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Jess Ragan

ColecoVision controller mod

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Someone on this forum was able to add a 9-pin port to their ColecoVision controller. I'm working on a similar modification, and I'm halfway there. Connecting the directions was a cinch, but it's the fire buttons that are causing me tons of trouble. Connecting each wire to a single solder point won't do the job... it appears that the buttons on the controller are pressure-sensitive, and I don't know how to convert that to a single signal. Could anyone provide some assistance?

Also, for reasons unknown to me, pressing down and right on the controller when playing Mr. Do!'s Castle pauses the game. Is there any way I can disable the asterisk on the controller to keep that from happening?

Thanks in advance for the help!

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Hi again Jess!

I'm not sure if i can help you or not, because to be quite honest im not sure what your asking or even if i know enough. Do you want to know how the buttons work in general, or do you want to know how they work with your particular set up? I know how the Colecovision standard controller works, and can attempt to explain it to you if you like.

CS

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Well, I want to know how the left button works. If you were building a 9-pin joystick port into a ColecoVision controller, how would you connect the fire button pin to the ColecoVision's left fire button? I talked to DoubleDown about this, and he's pretty much told me that the right fire button is a lost cause unless I want to go to the trouble of tearing apart a Genesis controller and connecting the pins directly to the wires inside a CV controller. I don't want to do this because these things are like gold to me... original six button Sega Arcade Pads are not as easy to find as they once were!

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See if this page will help:

[url="http://www94.pair.com/jsoper/cv_genadap.html"]http://www94.pair.com/jsoper/cv_genadap.html[/url]

It's for doing a more extensive mod than you want I think, but jsopher is here on AA so maybe he could help you out.

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The left button shares a common with the 4 (technically 8 ) directions, and the right button shares its common with the keypad. So for a one button controller the additional 9-pin controller on the ColecoVision would need 6 wires, 4 directions, 1 button, 1 common. Solder each wire to it's respective place on the Coleco PCB then to the connector. Then as long as the controller you'd be connecting, in your case a Genesis 6-button (ton of them on ebay right now, lots of 2, 4, 12 whatever you want, not rare at all) has discrete outputs for these fuctions that will represent your pinout for the new connector on the ColecoVision controller. The buttons on the ColecoVision controller have 4-5 solder points, 2 for mounting (outer most diagonal corners) and 2 or 3 for contact. When the button is pressed the interal contact sleeve slides in thus connecting the middle and inner most contact, and an in-game reaction insues. The biggest issues will be with what the genesis controller actually outputs because of it's internal inverter. Edited by doubledown

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Here, try this:

[img]http://img79.imageshack.us/img79/715/colecopcbpd5.jpg[/img]

Red points are contact points, green point, as well as anything touching this trace is your common.

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Thanks! That's very helpful.

The weird thing is, I never needed to hook up a ground for any of the directions! Is that strange or what?

I'll keep working on this and keep you informed of my progress.

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I promised you a progress report, and a progress report you shall receive!

I realize what I did wrong while working on this mod... I had the controller's circuit board flipped upside down, so I connected the RIGHT fire button to the 9-pin port rather than the left one! Yeesh, I hate when that happens!

Connecting the port to ground cleared up all those annoying inversion problems. Now my Sega Arcade Pad is recognized as any other Atari joystick would be, without the aggravation of additional input. I can press diagonally all I want while playing Mr. Do!'s Castle, and the game never pauses. Man, it just doesn't get any better than this!

Well... I suppose it COULD get better, if only there was a clean way to connect that pesky right fire button to the port. My understanding is that the right fire button works on a lower wattage than the left one. I don't suppose you could raise that wattage with some kind of converter, could you? Just a thought.

Anyway, I've attached a picture of my twisted creation at the bottom of this post. Thanks again for all the help, guys! You've saved me much unnecessary grief. Now I can play Space Invaders Collection and Mr. Do!'s Castle with no trouble at all! Edited by Jess Ragan

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[quote name='Jess Ragan' post='1424941' date='Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:44 PM']Well... I suppose it COULD get better, if only there was a clean way to connect that pesky right fire button to the port. My understanding is that the right fire button works on a lower wattage than the left one. I don't suppose you could raise that wattage with some kind of converter, could you? Just a thought.[/quote]

The biggest key is that the right fire button is on a seperate common from the left (and the navigation). Only easy way to do it is to internally re-wire the Genesis controller cutting the common trace from whichever other button on the Genesis controller you would want to represent the right button on the ColecoVision so it's not connected to the main common, and wire the port on the ColecoVision controller with 2 more wires. One for the 2nd buttons contact and ground. The 2nd button would only work when that Genesis controller is plugged into your modded ColecoVison controller though, wouldn't work plugged straigt into the ColecoVision console.

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This might be slightly out of left field but the VCS version of Omega Race can use a CV controller instead of the Booster Grip for the 2 buttons. Would looking at the pinout out for the Booster Grip help in figuring out a good way to add the 2nd button to this?

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[quote name='Jess Ragan' post='1425433' date='Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:31 PM']It could, if I had a schematic for the Booster Grip![/quote]

Click and scroll down!

[url="http://emu-docs.org/Atari%202600/Controllers/2600cont.html"]http://emu-docs.org/Atari%202600/Controllers/2600cont.html[/url]

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This is extremely handy! I might just be able to use this. The 5200 joystick adapters work on a similar principle, converting input from a digital controller into an analog signal that the 5200 can use. Thanks for the help! Now I've got to dig out those 4502 chips...

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[quote name='Jess Ragan' post='1425441' date='Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:46 PM']Now I've got to dig out those 4502 chips...[/quote]
4052!

Your post gave me major deja vu. I bought a Mr&Mrs Pacman pinball project machine last August on the cheap, and its one major problem (among many smaller ones) was that someone replaced a 4502 chip on the motherboard with a 4052.

Dyslexics untie! Edited by jsoper

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By the way Jess, you know the 7800 RSI stick allows both buttons and works fine on the CV. You just need another controller in 2 to select game.

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[quote name='joeybastard' post='1428331' date='Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:15 PM']By the way Jess, you know the 7800 RSI stick allows both buttons and works fine on the CV. You just need another controller in 2 to select game.[/quote]

Some games require player/difficulty selections to be made from controller port 1, not port 2. Which just for the sake of not being a pain in the ass, ColecoVision controllers need keypads. Like so:

[img]http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/814/jagcolecoconversionas3.jpg[/img]

[img]http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/5530/picturecl5.jpg[/img]

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[quote name='doubledown' post='1428463' date='Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:35 AM'][quote name='joeybastard' post='1428331' date='Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:15 PM']By the way Jess, you know the 7800 RSI stick allows both buttons and works fine on the CV. You just need another controller in 2 to select game.[/quote]

Some games require player/difficulty selections to be made from controller port 1, not port 2. Which just for the sake of not being a pain in the ass, ColecoVision controllers need keypads. Like so:


[/quote]

I agree having the keypad is nice but I was just pointing out that he could try using something he probably already has at least temporarily. Besides didn't you post a pic of a NES pad converted into a CV Pad with no numberpad? That's pretty much the same thing solution as using the RSI stick. If you really want to make something that won't be a pain in the ass as you said, add the other 2 superaction buttons to your conversions.

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[quote name='joeybastard' post='1428643' date='Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:09 AM']I agree having the keypad is nice but I was just pointing out that he could try using something he probably already has at least temporarily. Besides didn't you post a pic of a NES pad converted into a CV Pad with no numberpad? That's pretty much the same thing solution as using the RSI stick. If you really want to make something that won't be a pain in the ass as you said, add the other 2 superaction buttons to your conversions.[/quote]

Yes I did an non-keypad NES conversion:

[img]http://img117.imageshack.us/img117/8827/colecocontrolpadnewly3.jpg[/img]

And agreeably something along these lines, or the RSI sticks, or anything with two buttons, is a simple and easy mod/hack/conversion, for playing most ColecoVision games a lot more comfortably than the standard controllers. And in Jess's case, he's using a standard controller for his keypad/adapter, so that's all he really needs. Now if I'm not mistaken he only has one usebale fire button, and to change that all he needs to do is modify the Genesis controller internally, and add a few more wires to his DB9 connector on his ColecoVision standard controller, and he'll be all set.

As far as adding the extra Super Action Buttons to one of my full keypad controllers, it is possible, but look at the list of games that require them:

Front Line - Requires 4 buttons
Rocky: Super Action Boxing - Requires 4 buttons
Super Action Baseball - Requires 4 buttons, and spinner
Super Action Football - Requires 4 buttons, and spinner
Super Action Soccer - Requires 4 buttons, and spinner

So if all that was added were 2 more buttons you only pick up compatablility with Front Line and Rocky: Super Action Boxing. You'd need to add 2 more buttons, and the spinner to pick up the Super Action sports titles as well.

Now there are 2 titles that are Super Action Controller optional:

Spy Hunter - Uses 4 buttons for weapons, versus a standard controller's 2 side buttons, and 2 keypad buttons
Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator - Uses 4 buttons for weapons and engines, versus a standard controller's 2 side buttons, and up and down on the joystick

Both of these games are a little easier with an SAC, or a full keypad controller w/4 buttons due to the control scheme when using a standard controller, but they're not necessary.

It just all depends on what one wants or needs. For most games any keypad controller in port 2 with a properly wired 2-button controller in port 1 will work fine. Hell a lot of games only need one button to play just fine. Edited by doubledown

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It's true the SACS aren't needed for the majority of games but I play Frontline, Rocky and Spy Hunter a lot so that's why I want the extra buttons. I only play Star Trek occasionally but even then, I like the SAC controls for it better.

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[quote name='joeybastard' post='1428682' date='Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:09 AM']It's true the SACS aren't needed for the majority of games but I play Frontline, Rocky and Spy Hunter a lot so that's why I want the extra buttons. I only play Star Trek occasionally but even then, I like the SAC controls for it better.[/quote]

I'm also a big fan of Front Line and Spy Hunter with a SAC. I'm looking to find an Atari Jaguar Pro controller for this task. My thought was to incorporate the shoulder buttons as well for things like arm rotation in Front Line. Unfortunately the Jaguar Pro Controllers aren't real common or real cheap.

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[quote name='doubledown' post='1428667' date='Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:46 PM'][...] titles that are Super Action Controller optional:

Spy Hunter - Uses 4 buttons for weapons, versus a standard controller's 2 side buttons, and 2 keypad buttons[/quote]

Same for Search for the stolen Crown Jewels 2 (and some not yet released games).

Philipp

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I'm wanting to try modding an old NES (or Genesis) controller, but to add a 9-pin port in back to plug in a regular stick for its keypad. That way you can have the keypad when you need it, and disconnect it to get rid of it after starting the game. And unlike my earlier 7800 Wico mod, where the 9-pin port was the wire to the console, it won't matter as much if this one falls out while you're playing a game.

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