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Building a Foot Pedal for the Namco GunCon
A 1/8" dual-connector normally-open type jack is installed in the grip of the Namco GunCon. Inside the gun, the jack is connected in parallel with the switch for button A. When an external foot pedal, attached to the jack, is depressed, the result is as if the user had pressed A. Button A will still work normally whether or not the pedal is attached. The added weight of the second cable on the gun seems to be negligible.
Naturally, this is intended for use with Namco's Time Crisis.
- Why on earth do you want to attach a foot pedal to a light gun? To play Time Crisis the way nature intended, of course. If you are unfamiliar with this game I suggest you motor over to your local arcade. It may be the best light-gun game to date.
- That gun was expensive... is this safe? Yes, if you aren't all thumbs. You need to make 2 solder connections to a circuit board in the GunCon; 2 to the phono jack; and 2 to the switch in your foot pedal (unless it's pre-wired). You also need to drill a 1/4" hole in the butt of the GunCon to put the jack in. And, OK, you need to mill away some plastic inside so the jack will fit. But it's easy. Really. The guts of the GunCon are dirt simple and you'd have to go out of your way to screw it up.
- Can't you just use a controller in port 2 for this? Well, yes. If there is a controller plugged into port 2 you can use it to initiate the duck & reload action. You can step on the controller's "X" button, which is bad for the controller and not much fun. Or, you can rig up a switch with the controller as the guts, such as is done in the joystick project on this site. The controller alone will cost about $20, though, and you don't even have a proper foot pedal lined up yet. I think that modifying the gun is superior because it's cheaper, and you don't have to plug in a second controller. Everything also fits into the original Time Crisis box for easy portability. There is one last possibility, though, if you don't want to drill a hole in your GunCon. You can install a jack connected to "X" in the controller that goes in port 2, and plug the footswitch into that. I won't spell it all out here but if you read the joystick plans and the foot pedal plans you ought to be able to work it out.
- Can I use a guitar pedal? I don't play guitar, but I am under the impression that most guitar pedals are used for producing audio effects. Their audio circuitry would make using them for this project iffy at best. What you really need is a pedal with a simple on/off switch. I have a feeling that old sewing machine pedals also wouldn't work too well since they are analog.
- Can I paint my American GunCon black? I don't know. There are some special spraypaints that are used for painting plastics; perhaps they would work. Hobby shops sell these paints, which are used for painting the plastic shells of R/C cars. Caveat emptor. One reader sent me a photo of his golden GunCon, so I am sure there is some kind of paint that will work.
- How much are we talking about? I did the whole pedal project for less than $20. Your cost will be higher if you get a more expensive foot pedal. I checked with an arcade parts supplier, and an arcade pedal is about $80. The official Namco part was even more. In practice the rugged, steel industrial footswitch I used has worked flawlessly, though -- and it was only $10!
A Really, Really Important Note About the Safety of Your Console!
Do not work on your GunCon while the contraption is plugged into the console! Test all your connections before using the modified GunCon, or you could damage your Playstation.