Fixing a Saturn 3D Pad


Gear Supporter
In this thread I will document my journey for fixing a busted 3D pad I bought off eBay.
I feel kinda proud because I saved this one.

Firstly, the listing I bought it from simple said "frayed cable", otherwise, "tested works".
Actual listing picture:

The seller listed it as "tested & works". So when I get it, I test it, and it does "work". So they didn't lie, but...
1. This thing had clearly either been opened/worked on before or experienced some blunt force trauma, as the control stick was very loose in its socket. It slid around like mad and thus did not center properly.
2. The left trigger didn't work.
3. It took awhile after I plugged it in for it to start working. I won't discount that the ICs needed the caps to charge before it could start to work, but this made me look for other problems too. I found a number of things wrong, and fixed them.

Problem #1: The controller port itself


In this case, the controller port had been smashed, and the locking tabs for the pins had cracked, allowing some of the pins as seen here to retract into the casing. They probably didn't retract far enough back to cause a problem, but in any case, I took apart the controller port, snipped off what was left of the broken plastic bits, then superglued the pins in place so they would stay forward when plugged in. It's just an edge connector, so this may not have been necessary. Regardless, it's fixed now.

Problem/Fix#2: The loose control pad. This thing:

It was sliding around like crazy, a full millimeter up, down, left or right.
Now, as near as I can tell, these control sticks were never perfect, like we expect analogue sticks to be in modern pads. From the factory, they might've had a bit of "twist" to them. But I'm not talking about slop in the stick, I'm talking about the entire stick itself sliding around on the board. This was my fix:


That's electrical tape, cut into tiny strips, wrapped around the plastic clips which hold it onto the PCB. This was enough for it to snap firmly in place and not slide around. Again, I suspect this stick and overall controller has some blunt force trauma, so it's still stiff yet sloppy. But with this fix, it holds center properly. Props to Sega for making something so easy to fix. The stick itself is still kinda shit tho.

Some guidance on removing the triggers:

Problem/fix #3: Left trigger didn't work

It turns out the analogue triggers use hall effect sensors, just like the "stick". This is pretty neat.
One thing hall effect sensors need to work is a magnet. If the magnet falls out, it doesn't work.
This is exactly what happened to the left trigger on this pad. It turns out this is one of the most common problems with these pads.

For reference, this slot underneath the trigger is where the magnet is supposed to go:

This is what the offending magnet looks like:

Basically, it's easy to tell if the magnet is missing because you will more than likely find it attacked to the outside of the other trigger.

Now, the magnet must be installed in the trigger in a specific orientation. Here's a handy guide for the correct orientation:

In hindsight, this isn't explicitly helpful because you don't know if my stick magnet is south pole out or north pole out.
The point is the triggers are mirrored parts and the same side of the magnet has to face the hall effect sensor on both triggers.
So if you have another magnet, you can (hopefully) test the one that the magnet hasn't fallen out of with another magnet to tell which way it must face.
In my case, one face of the magnet was oxidized white and was the side that needed to face the sensor.

Anyway, this post will probably be useful to exactly zero people because there are already better youtube videos about this. But I felt to share it.
well glad you saved it. awesome. before and after pictures be good. you can do a quick video too, playing a game with it :)

lotta times i try to fixs things; just end up stored away in a failed to fix it state
Anyway, this post will probably be useful to exactly zero people because there are already better youtube videos about this. But I felt to share it.
You never know. YouTube videos get deleted. YouTube itself may die. But SegaXtreme, of course, will live forever.