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Kit D-Pad
  opened by paleface at 04:15:55 03/07/06  
  last modified by paleface at 12:23:17 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PSP; cat=Hardware; reg=EUR]
A certain mod involving unscrewing your PSP cover and putting thin paper or plastic shims behind the d-pad and buttons become popular at GameFAQs shortly after Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max hit stores, 'cause the default PSP d-pad just can't really do all those diagonal circle motions needed for fighting games; heck, you can barely jump forward/back with the darn thing.
Initial versions of the mod involved cutting your own shims, but that was too artsy craftsy for my tastes. Fortunately, an enterprising Italian company took to making these little pre-cut shim kits just for this mod, and thanks to the power of eBay, I soon found a fellow in Italy wanting to sell me one.
It comes on a tiny little piece of cardboard. You undo five screws on the back and bottom of the PSP (you need a very tiny Philips screwdriver), one of which is behind a sticker, which means you void your warranty by removing it. Anyway, once you take that plunge, the PSP faceplate lifts right off. It's kind of spooky to have the raw screen surface, not to mention the plastic screen cover plate, exposed to so much dust, but mine actually didn't get hardly a thing on it even though it probably took me about 15 minutes to get everything back together (I'm slow). I did take the precaution of propping my naked PSP upside-down, with the screen suspended.
So, you pull the rubber pads over the PSP d-pad and buttons off, then peel the backing off the dots and cross from the shim kit, and apply them to the back of the PSP's buttons and d-pad. Replace the rubber pads, pop the faceplate back on, screw in the scews, put the battery back in, and you're all set.
It worked surprisingly well: I can diagonal jump and fireball and uppercut and all that pretty much just fine in Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max now, which is a big step up over hardly being able to jump forward before. In fact, the diagonals are very sensitive now, and if I'm not careful, I'll walk forward when I just mean to walk forward. I'm getting used to being precise with the pad, though, and that problem seems to be going away. The pad and buttons feel a lot "tighter" now; they don't sort of go loosely into the system like they did before.
All in all, it seems like this was a very helpful little mod, that even a dummy like me, who dropped several components on the floor, can do pretty quickly and with little risk to the system, aside from VOIDING THE WARRANTY. The shims in the kit fit perfectly, and the glue on the back of them seemed to hold them in place tightly. I suppose time will tell there. I couldn't really play PSP fighting games before, and now I can. It makes movement so, so much nicer in shooters like Sengoku Cannon (see entry 936), too. Bring on Gradius!
  paleface 11:33:26 03/07/06
You can probably guess that when I went back and examined the screen carefully, I found mysterious dust that wouldn't wipe off! Yep, I had gotten dust inside the screen cover during the operation. A real pain to get that stuff out, too, 'cause it seems like you wipe it, and just as many little dust particles get added as get removed. Keeping the surfaces upside-down helps immensely, but you can't really do that with the faceplate while you're applying the shims.
  paleface 13:41:21 03/14/06
Like Capcom's D-pad, this mod can wilt under the heat a long fighting game session. After playing Guilty Gear XX #Reload for a while, around level 200 of a Survival game with Ky (fireball fireball fireball), I found that the pad was hardly registering forward or down motions. Fearing I had cracked the circuit board under the pad or something, I opened up the PSP, found the board under the pad solid as rock, thankfully, but the D-pad had gone kind of diagonal. The heat from the PSP, friction, and my hands probably hadn't helped the glue on the back of the D-pad shim, and then the PSP's D-pad is a bit loose in the faceplate, so I imagine that wiggle can add up to shifting with repeated circular motions. Can't say I'm looking forward to cracking the PSP open after every long fighting game session. May have to bust out that super glue yet.
What's really needed here is a D-pad or D-pad rubber cushion replacement that has the additional thickness of the shims built in.
  paleface 04:51:49 03/25/06
Hello! The maker of the Kit D-Pad asked me to point out that you don't necessarily have to crumple the warranty sticker over the fifth screw like I did. I, in fact, am sort of clumsy, and very impatient, so I just sort of said "to heck with it" and mangled the sticker out of the way. I am told that many sane people manage to access that screw without mangling their sticker.
· Capcom D-Pad (PSP)
· Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max (PSP)

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