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7800

Your 5200 controller buttons might not be faulty...

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Wasn't sure where to post this and I didn't see anything similar... But I just wanted to throw this out there. (even though I'm sure this is common knowledge around here) :)

 

If you are using a 5200 controller, and certain push buttons aren't working (but they worked fine a minute ago)... Try wiggling the plug where it goes into the console.

 

I had just rebuilt one of my 5200 controllers. I plugged it in and played a few games and it worked fine. The next day played the same games with the same controller... and certain buttons weren't working, like "start" "reset" "#",etc. So I figured it was impossible for the button itself to fail this fast after a rebuild. I jiggled around the plug while pressing the buttons and they worked... so it was a connection problem at the plug.

 

Which brings me to my question. :)

 

What do you guys do to remedy bad dirty ports and plugs? I'd like to get your suggestions before I start digging into the plug holes with a needle and break something.

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That probably means the solder joints for the controller port are cracked, try reflowing the solder joints and see if that solves it.

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the pins are tin plated and can get a layer of corrosion on them also half of mine have broken off on mine so i shove in a gold header pin they are square but work fine

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With my system in particular, I don't think it's a port issue because I just bought a pair of refurbished gold controllers and they work perfectly. I'm assuming if it were the ports, I would have the same problem with any controller I used. My trak-ball and older set of controllers have intermittent moments of buttons not working, and they have new rev 9 flexies and aluminum dots. I think the issue is in the cable or plug... either I have some really bad wiring or the plug contacts are really worn... or both.

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I use 70% isopropyl alcohol for cleaning contacts. Power everything down and unplug it all for a little while, drip the alcohol into the controller pin holes, plug and unplug gently into the ports. Repeat. I usually wait a while for the alcohol to dry before power up. Compresed air speeds the process along. It works for me, individual experience may vary...

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Soak a toothbrush in 91% isopropyl and scrub down into the controller ports vigorously. All dirt and grime should be gone.

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I was having intermittent issues with my trak-ball controller. The ball and fire buttons worked fine all the time, but the start, pause, reset, and keypad selector buttons weren't working well. After eliminating other causes, I knew for sure it was the wiring. I decided to slice open the plug to see what the wires and connections looked like. There were at least 5 wires melted and fused into one another, causing certain functions to short. Unfortunately the wires were so shot that they were beyond repair. Only thing I can do now is get a junked trak-ball and swap out the harness. I think this wire problem can also be the cause for some CX-52 sticks to fail too... the wires and plugs weren't manufactured well in general. I make it a point now to take extra care in treating the wire/plug VERY gently because of this.

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I had a 5200 joystick with a broken trace once. The only way to track these down often is with an inexpensive continuity tester. I ended up buying a replacement cable off ebay for relatively cheap and the problem was solved.

 

You also brought up a good point. Those cable wires are at least 30 years old. I would not kink or bind them any more so than absolutely necessary. I have seen NES and Xbox controller cables ruined by people wrapping the cable tightly around the controller for storage. Not a recommended practice. All my controllers go into plastic storage drawers with cables lying in relaxed and untangled states.

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Ive rebuilt many 5200 controllers and have found many cables with broken wires. The problems were intermittent and shaking the cable around caused different results.

The wire used in the 5200 controller cables is relatively stiff and seems easy to break after time. I am lucky enough to have built a pile of spare parts from junk controllers back when ebay was not a rip off. So Ive always been able to pull a working cable out.

Edited by Official Ninja

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I can think of a reason the cords go bad. Many people used the controller storage. You really had to wind them tightly, or stuff them in the bay. That is more abuse to the cords than many controllers had to go through for any system.

 

Perhaps Atari wanted to go one step further than their competitors to not only house the controllers, but to hide them away too. All us kids, didn't understand were were killing the cords in the process.

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I think the only ones who cared about stowing controllers in the console were picky moms. Most kids didn't care if there was a storage bin in the back of the console.

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One of my Best Electronics refurbished 5200 controllers has been recently acting up do to bad wiring. For example, If I play Galaxian and move the cable a certain way... the ship will move all the way to the right and get stuck there. Then when I move the cable back to the way it was, the game functions normal again. It's definitely not the port so I guess there's a problem with one of the pot traces. These rebuilt controllers would be perfect if Best also manufactured new harnesses instead of using the NOS ones.

Edited by 7800

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