SNK Neo Geo Creating a Custom Joypad or Joystick

I recently started messing around with an SNK Neo Geo MVS, making it into a standalone console using info at and Jamma Nation X.

I also decided to convert a third party SNES joypad to use on my CMVS, I chose SNES as I like the design, plus it has a similar button layout to the official Neo joypad and the same colour buttons. The buttons are slightly different, but you can swap them around to match the colours and ABCD layout as the Neo Pad.

This isn’t a comprehensive guide, but most of the info is here for you..

I’ve taken my pad apart and removed all the original wiring and unused shoulder buttons, most of the buttons have a hole and nearby solder pad next to it, making this very easy. Where necessary I made a hole (C button), or scraped away a trace (A and B buttons). Gently scrape the solder points to make it easier for the solder to take to it.

How does this work? There’s a common Ground that makes it way around the board, going to every button on it. The the other side of the button has it’s own unique contact point, when you press a button, it links that contact point to GND. The Neo Geo has a 15 pin connector, enough for each of it’s buttons/directions, GND, 5v (not used on this pad) and some spare. I bought the thinnest 12 core cable I could to perform this mod, and a standard DB15 female plug and a clip together DB9 plug housing.

Details on how to modify the DB15 plug and DB9 housing to follow, after doing this it will work on an AES with it’s deep controller ports, and also the MVS boards with built in controller ports.

Neo Pad Conversion 3rd Party SNES Pad Board

I labelled all of the holes with a Sharpie so that I don’t forget which is which when soldering them at this end, and at the plug end.

Neo Pad Conversion Labelling Holes

Neo Pad Conversion Checking Wires

Take each wire and cut it to length and solder it to the pad on the other side of the hole. When routing the wires, think about the other part of the pad casing, this one has some supports that I had to cut some bits away from so that they don’t squash the wires.

Neo Pad Conversion First Wires In Place

Neo Pad Conversion First Wires Soldered Through Board

This is the whole lot done, I’ve got a spare wire, for a standard pad like this you need 11 wires, and I’m using 12 core cable.

Neo Pad Conversion Finished Board Soldering

Here’s the solder side of the board soldered up.

Neo Pad Conversion Finished Board Soldering

Neo Pad Conversion Finished Board Soldering

For this particular pad, I had to cut some of the rear case supports away so that they don’t squash the wires.

Neo Pad Conversion Trimming Casing

Here’s the final product. I’ve swapped the yellow and red buttons around to match the Neo pad, I’d like to relabel the buttons to match the Neo pad also – A – Red, B – Yellow, C – Green, D – Blue

Neo Pad Conversion Finished

DB15 pinout for pads/sticks

Pin # Description Your Wire Colour
1 Common Ground  
2 NC (No Connection)  
3 Select  
4 D Button  
5 B Button  
6 Right  
7 Down  
8 (VCC +5v) *  
9 (D Button) **  
10 NC  
11 Start  
12 C Button  
13 A Button  
14 Left  
15 Up  

* used on some newer Neo pads and sticks, for the purpose of this guide though, it’s not needed.

** not used on regular pads and sticks – used on the mah-jong controller.

Info on how I modified a standard DB15 female plug.