches.
[url]http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/5pcs-AC-3A-250V-6A-125V-ON-OFF-2-Position-SPST-2-Pin-Snap-in-Round-Rocker-Switch-/271101267388[/url]
I found this, will this be a correct switch to use (with the voltages and specs)? Sorry I'm such a noob.
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2013, 04:35 PM
Connector Connector is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wictorsson View Post
I haven't thought about the joystick not being fixed.
These particular joysticks would be difficult to fix due to the way they are built.
Maybe other brands are non-rotateable?

Throw away a question to the peeps at arcadeworlduk.com for example about that and I am sure they can help!

I changed the default ball to a bat handle instead since I feel this gives me a better grip for the fine-tuned movements required in platformers for example. Especially when playing C64 games where you have to move the joystick diagonally to jump instead of pushing a button!

I haven't felt that the rotation was a problem for me at least. Seeing your post was actually the first time I came to think about the rotateability. Some joysticks I grew up with were fixed (TAC-2, Slik-Stik and even the Wico Red Ball I believe) and some were possible to spin around (Wico Ergo, Konix SpeedKing).
Yeah, just was wondering about the rotation of the stick, cause most true arcade sticks are usually fixed not to rotate. Don't know which is better, but was curious if anyone had tried it and liked it better. That bat definitely looks better for sure.
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  #6  
Old 04-02-2013, 03:03 AM
Wictorsson Wictorsson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxhoundl View Post
Great work especially with the switch and a great idea (It is a feature I wish was included in the stick). And I want to do this but have no idea in how these things work, I see what you did, the white wire stays the same and the red wire from the battery goes into O, then the other red wire that comes from the PCB goes into I, seems very simple to do.

But I was looking on ebay for some switches.
[url]http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/5pcs-AC-3A-250V-6A-125V-ON-OFF-2-Position-SPST-2-Pin-Snap-in-Round-Rocker-Switch-/271101267388[/url]
I found this, will this be a correct switch to use (with the voltages and specs)? Sorry I'm such a noob.
Hi!

I cannot see any picture of the switch you link to.
But any switch will work since this is only 3 Volts. You definitely should go for one that has the right size and looks the way you like!
Also check if it is easy to mount.
The one I chose was a snap-in type which I could just press in place as soon as the opening was sanded/Dremeled (is that a word? :-) large enough.
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  #7  
Old 04-02-2013, 03:17 AM
squabs squabs is offline
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Hi connector, what game is that in your pic? Is it strikers..( forgotten the name), cheers
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  #8  
Old 07-06-2014, 10:20 AM
ExitPlanetDust ExitPlanetDust is offline
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Location: Austin, TX
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Sorry for bumping such an old thread. I finally have my iCade Core modded and running OK. It's been a few months in the making and I wanted to share some things.

I decided to go with the Sanwa JLF as it's a direct drop in, but I went with Korean "Crown" buttons rather than Japanese Sanwa or Seimitsu because they are 27mm and would not require sanding.

The Core was passed back and forth between myself and a friend during the mod. I ordered the parts and handed it off to him to put everything together, as he has more experience modding arcade sticks. Once he had everything back together, there were still some technical and mechanical gremlins to chase down. We both work long hours so things just seemed to drag on.

A heads up to anyone thinking of using Crown buttons:

Crown buttons may not require any sanding, but they are not a direct drop in. The extra mm of space leaves too much wiggle room. This shouldn't matter, as I ordered the screw-in Crowns, however 3 of the 8 buttons were sticky. We finally figured out that this was caused by the screw rings that hold the buttons in place. I had to outright remove the rings for those three buttons to keep them from sticking. I chalk it up to uneven build quality. Thankfully, screw-in Crown buttons also have a clip design. I ended up using painters' tape to give them something to clip onto. This prevents too much wiggle.

We also added a power on/off which, which I highly recommend. The Core seems to eat through batteries even when it's "off". This helped greatly increase the life of the AA's


I'm happy with the results. It's pretty awesome to really put this thing through the motions in King of Fighters '97 and Samurai Shodown II. With quality arcade parts, you really get to appreciate the work that DotEMU has done with those ports. The games, iPad, and the iCade Core never miss a beat. And now I can truly enjoy two of the best versions of Sonic 1 & 2.

The core may be old, but it's still very relevant in my eyes. There is a huge backlog of games on the App Store that support these controllers. Even if a game with iCade support is never released again, I feel it is still worth it to track down and modify one of these.
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