Dual Modded V-Tech Vsmile w/ LED Upgrade
I decided to see if it was possible to dual mod that silly thing, and add a bit of an added flair as well.
I wanted a few goals for this design:
1. The controller works on both an XBOX360, and a Playstation 3, with all buttons functioning, save for 1… as this is designed for a 4 button game.
2. Everything must be INTERNAL, mostly because I like the “cool” factor that the Imp board gives.
3. Extra LEDs connected to the giant button in the center, to add to the silliness.
To do this mod it requires a few tools:
1. Multimeter, has multiple uses but mainly will be used for continuity testing.
2. Soldering iron, absolutely needed.
3. Solder, I used .015 silver solder, because it’s the smallest Radio Shack carries.
4. Wire, I used 28 gauge wire for data lines, and 24 gauge for the power.
4. Electrical tape, it has many uses.. but mostly wire management and isolation.
5. Hot glue gun, this isn’t technically required, but covering some of your connections is a fantastic way to make sure you don’t have unexpected shorts in the future.
6. Proto-board, I test as I go along. That way there’s nothing unexpected.
7. Access to a dremel, you’ll be doing a lot of custom fitting. This mod required more prep work than anything else, none of this is possible without a dremel.
Understand a few points:
Elapsed Time: Upwards of 30 hours, lots of fitting, checking the fit, and more fitting involved.
Level of Difficulty: Hard, to be honest this was ultimately more complicated than my Fightpad dual mod, because at least with the pad I had a direction, this kinda went one way…then lots of backtracking, repeat process.
As far as support goes, unless it’s a basic question he’s willing to answer, don’t bother Toodles if you try this and something goes wrong. It states in the welcome paper that he doesn’t support dual mods, and this mod screws with power lines and a lot of other things he tells you specifically not to touch.
You can contact me, but unless it’s a basic question, it would be extremely hard for me to help you troubleshoot issues. Mostly because the idea behind this is simple, but it’s the execution that’s murder.
Ok, let’s get started!
I ordered my Vsmile, Cthulu, Imp, and after a bit of trouble with my 4716 xbox controller, I had another fightpad to disassemble.
Open up your Vsmile to find this mess:
After cutting away all the boards and unscrewing everything, I kinda sized up the bigger boards to get an idea of what I was dealing with…
How the hell are we fitting all of that together? As it seems to stand with my mods, custom fitting is in order…so bust out the dremel (and for christ’s sake, wear protective glasses)
After playing with some ideas, I came to the conclusion that the cthulu will sit under the big button, and the fightpad’s PCB will sit under that, with the plastic black “ring” in between.
Now to clear out out the bottom orange section, so that the fightpad PCB will sit as flat as possible, so we notch out where the spring and purple trigger assembly was housed, giving us space up to where the joystick will start.
I also trimmed the purple trigger, and crazy glued it into place so that there’s not a gaping hole in the bottom where crap can get in.
Because I’m doing this in sections, here’s a shot of the port hole I created for the LEDs that will eventually be wired to the big button:
As I said before, I’m showing this as a linear progression, but BELIEVE me when I say it was anything but that. That port hole was in the later half of this mess, after I had completed what is in the next section. So moving on to that….
Here’s the big one, because dremeling a plastic case you can’t screw up anything too vital, and not recoup.
I started with basics, desoldering the cthulu’s accessories, as well as the fight pad’s. For the fight pad, I desoldered the triggers, but for Start, Select, and Turbo I simply cut the pins.. making things SUPER easy.
The next thing I did was shape the fight pad. At this junction in time I was curious how Madcatz went about their PCB construction. I figured there was a ground plane (the common ground suggests this), but I wasn’t sure if there was a power plane. Well…there’s only one way to find out, start cutting away!
See those two shiny thin lines on the edges of the PCB? Those are GROUND planes, which makes this an easy process.
If for some god awful reason you somehow run out of ground traces to solder to, you can feel free to scrape solder mask from basically anywhere on the pad and you’ll expose a ground spot you can solder to.
After the cutting, it’s time to connect the data wires to the buttons. The only thing I did differently was piggyback my directionals on the fight pad instead of the cthulu to make wire routing….a little easier.
I cut away the corners of the cthulu to make the A-H, 1-9 section of connections sit as close as possible to the edge… why did I do that? This next shot shows the PIC chip just BARELY fitting on the side of the pad’s resonator.
Can’t forget the Imp, I cut it into a D shape, it fits pretty snug.. but it works.
I mapped out the wires coming from the button PCB’s, as well as drew up what I wanted to do for the LED wiring.
The buttons are the standard type you’ve seen in all controller PCB’s, however… take a close look at the joystick traces.
Those are wipers, meaning whoever designed this, made it so that you could have a level of push.. ala analog sticks. The long trace under them is the common spot, so that’s our ground.
However… we don’t give a shit about level of push for fighting games, so the 3 data lines on each side will simply be tied together.
Again: (1,2,3) are tied together, and (5,6,7) are tied together. 4 is ground.
For the “top” section, basically there’s ground, vcc, data, and the “-” side of the diode, each having a wire corresponding to it. We will be connecting the data line of the button to the negative side of the diode.
There’s a catch, we need to add resistors so that the diode’s don’t blow up. Doing some quick math here’s what you need for these radio shack diodes:
(5v – 3.2v)/20mA = 90Ohms (I rounded up and used 100Ohm resistors)
Technically I should’ve gone lower, because 5v is ideal.. and there’s a .2V drop from the blocking diodes on the cthulu to add into the equation. However, I thought of that afterwards..and thus stuck with 100Ohms. :sweat:
Here’s the wiring diagram, and resistors in place. I started on the right one..and you can kind of see I got better at it as I went along to the left :rofl:
Instead of connecting wires at the ends, I simply made jumpers between the traces. It’s a tad ugly, but it works.
The next step is the big button’s wiring, it’s the same idea, however the traces where the button actually presses aren’t directional at all, so you can choose which one is data and which is ground.
Now we mount the LED’s into the port holes I showed you earlier. Using a dab of hot glue, I held the LEDs in place, and coated the exposed wires/resistors so nothing accidentally touches.
To make sure everything works like expected, I pull out the proto-board and plug things in:
Now that everything is prepped (told you a majority of this project is prep work), it’s time to connect everything together.
Just kidding, there’s actually a little bit more, lol.
The last bit of prep is simply covering the screw holes with a bit of electrical tape.
What’s not simple is screwing down the black ring. We do this because when we removed all the guts of the vsmile, the part that holds things together went with it… we’re just replacing it.
Now we can wire everything together:
Imp board first. I cannibalized the USB cable that came with the fightpad, and cut it so that it would fit into the Vsmile’s notch. Before connecting the two PCBs to the Imp, I wanted to make things easy on me and attach the USB cable first:
I found the magic of a heat gun when using shrink wrap, it’s so much NICER than electrical tape.
I connected the fightpad to the cthulu’s end row header, wire managed, then routed all the vsmile’s buttons to the cthulu, then wire managed some more:
Joystick data lines tied together and spliced with the fightpad’s data line:
Now put everything together, and….
While putting everything together, I managed to drive a screw through my Imp’s guide button wire. So when I plugged it in for the first time I got a little scared as to why it wouldn’t switch consoles. I opened it back up and found this:
Can’t plan for everything, even if you try really hard to.
I spliced the wire, rerouted..and used a little bit more electrical tape to hold things together.
Being a little more careful this time, I screwed everything down, and folded the top part over onto the bottom part, slightly adjusting until the two boards meshed like they were tetris pieces.
After that’s all done, do the same for the joystick section, then screw everything together. You now have a dual modded Vtech Vsmile joystick, with extra LEDs for the gigantic button in the center.
Thanks for reading! I apologize if something wasn’t clear. Like I said, a lot of this was doing something…realizing a tweak needed to happen, then tried again.