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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 Official Ninja ONLINE  

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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 Official Ninja ONLINE  

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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 OFFLINE  

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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.





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