Adding an Optical ASCII Stick to a Namco Joystick

This tutorial will give you a rough overview of adding an ASCII optical joystick to an old school Namco PlayStation joystick. It is an intermediate level project that requires soldering and dremeling. Both the Namco and ASCII joysticks are expensive at this point. I wouldn’t advise touching a Namco stick unless you are fairly confident in your skills.

None of this would have been possible without the the work of kowal and ArcadeStickMonk. Check out their tutorials for additional help:

Admire your lovely Namco stick in its unaltered form.

Flip it over and unscrew the six back screws. Unlike many other sticks, the screws are fully visible and do not require removing the rubber feet. You will see this inside.

Use a flat head screwdriver to remove the ball top from the joystick. Insert it into the base of the stick and twist the ball off of the top.

Unscrew the four screws that are securing the joystick. It will pop right out.

Using a soldering iron and solder sucker, desolder the twelve points securing the buttons to the PCB. Once the solder has been sufficiently removed the PCB will pop off of the buttons. If it doesn’t budge there’s more solder to suck.

Once the PCBs are fully removed you will be left with the buttons.

Using your finger and a flat head screwdriver when necessary, remove the buttons by gently pressing the tabs that hold them in place.

Your stick will be fully gutted at this point.

Use a torx screwdriver bit to remove the top plate.

Dremel enough room for the joystick to mount flat to the case. Do not cut the original screw posts just yet.

Secure the ASCII base to the original screw posts. It would be nice if these could be used but they cannot due to clearance issues with the ASCII PCB.

Using the Dremel drill bit, drill through the holes on the wings of the ASCII base.

It should come out something like this.

Cut off the screw posts so the ASCII base can sit flat.

Insert the Dremel grinding bit into the screw holes. Use a slow speed to counter-sink enough room for the new screws. Take care not to grind completely through. This will allow the top plate to sit flat without a bulge.

Mount the joystick to the case using new screws, washers and nuts. I used #6-32 x 1″ flat head slotted screws and flat washers #8. These cost me all of $1.50 at Home Depot.

Replace the ASCII PCB and octo gate. The two nubs on the gate will need to be dremeled off in order for the case to close.

All of the tutorials I’ve seen use the Namco actuator in place of the original. This will not work with the ASCII PCB. The Namco actuator will not register diagonals. Dremel down the ASCII to be a similar height.

I ended up using the Namco shaft, spring, e-clip and dust cover. The pivot, actuator and gate came from the ASCII. You can use the ASCII spring but I found the Namco to be less mushy. A JLF square gate can also be used in place of the ASCII octo gate.

Replace the original PCBs and re-solder the buttons to the PCB. The ASCII joystick requires 3.3v for power. You can get this from the base of the PCB directly above the yellow wire. I used a terminal strip for trial and error.

For the joystick wiring you have from top to bottom:


Only one of the grounds is required. I used the red one since it was at the bottom.

Once everything is properly connected you will be ready to rock.

Reattach the back plate and admire your work.

This entry was posted on Friday, December 18th, 2009 at 9:40 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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