Ion iCade modification

Discussion in 'iPhone, iPod & iPad' started by zool80, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. zool80
    OP

    zool80 Newbie

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    Mar 22, 2014
    This is nothing new. A lot of people have done this before but I thought I'd post some pictures of my Icade sanwa/seimitsu modification. The reason for this is simply because the original Icade buttons and joystick truly suck. They are way to stiff and clicky and this gets annoying really fast for anyone who's used to playing with sanwa, seimitsu or other arcade grade quality parts. I really recommend for anyone that has an Icade to do this mod, the difference is huge.

    [​IMG]

    At the moment I'll be using a Sanwa imitation joystick from china (a knock off). But it is quite good for a knock off. I will be switching it out for the real deal when I get it (I've already ordered one). But I didn't want to wait for it. Delivery time can be a pain and it really is no big deal changing it again later. I didn't want to keep the original Icade one because I find it so bad it's unusable.


    [​IMG]
    The buttons are original seimitsu screw-ins. As you can see in the pictures they are the transparent kind and the plan was to insert LED's in them, but I think I'll probably skip that part. I've already spent enough money on this as it is and the lights might make it a bit too flashy I think.

    [​IMG]
    The main reason I got an Icade was to play Neo Geo games. So I have chosen the colors of the buttons in Neo Geo arcade fashion. For the rest of the buttons I just went neutral and got all white buttons. When I get my sanwa stick it'll be red transparent.


    [​IMG]
    This was the hard part of this mod. Standard sanwa and seimitsu arcade buttons are 30mm wide. The holes on the Icade is 1 or 2mm smaller. So the holes need to be widen. I personally used a dremel and I found it quite difficult to get the holes even, but I probably could have had a better tool for it as well. You could also use a hand-file but that would take some elbow grease.
    I used a small hand-file just to even out the holes after I had used the dremel. The whole thing took some time and was pretty frustrating but it turned out pretty good in the end. I recommend having the 30mm button at hand while doing this and use it for measuring as you go along. I used some yellow painting tape for protection so I didn't damage the plastic around the holes. It has really mild adhesive so it wont leave any residue after you peal it off.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This is the panel with the seimitsu buttons in place and also the sanwa imitation joystick. I ran in to some trouble with the joystick. The problem was that the plate facing toward the Icade panel was slightly different than the Icade one. The hole in the panel was slightly smaller than the insert on the plate for the joystick so my choice was either to widen the hole or just try to switch plates on the two joysticks. Luckily I could just switch the plate and when using the original Icade joystick plate, everything fit perfectly. Taking apart the joystick is pretty easy. I have done this many times before to clean and apply new grease... But even for someone who hasn't done it before it is fairly easy to figure out.

    [​IMG]
    Cable management for arcade sticks are generally really easy to figure out. Most of the time you have a computer chip which handles the signals to the console/computer and that's where you connect your wires from the buttons/switches. Every switch has a signal cable and a ground cable. The colored cables are for the signal and the black or white cables are ground (except for two buttons on the icade which have white and gray signal cables and the ground will be black for all the buttons).
    In the original Icade Ion has chosen to solder the wires to the switches on the joystick. You can either desolder these wires or even easier, just cut them off at the end (if you don't have a soldering iron). I actually had some spare wires that fit the connectors on the controller chip in the Icade so I just switched out the original wires with the ones I had laying around (the white and blue wires in the picture). Everything is marked out on the controller chip so you know where to connect everything, It's really easy. Same with the buttons, but this can get confusing so I recommend taking a picture of the original setup before unplugging.. It makes things much easier when you plug everything back together later on. You can't do this with the joystick wires since they are all the same color. I recommend using tape and a marker to write down which wire leads to up, down, right and left.
    Note: The wiring for a original sanwa controller will be different than shown in the picture. But it is easy to figure out. Basically the sanwa joystick has a different connector for the wires.

    When every thing is connected all you need to do is screw the unit back together again. And enjoy your new more arcade-like Icade.

    [​IMG]

    The difference for me was huge. I couldn't play with the original parts used by ion, I think the brand of switches that they use is zippy. Simply aughfull. Very clicky, not as tactile and your gaming will really suffer to these imperfections. My Icade has been laying around unused now for about a year because I simply couldn't use it with the original parts.

    [​IMG]

    For emulation I am using a Ipad gen. 3, 32gb, jailbroken and iFBA emulator. And as a MVS Neo Geo arcade system owner, I can tell you this thing does a heck of job with the emulation. All games I've tried play perfectly. No lag or slowdowns and the controller feels really good when the modification is done.

    Like I said before I highly recommend this mod for anyone that has an Icade. It's fairly easy to do. The only thing that might be a downfall is that the original sanwa/seimitsu parts are quite pricey. Don't go off and buy them from some Chinese site that sells them cheap though.. You are guarantied to get cheap knock offs if you do that. Better to pay a little extra and get them from a trusted supplier. The difference between Chinese copies and original Japanese parts is pretty big.

    [​IMG]
     
    Shorkio and Ozito like this.
  2. Ozito

    Ozito Not a new member anymore

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    Mar 20, 2006
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    Jävligt grymt!

    Nice job, makes me want to start modding stuff!

    :hateit: that's how i mod stuff :D
     
  3. zool80
    OP

    zool80 Newbie

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    Mar 22, 2014
    Tackar :).

    Modding is fun. I wish I had more time for it though. I have a couple of ongoing projects. Next thing I will dive into is making a mame bartop cabinet. But for that I will need to do some wood work and that will be a bit time consuming and allot of handy work. I have some old computer parts that I thought I'd make good use of.
     
  4. flo

    flo GBAtemp Regular

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    Nov 2, 2006
    Hungary
    Nice mod there , i've seen people on Youtube playing Soul Calibur on iPad using iCade and Blutrol .
    Are you using Blutrol ? I could never get it working , i'm trying with a PS3 controller myself
     
  5. zool80
    OP

    zool80 Newbie

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    Mar 22, 2014
    I wasn't aware of Blutrol until you mentioned it now. I'll certainly check it out. But I am mostly playing on emulators and in that software you can map keys as you like. But it'll be nice to check out some iOS games now as well, thanks for mentioning it :). I haven't tried with ps3 controller yet. I was tempted on trying it on my android phone, but for that you either need to root the phone or get as specially made USB cable to sync the controller first. I might be doing that in the future. But I'll try the Blutrol on my iCade and get back to you on that.
     
  6. flo

    flo GBAtemp Regular

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    Nov 2, 2006
    Hungary
    Did you get Blutrol working ?