Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Fighting Putt! - A Cheap Sega 6 Button Pad Knockoff - First look!

So, guess what turned up today, oh, what you read the title already?  Well you guessed it, all the way from Chinay...

The wee box was a bit crumpled, note the SEGA branding on the box itself.
Purchased from a supplier chosen basically at random, for less than £1,50 or about 2 USD, the controller arrived in just a plastic bag with the address sticker, and some thin foam surrounding the box, which was hopelessly crushed, bad news for all you collectors out there for this rare and quality offici.... oh.

Looks a bit like an official Sega pad, a bit.
The worst thing about the pad so far is the length of the controller cord, so good luck sitting more than 2 feet away from your machine.

Pressing on the D-pad with firm but not unreasonable force....
Of course it doesn't really matter so much, if the pad itself is reasonable, the D-pad is not the worst, but its incredibly spongy and has an immense amount of travel/deflection, probably up to about 45 degrees between opposite corners if you really try, it has about 3 times the travel of a standard pad. All of the buttons are also very well traveled, they protrude from the casing a lot more than an official pad and will press in a very long way.

Thats enough of that anyway, so lets bravely remove the 5 screws and open it up, who knows what lurks within....

There's like a green thing with wires, and some funny looking rubber stuff...
Good news! China saved me some time there by molding the 5th screw into the casing itself, leaving just 4 tiny fasteners to hold the clam-shells together.

It has some halfway decent silicone parts (its seemingly difficult to get this aspect wrong for even the most penny pinching manufacturer) but check out the worlds cheapest PCB - its that kind of material that feels more like compressed cardboard than fiberglass or whatever.

Note the black dot in the middle of the PCB, this is the multiplexer chip, packaged directly on the PCB as cheaply as possible, so this is not good for spares for a real pad, but @ less than £1.50 delivered from halfway around the planet, you knew that anyway.

Since carbon coating would be an additional expense, there's none of that, so the pad will become less responsive, probably very quickly, due to oxidation of the bare copper and a relatively small contact area on the zig-zag copper contact strips.

In the above picture you can probably also make out the very fine & flimsy registration tabs on the buttons, to hold them in alignment with the fascia, not all of these are present and its easy to fit the buttons the wrong way.

So, worth buying? At £1.50 delivered, its an OK spare pad, its basically so cheap as to be disposable, but I really don't think items like this should be disposable, most of this one will be discarded / recycled as I just want the board, and no doubt many broken Fighting Putt's will go on to form a significant fraction of retro gaming e-waste in future, no doubt the assembly line workers are paid next to nothing and what's up with that name, really.