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Refurbishing steering wheel controller with new electronics?


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#1 Pixelboy ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:59 PM

This thread is mostly aimed at people with technical knowledge that I don't have. :)

As many of you know, once the optic components of the Expansion Module #2 (a.k.a. the steering wheel controller) and Roller Controller expire, there's no way to replace them because they are no longer "sourceable" anywhere. I recall some people looking for such components unsuccessfully in the past.

However, I had this idea earlier today about designing hardware with modern components that could completely replace the aging components inside the steering wheel's casing. These new electronics would work with the original steering wheel part, and would generate the same interrupt signals (through the DB9 cable) as the original electronics.

Could such a thing be done somehow? I'm not sure what would be done for power. Messing with batteries, meh... Maybe recycle the cords from broken Roller Controllers?

Anyway, I'm just wondering if modern electronics could be used. I don't think this has been attempted yet. :)

#2 Swami ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:34 PM

Or make the whole controller, since folks are making new CV consoles. This would eliminate restrictions on fitting everything in place correctly and maybe the wheel could be placed a little better and be a little larger. I know right now I have a tendency to play best just spinning it with a couple fingers...not very immersive. I'm not an electronics expert but I believe they are orders of magnitude less complex than a console. It's feasible it could be semi-mass produced for ~$50. I know it's possible many would prefer to retrofit the original, and I find  value in that as well, but finding the right parts to fit together may be something of a sticking point.



#3 enoofu OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:56 AM

May be easier to find someone to do to a control stick converter to plug between a modern controller and the CV



#4 Swami ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:30 AM

I've notice there seems to be a demand for people to want games hacked to use the roller controller instead of the standard controller, but there also seems to be a demand for people to want games hacked to use the standard controller instead of the steering wheel. I think the roller controller would be the more suited for retrofitting, if reasonable, while we may need a new steering wheel option (new controller or adapter) to make it more enjoyable. I don't know if the modern wheels have pedals that turn on and off or always stay on to some extent. Most of the modern wheels are rather expensive $100 - $500, plus additional adapter cost, which may limit those interested, but hard to tell.



#5 chart45 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:37 PM

last year i was working on a padle project and i let the project down since i dont have time to work on this... i know i have nice hand😉



this little pcb with dual reluctor work with out any power source but since it so little my plan was to make a signal multiplier circuit but this pcb will need a external power... i think guys like dave,brian or harvey could build it in no time

Edited by chart45, Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:39 PM.


#6 SiLic0ne t0aD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:09 PM

I'm sure something like this could be done, I don't see why not. There's got to be a modern solution for the steering wheel.
By the way, the video above is private.. Currently unable to view it. :(

#7 chart45 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:38 PM

I'm sure something like this could be done, I don't see why not. There's got to be a modern solution for the steering wheel.
By the way, the video above is private.. Currently unable to view it. :(


try this link should work now
https://youtu.be/4ZdpCELU51E

#8 SiLic0ne t0aD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 24, 2017 5:35 PM

Nice! Looks like it works fine to me.. problem solved, at least in a miniature form. That would be perfect for a mini steering wheel controller, just like the Overdrive or Vectrosis Vectrex controller made by Fury.

#9 chart45 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:53 AM

Nice! Looks like it works fine to me.. problem solved, at least in a miniature form. That would be perfect for a mini steering wheel controller, just like the Overdrive or Vectrosis Vectrex controller made by Fury.


i dont really know how the vetrecx controller works but if it use digital pulse like this
EC14802E-B625-484E-AE79-8EE6C7DA3D82.png

maybe it could be rewired to work with the colecovision

#10 digress OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:19 AM

i would like to see a modern replacement for the sketch it drawing tool. so maybe something along the lines of a mouse/ roller ball that you could limit with a switch to x/y values to double as a steering wheel. it could also be used like a mouse for say card games or sketching or as a roller controller.



#11 BigO ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:22 PM

Off the shelf optical quadrature encoders should be adaptable to be driven by the original mechanics and are probably a lot more robust. Should be available in a count per revolution configuration that would get the job done. Could build a new steering controller with them as well. Just not terribly cheap.

 

https://www.usdigita...rotary/shaft/S1



#12 BigO ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:00 PM

What part of the steering wheel controller is no longer sourceable?

 

The 4093 quad Shmitt trigger is available. Some general purpose transistors should be available. Looks like some small signal diodes and a few basic passive components otherwise.

 

The optical encoder components are so large and there's so much space in the driving controller that it looks entirely possible to just use individual emitter/detector components to replace the function of the original assembly if necessary. Probably could use two separate off-the-shelf opto-interruptors to set up the quadrature encoding. 

 

Didn't feel like tearing into the roller controller at the moment, so can't speak to what's inside there. But the steering wheel electronics look fairly easily repairable or replaceable.



#13 Swami ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:33 PM

What part of the steering wheel controller is no longer sourceable?

 

The 4093 quad Shmitt trigger is available. Some general purpose transistors should be available. Looks like some small signal diodes and a few basic passive components otherwise.

 

The optical encoder components are so large and there's so much space in the driving controller that it looks entirely possible to just use individual emitter/detector components to replace the function of the original assembly if necessary. Probably could use two separate off-the-shelf opto-interruptors to set up the quadrature encoding. 

 

Didn't feel like tearing into the roller controller at the moment, so can't speak to what's inside there. But the steering wheel electronics look fairly easily repairable or replaceable.

If I remember correctly, we had a hard time locating an affordable source for an optical emitter detector that would fit with the interrupter flywheel size and holes. I think the idea of finding/making a flywheel/optical E/D combo might be even more expensive (100's of dollars for what we found for the former or latter). I think this is why pixelboy is interested in input from technical experts in the field who know more about it.



#14 BigO ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:27 AM

Opto/photo interrupter (emitter/detector pair) look to be available as relatively inexpensive parts. There'd certainly be some fabrication involved to get a current off-the-shelf part positioned correctly. Most of the two channel units I've encountered had the two channels side-by-side whereas the ones in the driving controller are stacked vertically with respect to the mount.

 

The CV driving controller has two rows of slots. This arrangement seems like it would allow proper functioning with less precise components and component placement. With enough research and tinkering, one might find a dual channel device with spacing between the two sensors that would work with a single row of the slots in the driving controller.

 

If designing from scratch, the sensor doesn't need to be dual channel. The two elements don't even need to be near each other, just in proper phase with relation to the each other and the encoder wheel slots.

 

I'd be interested in hearing what was tried that looked like it would be hundreds of dollars. If we're talking about a minimal effort, five minute DIY drop-in replacement board for all of the electronics I can see that running into some real money for the development.



#15 Swami ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:30 AM

Opto/photo interrupter (emitter/detector pair) look to be available as relatively inexpensive parts. There'd certainly be some fabrication involved to get a current off-the-shelf part positioned correctly. Most of the two channel units I've encountered had the two channels side-by-side whereas the ones in the driving controller are stacked vertically with respect to the mount.

 

The CV driving controller has two rows of slots. This arrangement seems like it would allow proper functioning with less precise components and component placement. With enough research and tinkering, one might find a dual channel device with spacing between the two sensors that would work with a single row of the slots in the driving controller.

 

If designing from scratch, the sensor doesn't need to be dual channel. The two elements don't even need to be near each other, just in proper phase with relation to the each other and the encoder wheel slots.

 

I'd be interested in hearing what was tried that looked like it would be hundreds of dollars. If we're talking about a minimal effort, five minute DIY drop-in replacement board for all of the electronics I can see that running into some real money for the development.

We were trying to track down a device with the photo E/D in a notch, like on the driving controller. I believe the closest thing we found was a little small and cost several hundred dollars. Unfortunately, I seem to be thread-search-challenged. It doesn't help that expansion module 2 goes by probably a half-dozen names...expansion module 2, EM2, driving controller, wheel controller, driving module, etc. Where are the opto/photo interupters available that you are referring to?



#16 BigO ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:51 AM

There may not be a direct replacement, so some creativity and re-engineering will probably be required, but there are a lot of that type of part available. They're common in printers, copiers, and all sorts of electromechanical devices. I've got an assortment in my parts stash that I've removed from various things over the years. 

 

Coming up with the right search terms could be the biggest challenge as they're called a lot of different things. "Optical switch" seemed to work fairly well.

 

http://www.mouser.co... switch&FS=True

http://www.jameco.co..._type=jamecoall

https://www.digikey....stor-output/548

http://www.newark.co...lectric-sensors

 

If nothing else, I'm fairly sure that someone with a good understanding of how the encoding works could get something going with two off-the-shelf single channel devices.



#17 ianoid OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:05 AM

I'd favor an adapter to use an Atari Indy 500 controller.

I always found the driving controller to have an unacceptable amount of friction while turning anyway.

#18 BigO ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:18 AM

I'd favor an adapter to use an Atari Indy 500 controller.

I always found the driving controller to have an unacceptable amount of friction while turning anyway.

I don't think that would be technically difficult, but the resolution of the Indy 500 controller is soooo low that I don't think you'd like the outcome. I didn't count the slots in the CV controller, but shooting from the hip I'd say it has like 10 times the resolution of the Atari Indy controller.

 

I wondered if it was just mine that dragged. I'll have to look closer, but it seems like that white disk may be an intentional mechanism to cause drag. 



#19 ianoid OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:32 AM

I don't think that would be technically difficult, but the resolution of the Indy 500 controller is soooo low that I don't think you'd like the outcome. I didn't count the slots in the CV controller, but shooting from the hip I'd say it has like 10 times the resolution of the Atari Indy controller.
 
I wondered if it was just mine that dragged. I'll have to look closer, but it seems like that white disk may be an intentional mechanism to cause drag.


Ah, that might explain why it hasn't been done.

That drag sensation always felt like scraping to me.

#20 BigO ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:41 AM

That drag sensation always felt like scraping to me.

My thoughts exactly.



#21 Swami ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:57 AM

http://atariage.com/...nouts/?p=588267

 

Ah, that might explain why it hasn't been done.

That drag sensation always felt like scraping to me.

I bought one at an estate sale that was like new in box, at least on the outside. The steering wheel turned very smoothly compared to the two others I have used. Problem was, it was unused for 30 years, but it did not work...a look inside showed it had corrosion on the console cord interface with the pcb, most likely from batteries being left in too long at some point. But, the barely used one had a very smooth wheel turn, at least without power. Could be that an easily worn rotation interface material or low quality control is the reason most are rougher turning. What annoys me is I have to find some way to weight mine down, as it too light for twitch driving.



#22 BigO ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:47 PM

Batteries. :-)

#23 Swami ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:47 PM

I don't think that would be technically difficult, but the resolution of the Indy 500 controller is soooo low that I don't think you'd like the outcome. I didn't count the slots in the CV controller, but shooting from the hip I'd say it has like 10 times the resolution of the Atari Indy controller.

The Indy 500 controller has a 16 position rotary binary switch. It appears to use multiplexed signal over four pins to provide the 16 outputs. The side button works as the gas pedal (pin 6), although the spinner is not natively functional with the CV.

 

Here is the interupter flywheel: It has ~40 slots/row, but I don't know if the staggering of the two rows provide some type of multiplexing or not, regarding position within a " game life". It appears both (driving controllers*) provide relative positioning data to the console (auto-zero at start of a life).  I have no idea at what resoluton the analog paddle information would be digitized by the CV.

img_3392.jpg

 

Driving controller schematic:

Expansion%20Module-2%20-%20Driving%20Con

 

*Edit: clarify



#24 Swami ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:19 PM

Would something like these optical rotary encoders work?

 

http://www.beisensor...al-encoder.html

 

http://www.newark.co...oder/dp/58K1358

 

http://www.newark.co...oder/dp/58K1354



#25 chart45 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:11 PM

Would something like these optical rotary encoders work?
 
http://www.beisensor...al-encoder.html
 
http://www.newark.co...oder/dp/58K1358
 
http://www.newark.co...oder/dp/58K1354


i use those little rotary encoder in my video

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/171906808593

the problem is the number of pulse in one rotation

this is why i need a doubler circuit and a way to be sure to not fry the fragile cv controller chip...




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