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Rhindle the Dragon

Paddle controller substitutes

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I got a 2600 for Christmas that came with two sets of paddles (4 paddles total). It didn't come with an ac adapter, though, so I'm waiting for one I ordered to come in. Just today I went and bought Breakout so I can test the paddles when the adapter finally comes in. I might have to refer back to this thread if mine don't work right.

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Might become quite challenging to play Kaboom! with a logarithmic one. :)

I had no idea there were different types of pots

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This was the very very first videogame our family owned. It had sliding pots and we were used to them when we had them but I always liked the Atari paddles better somehow....they felt to give better control.

 

These sliders got jittery too by the way... but if you find a system like this it might be easy to use the pots on the 2600...

 

 

$_57.JPG

Edited by Level42
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IN answer to the original question:

Temposonics.

http://www.mtssensors.com/products/industrial-sensors/e-series-sensors/index.html

Not Cheap...

Not Rotary...

The machine in my Avatar uses two of them. The have been lasting 20+ years.

 

If you want a precision pot:

http://www.beisensors.com/rotary-linear-potentiometers.html

We have used them for position sensing in older robotics.

Edited by Zonie

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I ordered some Super Pots from Best last Friday and they came in Monday (really quick!), installed them last night. Even after cleaning the pots in that set of paddles had been pretty well shot, and lo, they're working fantastic now! Definitely a better solution that having to crack them open every couple years to clean the pots time and again.

 

I've got a spare set I'm hoping to install in a Pong console once I get the screwdriver bit to open it up.

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The flashback paddles are pretty good, though they are significantly stiffer than the originals. The only game I've had trouble with was Kaboom. I can't spin them fast enough to play well. The originals would still be the best if you can get a decent pair and maintain them well.

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I am going to try to make my own paddle controllers using new pots and recycling the housings from a couple of 7800 flashback controllers, simply because I have all the parts sitting around and have not found a set of original used paddles that I like yet...has anyone tried anything like this before?

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I am going to try to make my own paddle controllers using new pots and recycling the housings from a couple of 7800 flashback controllers, simply because I have all the parts sitting around and have not found a set of original used paddles that I like yet...has anyone tried anything like this before?

Yes, I made a 2 pair. 500kOhm and 1 MOhm. I used small plastic project boxes, momentary switches, rotary knobs, cat-5 cable, female 9 pin d-sub connector with solder (NOT CRIMP) connections, and d-sub housing.

http://www.atariarchives.org/ecp/chapter_4.php

Edited by yell0w_lantern

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On 12/26/2016 at 1:04 AM, Rhindle the Dragon said:

Has anyone ever come up with an alternative to the crappy potentiometer-based paddle controllers?

I know they sell reproductions, but if I'm thinking right, they will also suffer from jitters after a while since they are based on the same mechanism.

It seems like a super-easy problem to fix. Maybe modify a rotary encoder somehow?

Somebody look into this!

In case anyone finds this looking for another solution to this, 

we discussed using a USB optical mouse as a paddle substitute here

 

The mouse would plug into a Raspberry Pi or Arduino, which would keep track of the position and use it to control the resistance using pulse wave modulation (PWM). 

I haven't tried it yet but I'll get around to it! 

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A few years ago I convinced an Atariage member to convert a Pong console to be 2600 paddles. Works okay and is a cool novelty. Still plays the pong games too. 

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17 hours ago, gliptitude said:

A few years ago I convinced an Atariage member to convert a Pong console to be 2600 paddles. Works okay and is a cool novelty. Still plays the pong games too. 

That's pretty cool, so the Pong home console paddles use the same 1MOhm potentiometers as the VCS paddles? 

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14 hours ago, madscijr said:

That's pretty cool, so the Pong home console paddles use the same 1MOhm potentiometers as the VCS paddles? 

I'm not sure but I would guess so. He didn't say anything about changing them. 

 

It was the common Atari Super Pong console used.

 

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Is this a decent list of all the alternatives to ailing Atari CX30 paddle controllers? Are there any others in the past or currently?

  • Upgrade the potentiometers in the OEM Atari CX30 paddle controllers with Best Electronics 2nd generation 2016 S5 Super Pots.
  • CX30 clones: Coleco Gemini paddle controllers, Commodore paddle controllers (white), AtGames Atari Flashback paddle controllers (recent remakes, although the 2018 versions are proprietary to the Flashback 9 only)
  • Hyperkin Ranger Gamepad (combo joystick/paddle, although very tough to use the paddle effectively, at least for me)
  • 0711SPIELE ProPaddle 2 controllers (from Germany, I have a set and love them)

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The paddle is fine, its just that they need cleaned. Of course, like any mechanical thing it will actually wear out eventually. I can usually bring a set to life by cleaning them, but in addition to crusty decades old grease, its still a brush running against a plate, moving parts grinding against each other, and I've come across some that are simply worn out.

 

I don't want a modern style fix, I'd rather have a proper modern part (to original specs) its just a variable resistor, like the knobs on a radio which used to also rotate a potentiometer, even the ones that were attached to a straight slider (that might be fun to try) I wouldn't mind trying a 128 step pot, I thing the 2600 ones are 256, but only use half their travel distance, lots of dead space.

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Another option:

  • Sears Video Arcade II (Atari 2800) All-In-One Controller (combo joystick/paddle, bit tricky to use as a paddle for one player only on a 2600, but it works: move joystick to right for paddle button press)

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