Original Post

Hey everyone- I’m new-ish to the site, but am very impressed with the overall level of enthusiasm and professionalism here. Previously I had been on musician/heavy metal forums but swore them off after the bickering and cattiness got to be too much. This one has restored my faith in using the internet as an informational tool πŸ™‚

Anyway, my main question is- where can I find info on modding the VB controller to use on other systems? I assume this must be possible if making a USB connection to a PC is. Basically I feel like the VB controller is the most comfortable one on any of my consoles, and would love to mod the cable so I can use it on the N64, NES, SNES, maybe even Atari Jaguar! I know the button configuration will be challenging/impossible in some cases but I’d like to try.

For example- could I make it so the right D-pad is used in place of the yellow C-buttons with N64 games, and maybe the VB select button for the N64 Z button? Obviously A/B/Start/L+R would be the same. Not sure ’bout the joystick…

I hope someone can point to the right place (I couldn’t find this info except for some pinouts in the VB->USB conversion). Thanks all,

HPL

16 Replies

Hey. I haven’t done any controller modding myself. However,the protocol is same as on the NES. You can find some information here: http://www.planetvb.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=4805&post_id=21336#forumpost21336

Some more information can be found here: http://www.planetvb.com/content/downloads/documents/stsvb.html#hardwarecontrolregisters

I would be cool if you post some information about your mods if you make progress. Also… welcome to the community.

For some reason..I think a 6 button controller would rock right about now :).

-Eric

For some reason..I think a 6 button controller would rock right about now :).

HADOOKEN!!;)

Thanks all…I’ll check those other sources and start planning things out. A six-button controller would be sick, if the difference is the same as between the Jaguar original and Jaguar Pro especially. VB Pro :). I like pic stories of various projects, so I’ll do the same unless something goes horribly wrong.

Welcome to the forum, HPL!

As thunderstruck mentioned, it’s a fairly simple serial protocol to handle. Are you familiar with any type of microcontroller? Just about any device with enough I/O to handle both the VB pad (2 out + 1 in) and target system would make short work of this. The Jaguar might be a little tough; IIRC, it’s a switch matrix.

You probably already have this link, but for the benefit of other readers: http://raphnet.net/electronique/electronique_en.php

Keep us posted on your progress!

I think you can probably use a NES/SNES USB conversion kit from RetroUSB. I bought a couple to try out but haven’t had the time to deal with it lately. They used to sell a VB-specific kit.

jrronimo wrote:
I think you can probably use a NES/SNES USB conversion kit from RetroUSB. I bought a couple to try out but haven’t had the time to deal with it lately. They used to sell a VB-specific kit.

He seems to specifically want to connect the VB pad to other game consoles, so this wouldn’t really work. Although, with suitable firmware, that would be compatible with the PS3/4 and Xbox/360/One, I guess. I hope you get back to that project, someday; it would be nice to know if it supports the extra buttons on the VB pad. I wonder why they got rid of the VB one…

Whoops, missed that, haha. I get excited sometimes.

Presumably they stopped for lack of sales. I’ll e-mail them about a possible re-run… or if they know if the NES/SNES one works.

Wow, thanks for the replies everyone…I for some reason never noticed these before!! I’ve been getting around to this project more since my glitchy display tinkering is at a stand-still for a little while heh.

Assume that I know nothing about this controller mod project and that I’m already in way over my head…do I need to do some kind of adjustment to coding or data protocols or whatever? I figured it wasn’t as simple as affixing VB wires to NES controller cables, but I read some of the stuff on the links you posted and it’s daunting to a beginner like me.

RunnerPack wrote:
for the benefit of other readers: http://raphnet.net/electronique/electronique_en.php

RunnerPack: thank you for sharing that link. The electronic side of our gaming devices is a great mystery to me, and yet I rather enjoyed check out some of those projects.

HP Lovethrash wrote:
Assume that I know nothing about this controller mod project and that I’m already in way over my head…do I need to do some kind of adjustment to coding or data protocols or whatever? I figured it wasn’t as simple as affixing VB wires to NES controller cables, but I read some of the stuff on the links you posted and it’s daunting to a beginner like me.

Actually, it is that simple; if you want to use the VB pad on an NES or SNES. The three systems share a nearly identical controller interface, and a simple passive adapter works fine. The NES will, of course, not support the L/R triggers or B/A (B and A on the NES pad correspond to R-Down and R-Right, respectively). On the SNES, A, B, X, and Y map to the right d-pad as you’d expect, and the only unsupported buttons are B/A (unless you write your own game).

As for the other systems, if you don’t want to deal with microcontrollers to translate between protocols, the easiest thing to do is just gut the VB pad and wire up the buttons to the guts of the target system’s pad. Since the latter probably won’t fit inside the VB pad, you could send the button wires out via a custom cable and make a box for the controller guts, connecting the two with a DB25 or other suitable connector. Then you could bring it full-circle by putting the VB pad guts in a similar box for use with a VB.

Fascinating…well maybe I will experiment with that idea- personally I feel like using the right D-pad for A/B in a game like Mega Man on NES may lead to epic thumb fatigue, but maybe not. And the “guts box” idea is clever, I may give that a shot first so I can customize and use A/B as intended. Or, experiment using L/R triggers for A/B??

Now, how much of a pain would a VB>N64 conversion be? I always found the N64 controller to be cumbersome. Maybe the left D-pad on the VB could be swapped for the joystick, the right D-pad becomes the C-buttons, select becomes Z, triggers and A/B are the same…I forget if I had mentioned this one before in a previous post :p

First things first, do you know off-hand what wires I swap/connect when doing VB>NES? Hopefully they’re color-coded somehow.

Thanks \m/

HP Lovethrash wrote:
Fascinating…well maybe I will experiment with that idea- personally I feel like using the right D-pad for A/B in a game like Mega Man on NES may lead to epic thumb fatigue, but maybe not. And the “guts box” idea is clever, I may give that a shot first so I can customize and use A/B as intended. Or, experiment using L/R triggers for A/B??

You may be right about the thumb damage. I’ve got fairly large thumbs, and I’ve never really cared for the VB d-pads’ sharp ends. For a while now, I’ve been wanting to try to swap them out for GBA ones. I think they’re about the right size, but they’re flat like those on all of N’s other systems.

BTW, that’s a good point about the customization options.

Now, how much of a pain would a VB>N64 conversion be? I always found the N64 controller to be cumbersome.

Again, it’s pretty much up to you how much work you want to put into it.

Maybe the left D-pad on the VB could be swapped for the joystick, the right D-pad becomes the C-buttons, select becomes Z, triggers and A/B are the same…I forget if I had mentioned this one before in a previous post :p

I would suggest using L for Z and select for L; more N64 games use Z than L, after all. You could use a 4PDT toggle switch to select between the d-pad being the joystick or the d-pad.

First things first, do you know off-hand what wires I swap/connect when doing VB>NES? Hopefully they’re color-coded somehow.

Thanks \m/

I plan on making a wiki entry about the controller port, but in the mean time, David Tucker (reality_boy) has a pinout diagram on his site, and you can pretty easily find the pinouts for (S)NES pads, online. Just match up the +5V, GND, clock (clk, shift, etc.), latch (load, P/S, etc.), and data (D0, etc.) lines.

Have phun! πŸ˜‰

Hey check this out: http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/topic/7368828/1/

…came across it while searching for pics of the controller’s inner workings. My next question was going to be about soldering a new wire from the A/B traces to the ones for the right D-pad to get the proper button layout on NES πŸ™‚

I’ll update everyone as my project evolves, add some pics. Looking forward to the official PlanetVB controller Wiki too πŸ˜‰

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by HP Lovethrash.

Also, I forgot to mention- I haven’t played a GBA in a while but do remember them having a small and flatter D-pad. I’ll keep that in mind since the VB’s concave one does cause thumb burn after a while. Like after a 3-hour Bound High session yesterday.

I know I’m very late to the party, but this is the first I’ve heard of these “adapters”. I’d love a set of em, if possible! Same with the pins. I don’t need 100! Did anyone buy a large quantity of male and female pins and wants to sell some?

 

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