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Many light gun enthusiasts have a special fondness for arcade guns. These guns were built to endure hundreds of hours of play and all sorts of physical abuse while still feeling very good and being very accurate and precise. To enable these benefits to myself, I decided to buy an old broken Namco light gun and turn it into a controller which I can use for PlayStation 1 and 2 games.
First I cleaned the gun and then I fixed the solenoid valve and the broken shell. I replaced the micro switch for one made by Cherry. I left the original light sensor inside the gun and wired everything up to a DE-9 plug using a shielded cable. A DE-9 socket was connected to the PCBs of an original G-con 45 and G-con 2. For the force feedback I used my signal generator, which I showed in episode 118. This PCB is powered by one of the two Guncon boards as it is connected to the common pin of the DPDT switch I use to select amongst the light detecting circuits. When interconnecting the twice occurring buttons A, B and Trigger, diodes have to be used. I connected the buttons to TS sockets, into which I can connect pedals. I suggest any industrial grade pedal, but personally I chose ones made by Tmaztz. They are made of metal and use very tactile clicky switches.
For the D-pad I connected the wires to a RJ-11 socket. I have built a foot controller using a soap box and a high quality arcade joystick to which I attached the top of a car brake pedal. The joystick is using full size micro switches and therefore has a delightful clickyness to it.
I put the electronics into another soapbox to create the interface. On one side it has the sockets for the buttons. With this design I just connect the buttons I need for a particular game. On the other side is the DE-9 socket for the gun, a switch to select between Guncon 1 and 2 modes and a second switch which controls the behavior of the force feedback. Whether the force feedback is engaged or not, is simply controlled by plugging or unplugging the 24 V power supply.
The accuracy and precision of this gun is perfect in both gun modes. However as the Guncon circuits were made for another gun design, with a different sensor positioned at another location relative to the sights, I have created narrow dead zones at the left side and the bottom of the screen. Still the gun is very nice to play with and I am very happy.