It's the end of the nubs as we know them


Staff member
Mar 4, 2003
Today is the start of multiple blog posts again - that worked fine last time, so I'll continue doing this.
Let's start with the Nubs today.

You probably read it via Twitter already:
The nubs we wanted to use for the Pyra have reached their EOL (End of Life) - they will not be produced anymore.
Orders until end of the year will still be produced and fulfilled, but that's it.

Just as a quick reminder:
The nub we've chosen consists of two parts: The mechanical cage (which is basically a magnet you move around with springs for autocentering) and a hall sensor (on the other side of the PCB) which reads out the movements and converts them to coordinates.

Not the full system will be EOL - only the mechanical part. The hall sensor is still available.
There will be a (smaller) replacement, but that one will have 1mm less travel distance (so only 1mm instead of 2mm), which is probably too little for gaming.

So, what will happen now?
Will that cause a major issue?

Probably not.

Basically, our choices are...

  1. Keep the hall sensor and try to create our own slider mechanism with a magnet.
  2. Order more than enough nubs needed until the end of the year and find a company which can produce compatible replacement nubs (maybe even the same one that produced the current ones for AMS)
  3. Switch to different nubs
  4. Use the replacement ones with less travel distance

Well, what's our decision?
We didn't decide yet - but here are some thoughts I'm currently having:

Solution 1 would be nice to have - but it would need to be reliable, not wear out easily. Sure, we only need to take care of the mechanical part, no electronics involved, but I'm still not too fond of that.

Solution 2 is basically Solution 1 with a bit of safety. And instead of designing our own one, it would be a clone of what we currently have.
Could be a solution, but I'm not sure... well, if we can get the original manufacturer to produce the nubs for us on demand, then it would work.

Solution 3 is currently my favorized solution.
We still got multiple nub samples for testing (the ones that Fatih sourced for us last year).
My favorite one is the one that the 3ds uses. That's the one we're testing now.
The travel distance is even a bit more, but it doesn't have a stick click.
We KNOW it's reliable and well-tested though.

It's approximately the same size, so no huge redesign needed.

What I never liked with the 3ds nubs was the disc: My finger often slips off.
But the nub is WITHOUT the disc - so we'll still use our own one :)
Sounds like a pretty good solution.

Solution 4 doesn't really sound like a good idea to me.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but as you probably found out, I think Solution 3 seems to be the best one for us.
Well, unless we can get the manufacturer of the current ones to produce them for us on demand - but that needs to be checked.

In any case, it's important to test new ones to be ready to switch.
I'll let you know what'll happen.
Test the less travel hall sensor solution, if its good, use that.

Solution 6: Place an order big enough for all future pyras, and/or supplement with choice 2 or solution 6 when they run out.

In any event testing the newnub seems better than just writing it off.

A custom disc sounds feasible to manufacture, going with any of the hall effect solutions means there is a fallback in that a ready made disc exists, or the companies that made it, if even that should prove difficult.

Is there anywhere the new and old hall sensor nubs can be ordered so we can try it?

                                Pandora nub            GCW-zero nub              3DS nub           Old hall effect                 New hall effect/replacement

Tested                               yes                             yes                       yes                  by some                          not yet

Works                              part-time                        yes                       yes                     yes                               yes?

Availability                          no                                 ?                        yes               yesd (until end of year)       yes

Disc avail                            no                                yes?               no(custom)              yes?                             yes

Disc size                             1.5cm                           1.4cm                1.45cm                   ?                                  ?        

Travel                              ±1.3mm                      ±2.0mm              ±2.5mm                 ±2.0mm                       ±1.0mm

Click                                     no                                no                       no                       yes                               yes

Click at full extention             -                                   -                          -                          no                                 ?

Click force                             -                                  -                           -                         0.75N                   0.15N or 0.30N

Mechanical-Durability       medium                      low/medium             medium              good                             best

Movement feel                   good                    needs repair             medium                 good?                          good?

No catching                         yes                              no                        no                      yes?                             yes?

No spin                                 no                                yes                  no(some play)       yes?                              yes?              

Bottoms out easy to side     no                                no                        no                        ?                                   ?

Is it possible to click and draw a line with the hall effects? That is ok if you want to draw a box to select something, but i think being able to click like that is better for gimp and such.

Edit: It looks to me like the 3ds nubs require the casing to be very thin
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The clicking feature could be handy for odd things, but since it could only be used when centered, I feel like we can lose it.
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3DS nubs really seem to be the way to go. 
The only real case of fails for it was just recently with all that Smash Bros going on... and that's regarding the top falling off. This happens with the Pandora's nubs as well and for the Pyra it would be a custom design anyway, so that wouldn't be a valid argument against it.
Could they not be made to click by mounting the whole nub mechanism on top of a button? Or is there not room?
Testing Pandora and 3DS nubs back and forth, eh... I don't like either of them, but I feel less like I am breaking the Pandora's nubs.  This difference could just be the spinning cap though, which I hope the Pyra will have too.  I don't have any useful opinions this round, because I miss joysticks so much and don't especially like nubs at all.

All 3DS nubs I have handled besides a brand spanking new one one time were loose though, and said brand new one became loose a couple months later too.  Perhaps they will be pretty easy to solder out for replacements should the Pyra's nubs have that problem though.
I would be fine whit the 3DS Nubs, i mean, bevore the Pandora, nobody used a Analognub for Desktop Navigation (i ditnt know) but it dit work realy well on the Pandora, and when the 3DS Nub is better, than i think it would also work for the Desctop..

Playing PSX Games whit the 3DS Circle Pad, would be great.., and they also work good for Gameboy and DS Games (tryed it out on my 3DS XL)..

On Pandora, i used mostly the DPAD, but on 3DS, the Nub, ..

(wonder when somebody posts the "all you need is nubs" Video to this threadt)..
I would say 3->4->2->1..

Do you know the reason for the EOL? Could there be some reliability/durability issue with the nubs that is the reason for swithing to  a smaller travel distance??

Would it make sense to replace the nub with a pointing stick ( with a custom cap? A custom cap because it should work well with thumbs rather than index fingers, so it should probably be larger and work well with the thumb approaching it from the side as opposed to the index finger approaching it from the top.

The advantage of pointing sticks is that they're designed to have the precision needed to move a mouse cursor on a high-resolution screen intended for desktop applications. So it could be a better match than game console nubs that are basically intended to be an analog kind of dpad: they're mostly about indicating direction in a continuous way, not about precise cursor movement.
How durable are pointing sticks when quickly jerked around? How ergonomic are they in prolonged continuous use? Both of these are not issues when used like a desktop mouse, but consider using one as a controller for some game that functions like track&field :)
^^ Thanks for Posting this :)

Id would be funny, if it isnt a bit sad..

The Reason because the EOL could be, you ditnt need lot Nubs now, because the Touchscreen Devices out there,

This why its that Divicult to get Nubs, if you arend a big Company like Nintendo or Sony..