Building a Neo Geo Stick USB Adapter




About: Self taught DIYer, interested by anything electronic but without trying to launch a rocket to the moon :-)

Intro: Building a Neo Geo Stick USB Adapter

The Neo Geo AES from SNK was a glorious home arcade machine released in 1990. However it was and still is quite expensive. Games are massive cartridges of multiple megabits. Back in early 90's you can easily imagine how advanced this was.

For retro gamers, this is an expensive leisure. As I'm a proud owner of an AES system with 2 joysticks, I went down the shady road of emulators. But I wasn't able to just plug the controllers.

This instructable explains how to very easily build an adapter.

Else, you can get one here at 28$. Looks like there are generic adapters for 15 pin game controllers around 13€, don't know about these.

Step 1: USB Converter Part

The AES game controller consists of a joystick and 6 buttons (A, B, C, D + Select, Start). Pretty basic :-)

All buttons share a common ground so that's actually only 4 contacts for the stick and 6 for the buttons to manage a whole analog controller. This is a perfect option for "Zero Delay USB encoder" boards. You can get two for as low as around 12 USD.

This kind of kit comes with cables readily plugable in home made arcade cabinets. However we'll have to cut that a bit to solder on a DB 15 male connector.

Step 2: Soldering the DSUB-15

Note : Since we have a common ground in stick and encoder, one single ground wire is required. Keep the one you prefer :-) See next step for result.

Solder wires so that:

  • Pin 1 = GND
  • Pin 2 = Credit (Select)
  • Pin 4 = Button 4
  • Pin 5 = Button 2
  • Pin 6 = Right
  • Pin 7 = Down
  • Pin 11 = Start
  • Pin 12 = Button 3
  • Pin 13 = Button 1
  • Pin 14 = Left
  • Pin 15 = Up

Note you can also solder:

  • Pin 3: Button 5
  • Pin 8 : +5V
  • Pin 10 : Button 6

Pin 9 is not used at all.

Step 3: Putting All Together

Get a project box to fit everything in. I used a Dremel to cutout for the DB 15 connector and USB cable.

I later also drilled 2 holes to put screw/nut on each side to hold that tight (not shown).

Once plugged into a Windows machine, it'll work out of the box. You'll however have to map the buttons in your emulator of choice. This adapter will work for any emulator/game as long as it uses a joystick.

Step 4: Final Words

In the first place this type of encoder is aimed at building custom arcade cabinets. Feel free to buy some buttons/sticks kits and build your own setup!



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    5 Discussions


    Question 12 days ago

    so pin 1 through 15 is the controller pinout? so which pins on the encoder do I connect to the controller pinouts? please clarify. Thank you

    1 more answer

    Reply 6 days ago

    Thanks for your comment, indeed I haven't gone in deep regarding that part. I'll create an update to include details for wiring and setup in Windows!


    1 year ago

    Great mod!

    I did a similar thing a few years ago and added a DB15 port to an Xbox controller so I could use the Neo Geo stick for fighting games.

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Good idea, however as I actually built two, I wanted that to be flexible.

    Now if that's a wireless Xbox controller, this makes a wireless Neo Geo controller I guess, sweet :)


    Reply 1 year ago

    It was for the original Xbox & was done in such a way you could still use the controller as normal. That was before you could buy custom arcade stick PCB's like the PS360+. I'm sure something like this could also be made for the 360/One. I don't have my AES anymore, so that's why haven't done it.