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Ultimate Intellivision Controller


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#1 fdr4prez OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:19 PM

Were you disappointed in those Intellivision 10 and Intellivision 25 direct to TV video game systems?

 

How could these be an Intellivision plug and play system when they don't even look like an Intellivision controller?

 

direct2tv2.jpg

 

 

Let me introduce my Ultimate Intellivision Controller

 

Front.jpg

Looks can be deceiving... This is not just any ordinary Inty controller.  This is the ultimate Intellivision direct to TV, or plug-n-play system

 

One cable for power and one for the HDMI cable is all that I need to have my Inty ROM collection at my finger tips.  But more importantly - playing using a real Intellivision controller for that genuine retro feeling.

 

The miracle of it all is hiding in the backside of the controller.

 

There is a Raspberry Pi Zero and a Raphnet adapter hiding in the recessed cavity of the controller that makes all the magic happen.

 

Back View - Close Up.jpg

Everything fits in there except for the bloody mini-HDMI plug.  They don't make a low profile 90-degree cable.  So after a long and hard search, you can see that we had to do a special modification on one, and even then it is a tight fit.

 

I'd like to make and sell these, but due to the mini-HDMI cable issue, I fear that this may end up being the only Ultimate Intellivision Controller.  I am always looking for alternatives and solutions for the video cable, so we'll see what the future may hold.

 

I do a fair bit of traveling for work, so I wanted to make a small and inexpensive system to carry with me.  If you do a lot of traveling, you soon learn that you don't want to carry around too many extra things.   I don't think I can get much smaller than the Inty controller itself.

 

I have been working on this for many months, and I really need to thank pimpmaul69, intvdave and mr_me for all the help they've provided in this endeavor.

 

I have two upgrades planned:

1) The clear plastic undercover needs to be rounded a bit, and the area near the side buttons should be notched in a bit, but I don't think it is that bad as it is. 

 

2) I will be adding a microSD extension cable so the SD card would be accessible without disassembling the underside.  With the hopeful release of many homebrew ROMs in the near future, having the SD card readily available will come in handy.

 

UPDATE (April 2017):

There is a new model of the Pi Zero, called Pi Zero W, that includes built in wifi, so I have rebuilt my Ultimate Intellivision Controller to use this new model.

 

Now it is very easy for me to add in new ROMs.

 

Also, I've added a new RetroPie splashscreen (thanks Byte Knight and mthompson)

INTV Controller Splash.png

 

 

 


Edited by fdr4prez, Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:01 PM.


#2 ChefPepper OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:15 AM

Awesome! The ability to take it with you is great!

#3 ChefPepper OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:15 AM

Awesome! The ability to take it with you is great!

#4 ChefPepper OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:15 AM

Awesome! The ability to take it with you is great!

#5 Byte Knight OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:18 AM

Now that is very cool - the ultimate way to play single-player games!  Without wifi or an accessible USB port you'll definitely need to be able to get at the micro-SD card in order to add more roms.



#6 JasonlikesINTV OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:36 AM

Neat!

#7 fdr4prez OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:47 AM

Now that is very cool - the ultimate way to play single-player games!  Without wifi or an accessible USB port you'll definitely need to be able to get at the micro-SD card in order to add more roms.

 

As I travel, I will be in the hotel room alone (or at least I should be :grin: ), so I am OK with single player games.

 

A possible future build is that I would use the GPIO for the main controller, and then I'd have the Raphnet going up and out with the other cables using a DB9 cable so you can connect a FB controller for player 2.

 

But this is way lower on my list of projects, and it just may be an academic exercise only since at home I can use my RPi2 and CGC adapter.  So there is no pressing need for me to make a two player version of this.

 

It is too bad you can't make it to PRGE this year.  I will take this with me as its maiden voyage.



#8 atarifan88 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:41 AM

This is cool!  Looks like a controller from the Super Pro INTV system.



#9 Byte Knight OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:05 PM

 

A possible future build is that I would use the GPIO for the main controller, and then I'd have the Raphnet going up and out with the other cables using a DB9 cable so you can connect a FB controller for player 2.

 

A controller plugging into another controller?  Mind blowing...



#10 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:10 PM

That's insanely clever! 



#11 fdr4prez OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:14 PM

Awesome! The ability to take it with you is great!

 

Yes, thanks.  I didn't want to carry around an expensive UPCI and PI 2, so I really wanted to find inexpensive alternatives and it all fell into place.

 

Pi Zero = $5

Raphnet = $15

Controller = Free, because I had a spare

Cables = whatever was inexpensive from Amazon/ebay

 

I did purchase many different cables to find the ones that worked the best, and so development costs were higher

 

But now I can carry it around easily.



#12 fdr4prez OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:17 PM

This is cool!  Looks like a controller from the Super Pro INTV system.

 

Yeah, I can't recall if this controller is from my old System III or my old Super Pro - I removed the controllers from both of these units too long ago and now I don't recall which it came from.

 

I like the black look of the controller compared to the golden/brown version of the original consoles.



#13 fdr4prez OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:33 PM

 

A controller plugging into another controller?  Mind blowing...

 

Yes, that would be neat.  There is already pre-existing support for Atari-type of joysticks to go directly to the GPIO.  But those joysticks are easier since each direction/button is a separate output from the joystick.  The Inty controller will need to work off of the matrix of the 9-pins, so it is a bit more complex to interpret.

 

If the Pi Zero had two USB ports, then it is simply plug and play.  But adding a separate USB hub takes too much real estate.

 

so for now a two-player version will stay on the back burner.

 

Now that this main project is complete, I've got a few smaller projects to complete and then I need to see about getting my Channel F console functioning.



#14 gunoz OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 21, 2016 7:59 PM

This is insanely awesome.

#15 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:07 AM

Yes, that would be neat.  There is already pre-existing support for Atari-type of joysticks to go directly to the GPIO.  But those joysticks are easier since each direction/button is a separate output from the joystick.  The Inty controller will need to work off of the matrix of the 9-pins, so it is a bit more complex to interpret....
 


I found this about using gpio as 9pin joystick adapters.
https://github.com/c...pi-gpio-jstk.py
https://github.com/t...aster/src/ev.py

If that works and performs well with jzintv then it shouldn't be a problem adapting it to Intellivision controllers. Not sure how it handles a second controller but as a workaround you could put the second controller as buttons of the first controller. There's enough buttons and pins for two controllers. Then you wouldn't need any usb adapters at all.

#16 wolfy62 ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:26 PM

I saw this at PRGE and it does look amazing!!! :)  Great work. :thumbsup:



#17 PowerPakBlog OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:59 AM

Wow, very cool! And funny because I've recently been wondering if anyone had ever attempted to stuff some circuitry into the space behind the controller. In my case, I was wondering whether it would be possible to make a Bluetooth controller to use with my Raspberry Pi.

 

I found this little BT transmitter along with tutorials on how to use it to convert a wired controller to BT, but quickly realized that the Intv controller would not be quite so easy because, well, it's an Intv controller. I have no experience creating electronics beyond hobby projects, so my thought experiment ended there. Saw this post and thought I'd throw it into the mix.

 

Bluefruit EZ-Key - 12 Input Bluetooth HID Keyboard Controller: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1535



#18 fdr4prez OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:44 PM

Wow, very cool! And funny because I've recently been wondering if anyone had ever attempted to stuff some circuitry into the space behind the controller. In my case, I was wondering whether it would be possible to make a Bluetooth controller to use with my Raspberry Pi.

 

I found this little BT transmitter along with tutorials on how to use it to convert a wired controller to BT, but quickly realized that the Intv controller would not be quite so easy because, well, it's an Intv controller. I have no experience creating electronics beyond hobby projects, so my thought experiment ended there. Saw this post and thought I'd throw it into the mix.

 

Bluefruit EZ-Key - 12 Input Bluetooth HID Keyboard Controller: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1535

 

That's a neat little device.

 

Unfortunately, and as you've mentioned, the Intellivision controller is too complex for this device.

 

This device ties a keyboard event directly to each of the 12 inputs.  There is no support for interpreting a matrix of inputs to properly send the correctly needed keyboard event for the Inty controller.  There are 31 possible keyboard events that are needed to be supported based on the input signals from the controller.

 

Unfortunately, based on Adafruit's site, there is no way to reprogram the device's firmware in the field.

 

Thanks for sharing that link.  I've saved it for future consideration on non-Intellivision projects.



#19 BBWW OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:25 PM

I'm gonna have to try this. I have a bunch of controllers. 



#20 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 26, 2016 9:00 PM

Wow, very cool! And funny because I've recently been wondering if anyone had ever attempted to stuff some circuitry into the space behind the controller. In my case, I was wondering whether it would be possible to make a Bluetooth controller to use with my Raspberry Pi.
 
I found this little BT transmitter along with tutorials on how to use it to convert a wired controller to BT, but quickly realized that the Intv controller would not be quite so easy because, well, it's an Intv controller. I have no experience creating electronics beyond hobby projects, so my thought experiment ended there. Saw this post and thought I'd throw it into the mix.
 
Bluefruit EZ-Key - 12 Input Bluetooth HID Keyboard Controller: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1535

I think it can be done. Assuming the eight controller pin states are transmitted as keyboard keys. If you have a program/script running in the background on the pi that can read those keyboard presses, they can be interpretted as regular Intellivision controller actions by the same program/script and then sent as joystick actions or more keyboard buttons.

#21 fdr4prez OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:14 PM

I think it can be done. Assuming the eight controller pin states are transmitted as keyboard keys. If you have a program/script running in the background on the pi that can read those keyboard presses, they can be interpretted as regular Intellivision controller actions by the same program/script and then sent as joystick actions or more keyboard buttons.

 

Yeah, that did cross my mind as a possible solution.

 

The Bluetooth device would just be transferring the 8 keyboard events to the Pi without interpreting them.  The background script will do the translation into the needed button/disc events.

 

An interesting concept for sure.

 

I'd need to finish my many other projects before I'd even think about tackling this project.  I barely know how to make simple python scripts for PGIO > keyboard events, so this would be quite the learning project.



#22 PowerPakBlog OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:11 AM

Wanted to point out that when I say I want to use it on "Raspberry Pi", I'm talking specifically about playing on the JZINTV emulator as part of the RetroPie package. You guys probably assumed that, but if not, now you know.

 

And knowing is half the battle. Yo Joe.



#23 exo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:36 AM

This sounds like a really fun project. How long did it take you to create this?



#24 fdr4prez OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:18 AM

Wanted to point out that when I say I want to use it on "Raspberry Pi", I'm talking specifically about playing on the JZINTV emulator as part of the RetroPie package. You guys probably assumed that, but if not, now you know.
 
And knowing is half the battle. Yo Joe.


Yes, definitely.

JzIntv can use the keyboard for all the controller functions, so if the script that runs in the background works for detecting the 8 keyboard events from the Bluetooth device and then interprets them and outputs the 31 possible needed keyboard events that jzintv will be mapped to detect, then there should be no trouble.

#25 fdr4prez OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:35 AM

This sounds like a really fun project. How long did it take you to create this?

Development of any project is typically a long process. When things are ironed out and you get to building it then that usually doesn't take too long.

For this project it was first imagined about a year ago,and I started gathering items in January.

The Pi Zero was hard to get at that time due to constantly being on backorder.

And I never used a Pi before, so at that time I also got my first Pi2 so use that as a testing ground and learn about RetroPie.

The Raphnet adapter was the biggest challenge due to the stock firmware didn't support the extra combo buttons that would need to be mapped to reset and quit. There is a recent posting here by me about that.

But most of this year long process was research and just general life busyness and finding time to work on it.

Edit: assuming that there is a solution for the mini-hdmi cable, now that I know exactly what needs to be done, building a new one will not take too long.

Edited by fdr4prez, Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:40 AM.





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