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GC A look inside a GC controller prototype

Synnett

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The seal sticker was already half peeled off, so I helped myself. The controller was never opened, as the screws were still locked.

Mine has the GC plug. It is compatible with the console but it's limited, and you'll see why...
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Seems like Nintendo tried to limit the controller's usage by shorting the contact pads. That means the X, Y, B, D-pad and triggers are always pressed down, which limits its usage to the sticks, A button and Start/Z.
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Backside of the main board.
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Secondary board into its socket.
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See the triggers' digital contact pads.
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And now it's back in a display on my shelf. If you have any questions feel free to ask!
 

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BalloonFight

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Really interesting that certain contact pads were soldered down to force held inputs. I wonder if that's common place on these? I'd like to know if this is also present on the proto controllers that have the plug input for the Dolphin dev units instead of the actual GC plug.

But yea, this is basically a grail status item for me. Thanks for sharing the tear down of it!
 

Pikkon

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Awesome tear down and I can see the controller is hand soldered.
 

Synnett

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I'd like to know if this is also present on the proto controllers that have the plug input for the Dolphin dev units instead of the actual GC plug.
The two protos I've seen with an adapter works properly, so I think mine could be a special order from a dev team to navigate a menu or something. I've also seen one like mine but missing the X, Y, B and D-pad but they still work. Funky stuff

And yea, that's one of my holy grail too. I wish I could collect all the prototype variants but I think I'll settle for ver. A and ver. B, if I can find one!
 

Xe

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Are you sure that's solder ? Looks more like paint marker.
 

MSX

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Are you sure that's solder ? Looks more like paint marker.
I wonder if it's for repair. Maybe it's conductive to try to fix response issues. Just a wild guess.
 

Synnett

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Are you sure that's solder ? Looks more like paint marker.
I'll have to see tomorrow. The substance is metallic, shiny and conductive so I'm leaning toward solder.
 

Trimesh

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I'll have to see tomorrow. The substance is metallic, shiny and conductive so I'm leaning toward solder.

From the look of it, it's silver-loaded paint. It's also interesting that all 4 points on the D-pad are linked, which corresponds to an "all directions at once" condition that is normally impossible for the controller to generate. There have been a number of times when Nintendo have used this as a signal for entering some sort of check mode, though. And that controller is marked "NR DISC CHECKER".

It's possible the buttons have been forced to a configuration that boots some specific unit into a testing mode.
 

ZeldaFan042

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Very interesting, thanks for sharing! These are my favorite controllers. I can't wait to get my hands on one.
 

Synnett

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From the look of it, it's silver-loaded paint. It's also interesting that all 4 points on the D-pad are linked, which corresponds to an "all directions at once" condition that is normally impossible for the controller to generate. There have been a number of times when Nintendo have used this as a signal for entering some sort of check mode, though. And that controller is marked "NR DISC CHECKER".

It's possible the buttons have been forced to a configuration that boots some specific unit into a testing mode.
Thanks for the info!

Do you know what kind of unit would use this controller setup?
 

Xe

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Thanks for the info!

Do you know what kind of unit would use this controller setup?

I believe the NR disc checking controller came with the NR reader. Not sure, I was reading about it in the sdk docs last week but forget most of it now.
 

Synnett

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I didn't even know this kind of paint existed aaaaa

So basically I could rub it off with rubbing alcohol and make it work properly again? (I'm not doing that tho)
 

FamilyGuy

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I didn't even know this kind of paint existed aaaaa

So basically I could rub it off with rubbing alcohol and make it work properly again? (I'm not doing that tho)
Yes, it's easy to remove. It's probably why they used that instead of solder.

Silver lacquer/paint is also useful as a conductive glue that work at very low (10 mK range) or quite high (hundreds of °C range) temperatures.
 
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Xe

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I'm still thinking its paint marker or white out. It doesn't look like conductive ink to me. If they wanted to forbid usage of the buttons, they would sooner cover them over than tie them closed with conductive ink.
 

FamilyGuy

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I'm still thinking its paint marker or white out. It doesn't look like conductive ink to me. If they wanted to forbid usage of the buttons, they would sooner cover them over than tie them closed with conductive ink.
The pictures show exactly what silver paint looks like. I guess @Synnett could test with a multimeter if the buttons are shorted to be sure.

They likely use that button combination as a key to enter an otherwise-hidden menu. As stated above, Nintendo is known to use the impossible D-Pad combo Up+Down+Left+Right as a way to access hidden features.
 

Xe

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The pictures show exactly what silver paint looks like. I guess @Synnett could test with a multimeter if the buttons are shorted to be sure.

They likely use that button combination as a key to enter an otherwise-hidden menu. As stated above, Nintendo is known to use the impossible D-Pad combo Up+Down+Left+Right as a way to access hidden features.

I never knew that about ninty doing that with impossible button combos, cool to know.
 

speedyink

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I didn't even know this kind of paint existed aaaaa

So basically I could rub it off with rubbing alcohol and make it work properly again? (I'm not doing that tho)

I know you said you're not, but I'm just reinforcing that thought. I'd leave it as it was intended to be for historical reasons.
 

Xe

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are you able to see if the nintendo gamecube logo is silkscreened underneath that NR disc checking controller sticker ?
 

Synnett

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That would mean peeling the sticker a little bit. Any way to do it without damaging the sticker / make it stick back on?
 
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