Author Topic: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)  (Read 7682 times)

indstr (OP)

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GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« on: May 23, 2016, 10:48:54 pm »
So... As many people have said, the default D-Pad on the XD is kind of "spongy" or "mushy"... Meaning exactly like it sounds, it feels like there is a sponge under it. You don't get much tactile feedback. Which is a bit disappointing.

So, some really smart guys in this thread:
http://boards.dingoonity.org/gpd-devices/anybody-modifiedfixed-the-d-pad-on-the-xd-yet/
figured out you could mod it with the membrane from a Wii controller.

So, a couple weeks ago I did the mod. I used an official Wii controller, one I got used on ebay.

The mod definitely improved it, but it still wasn't perfect. With the Wii controller, you get much better tactile feedback, but it feels too stiff now.

So I got the idea to test out more membranes and see if I can find the perfect one.

So I busted open my Nintendo DS Lite. Literally. I was going to unscrew it like a civilized person, but it uses some kind of weird triangular screws that I didn't have the right bit for. So I literally just pried the D-Pad out of the DS from the top, and pulled the membrane through. Haha. Sad to have to do it, but this DS was on its last legs anyway and I don't use it anymore, especially because of the excellent Drastic DS emulator which runs fullspeed on the GPD!

So I put the membrane in the XD. At first it didn't seem like it was sitting right, so I cut the little "lip" off the edge of the whole thing, and put it back in. Screwed everything back up. It technically works, but it's not great either. It seems like it sits too low, so the D-Pad is really recessed and everything is kinda loose. It would actually be good for some types of Android games (platformers where you just use left and right), but I tested it with Contra and the diagonals were definitely not great.

So.....  I'm going to try some more options. Next candidate for surgery: A "Rock Candy" brand Wii controller. It seems to have a decent feel, so we'll see how it translates to the GPD.

I may also just try physically swapping the actual D-Pad from the DS Lite or the Wii Controller as well.

Hopefully I'll do some more surgery tonight.

Oh also, for reference my favorite D-Pad of all time is the Hori Anashin Turbo 2 controller for Playstation 2. Also the PSP 1001 was pretty good after I did the UfighterX D-Pad mod.

And I'll make a graph of all the D-Pad options as well:

GPD XD D-Pad Mods
----------------------

D-Pad...............Comments........% to Perfection
---------------------------------------------
Stock................Spongy.............40%
Wii....................Stiff..................75%
DS Lite..............Loose................60%
Wii Rock Candy..{HAVEN'T TRIED YET}



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indstr (OP)

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2016, 07:07:47 am »
Update!!!

OK, for reference I used the Rock Candy Wii controller, this one here:
http://www.amazon.com/Candy-Wii-Gesture-Controller-Nintendo-6306000/dp/B008U2XEH6

They can be gotten for about $15 at Walmart, or $11.88 for that green one on Amazon.

I couldn't get to all the screw holes on it, so I had to do some prying, but I got the membrane out.

I had to cut it down to size to get it to fit in the GPD.

I put it in, tightened everything up, and it felt nice!

So I put the system back together and turned it on for a little test.

Yes indeed, this is a nice membrane. Android games which just use the left and right are quite good.

But the real test was to come.... Contra.

So I tried out some Contra for NES.

It was excellent! Diagonals are working perfect. I recorded myself playing the waterfall stage with it, you can see the diagonals are working brilliant. Those deaths were my fault, at no point did I feel like the controller made me mess up.

Video link:
#Invalid YouTube Link#

Overall, I'm really pleased with this mod. With the Rock Candy membrane, it has the tactile feedback I wanted, but less of the stiffness from the original Wii controller membrane.

Overall I'd give it a 90%. Better than the original Wii remote, and waaayy better than the stock membrane. The only reason it doesn't get 100% is because I still like the Hori Anashin 2 better, but that's a pretty high standard to live up to.

Ultimately, the D-Pad now feels pretty similar to how a DS Lite feels (the actual console), but perhaps a little bit stiffer... So actually better (as the DS Lite was kinda loose).

All in all, I'd highly recommend it to anyone with a GPD XD who is wanting to improve your D-Pad.

D-Pad...............Comments........% to Perfection
---------------------------------------------
Stock................Spongy.............40%
Wii original.........Stiff..................75%
DS Lite..............Loose................60%
Wii Rock Candy...Great!!...............90%   <-------- WINNER!!!!
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 07:32:18 am by indstr »
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indstr (OP)

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2016, 07:18:24 am »
P.S... This means I've taken apart and put back together my XD about 4 times now, and I still feel confident that everything is working and in place.

My only warning to anybody wanting to take theirs apart, is to just do it carefully. The most fragile parts are the ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) connectors for the ribbon cables. You have to undo and re-do 3 of them, two for the analogs and one for the screen. These are really fragile parts. You just want to take a safe open pry tool, or a small flat head screwdriver, and carefully flip up the latches. Make sure you understand how these things work before you do it. Practice on something else, watch tutorials or whatever. I warn you because I accidentally broke one of these ZIF's on my Xperia Play one time and I had to get a whole nother screen digitizer for it    :(
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Feanor

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2016, 10:47:52 am »
P.S... This means I've taken apart and put back together my XD about 4 times now, and I still feel confident that everything is working and in place.

My only warning to anybody wanting to take theirs apart, is to just do it carefully. The most fragile parts are the ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) connectors for the ribbon cables. You have to undo and re-do 3 of them, two for the analogs and one for the screen. These are really fragile parts. You just want to take a safe open pry tool, or a small flat head screwdriver, and carefully flip up the latches. Make sure you understand how these things work before you do it. Practice on something else, watch tutorials or whatever. I warn you because I accidentally broke one of these ZIF's on my Xperia Play one time and I had to get a whole nother screen digitizer for it    :(

Can you make a tutorial or even better a videoguide for dummies like me?

eragon2890

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2016, 10:57:37 am »
I don't know, I like the stock dpad, it works perfectly for me. It's incredibly accurate and quick for diagonals and it gives just enough feedback to know where you are pressing it, and it's comfortable for long use.

I tear trough arcade fighting games and bullet hells with it. XD I also play lots of rpg's on my XD (currently star ocean for the snes for example) and it's super comfy for playing 3, 4, 5, 6 hours at a time. Offcourse that's not really a test of it's accuracy, but it's definitely nice to play on and your thumb doesn't get tired :)

indstr (OP)

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2016, 11:58:49 am »
Can you make a tutorial or even better a videoguide for dummies like me?

Sure, I'll make a video guide within the next few days!
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indstr (OP)

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2016, 12:51:04 pm »
Can you make a tutorial or even better a videoguide for dummies like me?

Sure, I'll make a video guide within the next few days!

On second thought, I don't have anybody to hold the camera to show the tricky parts while I'm doing them, and also I've had a case of the blurry video lately (check the GPD youtube videos thread), so I think I'll do a written tutorial with still pictures. I'll try to be as detailed as possible.
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Feanor

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2016, 04:14:17 pm »
Can you make a tutorial or even better a videoguide for dummies like me?

Sure, I'll make a video guide within the next few days!

On second thought, I don't have anybody to hold the camera to show the tricky parts while I'm doing them, and also I've had a case of the blurry video lately (check the GPD youtube videos thread), so I think I'll do a written tutorial with still pictures. I'll try to be as detailed as possible.

Awesome Thnx man!!! :) :)

indstr (OP)

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2016, 06:16:51 pm »
OK Feanor, and for anybody else who may need this in the future... Here's my teardown tutorial...

1st warning: If you follow beldandy561's teardown tutorial, DO NOT stick a paperclip in the little hole on the front, it is the mic port and you will probably damage your mic.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Step 1: Have the proper tools! I can't stress this enough, if you don't have the proper tools it will make everything harder and you will be more likely to damage things, strip screws, etc.

I got this toolkit at Walmart for about $8, it is designed specifically for repairing cell phones and electronics just like this. Really useful. It comes with a really tiny flathead bit, and also a phillips head bit which is labeled as size "000", really small.



Step 1.5: Take the Micro SD card out of the GPD XD!!!

Step 2: Open the Rock Candy controller and extract the membrane. There are 4 screws. I couldn't get to 2 of them (aha, wrong tool!) and I just decided to pry open the top like this, and slide the membrane out:



Step 3: Remove 4 outer screws on the GPD XD:



Step 4: Use a small flathead screwdriver to slowly pry open the GPD XD. Just go slowly around the edges. The first time will be the hardest. Eventually you'll get it cracked open on all sides and it should look something like this:



Step 5: Lift the case, and disconnect the cable that goes to the battery. Haha, not the Eveready on the right, I was just using that to hold the case up   :)



Step 6: Flip up the bottom cover which has the battery. Note: I do not disconnect the ribbon cables to the L/R buttons because it's not necessary.

Step 6 is the most complicated, because there are lots of things to disconnect. Here's a view of the PCB and all the parts:


Now, we'll disconnect/unscrew things one at a time.

6a) Disconnect the 2 cables that go to the speakers (Highlighted with red rectangles), peel off the tape and get them out of the way.

6b) Disconnect the Wifi antenna (Highlighted with Blue Triangle). You can either use your fingernail, or a flathead screwdriver. It's not damaged easily.

6c) Unscrew the 11 (?) philips head screws. (Highlighted with yellow circles). You can use the same size screwdriver bit as you did for the outer screws. I think there are 11, but I might have missed one. So if you are having trouble pulling your PCB out, just check and make sure you got all the screws. Make sure you have a good place to put them. The first time I opened this up, I dropped one of them on the floor and never found it. So I'm actually missing a screw, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. (I leave the open hole on the side opposite the D-Pad)

6d) Disconnect the ZIF connectors. (Highlighted with green rectangles). The 2 smaller ones go to the analog sticks, and the larger one goes to the LCD.
!!!CAUTION!!! - The ZIF connectors are the most delicate part you will be working on. They can be easily broken if you are not careful. Make sure you understand how they work. Basically, there is a piece of brown plastic that runs parallel to the PCB, locking the cable in. You need to take a small flathead or a safe open pry tool, and gently place it underneath the brown plastic, and lift it up, something like this:

(Sorry for the blurries)

Then you can just gently slide the ribbon cable out. If you break the ZIF connector, you will likely have no way to reconnect the cable and you will probably need a new motherboard, either that or see if you can pay GPD to fix it for you. Either way, it will be a really expensive tiny piece of plastic that you broke! (I've broken one on my Xperia Play, and trust me it was not fun when I realized there was no way to reconnect the ribbon cable!)


Step 7: After you've gotten everything disconnected, it's time to lift the PCB up and flip it over. You can stick a screwdriver under it like this:


It should come right up. If you feel resistance somewhere, just make sure all your screws are out!


Step 8: Flip the PCB over onto the back piece, like this:


Now you can see all the buttons, membranes, and inner workings.


Step 9: Replace your GPD stock D-Pad membrane with the Rock Candy one. You'll have to use scissors to trim the Rock Candy one to the approximate shape. Clearly it doesn't have to be exact science here, but the shape shown below works well for me:


That's pretty much it. Once you've gotten the new membrane in, just do all the steps in reverse to put it back together.

I made a video with some additional hints and tips, especially for re-assembling it. I put it on Google Drive because I wasn't sure if youtube would throw a fit about the music I had playing in the background and then not let me post it:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bzdt-l1mY0e_NnNpWk9wVTB0SGs

Hope that helps!

Let me know if you have any questions about the process. And of course if you decide to mod yours, let me know how it goes and how you like it!
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 06:22:48 pm by indstr »
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taxi_driver

Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2016, 07:54:31 pm »
any interest in doing this mod for a fee?! :D

indstr (OP)

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2016, 09:46:39 pm »
any interest in doing this mod for a fee?! :D

Somebody already asked me that on Reddit!

Here's my response:

Quote
Sure. I don't see why not. I know UfighterX charged $30 back in the day for the PSP D-Pad mod, but I think that's too much. I think $15 for my labor is sufficient.... However it will cost more than that because:

*The Rock Candy controller costs money
*You would need to pay actual shipping to and from

So it would be more like $50 total:

$15 Labor
$15 Rock Candy Controller
$20 Shipping ($10 both ways, just a guess on an average USPS ground shipping cost to another U.S. location that is an average distance across the U.S.)

You can either buy the Rock Candy controller first and send the membrane along with the GPD, or I can buy it for you. Cost to you would be the same unless you can find one for less than $15.

Also I don't proclaim to be an expert, so I would probably need you to sign a waiver saying you won't be upset if there are minor nicks in the plastic, mostly where you have to pry it apart. I wouldn't scratch the screen or the outside of the case or anything, but there is inherently some risk in prying the plastic apart. I can try to take a picture of the perimeter of my GPD to give you an idea, and of course I'll try to be -more- careful with yours.

With all that being said, it doesn't sound glamorous at all, but if you think it's worth it I'll be glad to do it, just send me a PM or something like that.
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dreamesper

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2016, 09:55:08 pm »
that's awesome man! glad you decided to go ahead and help us mod our XD's! Let me think about doing it to mine, be sweet to have a slightly better d-pad.

 ;D ;D

Feanor

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2016, 11:00:15 am »
OMG!! That's awesome!! great job man!! that's a really impressive guide keep up modding :) :) :)

Mountainmohawk

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2016, 09:32:16 pm »
any interest in doing this mod for a fee?! :D

Somebody already asked me that on Reddit!

Here's my response:

Quote
Sure. I don't see why not. I know UfighterX charged $30 back in the day for the PSP D-Pad mod, but I think that's too much. I think $15 for my labor is sufficient.... However it will cost more than that because:

*The Rock Candy controller costs money
*You would need to pay actual shipping to and from

So it would be more like $50 total:

$15 Labor
$15 Rock Candy Controller
$20 Shipping ($10 both ways, just a guess on an average USPS ground shipping cost to another U.S. location that is an average distance across the U.S.)

You can either buy the Rock Candy controller first and send the membrane along with the GPD, or I can buy it for you. Cost to you would be the same unless you can find one for less than $15.

Also I don't proclaim to be an expert, so I would probably need you to sign a waiver saying you won't be upset if there are minor nicks in the plastic, mostly where you have to pry it apart. I wouldn't scratch the screen or the outside of the case or anything, but there is inherently some risk in prying the plastic apart. I can try to take a picture of the perimeter of my GPD to give you an idea, and of course I'll try to be -more- careful with yours.

With all that being said, it doesn't sound glamorous at all, but if you think it's worth it I'll be glad to do it, just send me a PM or something like that.

Hey, that was me who messaged you on Reddit! Would you still be interested in doing this?

indstr (OP)

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Re: GPD XD - The search for D-Pad Perfection (tm)
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2016, 03:03:13 pm »
Hey, that was me who messaged you on Reddit! Would you still be interested in doing this?

Normally I would say yes, but due to some unforeseen life circumstances and not really having a permanent address for the next few weeks, I'm going to have to say no.

But I bet if you start a thread asking if someone would do it for you, you would probably find a brave soul who has cracked theirs open who would be willing to mod yours.

Sorry I can't be more help.
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