Saturday, 17 November 2012

Dreamcast Analog Stick Mod Guide

   This is a mod for the Dreamcast analog stick that I think is a must. Have you ever been in the thick of the action on Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, Sega Rally 2, Soul Calibur, or possibly running around Dobuita in Shenmue and found your thumb slipping off the nub constantly? Well I have, and at times it can be quite annoying to be honest. As much as I love the design and layout of the Dreamcast controller, it’s the convex design of the analog nub, coupled with the fact that Sega choose to use plastic instead of rubber that causes ones thumb to always slip from its grip at the worst possible time. They did add small dimples or dots of plastic to help your thumb grip, but it really doesn’t help much, a rubber nub is what’s needed for maximum comfort and grip. So here is a mod that might be small in nature, but adds so much to the overall Dreamcast experience, enjoy Sega fans!

What You Will Need
Rotary tool
Protective goggles
Replacement Xbox 360 analog stick

The Mod

1.Firstly you will need to open the controller by unscrewing the five screws from the back of the controller.

2.Once you have opened the Dreamcast controller and carefully removed the back, you will then need to unscrew the two screws at the top, either side of the VMU/rumble mount that keeps it and the controller’s main board fixed in place.

3. Maintenance time. If you are doing this mod on a brand new never used controller then proceed to step 4. If however you are using an old controller then it might be worth removing all the rubber pads and cleaning the buttons, d-pad and start button. You might have noticed that the A button on some old controllers has significantly lost its springiness (or pop,) this can be caused in most cases by a build up of grime on the buttons due to years of usage. Cleaning the buttons as well as the channels they sit in on the front of the controller might help alleviate this and bring the buttons back to life again.

4.Remove the analog stick from its mount on the main board by gently pulling it.

5.Wearing protective goggles, attach a thin cutting end to the rotary tool. Now carefully cut each edge off of the Dreamcast analog stick’s convex nub until it resembles a square shape. Try and cut the nub as close to the neck of the analog stick as possible, but don’t get too enthusiastic about it, as you don’t want to cut into the neck itself.

Before sanding
After sanding
6.Change the cutting end to a sanding end on the rotary tool. Now slowly and carefully sand away at the small square nub that it left, rounding it off to fit in line and shape with the neck of the analog stick.

7.Now take the Xbox 360 analog stick and cut the nub away from the base. Ideally you want to cut as close to the nub as possible, but be very carful not to damage it.

Before sanding
After sanding
8.Now swap to a round sanding end, preferably one that is very small and cylindrical in shape. Gently start sanding the neck that’s left away from the nub until it is gone and the bottom of the nub has a level surface.

9.Its now time to make a hole for the neck, or what’s left of the nub on the Dreamcast analog stick to fit into. I can’t stress just how careful you have to be here because you don’t want to bore a hole in the 360 nub that is too deep, as the top surface of the nub is just made up of a thin layer of rubber. So go too deep and you will easily go straight through, but also if you don’t take your time about it, then the rubber will bubble or blister like mine did because of the heat build up, so take it slow and stop frequently.

Here you can see that the rubber blistered because of the heat
10.First align the neck of the Dreamcast analog stick on the 360 nub and make a mark with a pen in the dead centre of the 360 nub. Now you only want to go deep enough to fit what’s left of the Dreamcast nub inside of the new 360 one, and you only need it wide enough to fit it inside as well. With the sanding rotary tool very slowly sand away the plastic from the 360 nub, stopping frequently to check the depth and width. Ideally you want to make it a tight a fit as possible, but don’t worry if its not one hundred per cent correct.
11.When you're satisfied that you have made the hole in the 360 nub wide and deep enough then its time to glue the Dreamcast base and neck into place. Don’t worry if the top of the 360 nub blistered like mine did, as this can be picked off later and if needs be filled in with silicone sealant (the type used to seal around baths, sinks, and tiles.)

12.Coat the inside of the 360 nub with a liberal amount of superglue, then place the nub on a table and place the Dreamcast analog neck into it pressing down firmly. Don’t worry about any excess over spill of superglue on the 360 nub for now.

13.Kneel down so that you are looking at the analog stick at eye level and make sure it is perfectly cantered and straight. Turn the analog upright if needs be to make sure the 360 nub is dead-straight and cantered as the last thing you want is a lopsided nub.

Here i have picked the blistered bit of rubber off
14.Now with a small piece of paper carefully wipe off any excess superglue and leave to dry overnight.
15.Time for one last bit of superglue. There might be a few crevices that need filling in with superglue just to make everything solid, so use more glue to fill these in and add a touch more around the neck to add more support. Then smooth off with some paper and leave to dry for another day.

Before with excess superglue
After a quick bit of polishing
16.Lastly you may see a bit of superglue on the neck and base of the analog stick, if so then use a cloth based polishing end on the rotary tool to polish the base and the neck, then you’re done.
17.No more thumb slipping while playing Dreamcast games from now on!



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