aqualizard

Care and Maintenance of Original Controllers

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To the people that are using original controllers, how do you care for and maintain these ancient tools?  I mean specifically the MK-1650 (large, 3-button) and MK-1653 (small, 6-button).  In the post below I will have some useful links, but I would love to get a Controller Care Guide going here?

I have some "rubber pad replacements" I just installed, from mortoffgames.com.  When I opened one of my controllers up, I was surprised that the rubber pads looked good.  However, there were bits of plastic loose in the controller, where the plastic buttons had broken tabs, which (I now see) were meant to secure the buttons.  The result was "depressed" buttons, which were not "upheld" by the small tabs.  There was also a bunch of cat hair, and random bits of fluff.  I feel I really need plastic button replacements, not new rubber pads; for this particular controller.  Also, one of the rubber buttons I replaced worked worse than the original. I had to un-replace it.

I am wondering:

  • What are common issues with the controllers?
  • How do you fix each common issue?
  • What issues are unfixable?
  • Where can we get supplies?
  • General strategies for care and maintenance (I bet you have a collection of controllers and re-use bits of each here and there, right?)
  • What makes these near indestructible controllers so good?

 

mk-1650.jpg

mk-1653.jpg

Edited by aqualizard
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I have cleaned probably a dozen 6 button controllers, and my issue has ALWAYS been the rubber connector pads.  When the 6 button replacement pads came out, I was so happy.  

The controller is the PCB board, the rubber pads and the rest is plastic.  I wash the circuit board with rubbing alcohol.  I typically keep using rubbing alcohol on the plastic pieces too, but you can use soap and water.  Just dry them fully.  New replacement rubber parts go on, put it all back and these things work as good as new.

I think if you had a broken plastic piece, time to get a new controller.  Also, the link for 6 button seems to be broken.

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So Raph,
do you only clean when a controller gets funky?  Or you do it regularly even if no issue?

One thing I like about the big, fat original 3-button is how common they are.  I have had an order in for a 6-button in a local store in Toronto, and in 3 months, nada. (Yes, I know I can go online and get one.)  With the 3-button, it is easy to get more in person to harvest parts. 

So in your experience, since the problem is always the rubber pads, do you see yourself "set for life" now that Mortoffgames offers rubber pad replacements?  Have you ever worn through a replacement rubber pad yet?  (I noticed my replacements pads are *slightly* different, The single button contact points is 10% smaller.)

PS: I fixed the link. (Not sure if the new link works for the 1653, too, Link is for 6-button 1470)
PPS: Sorry for all the questions, but I think it may help others.  Plus, maybe I should switch over to the 6-button if they are easier to maintain.

Edited by aqualizard

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I haven't worn out the new rubber pads and it's been a few years or so....if they are anything like the original, they should last like a decade.  

However, that's unique to me, I know others (like @Lupz27) tend to wear them out more frequently.

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I don't think I'm OCD, but when I buy a second hand controller I tear it down, wash all of the plastic bits in soap/water, clean the board (particularly the contact points) with rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab, and replace the rubber pads. The one thing that will make some difference IMO, is if you pull apart the directional pad - depending on how much force you put it back together with, your directional inputs will be affected.

I've had mixed results, all of my 6-button controllers are playable, but I do favour some over others.

Not sure where I read it, but most retro gamers favour the "Made in Japan" controllers over the "Made in China" models.

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19 minutes ago, jer_33 said:

I don't think I'm OCD, but when I buy a second hand controller I tear it down, wash all of the plastic bits in soap/water, clean the board (particularly the contact points) with rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab, and replace the rubber pads. The one thing that will make some difference IMO, is if you pull apart the directional pad - depending on how much force you put it back together with, your directional inputs will be affected.

I've had mixed results, all of my 6-button controllers are playable, but I do favour some over others.

Not sure where I read it, but most retro gamers favour the "Made in Japan" controllers over the "Made in China" models.

There was a guy in Green Bay who was talking about which countries built the best controllers. I forget the specifics though! The ones with the somewhat rubbery cords were the better ones, I think? Anyway, you could tell by the D-pads, they seemed to move differently.

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I've had bad luck taking apart controllers to tune them up.  Probably didn't pay close enough attention but I think I made them worse after messing with them.

Also word to the wise be nice to your old segas.  Have about a dozen of them and felt they were indestructible like a tank, but I've lost about 20% in the last year.  Old age is catching up with them 

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I did notice a while back that my controllers had different manufacturing locations, but I never paid much attention to any differences.  There's some stuff on the internet, but nothing really solid on controllers, SO I think I may do a separate thread on this with pictures and examples of differences that I notice, if any.  

This site did a great compilation on actual genesis consoles: http://www.sega-16.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-22892.html

I do believe there were 4 places your controller could have been manufactured - Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, and China.  

I have 6 button (model 1653) from Malaysia, Japan and China, and a 3 button (1650) from Taiwan.  

controllers.png

I don't believe any 1653's were made in Taiwan, my guess (and from the sega link above) is this was one of the first manufacturing sites before the 6 button was released, but who knows, I'd be curious if anyone owns one?  I have to dig through my stash as well to document.  

So again, I would enjoy a separate thread on 3 button (model 1650) and 6 button (model 1653) differences based on manufacturing location.  I will document what I have and am happy to do a breakdown of each.  

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