Photo Courtersy of Jasen Hicks and Jasen's Custom Creations

Brooks Releases the Universal Fighting Board

While multi-console boards have been on the market for a long time, with the PS360+ being the board of choice for modern and legacy consoles, none have been able to create a universal board that supports next gen.

While AkiShop’s tried and true PS360+ had attempted to create a firmware for the PS4, it suffered from an 8 minute time out and would constantly need to be reconnected for continuous play. Other boards such as Phreakmod’s cerberus added similar functionality with the same drawback.

Should players want to mod their sticks for PS4 or Xbox one, they would have to buy controllers from $30 to $60 a piece per console, making the process of adding console compatibility pricy. Should they not have the tools or knowledge then another $30 or more could be spent on paying a modder to do the job for them.

 

Enter Brooks

 

Brooks originally had launched a series of converters for the next gen (PS4/XB1) and current gen (PS3/360) and WiiU that supported many popular pads and controllers. They then released the PCBA Fighting Board, a PS3/4 compatible board complete with autodetection, updatable firmware, and touch pad and player LED compatibility all packed into a board just smaller than a quarter.

 

Now they have announced the release of the Universal Fighting Board, supporting PS3,PS4,XBox 360, Xbox 1, and PC through Xinput. The will be familar to anyone who has used a PS360+, and the board is complete with the same features of the PCBA.

The announcement thread on SRK lists the following features for the Universal Fighting Board:

– Auto-Detects PS3, PS3, XBOX360, XBOXONE, & PC (XINPUT)
– No 8-Minute Time-Out on PS4
– Screw Terminals for easy wiring and installation
– Updatable Firmware via USB
– Stick can be mapped to DP, LS, RS
– SOCD Cleaner
– TP Key, L3, R3 Buttons Available
– LED functions

There are only small concecrns I have with the board. Please note that some points may or may not apply to players, however the board has yet to be released and future firmware or hardware updates may change how the board functions.

  1. Future console updates may create discompatibility with the fighting board. We have seen this with brooks converters and the PCBA with sony’s recent firmware updates. While these updates may render the board unusable, I say it is a small concern as Brooks has been consistently updating their firmware within 48 hours of new updates to add compatibility for their products. However one mistimed update with an event may cause issues, though the likelyhood of this is miniscule at best.
  2. No legacy support. However the board does not have an RJ-45 jack and only a USB B port, where they advertise it for 4 consoles and PC specifically, so this is a very weak point to argue. Some will claim it to be a PS360+ killer, however it lacks some features that add ease and functionality to using the PS360+. While not an issue for myself, it does add cost for those wanting support for consoles such as the sega dreamcast, ps1, ps2, and other consoles, where another board, such as the Multi Console Cthulu, and a USB line switcher would be required. What would be an impressive act would be if brooks creates a new board revision that adds the hardware for legacy support, making it the go to board for modders.
  3. Lack of button combinations and a configuration mode. This is coming from a person who’s used the PS360+ is a handful of builds but many features such as analog stick/ d-pad selection and extra buttons require their own button or switch. While touchpad and L3/R3 are not required, it would be much easier for users who would like to add such features to have a specific button combination to access them so that they would not have to add additional buttons to the case, short the signal for a button to another so that one activates both, or create a circuit through the use of OR chips or similar hardware to make their own button shortcuts. This is one feature I’m surprised was overlooked, as brook’s had to have been aware of the PS360+’s software. Many stick users may not have a SPDT switch for selecting analog stick, forcing them to constantly use one mode or modify their case to accomodate the switch. Some games on PC or console only detect one or another for input, so it’d be nice to have a shortcut to switch back and forth between LS and Dpad.

Though I have those small concerns they will still not dissuade me from buying the board, and I am very much looking forward to what features future updates bring to the table.

If you are interested in a tech write up, feel free to visit Jasen Hick’s Blog, and be sure to check out his other tech created for the PS360+, which now has extended use to this board with the inclusion of the 20 pin through hole solder points for pin headers. Big thanks to Jasen for taking the beautiful pics above!

If you’re interested in pre-ordering a board they are available at Paradise Arcade Shop and Arcade Shock exclusively.

Suzo Shafts Progress and Examples

One of the main reasons for creating this wordpress was to document the creation of the 3D printed parts and the custom Suzo shaft that would compose my dedicated STG Arcade Stick. Seeing as the last I had posted about progress on the custom shaft was in the production stage, the next (long overdue) post will be about the arrival of the shaft and some examples of those currently using it.

Originally I had planned to make the shaft exclusively for the Suzo 500/Omnistick, however the price to create one shaft was significantly higher than I expected. To help drive the price down I had decided to make the shafts compatible with other Suzo-Happ and IL joysticks and attempted to sell pre-orders of the shaft on several other forums. This would require additional grooves on the shaft, which in turn required a longer shaft.

Thanks to the assistance of several members of Shoryuken.Com I added grooves for the Happ Competition, Happ Super, IL Eurostick, IL Compact, T-Stik, and IL Magstik (with some modding required)

Shaft

The New Universal Shaft

However by making the shaft compatible with other model joysticks the depth required to fit the joystick increased substantially, an oversight on my part. However through the help of several supporters and buyers I was able to create a large run of the universal shaft and send out cut versions for those mounting in arcade sticks with significantly less mounting depth.

Install

Mounted on HRAP panel without depth cut mod, Note the use of spacers and shaft bottom protrusion

The end product would lack some features I had planned on adding such as a groove for a flathead screwdriver for easy removal of the joystick handle and proper JLF height for JLF shaft covers. The shaft is about 5mm to short for JLF shafts and require some cuts to work.

There are some small issues with Mag Stik mounting as pointed out by SRK user emphatic in his post here. He notes that there is a small gap of ~2mm between the Mag Stik groove, where he used a spring as a solution.

SRK user Hibachifinal had also posted his impression of the shaft installed in a Suzo 500 in this SRK post where he describes some mods as well.

Here are a few images of the shaft in use in Hibachifinal’s Dodonpachi themed HRAP:

Should anyone still be looking for these shafts, feel free to PM me on Shoryuken, or comment on any of the posts here!

A Year (and then some) In Review: Barely Anything Got Done

Wow… It’s been over a year since there’s been a post here, and the blogspot is more dead than UMvC3. No excuses other than I’ve been a lazy ass and neglected to update anything; the amount of time school and exams has taken from me is miniscule compared to the free time I had that could have lead to a new post or two.

I’m going to spend the next few days recapping the status of projects, since Project STG is more of less completed and is just waiting for the art to arrive and I’ve completed a few other projects, arcade controllers, mods, and some reviews of products and resellers.

I’ll also update some of the older posts to reflect changes made in designs and some warnings of my CAD models as well.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the content that is and will be posted!

Here is to the new year!!!

 

 

Button Selection Revisited: Sanwa OBS-M’s

So in my past few posts on the Project STG log I’ve mentioned the Sanwa OBS-30A button, a variant of Sanwa’s flagship OBSF-30 button which utilizes basic snap action switch assemblies. I’m going to get this out of the way because of bias but I love these buttons… well not entirely.

OBS-M-1 Assemblies.

What I really enjoy is the assembly it uses: the OBS-M-1. These come with an Omron V-10-1A4 microswitch and feel very much like older beatmania switches. In my opinion this weight is good for rhythm games on OBSFs, and for other buttons if you forgo the spring. As I had mentioned before, it also makes for a very interesting and fun rapid press for STGs.

However there is a few problems:

1) you have to import this switch either from japan or the UK

2)It is only compatible with Sanwa OBSF/C(N)-30/24 and Seimitsu PS-14-K buttons

3)For a good majority of other games, and for plenty of users, the weight is too heavy (subjectively speaking).

Let it be noted that a user on Shoryuken documented a mod that allowed his OBSFs to use Cherry microswitches commonly found in Happ and IL parts (before they started using E-Switches…) and provided a more “clicky” tactile feel to the buttons. He had achieved this by using none other than these OBS-M-1 assemblies.

So when it came down to choosing a button for my project I decided to go with RG switches to mix things up and to make the stick a little more compatible with other games such that the button wouldn’t tire out the player (even though it is an STG stick). But for the sake of… well… boredom, really, I decided to model an OBS-M-1 assembly for the PS-14-KNs which I would be using.

These don’t use the same size switch as OBSFs, so that actually wasn’t a choice should I want to use snap action switches eventually. Because I had to start from scratch I decided to tackle a few issues that came to my attention with regular OBS-M-1s; the plunger would have inconsistent height at neutral across the plunger of the button, making the button plunger slanted and not straight. This is cause by slight curvature in the bottom platform that makes contact with the switch pin, allowing it to wobble around. Since the pin portion is a straight piece, any small deviation in placement will have a more significant effect on the plunger height.

First I had taken to Omron Data Sheets and used the following two screenshots as reference:

Snap Action Switch Dimensions Snap Action Switch Hole Placement

These would help me model the two plastic pieces that would enclose the switch, as well as the tabs that would keep the switch in place. I will also use the height of the switch as reference for when I model the rest of the button to keep the required mounting depth under 3cm, as this would be a big constraint for several arcade sticks. Since I had already taken several measurements for the KN-RG plunger replacement, the rest of the dimensions were a quick fix.

OBS-M Model

Preliminary OBS-M-1 Model

This was the first draft of the model I created: it’s fully functional as it stands but requires an additional M3 Screw and nut to secure the button a la Robokrikit’s post. The plunger was made flat and has two 1.5mm square indents on both sides to secure them in place with the 1mm extrusions on the side enclosure panels. This will prevent the plunger from moving a substantial amount to cause the uneven plunger height at neutral.

Once again I 3d printed these models at standard settings for a makerbot replicator at 10% infill, 2 layers, and .2mm resolution.

Here are some examples with a PS-14-KN:

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I have since updated the model to remove the need for extra screws as displayed here:

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These should work with any large switch Seimitsu buttons such as PS-14G/GN/GNC/KN buttons.

Of course I wouldn’t post a model without providing files so here is a link to the CAD files should you want to 3d print your own:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:531875

Project STG: Suzo Too Good Part 2: Button Selection

Continuing from Part 1 of the STG arcade stick log… While I wait patiently for the custom Suzo 500 shaft highlighted from the last post, let’s move on to another key aspect of the arcade stick hardware: the buttons.

Common buttons such as the Sanwa OBSF-30 or Seimitsu PS-14-G are great for fighting games, but considering that I am going to use this arcade stick for shooting games rather than fighting games, I’d rather have either a button with a relatively low actuation point to make for easier manual rapid, or clicky buttons for a more tactile feel that provides a fun and noticeable rapid press and distinct actuation point.

With that in mind I have narrowed down my button choices to two: the Sanwa OBSF-30RG or the Sanwa OBS-30A, representing each type of button respectively.

OBS-30A (Pic from Akishop.jp)

Sanwa OBSF-30RG (Pic from Akishop.jp)

The OBSF-30RG uses a reed microswitch while Sanwa OBS-30As use basic snap action switches, as mentioned in the previous post. Wanting to try something new I decided to go with the OBSF-30RGs, however I also decided that I want to illuminate this arcade stick with LEDs. Sadly both cannot happen with the current set of RGs since Sanwa has yet to make translucent buttons that fit the reed switch. So I decided to try something fun. Other members on the Shoryuken forum had noted that the RG switch fits inside any Seimitsu button that uses the larger  PS-14-G microswitches commonly found in (surprise) the PS-14-G/GN/GNC/KN buttons. So I’m going to use those buttons with my new RG switches

RG switches snap perfectly in PS-14-KNs

RG switches snap perfectly in PS-14-KNs

Now there are a few catches to this approach:

1) Cost efficiency – Parts sellers generally don’t sell individual RG switches, which would mean ordering RG switches at $6 a pop would be your only means of obtaining the microswitch. Then you would have to order a PS-14-KN, and LEDs just to have this. You could order directly from Sanwa, as they are currently the only online seller who has the RG switch stocked, but the the price and time of oversea shipping must be accounted for.

2) Improper switch mounting – RG switches are not shaped like usual switches, where the plunger is square shaped instead of rectangular. Because of this the button’s plunger sits on the pin of the button and lowers it to a point VERY close to the actuation point of the switch. This will drastically affect the feel of the switch due to a quicker activation point, something which i want to avoid (and which was the original purpose of OBSF-30RGs).

While there is not much that can be done concerning the first catch, there is plenty that can be done about the second. Since the PS-14-KN plunger consists of the plunger and cap, if I can replicate the cap to change the slot for the plunger to fit the RG switch, the button will have a closer actuation point to the original RG button.

I then busted out the (school’s since i don’t have my own) calipers and took to measuring one of the PS-14-KN plungers I had on me as well as the PS-14-G switch and RG switch. After about 30 minutes of measuring and 10 minutes of CAD work I ended up with this:

Plungers to use RG switches in PS-14-KNs

Plungers to use RG switches in PS-14-KNs

After taking the file to the 3D printer I tested it out to much satisfaction! The button worked well with the new plunger which was a snug fit, allowing for the deep actuation point for easier manual rapid. The new plunger was a tad loose, yet very unnoticeable without when the cap is applied and the switches are placed in. Also the top face is a bit messy due to the print orientation, so the next few will probably be printed reverse to have the support rafts under to have a finer and smoother texture

Once I print out more these will go inside the HRAP joystick.

Post 3D printing pics:

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If you want to 3d print these files you can find it on thingiverse

Regarding files on this blog & an updated shaft model (Caliper Measurements Included)

If you haven’t seen my last post, I had uploaded files regarding my project for open use, modification, and distribution. Recently I had created a thread on a few forums I frequent to gauge interest in the shaft I had modeled, and the topic of licenses came up due to a big fiasco over the spirit of the Creative Commons license and a part vendor a few days before.

One of the members there had made a post concerning the validity of certain licenses, showing concern due to the files I had linked and the drama of the Creative Commons debate. One of the statements they said really stuck with me, so I want to clarify a few things right should anything get out of hand in the future.

1) Though I did model the Suzo 500 on inventor, I did base it off the provided picture from Emphatic’s website, which was originally posted by Kowal. I cannot take full credit for my original model of the shaft as it is thanks to these two men that the project was able to come to fruitition.

2) Should I ever decide to sell anything I will also provide the files for anyone who would like to modify or fabricate said item on their own. I do this because I believe that items cannot be made perfect for every situation; that what may work for me may be improved upon by another for general or specific use. I want everything to be accessible for people who want it, making a dollar here and there is insignificant as long as I see that what I have made is enjoyed by those who receive it. If the community can make whatever I try to make better, then that’s great!

3) Concerning the interest check on the previous model, my intention of that thread was to make the fabricated shaft available to those who did not have access to the resources t make it themselves. As I was sending my request for a quote in at a local metal shop I realized 2 things:

A) when I had researched custom suzo threads online there was many people who had wanted one, but sadly there was nobody manufacturing them and the only one who did had not appeared on forums for a long time

B) the price for a one off shaft was very expensive.

Seeing that I could get the people who had wanted a shaft while lowering the price per unit for the run, I decided to make those threads.

With that being said I harbored a really bitter feeling against myself for my approach, so I decided to retake measurements on my own and post them up here for comparison and reference.

Please note that all measurements vary by .1mm, and that there is a possibility of error due to reason, so both kowals original dimensions, my modified dimensions, and dimensions for a new model will be posted.

Kowal Measurements

Suzo 500 Dimensions 1

Modified Dimensions

Suzo 500 Dimensions 2

Hole Diameter for LED

Dimensions taken

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2nd revision dimensions (up to date as of 10/16/14)

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Pictures:

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CAD files for above models:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/m1tvmoin3x93bzz/AABgVMVWr4QoyoI6o7v7FNkva?dl=0

Project STG: Suzo Too Good Part 1: Intro to the Suzo 500 and Custom Shafts

Edit (Oct 16, 2014): Files and dimensions changed once again

Edit (Oct. 14, 2014): Dimensions on shaft changed due to shaft sitting lower than usual, enlarging throw. The new dimensions ensure that the rod extends past the gate for minimal throw. Stupid title name aside, this will be the first thing I’m working on. While I have a bunch of unfinished projects and a few set aside for later, I need to finish them up one at a time instead of tackling them all at once. So here’s what I’m trying to mod:

It’s so empty….

A sad, empty little shell, isn’t it? It was my go to STG stick but now… that’s clearly not the case. It used to be populated with a “no throw” modded Seimitsu LS-56 and a 4 lb Spring (both courtesy of Paradise Arcade Shop) and Sanwa OBS-30A’s, a variant of Sanwa’s arcade button fitted with snap action microswitches (Omron V-10-1A4) very similar to old Beatmania push buttons.

It really was a near-perfect combo; the short throw distance made for quick movement to dodge bullets, and the fast rise of the button’s depress made for enjoyable button mashing for rapid fire. I say near perfect due to the deadzone wobble of the LS-56, and the grinding of the stick due to 2x the spring force. Sadly those had to be sold to fund another project for school so now I’m left with an empty shell.

Enter the Suzo 500.

I got this nifty joystick in a trade with another user on the Shoryuken forums. He told me it had a ridiculously short throw much more than the stock LS-56. Considering that I had shortened the throw as much as possible before, I was curious to see how this would perform on my STG stick since I knew little about Suzo joysticks.

Suzo 500 Pic courtesy of shmup.system.11

Once I got the stick in the mail I realized that this essentially was my old modded LS-56 sans the deadzone wobble and grinding feel, however it included it’s own fair share of problems.

The stick does support japanese mounting panels for a decent amount of models of joysticks, but the height of the pivot and curved washer require extra space between the mounting bracket and the joystick. On top of that the joystick mounts higher than japanese joysticks, making it a tad uncomfortable to play on depending on your style of holding the joystick. Also due to the nature of the handle, it is incompatible with any ball top replacement and is stuck with an unappealing shaft cover (at least in my opinion). Some of the more fine points concerning this joystick is the problem of the pivot occasionally deviating from the center, causing some switches to not disengage.

So with all this in mind I decided to take to google and various arcade forums to find a solution. What I ended up finding were very, very, VERY impressive custom mods for joysticks and arcade cabs to use the suzo 500. Joystick fanatic Emphatic has two great blog posts on mods for the suzo and a custom shaft to support japanese ball tops and, as a byproduct, bat tops as well. He provided this schematic from joystick aficionado Kowal for anyone who wanted to create their own custom shaft:

Kowal’s Suzo 500 custom shaft dimensions

A user on the shmup system 11 forum by the name Monouchi had also used a similar shaft to create his DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu and DaiFukkatsu Black Label Stick found here. Both revisions of his stick can be found, and he addresses the pivot issue and another issue that will arise when using the original schematic provided by emphatic.

With these taken into account my goal is to create a shaft at an “arcade standard” height, while supporting japanese dust washer, staft covers, and handles with m6 threading, mounting all of this in my HRAP joystick while adding a bit of personal touches.

The first thing I did was I took Emphatic’s diagram and made a 3d model on AutoDesk Inventor. After doing a few basic extrusions and making the m6 threading I proceeded to 3d print the shaft and see how it would fit.

Here is where I discovered the first problem. My mounting method would be similar to monouchi who opted to forgo the washer above the pivot to make for a smaller clearance required for the joystick. With this taken into account there would need to be a washer of some sorts 5mm high between the 13mm disc on the shaft. If not the spring holder and C clip would mount too close to the microswitch plate and get stuck. Thankfully I had some 70 odd 14mm OD washers that were 5mm high, and dremeled the ID to match the shaft.

Everything fit as intended, but I decided to modify the original schematic. Looking at monouchi’s posts I noticed he cut off a decent amount of the shaft, requiring even less clearance.

With that in mind I removed the two pieces of plastic that acted as a gate modifier for 2,5, or other odd gate restriction movements and measured the amount that the shaft had protruded past the gate, which I estimated at 5mm. In a second revision I removed 3 mm from the first extrusion of the base shaft length of 27 mm to get a new length of 24 mm, and proceeded to raise the rest of the shaft by 5 mm to account for the lack of the washer. The height of the shaft after the pivot disc was changed to 28 mm for shorter height from the panel to the handle. I also added a chamfer of 1 mm x 45 degrees, and a 1 mm slot for a screwdriver to make for easy removal and tightening of the handle. The diameter of the C clip slot was changed to 8mm to support LS-32 E Clips since I had a few of those to spare, and no these are not the stock C clips that are a pain to take off (Focus Attack sells these C clips). I also added a 3.5 mm hole for an 3 mm LED should I choose to LED mod the Suzo 500 down the line.

(note these are the newer revisions to accompany the updated files some dimensions may differ from what is described)

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With my new model I went back to the 3d printer and printed out another prototype. Here is the end result:

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Side-by-side

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Installed with ball top and dust washer

Everything fit nice and works as intended. You can see in the two pics that my suzo 500 has a few washers and nuts in place to act as spacers. It should be noted that my HRAP Panel was also received through a trade and is fitted with nuts for #6 sized screws. Thanks to this convenience I was able to mount my joystick without any drilling to the body itself. With everything functional all that’s left is to have a custom shaft machinated at a local metal shop and install the joystick. I’m still deciding on buttons but I will leave those for the next post.

If anyone wants the files for the shaft to make or modify, you can find them in 3 different file formats here: (New file links for updated post)

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/m1tvmoin3x93bzz/AABgVMVWr4QoyoI6o7v7FNkva?dl=0

Model Photos

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