Dream Master Hack

For this project I've chosen Nyko's Dream Master. This is much like the normal Sega pad only with two added buttons (C and Z).
Based on many reviews and my persinal opinion, this pad is total crap. The layout is horrible, the triggers don't feel right and a list of other negitive things. Luckly for me I don't care about any of that stuff since I'll be ripping it all apart anyway.
Due to this pad's lack of popularity, it's cheap (although hard to find). It has the extra buttons that I want and they default to L and R in games that don't support them. It also has turbo and slow'mo. I won't be making use of these two features but they're there if your interested.

Preparing the board

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Board Detail

Do to the complexity of this board it took a great deal of study and testing to come up with these soldering points. I took carful consideration of parts that may be damaged by the heat of the soldering. The smooth black blob on the board is covering a micro-chip. It is extreamly important that you do not over-heat any leads near this. If that chip goes, the whole thing is going to be fragged.
That said, use the points I explain in this section to insure success of this step.

Once you remove the board from the plastic casing remove the plastic part of the analog d-pad (just pull it). Also slide off the plastic part for the memory cards. For now leave all the L and R Trigger parts on there. I found these make the board lay nice and level while soldering.
Something unusual about this board is it has Two grounds. These will be refered to as Ground-1 and Ground-2 or G1, G2. Most of the connections use Ground-1. Only Down, Right, C & Z use Ground-2 (At least out of the things needed for this project. Maybe other stuff uses it too but I haven't looked into it).
In this step were going to solder a wire to each soldering point. The other end of these wires won't go to anything yet.
You'll need a bunch of stripped 6" wires (strip both ends). You'll need at least 11 but make a few extras while your at it. Have 2 wires for the Grounds a bit longer then the rest. This is a good time to let your iron heat up while you cut these.
There's two kinds of soldering points you'll be dealing with. Ones where there's a wire sticking up from a part under the board and others where your soldering to a contact on the board. The one with the wire, simply solder to that wire. Make sure the solder connects to the board as well! When soldering to a contact, it wouldn't hurt to scrape the contact a little with a sharp object. Which will give the solder something to bond to.
I suggest soldering the points in order of bottom to top. This way you don't have wires in your way as you work up.
Special note on the Lt/Rt Point. Like I said, you don't want to fry that chip. This point as very close to it. If your new to soldering save this one for last so you've got some practice first. Or you can also solder to one of the button contacts if I'm making you too nervous :)

Using the Board Detail image, solder a wire to each soldering point. You'll see a little icon at all 11 of these.
Make a label for each wire using some tape. I know it's boring but you'll thank yourself later.

Control Wiring

First thing to do is run the ground lines to everything. This will be many short wires connecting each part. Let your iron heat up while you cut and strip many wires. These will very in length. The ground wires only need to be about 3". The wires (11 of em) coming off the controls to to board should be about 6 to 8" Make sure you'll be able to open the lid without harming the wiring.
Each micro-switch has three connecters. There's only two we care about. The one on the bottom is Ground. The other one closest to it will close when the button is down (which is what we want). The last one is closed when the button is Not down (which we don't care about).
Remember that the switches on the joystick are going to be all backwards. So the bottom switch is Up, the left one is Right etc.
Because Ground2 has fewer parts to go to, run that one first. Connect these ground together: Right, Down, Z, C. Then connect another wire off the Down connection that will go to the board. Label this G2.
Now for Ground1. This one goes: Up, Left, X, A, B, Y, Start. Then connect the extra wire to Start and label is G1.

Copyright © Kevin Reems 2003