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BHazard

How To: Xtension Arcade Emulator Edition Controller as Dual Gamepads

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I recently purchased the Xtension Arcade 32" Emulator Edition and had nothing but trouble trying to configure the controller on a Raspberry Pi with prebuilt images (as well as Launchbox). I struggled for weeks until I found a solution (which isn't anywhere on the internet apparently).

Rec Room Masters uses a Mini-Ipac inside the Xtension controller, but it does not use the available "Gamepad Enabled" firmware which can see the controller as two separate Gamepad controllers when flashed and configured instead of just the keyboard. Firmware that starts with 1.4x is not gamepad enabled. Firmware that starts with 1.3x is. Luckily, the firmware can be easily flashed over USB. Note that only the last number determines how new the firmware is. 1.39 is the newest firmware that is gamepad enabled (1.49 is newest with keyboard only).

To do so:
Download WinIpac v2
https://www.ultimarc.com/download.html

Download the MiniIpac firmware (same page) Use the newest 2016+ firmware for 2016+ Miniipacs. Please check to see if your controller/miniipac is 2016+ before flashing or you will brick the ipac.

Run Winipacv2 as administrator and choose the "flash firmware" option with Miniipac1.39 firmware. It will install software/drivers and you will need to go back into winipacv2 again. You may need to unplug/replug in the controller after driver installation.

Click Flash firmware again if the program does not automatically bring up the flash utility. Flash the miniipac 1.39 firmware. Once complete, exit and go back into Winipac v2. You may need to unplug/replug in the controller again after flashing. FW will now show as 1.39.

Next, save a copy of your current config. The tool immediately overwrites any change, so having a default config saved saves a lot of headaches. Next, I will include a gamepad config in the post you can import/load to save time (later tonight), or you can assign buttons on your own.

If you want to change on your own, change each 1SWX and 2SWX pin from key to Gamepad. Assign Button 1 to 8 to the 8 main buttons (for both Player 1 and 2). Button 9 for Coin One (my Select), Button 10 for Start. I have a working coin slot in my xtension arcade, so assigning select as coin 1 allows me to use coins for both consoles and Mame.

I leave the other buttons alone. Doing this allows them to function in Mame as keyboard keys as they did before (hitting Menu brings up the Mame menu). I use a hotkey, so to exit most retroarch emulators I hold Coin 1 and the Exit button.

Now I no longer have the nightmare of trying to config every individual emulator (and game with config overrides). This has made things so much easier and painless, and the option to revert back to the original config is a quick import away.

This really should have been an option out of the box. It's nice seeing 2 gamepads appear and act independently when doing an ES controller config. I tested both sides and it works without issue across multiple emulators. It should allow games like SFV to function correctly without hacks as well.

I have not tested the trackball, but since the trackball settings were untouched, Mame should still function with it. I actually haven't been able to get the trackball working at all yet... still figuring out which control setting I need to modify and which axis to use.

Hope this helps others that can't stand the default keyboard only config which caused issues.

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You're a lifesaver. I was looking into just this reasonably recently after having a hell of a time setting everything up in Retroarch. Really appreciate the fact that you included both versions.

Not sure if I'm going to convert just yet because I've finally got everything set up and working, as far as I can tell, but I'm happy I've got the option.

Thank you!

Edited by darkaegis

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Forgot to mention, the layout is based on a DualShock 4 button layout which can be modified if desired via WinIpacv2.

YXL1

BAR1

L2R2

 

 

 

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Yeah, I saw that when I loaded it up. That's how I would've done it anyway, considering the controller I connect to my arcade machine regularly is a DS4.

I did see that the "gamepad" option was greyed out for me. I can technically force the controls over (and have already backed up my own .ipc files just in case). Is it the same for you, or did you sidegrade to one of the firmwares that supports gamepad configuration?

I might move over to one of those anyways. Doesn't seem like the functionality is at all different other than the added gamepad functionality.

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You have to flash the gamepad enabled firmware. It is identical to the non gamepad firmware except the gamepad section is now available. I just bought my xtension and the miniipac was several fw versions behind. (use 1.39 for the newest gamepad enabled firmware).

In Launchbox's Options, check "enable gamepads" and the MiniIPac will show up twice acting as two controllers.

I vastly prefer the Xtension controller as two Gamepads with some buttons left as keyboard keys (mouse L/R, Exit, Pause). The trackball and mouse buttons still work without issue. Since the Xtension Arcade Cabinet has a keyboard tray and a keyboard connected most of the time, why bother having the Xtension as another keyboard? It causes too many issues that need complete re-configuring every time you change images. EmulationStation configures everything easily, and Mame would only need Coin1/2 and maybe start1/2 remapped afterwards. So much simpler, and no longer triggering fast forward and other retroarch defaults when using the keyboard only config.

Edited by BHazard
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Absolutely, thanks again. I guess I would've seen it anyway, since reading through your initial post completely before getting to work, I noticed that you'd already mentioned it. Whoops.

I'll definitely flash that firmware, then.

Edited by darkaegis

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Im really new at this i was able to flash the controller to 1.39 and it now shows up as 2 controllers in using retropie emulation station but i cant figure out how to install the config files it says board FW version 1.39 keyboard only firmware board attached minipac and an apply button. when i hit the file button and push open and select the file it says file successfully loaded is that it?

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That's it. I would learn how to use that WinIpac program however so you can assign the button layout you want. It makes changes instantly once you choose so be careful.

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11 hours ago, BHazard said:

That's it. I would learn how to use that WinIpac program however so you can assign the button layout you want. It makes changes instantly once you choose so be careful.

Hey thanks do you know of any tutorials or videos?

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I don't know it dose not work for me joysticks don't work at all with your config file loaded in to the controller ive given up.

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ive switched over to big box and have everything working perfectly so easy to use and configure im done with the pie bs that thing is a horror show.

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