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Document Title: [Sinistar Standard Joystick Hack.html (html file)]

Sinistar Standard Joystick Hack

Submitted by Brent Earl (earl@rtsg.mot.com)

This is a SINISTAR joystick adaptation, which adapts a cheapie standard 8-way joyrod to SINISTAR which fancies a snazzy trillion position optical joyrod.

So here it is:

This file contains instructions for adapting a standard 8-way joystick for use as a Sinistar controller, replacing the multi- position optical controller installed in dedicated machines.

For any questions regarding this conversion/adaptation, send email to crawford@fslcd2.physics.fsu.edu.

A standard Sinistar machine uses an optical joystick that senses direction as well as the speed of motion of the joystick in that direction. Last time I checked these controllers were selling for 129$ from Wico Corporation and unavailable from any other distributor. Note that this is the same controller as used in Williams later game Arch Rivals. The following instructions tell how a standard joystick (~ 8$) may be adapted and used instead of the regular controller. I haven't been able to tell any significant difference in game play using this poser controller.

In that this is limited to ascii text, i will merely mention the connections which must be made. Most of these are made in reconfiguring the joystick to use the switches as logic as opposed to simple direction indicators. On the bottom of the joystick you should find three connectors: COM or GROUND the ground pin, NO the normally open circuit and NC the normally closed circuit. Note that joysticks lacking the normally closed circuit will not be adaptable using these directions.

The only wires coming from the Sinistar controller board that are required are GROUND, UP-DOWN SWITCH B1, LEFT-RIGHT SWITCH B1, UP-DOWN DIRECTION and LEFT-RIGHT DIRECTION.


  1. Connect the GROUND of the DOWN switch to GROUND from the controller board
  2. Connect the NO of the DOWN switch to the UP-DOWN DIRECTION from the controller board
  3. Connect the NO of the LEFT switch to the RIGHT-LEFT DIRECTION from the controller board
  4. Connect the NC of the RIGHT switch to the RIGHT-LEFT SWITCH B1 of the controller board
  5. Connect the NC of the UP switch to the UP-DOWN SWITCH B1 of the controller board


  1. Connect the GROUND of the LEFT switch to the GROUND of the DOWN switch (which is already leading to GROUND on the controller board)
  2. Connect the NC of the DOWN switch to the GROUND of the UP switch
  3. Connect the NC of the LEFT switch to the GROUND of the RIGHT switch

Now you are done. Please remember that when you look at the joystick from the base, the RIGHT switch is on your left and the LEFT switch is on your right.

- Brent -
earl@rtsg.mot.com (Brent Earl) Motorola CIG +1-708-632-5830
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