Almost every controller and arcade stick can be direct-wired to the Neo Geo / db15 pinout for use with superguns and arcade boards. This is nothing new and people have been direct-wiring momentary switches to build their own sticks for years, however I wanted to make a video showcasing how it’s done, what to do if you run into compatibility issues and how to make it easier with adapter boards.
One way to make wiring easier is to use an adapter board from Tianfeng that’s been pre-labeled. As long as you pay attention to the orientation of the board and which connector you’re using (plug or receptacle), it’s as simple as just connecting the buttons to the pre-labeled inputs.
The only issue you may run into is superguns that use different pinouts for buttons 5 & 6. I’d just suggest wiring everything up, then loading an arcade board’s test menu to verify the install; Just expect you might need to swap a wire or two. Here’s links to Tian’s project:
Of course, you don’t need an adapter board; You can simply wire directly to a Neo Geo style db15 connector. Personally, I find soldering the wires inside the connector pins cumbersome and I usually follow up with heat shrink tubing on each one. It’s a solid solution and even looks clean, however (just my opinion!) I find the above boards easier. If you’d like to direct-wire, here’s the pinout:
Lastly, if you have a compatible controller, you can skip all this and get one of Undamned‘s legendary USB adapters! These can accept almost any USB source, output to db15 and includes features like button remapping! The external adapters can be used on any supergun or Neo Geo console and the internal adapters can be installed directly into arcade machines (or boxed superguns) to allow external controllers. In fact, Brooklyn Video Games has these installed in both the Neo Geo MVS cabinets they use for tournaments, so competitors can bring their own controller if they prefer. I’ve personally lag tested these and they only add about a millisecond of latency to a device, which is so low you should just consider it “zero”. Of course, there are a few controllers that ship with laggy USB output, but that’s the fault of the stick manufacturer, not the Undamned adapter.
The only reasons I don’t recommend these instead of direct wiring in every case, is because they’re often out of stock and because sometimes, you just don’t need them. The best example is the Mortal Kombat controller I showcased in the video: That’s only going to be used for PS3 and MK Arcade use, so why not just wire it direct and set the MK pinout (reverse 6&5) to match most superguns?
In my opinion, they’re essential for the opposite use case: Making all your USB controllers compatible with superguns! Paradise arcade shop carries them when they’re in stock.
External USB Decoder: https://paradisearcadeshop.com/home/electrical/pcbs-lighting/pcbs-for-controllers/undamned-usb-decoders/1551_undamned-db15-usb-decoder
Internal USB Decoder: https://paradisearcadeshop.com/home/electrical/pcbs-lighting/pcbs-for-controllers/undamned-usb-decoders/1491_undamned-usb-decoder-plus-by-ud-game-tech
If you’re a casual supergun gamer, you might not need to worry about this and just use whatever solution you currently have. If you participate in arcade tournaments though, I’d consider direct-wiring to be extremely important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen tournaments delayed because someone was trying to use a controller adapter that wasn’t configured properly. I once even saw an excellent player who normally uses a keyboard have to switch to a controller mid-tournament because of compatibility issues. It really bugged me, because winning a tournament should come down to who’s the best player, not who has the most compatible stick.
So if you compete, or if you’re a serious supergun user, at least consider direct-wiring your favorite controller, arcade stick, hitbox or even keyboard with a Neo Geo style controller!
…and for more info on how control pads work, check out this awesome video from Displaced Gamers!: