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5200 Controller Issues


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#1 lushgirl_80 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:28 PM

So I've got like 6 Atari 5200 stock controllers and only one of them really works.

Except I noticed certain games that I have don't play well with it. All my games work with the controller I use except for Mr.Do's Castle (can't move down) and Zaxxon (can't turn right). Other than that all my other games work great. Fire buttons,the keypad buttons and the start/pause/reset buttons all work good.

Just wondering why it wouldn't work fully with those games I mentioned.

#2 Dutchman2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:39 PM

The pots in the controller might need to be adjusted. Some games compensate for this, others don't

#3 Charlie_ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:38 PM

It could also be that the pokey adjustment in the console is off a bit.
A good test of system and controller is pitfall. If you can get on and off the ladders your system should be ok. :)

#4 metzger130 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:07 PM

It could also be that the pokey adjustment in the console is off a bit.
A good test of system and controller is pitfall. If you can get on and off the ladders your system should be ok. :)


I don't think I have any issues with my 2 controllers, but was just curious about this pokey adjustment in the console. How do you know if something is wrong and how exactly do you adjust such a thing if it is bad. I don't have pitfall so that's not a good game for me. I also have a 2 port system compared to a 4 port, can't remember if pitfall is one of the games that doesn't work with the 2 port, and am just curious on what exactly goes on and how you fix it.

#5 Charlie_ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:11 PM

It could also be that the pokey adjustment in the console is off a bit.
A good test of system and controller is pitfall. If you can get on and off the ladders your system should be ok. :)


I don't think I have any issues with my 2 controllers, but was just curious about this pokey adjustment in the console. How do you know if something is wrong and how exactly do you adjust such a thing if it is bad. I don't have pitfall so that's not a good game for me. I also have a 2 port system compared to a 4 port, can't remember if pitfall is one of the games that doesn't work with the 2 port, and am just curious on what exactly goes on and how you fix it.


You would need an Atari Diagnostic cart and a loop back plug. A masterplay interface also works and I would imagine any such digital controller converter would work also.
The Diagnostic cart can be run from the AtariMax USB or SD carts. There are a few threads here in the forum about it.
Once everything is set up and your in the pokey adjustment screen, you turn the adjustment knob until it reads the proper values.

**Also, I don't think Pitfall works with the two port.

Edited by Official Ninja, Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:12 PM.


#6 simbalion OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:56 AM

I've been lucky enough to have two 5200 consoles that seem to be alright on the adjustments for the controllers. That said, I should still probably look into getting the equipment and knowledge to adjust them at some date here soon. Maybe this fall when I'll be sitting inside alot because of the weather.

#7 S1500 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:48 AM

I now have a 3rd 5200 controller. Only the joystick works. Ugh. Tried opening 'er up to see if anything was out, and it looked fine. Previous 5200 controller i swapped out had a bunched-up board strip for the start/reset buttons. At least I still have 1 that works, thanks to a refurbishing.

#8 Rex Dart OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:52 AM

These controllers are such a crap shoot, I've given up on the system. I bought one controller where the Start/Reset strip had been chewed off or something; another where a close look revealed that somebody had been stabbing the buttons with a screwdriver to activate them. Holes through the circuit. I don't need to play Space Dungeon bad enough to put up with this mess.

#9 bohoki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:22 PM

guess i should offer some pc gamepads with adapters they work good but for a few games

#10 simbalion OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:06 AM

I don't know. I know that the 5200 controllers have thier issues, but I would rather hold them in my hands compared to Intellivision and Coleco controllers. I like those systems, but thier controllers are so uncomfortable to hold unless you have a pair of the super action controllers for the Colecovision. Or course, even the side buttons on the 5200 controller can cramp you up after awhile, but that seemed to be the state of the art for firing buttons during that era.

#11 jaybird3rd OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:52 PM

Anyone who's interested in the 5200 at all should really invest in a set of refurbished CX-52 joysticks from Best Electronics and spare themselves the trouble of dealing with the old ones. I've always been very comfortable servicing my own controllers—I've rebuilt several Intellivision hand controllers, and more Atari joysticks and paddles than I can remember—but in the case of the CX-52, it's so much better to just buy them already assembled, tested, and in their best possible state. Yes, it's more expensive, but in my opinion, the money you'll save by trying to fix them yourself and dealing with interim solutions (like the "aluminum foil dot fix") isn't worth the aggravation.

I own four of Best's rebuilt joysticks, and I'm very happy with them. I do have joystick issues with certain games (Pole Position only registers a hard left from the joystick, for example, and the cursor in Necromancer goes directly to the lower-right corner of the screen), but I think these are due to the console itself being out of adjustment. I'll have to find out more about that diagnostic loopback board.

#12 sdamon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:30 PM

Opinions always differ on this, but it comes down to whether you like the feel of the cx-52 and just have problems with its reliability, or if you just feel it's a bad design (due to the side mounted firebuttons and non-self-centering stick) and would prefer something else altogether.

Of course, if you're new to the system, and stuck with a non-functioning cx-52, it may be hard to know to know which way you come down on this (unless you've already used Colecovision and/or Intellivision sticks and know you hate side-mounted fire buttons on principle.)

Here's my suggestion to new 5200 owners... start with the "aluminum foil dot fix" It's cheap and fairly easy to do. Plenty of threads on this forum go into detail on how to do it. Once done, play some games and decide how you feel about these sticks. If you like them, consider getting them rebuilt by Best... it should be a more permanent fix than the foil dots, and some users have reported a better "feel" to the firebuttons.

But if you just don't like the cx-52's (and even a number of us 5200 fans do not), consider one of the alternatives. I personally prefer the Wico stick as the best all-around alternative... it works with every game, the buttons are NOT side mounted, and it self-centers. There is a nice keypad available to complement it, but it's expensive, and a foil-dot fixed standard controller (along with Wico's Y-cable) is a perfectly acceptable substitute. Alternatively, there is the Competition Pro stick, which works great for all the games that don't need analog control, and the Masterplay interface which lets you use Atari 2600 joysticks,... once again, just for the games that don't need analog. The Masterplay is really rare and expensive, and recently AtariAge user low_budget has been selling his own alternative which is reported to work well.

There's no one solution that will make every 5200 user happy. But I do think with some effort, every user can find a solution that works for them. I, for one, consider the system to be well worth it. :-)

#13 yell0w_lantern OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:33 PM

I just refurbished a pair of 5200 controllers using parts from Best and it's not that hard. Looking at the original mylars - they don't really have very good conductive material. I put the probes from my multimeter right next to each other on the same pad and it would not register a connection!

As a guy with very few electronics skills just getting into the 5200, I say either use refurbished sticks with good components OR build a splitter, convert over an old analog stick (IBM PC Jr is great and they're cheap), make a 3 button start/pause/reset box and snip one resistor off a star raiders keypad (this'll give you a WICO equivalent setup for a fraction of the price. My 3rd suggestion is to build your own joypad - something I am in process of doing and will post pics of when I finish.


WE MISS MIKI!


Sorry, that happens every time I see the word Lush.

WE MISS MIKI!

See? I told you

Edited by yell0w_lantern, Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:47 PM.


#14 peedenmark7 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:57 PM

Be VERY careful as you install the new mylar with 2 way tape. You get only a chance or two to remove a new mylar fire button section before ruining it.

Also, do NOT 2 way tape down the start button mylar as that will make taking it apart if need be a real pain..

As you begin playing , You'll eventually burn through the gold on the mylar circuits, I am on my third on my main controller, but I put in roughly 25+ hours a week playing, which equates to probably 400+ hours per mylar. Take into consideration how many times you press the fire buttons in that time and you'll be buying a few spares to have on hand.

Still, one would think they would last a bit longer .

On average I have no less than 3 complete gold refrubed and 2 factory originals for certain games on hand at all times... Not that it helps my game play any :(

Edited by peedenmark7, Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:59 PM.


#15 dr.robbie OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:27 PM

Question regarding a similar situation. I have recently acquired two atari systems (I think theyre 2600s: one says Sears Video Arcade II and the other is the classic woodgrain style system). I am a Nintendo person myself and never really got into Ataris at all so I know little about the systems.  I have four controllers for these: two classic joysticks and two Sears Video Arcade II controllers. One system will register all of the buttons for two of the games, but only the directional buttons on all of the other games. The other system doesn't register any button input at all. This is really strange to me. In my experience, if a controller works it works on all systems (aside from the highly unusal controller port issues). Why would these controllers work on some games but not others? Why would a working controller plugged into a working system not work together? I really want to get these functioning properly because I just got a nice lot of 2600 games that I want to try to play. Thanks for any and all help :)



#16 sdamon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:12 AM

Hi, DrRobbie! You may get more help by posting in the 2600 forum than here in the 5200 forum. But in short, 2600 controller port issues aren't all that uncommon. Also, some 2600 games use paddle controllers instead of joysticks which might explain the differences you are seeing between games.

#17 bigbacon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:57 AM

It could also be that the pokey adjustment in the console is off a bit.
A good test of system and controller is pitfall. If you can get on and off the ladders your system should be ok. icon_smile.gif

 

bumping this super old thread because of this reply....can someone explain this? I can't play pitfall on my two port, neither of my controllers work with it. They work ok on other games but now they are starting to have issues with just about any game. I've been playing lots of berzerk lately and one controller every so often I could get him to go to the right my othercontroller was just fine with it but now they both have the same issue and firing in that game is now problematic as well.

 

can someone explain this pot adjust ment thing?



#18 Charlie_ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:57 AM

 

bumping this super old thread because of this reply....can someone explain this? I can't play pitfall on my two port, neither of my controllers work with it. They work ok on other games but now they are starting to have issues with just about any game. I've been playing lots of berzerk lately and one controller every so often I could get him to go to the right my othercontroller was just fine with it but now they both have the same issue and firing in that game is now problematic as well.

 

can someone explain this pot adjust ment thing?

If you don't have a diagnostic cart, the best way to adjust pokey is to open the controller. Take care to not harm the flex circuit. Make sure both pots are pointed exactly 9 o'clock and 6 o'clock, this would be the center pole of the 3 poles on each pot. Then use missile command, adjust the 5200's pokey, turning the adjustment knob until the cross-hair in the game is exactly centered in the playing field.

The reason for opening the controller is to ensure the analog pot are positioned as described above, With the controller assembled it is hard to know exactly where the pots are positioned.



#19 bigbacon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:01 PM

cool I can try that. thanks for explaining that to me. I'm hoping this will solve my issue with games other wise I'll need to start looking at the board and the connection for the controller.

 

EDIT:

so question...

 

testing missile command with my two controllers before adjusting anything.

 

1 controller, cross is centered on the screen and I have a full range of motion. after each round cross centers itself

the other controller cross is not centered on the screen and I do not have a full range of motion to the right. after each round cross starts not centered.

 

so is this still the same problem, the controller or something else? Again, if I try to play pitfall I can't go down with either controller and various of the games just work/don't work randomly with either controller.


Edited by bigbacon, Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:13 PM.


#20 ToddUGA OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:11 PM

Some 2 ports have trouble with Pitfall. Easiest solution is to replace the 2 port bios with a 4 port bios. That's what I did and it did the trick.



#21 Charlie_ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:40 PM

If the game starts, your 2 port should work fine with Pitfall!

 

Sounds like one of your controllers maybe out of whack. I'd say you can use Pitfall! to adjust the pokey too.

Leave the controllers assembled, find a ladder in Pitfall! and make very small adjustments on the adjustment wheel until you can climb up/down ladders. I've actually done this very thing in the past. Also, let the 5200 run for 20 mins or so and try the ladders again, the adjustment can change slightly as the console warms up.



#22 bigbacon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:01 AM

If the game starts, your 2 port should work fine with Pitfall!

 

Sounds like one of your controllers maybe out of whack. I'd say you can use Pitfall! to adjust the pokey too.

Leave the controllers assembled, find a ladder in Pitfall! and make very small adjustments on the adjustment wheel until you can climb up/down ladders. I've actually done this very thing in the past. Also, let the 5200 run for 20 mins or so and try the ladders again, the adjustment can change slightly as the console warms up.

 

well with pitfall, neither controller works.






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