View Full Version : Saturn Controller Hacking help

Captain Wrong
04-13-2003, 10:32 PM
Ok, I think I'm going to build a Supergun, and I got a crazy idea to use Saturn controllers, mainly because I already have a Sat Arcade stick. I can't find good pinout info for the controllers. I've checked the usual suspects and got basically nothing. Though I do know how to convert a NeoGeo sitck to Saturn...

So, I know Sat uses a 9 pin arrangement and there's some kind of encoding going on b/c there's 9 buttons and 4 direction switches. What I need is to figure out how to get those 9 pins back to the original form.

I poped open my Saturn and checked out the controller ports, but it looks like the decoding must be happening further up the system.

Any thoughts?

04-15-2003, 03:02 AM
This page (http://www.epanorama.net/documents/joystick/tvgames.html) has a pinout for the saturn controller, although it's not going to work the way you want it to without modification, because there is processing done inside the controller on a chip which sends the controller data back to the system.

I haven't personally looked at a saturn controller, but I know the way the Nintendo systems work is by having a common ground running to one side of every button, then have a wire running from a pin on a chip to every button... so when you push the button, it grounds the pin on the chip corresponding to the button pressed, then the chip combines the data and sends it to the system. What you'd need to do is take the chip out and run a wire to your jamma harness from the chip side of each of the buttons.

Let me know if you need me to clarify something, or if some of my assumptions are wrong (I'm going by what i know about nintendo systems). And if it is similar to nintendo systems, maybe the diagram on this page will help... http://www.gamesx.com/controldata/nessnes.htm . Also, if you take your saturn controller apart and have a digital camera, take a pic and I'll see if I can be more helpful.


Captain Wrong
04-15-2003, 11:07 AM
Thanks for the help.

Actually since posting, I found a couple of people who are using Saturn controllers with a Supergun, and they had to mod the controllers pretty heavy. It seems like what they did was open them up, remove the IC that encodes the button pushes and rewire them to a 15 pin D sub connector. I was hoping I wouldn't have to do anything like that but it looks like if I want to use a standard controller, that's what I gotta do.

I saw someone who modded a DC arcade stick however. What it looks like they did was leave all the connections alone and just re-wire the buttons to an additional D sub connector so it could still be used in a DC and could output to a Supergun. I think this is the way I'm going to go.

So you're correct in your info. I was just hoping I could rip the controller ports out of a Saturn and throw them into a Jamma harness, but that doesn't seem likely. My other thought was to try to get a Saturn Multi-Tap and play around with that, but it all seems like more trouble than it's worth.

04-15-2003, 01:54 PM
Does it absolutely have to be a Saturn controller, Cap'n? I love my Saturn and their incredibly good controllers as much as the next guy, but there are less esoteric controllers with much more documentation available out there. A Neo Pad is nice and simple, but if you need buttons and lots of em for fighting games, my recommendation is a Genesis 6-Button pad. Still comfortable, great for fighters and shooters, and relatively simple chip workings. Good luck on your project!

Captain Wrong
04-15-2003, 04:37 PM
Right now, I'm thinking about making a controller and using Neo pinouts. That way I can have a set up for Neo, shmups, and Capcom stuff. It's gonna be a big of work, but I think I'm up to it.

Actually I'm thinking about starting a Supergun journal once I get this project under way. I don't know if anyone would care or not, but I'll let you all know either way.