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Refurbishing steering wheel controller with new electronics?


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#51 phattyboombatty OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 2, 2017 9:29 PM

Nice! This is a major breakthrough for the ColecoVision, as there are quite a few steering and paddle-type games out there!

 

Thanks for using your creative energy to support the ColecoVision!

 

I would love to see a PCB produced.



#52 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 2, 2017 11:20 PM

Nice! This is a major breakthrough for the ColecoVision, as there are quite a few steering and paddle-type games out there!

 

Thanks for using your creative energy to support the ColecoVision!

 

I would love to see a PCB produced.

 

I would like to try sticking one in a full sized racing wheel. I've decided that's probably a more practical approach than seriously modding out an EM2, hopefully. Not really sure what the inside of a Logitech racing wheel looks like.



#53 chart45 ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 3, 2017 6:51 AM

Nice! This is a major breakthrough for the ColecoVision, as there are quite a few steering and paddle-type games out there!
 
Thanks for using your creative energy to support the ColecoVision!
 
I would love to see a PCB produced.


i made one with eagle i'm waiting for it... i dont put to much hope on the first rev since i'm not to good with this kind of stuff.. if it work i will share like i did with the parker brother pcb

#54 AMenard OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 3, 2017 10:10 AM

Would a multiturn encoder, like those used in modern AV equipment coupled with an arduino to feed the CV with the correct translated signal be a solution?



#55 retroillucid OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 3, 2017 3:47 PM

I just want to say that we're working on a controller that would replace the Steering Wheel 
We do have a working prototype and we'll soon show it here on AA



#56 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 3, 2017 4:02 PM

I just want to say that we're working on a controller that would replace the Steering Wheel 
We do have a working prototype and we'll soon show it here on AA


Very interesting. Thanks for the announcement. Can you tell us the wheel diameter?

#57 retroillucid OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 3, 2017 4:32 PM

Very interesting. Thanks for the announcement. Can you tell us the wheel diameter?

 

It's just a prototype right now

We're working on this with Chart45 



#58 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 3, 2017 6:28 PM

 
It's just a prototype right now
We're working on this with Chart45 


I kind of have a prototype as well, LOL. I just added a longer column and a 12 inch toy steering wheel and tilted it forward a bit. It looks quite hideous though and has the original electronics and the larger wheel and column make it a little unstable due to the lightweight base. I took it apart because the added weight on the original screw hole for the wheel would probably hew out the threads. Certainly wouldnt post any pictures of my Frankensteins monster. But the larger steering wheel is nice to use for more realistic interaction since the size of the original makes only single-hand, two-finger operation reasonable.

#59 SiLic0ne t0aD OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 3, 2017 9:45 PM

That's great news, looking forward to seeing the new steering wheel. :)

#60 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 4, 2017 10:17 PM

So I decided to put a little more work in dressing up my modified expansion module 2, so I could show what ive been doing. So, here are a couple pictures. It is really just what you would call a proof of concept. Its functional but im still concerned about the weight on the screw holding the wheel column up. I do find it more fun with the bigger wheel, though. This was made in my apartment with about $50 worth of stuff ordered and stuff around the house. Id probably want to be able to have the ability to make threaded plastic pipe, plastic washers and fitted shims and tools to epoxy plastic pieces together to make it more structurally sound, but dont have a shop to do it in. Unfortunately, could not find a lightweight plastic wheel this size in black, although I could paint it...

 

Ultimately, it looks like the base screw is in there pretty solid. However, a couple small, well placed screws on the sides of the rotating base would remove the stress concern. I also plan to make the back support smaller and add a heavy duty suction cup, so the end result would be the same tilt, smaller profile and less slidey.

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#61 Pixelboy ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 4, 2017 10:25 PM

Are you sure those pictures weren't taken in Australia? :P

#62 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 4, 2017 10:56 PM

Are you sure those pictures weren't taken in Australia? :P

 

You caught me too quick. My phone always does that and then I have to fix them.



#63 nolram OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:57 AM

Will you guys be making the schematics public?



#64 chart45 ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:40 PM

ok rev 1 pcb are in so i tested with this steering wheel mod... the video is a little bit cappy since i was alone i will try to shoot a better one when my wife will be home... you can see the point everything is possible



#65 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:40 AM

ok rev 1 pcb are in so i tested with this steering wheel mod... the video is a little bit cappy since i was alone i will try to shoot a better one when my wife will be home... you can see the point everything is possible

https://youtu.be/j88PP1tPKQY


Again, very cool. I like a lot, including incorporating the shifter. Just out of curiosity, do you know how most of these pot based racing wheel pedals would interact with the fire button pin on the console?

#66 chart45 ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:50 AM

Again, very cool. I like a lot, including incorporating the shifter. Just out of curiosity, do you know how most of these pot based racing wheel pedals would interact with the fire button pin on the console?



never tried.... probably wont work gaz always on

#67 BigO OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:11 PM

I don't know all of the wiring details of the hardware in question, but it may be technically possible to interface to a fire button directly to a pot, if that's really what's presented by the controller.

If configured as a voltage divider, at a certain point it would supply a voltage that would be recognized as a logic 0. If configured as a variable resistor to ground, it would eventually override the internal pull up resistance and register as a logic 0 input.

But, there will be a point in either configuration where the resistance/voltage is in an ambiguous range between a logic 1 and logic 0. This means instability/unpredictability.

To make it operate more reliably, something like a comparator with hysteresis AKA Schmitt Trigger could be employed.

With the right setup you could make the pedal have to be pushed almost completely down to change digital output states, then require being nearly completely released to switch back to the other state. This keeps your signal out of the ambiguity zone.

On the other hand, if you can use the pedal at fully depressed or fully released it might work without any active circuitry being added.

Possibilities exist. :-)

#68 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:32 PM

I don't know all of the wiring details of the hardware in question, but it may be technically possible to interface to a fire button directly to a pot, if that's really what's presented by the controller.

If configured as a voltage divider, at a certain point it would supply a voltage that would be recognized as a logic 0. If configured as a variable resistor to ground, it would eventually override the internal pull up resistance and register as a logic 0 input.

But, there will be a point in either configuration where the resistance/voltage is in an ambiguous range between a logic 1 and logic 0. This means instability/unpredictability.

To make it operate more reliably, something like a comparator with hysteresis AKA Schmitt Trigger could be employed.

With the right setup you could make the pedal have to be pushed almost completely down to change digital output states, then require being nearly completely released to switch back to the other state. This keeps your signal out of the ambiguity zone.

On the other hand, if you can use the pedal at fully depressed or fully released it might work without any active circuitry being added.

Possibilities exist. :-)

 

I did get the gas and break pedals on my Logic3 TopDrive for PS2/3 to work with pole position 2 on my Atari 7800. The pedals have pots and are re-assigned from two of the four main PS action buttons. To get the PS2/3 wheel to work, I used a PS2 to USB adapter and a TOM rev2 USB to Atari/amiga adapter. The TOM rev2 does not work on the ColecoVision, though. The pot pedals and steering wheel are analog, but it seems likely that the TOM adapter is converting it to digital. For the steering wheel, this is a disadvantage, but the Colecovision pedals for ColecoVision and Atari are all two state anyway, so it not an issue there.



#69 SiLic0ne t0aD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:57 PM

Good job! Maybe I can revive a broken EM#2 I have laying around. It's a shame how the pedal is just an on/off switch and not a variable resistor/pot though, but maybe it could be modified too.

#70 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:50 PM

Good job! Maybe I can revive a broken EM#2 I have laying around. It's a shame how the pedal is just an on/off switch and not a variable resistor/pot though, but maybe it could be modified too.

It's possible if there is another analog input pin besides the driving controller pin, the gas could be hacked in driving games like the SCE hacks. I know there are two on the Atari 2600.



#71 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:39 PM

More or less final stage of retro hybrid expansion module 2 mod with heavy duty suction cup (used for moving large glass panes). Looking a lot better. Leather-ish wheel cover in black would be better, but not many wheel covers for 11 inch diameter, most are 13"-15" (standard vehicle wheel dimensions). Adding the original black and silver dot pattern on the wheel spokes would be nice, also.

.

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#72 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 9, 2018 12:28 PM

It's possible if there is another analog input pin besides the driving controller pin, the gas could be hacked in driving games like the SCE hacks. I know there are two on the Atari 2600.

After a little education on the quadrature setup, I think this could theoretically be done by creating a variable speed quadrature encoder for the second controller port pins 7 and 9 (y-axis), first controller port pins 7 and 9 are for x-axis quadrature. It would have to ultimately output quadrature rather than the pot voltage used by most racing pedals, so it would be something pretty much new, which might have a hard time getting off the ground since no games currently support this hypothetical gas pedal. It would be a fairly complex pedal comapared to most of the current ones, since the the pulse speed (e.g., like from rotating the wheel faster)  would have to increase with pedal depression (which might use a pot Vout to drive it) or you would need a chip that emulates quadrature output pulse speed based on a similar variable voltage device such as a pot.

 

The emulator chips already exist that can use analog joysticks to emulate Amiga/Atari ST/C64 mouse quadrature output, which is very similar to the output from the EM#2 (which uses only port 1,x) and the roller controller (which uses port 1,x and port 2,y),  but would have to be customized for the Colecovision, as opposed to the Amiga/ST/C64 mice. Some ambitious, multi-talented individual might get if off the ground if they built the pedal and made the driving games for it.

 

Of course, driving + gas pedal games are kind of like light gun games where there's probably not a whole lot new to be done before you are creatively limited -- although, I probably should add that this never stopped Atari from making peripherals that supported only one or no games during the consoles release life.



#73 BigO OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:16 AM

After a little education on the quadrature setup, I think this could theoretically be done by creating a variable speed quadrature encoder for the second controller port pins 7 and 9 (y-axis), first controller port pins 7 and 9 are for x-axis quadrature. It would have to ultimately output quadrature rather than the pot voltage used by most racing pedals, so it would be something pretty much new, which might have a hard time getting off the ground since no games currently support this hypothetical gas pedal. It would be a fairly complex pedal comapared to most of the current ones, since the the pulse speed (e.g., like from rotating the wheel faster)  would have to increase with pedal depression (which might use a pot Vout to drive it) or you would need a chip that emulates quadrature output pulse speed based on a similar variable voltage device such as a pot.

 

The emulator chips already exist that can use analog joysticks to emulate Amiga/Atari ST/C64 mouse quadrature output, which is very similar to the output from the EM#2 (which uses only port 1,x) and the roller controller (which uses port 1,x and port 2,y),  but would have to be customized for the Colecovision, as opposed to the Amiga/ST/C64 mice. Some ambitious, multi-talented individual might get if off the ground if they built the pedal and made the driving games for it.

 

Of course, driving + gas pedal games are kind of like light gun games where there's probably not a whole lot new to be done before you are creatively limited -- although, I probably should add that this never stopped Atari from making peripherals that supported only one or no games during the consoles release life.

One could program a microcontroller to output the quadrature encoded signals. As a side trip while learning to read quadrature signals from a trackball controller, I have used a PIC microcontroller to build an adapter to allow playing Indy 500 on the 2600 with a joystick. It was a horrible, horrible game play experience, but it worked. Varying the output pulse rate based on some variable input would not be a huge deal.

 

A pot for the variable input is certainly reasonable. Probably an existing analog pedal setup could be indirectly used to drive this input. If all 3 wires from the pot are used, a simple voltage divider feeding an analog input on the microcontroller would suffice. If only 2 wires from the pot are implemented  or the chosen microcontroller doesn't have analog inputs , you can use the cheap and cheesy A/D conversion method employed on the Atari 2600. Connect a capacitor to a digital input, discharge then charge the cap through a potentiometer until the attached digital input reads a logic 1 state. Count the time it takes to charge to that state and you have a reasonable approximation of the pot position. I've also done that with a low end PIC microcontroller for a different vintage gaming project.



#74 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:27 PM

One could program a microcontroller to output the quadrature encoded signals. As a side trip while learning to read quadrature signals from a trackball controller, I have used a PIC microcontroller to build an adapter to allow playing Indy 500 on the 2600 with a joystick. It was a horrible, horrible game play experience, but it worked. Varying the output pulse rate based on some variable input would not be a huge deal.

 

A pot for the variable input is certainly reasonable. Probably an existing analog pedal setup could be indirectly used to drive this input. If all 3 wires from the pot are used, a simple voltage divider feeding an analog input on the microcontroller would suffice. If only 2 wires from the pot are implemented  or the chosen microcontroller doesn't have analog inputs , you can use the cheap and cheesy A/D conversion method employed on the Atari 2600. Connect a capacitor to a digital input, discharge then charge the cap through a potentiometer until the attached digital input reads a logic 1 state. Count the time it takes to charge to that state and you have a reasonable approximation of the pot position. I've also done that with a low end PIC microcontroller for a different vintage gaming project.

 

The concern with anything like an externally powered adapter/emulator chip seems to be if you are using something that uses current, how do you keep it from adversely affecting the fragile controller interface chip.

 

No one seems to know what exactly is capable of harming the chips or protecting them from external current, except that static electricity is one likely culprit. I see in the schematic for the EM#2 that the negative lead from the 6V battery unit goes straight to pin 8 without any conditioning, which seems like it would be a problem when pin 8 is pulled high. Maybe the +5 VCC substitute of the positive pole of the battery unit is the potential problem, which in EM#2 encounters transistors, resistors, diodes or capacitors before reaching pin 8 or 6, 7 and 9.

 

Otherwise, if it is just static electricity that is the problem, maybe just adequate "earth" type grounding to a large metal something in the peripheral would be adequate.

 

All I've ever heard as a source for controller interface chip damage is Yurkie saying it was most likely due to static charge. I can attest I once saw a static flash in my controller port once when putting a controller into the port shortly before the controller interface chip went haywire (ground yourself and don't shuffle on the carpet before changing controllers in January).

 

However, I've never seen anyone make any adapters for PS2 to Colecovision or USB to Colecovision, like they have for many other consoles (which would be externally powered vs. powered by the consoles +5V VCC pin), which makes me suspicious there is something too risky involved, even though Coleco's two externally powered controllers work fine. For instance, I believe the new spinner replicates the EM#2 pcb, except for the updated rotary encoder. The first test with power worked without most of the pcb present, but chart45 added it back in out of concern for the controller chip.



#75 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Today, 2:53 AM

Regarding the creation of an analog pedal for the ColecoVision, I realized it is much simpler than I thought. One would not need the optical wheel spinning at a constant rate to maintain a constant velocity. You could just use y-axis absolute position data, like you do with the steering wheel's absolute x-position.

 

When you turn the steering wheel to the left, the car in turbo moves from the center to the left and stays there until you move the wheel back to its original position, which returns the car to the center. Likewise, if you replace the pot in a standard racing wheel with the pot-like optical encoder that Chart45 is using, pressing the pedal down will incrementally change the "Y" velocity axis absolute position, moving the pedal down further will move it more in the y direction and releasing the pedal will return the velocity back to its original zero position.

 

So, you would just need a copy of the EM2 pcb with the pot-like optical encoder in place of the pot in a racing pedal and you could power the encoder from the same batteries as the EM2. The pedal would be plugged into the 2nd controller port, which translates y-axis quadrature, and should not interfere with the standard controller in the port, since only the quadrature pins are being used for the pedal. However, some specially wired cable would be needed to wire the pedal's optical encoder to the +6V from the battery and merge it with the standard controller in port 2, but that is just the most basic wiring. At worst, high and low gear would use left and right on the 2nd port controller instead of up and down. I think a fairly simply hack of a game like Turbo or Hang On could convert the on-off acceleration to a quadrature absolute y-position value.






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