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I live in Spain and want to expand my Mega Drive collection. However, my controller does not work properly. My question is: Will Genesis (US) or Saturn controllers work with the Mega Drive?

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Yes they will, all the genesis controllers have the same plug.

Fun fact, you can also use a Master System controller or a C64 controller which all have the same ports (although the Master system / C64 only have 2 trigger buttons).

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While @Fana's answer is correct for whether a US controller will work on an EU system, it might also be possible to repair your current controller rather than replacing it, (depending on what is wrong with the controller).

One of the more common problems (and the easiest to fix) is that the buttons don't work (or only work intermittently). The most common cause for this is degradation of the Rubber Domes that provide the button 'press' and 'depress'. After 20+ years, these domes can degrade to the point of splitting or flaking apart, meaning the button no longer 'springs' back into place, or doesn't actually make an electrical connection with the button at all.

Luckily, these rubber domes can be cheaply and easily replaced.


I've previously used Nintendo Repair Hut* to order replacement rubber domes. Despite the name they also do non-Nintendo consoles, here's the page for Mega Drive/Genesis repair supplies.

You can get replacement domes for both 3-button and 6-button Mega Drive/Genesis controllers, either set will run you about $2 USD, plus some shipping. The rubber domes look like this:

3-Button controller:

3-button replacement rubber domes
Click for larger image

For the 3-button pad, The big dome with four buttons is for the D-Pad, and the other singular buttons are for the main 'A B C' controller buttons and Start button.

6-button controller:

6-button replacement rubber domes
Click for larger image

The 6-button controller is a little different: the X Y Z, A B C buttons are now handled by the large rectangular piece. The D-Pad also only has one side-hole to orient it and hold it in place

* Note that I'm not affiliated with Nintendo Repair Hut, and that you can get these rubber domes from other suppliers as well, I'm just using them as the example as it's who I contacted to get my replacement rubber domes from.


Replacement

To replace the domes, you'll need a Phillips-Head screwdriver to open up the Mega Drive/Genesis controller.

  • Unplug and place the controller face-down
  • Unscrew both screws on the back
  • Carefully remove the back cover
  • Lift off the circuit board & attached cable:

    Mega Drive Genesis Circuit board
    Click for larger image

  • Remove the old rubber domes
    • They may be slightly stuck, and they may rip/come apart in your hands. Be sure to remove all pieces.
  • Place the new domes in the correct positions.
    • The D-Pad dome should be oriented so that the controller's plastic pins go through the holes on the D-Pad dome:
      Replaced Rubber domes
      Click for larger image
  • Replace the circuit board and back of the controller, being sure to orient the cable to fit through the hole.
  • Screw it back together
  • Test the controller.

If the controller is now working better, congratulations!

References

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    THIS! This is, by FAR, a much more reliable solution because you are buying new parts! Any second hand controller you buy will most likely have the same problem due to age. – Nelson Apr 5 '17 at 9:06
  • @Nelson Thanks, glad you agree! Plus it's cheaper in the long run - an entire controller is still probably ~$20-30, whereas the replacement domes are only $2 – Robotnik Apr 5 '17 at 9:16
  • Nice site. I remember me and my friends had to buy new Guitar Hero controllers when we wore down those caps. I wonder if they could have supplied them. – JMac Apr 5 '17 at 11:52

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