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I've tried cleaning the flex circuit of my stock controller but I think it's finally done. If the flex circuit was damaged, would the analog joystick input not work as well? Mine does nothing right now but I was thinking of buying a new gold flex circuit but I don't want to waste my money if the analog control is busted too.

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It seems unlikely to be the flex circuit's fault if absolutely nothing at all is working. Other possibilities could be the cord and the port on the console. Also, be sure to consult some detailed instructions on re-assembling the controller... it's pretty easy to reassemble it in a way that makes the joystick appear to be non-functional unless you do it very carefully. (Also, it is all too easy to ruin the flex circuit by disassembling it improperly.)

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Yeap..if it does nothing at all, I would be more inclined to look at the cable as being the possible issue. I've said it before, but I've actually had to replace more 5200 joystick cables than flex circuits on the controllers I've repaired over the years. Those wires in the cable are just too solid it would seem and break internally over the years...

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So I used the trackball to start a game and then switched it with tge stabdard controller and the analog still works. I then used the keypad on the trackball plugged into the competition pro controller to start a game. Once started I plugged in the standard controller and sure enough, the competition pro does work. So I basically need to invest in a new flex circuit. I see some gold ones on ebay for around $20. I wonder if those are any good.

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You also could have popped in Missile Command or Star Wars The Arcade Game if you have that and just powering it on without starting a game, you should be able to move the cross hairs around to test the analog pots on the controller.

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If you want to save a few bucks and get these working without waiting for a part to arrive, you could try the "tin foil" trick. Basically, you just krazy glue bits of foil to the black pads of the fire buttons and the three Start/Pause/Reset buttons. Using a hole puncher on the foil creates good sized bits. Has worked well for me and many others here.

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I'm eventually going to do a tech video on this very process...but here is a link to a PDF I did of this back in 2004. Pretty detailed...

 

https://www.dropbox.com/home/5200?preview=5200_Joystick+Repair.pdf

Your Dropbox link just takes me to my Dropbox account and says that the folder /5200 doesn't exist. Did you right-click and get the public link? Is it in a public folder?

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Your Dropbox link just takes me to my Dropbox account and says that the folder /5200 doesn't exist. Did you right-click and get the public link? Is it in a public folder?

Not sure what you mean as I've had many customers of mine able to download files as needed without issue. But here is another link?

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/buan9avl78urfea/5200_Joystick%20Repair.pdf?dl=0

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Not sure what you mean as I've had many customers of mine able to download files as needed without issue. But here is another link?

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/buan9avl78urfea/5200_Joystick%20Repair.pdf?dl=0

Actually I can confirm what he claims on that first link, this 2nd link however works. Something with the way the link was embedded I guess.

 

Nice guide, thanks, I will keep for reference if I have an issue.

Edited by OldSchoolRetroGamer

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Actually I can confirm what he claims on that first link, this 2nd link however works. Something with the way the link was embedded I guess.

 

Nice guide, thanks, I will keep for reference if I have an issue.

 

Strange.... Well, as long as the newest link works that is all that matters. That guide is old as I did it originally back in 2004 and used it as part of an assignment in technical writing. Got an A as I recall. Anyway, I converted it to PDF later and here it is. I still follow this same process when working on my 5200 controllers. It doesn't cover anything in regards to calibration. But as has been noted in other threads, the pots used varied somewhat throughout the life of the 5200 controllers. So static numbers for resistance values is hard to gauge. Glad it can be of use!

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Strange.... Well, as long as the newest link works that is all that matters. That guide is old as I did it originally back in 2004 and used it as part of an assignment in technical writing. Got an A as I recall. Anyway, I converted it to PDF later and here it is. I still follow this same process when working on my 5200 controllers. It doesn't cover anything in regards to calibration. But as has been noted in other threads, the pots used varied somewhat throughout the life of the 5200 controllers. So static numbers for resistance values is hard to gauge. Glad it can be of use!

Thanks! The second link worked for me as well.

 

I've seen at least three completely different pots in 5200 controllers including the full metal housing "Made in Japan" pots, the "CTS" pots (metal on one side; open enough on the terminal ends to see the wiper inside), and something that looks like a cross between them (haven't been able to inspect these up close).

 

The CTS pots go bad even in new-old stock and all the Made In Japan pots I've encountered so far have been in-spec.

 

As for the resistance values:

I saw a lot of sources saying "500k ohm" with no context so I thought that was the potentiometer's maximum spec. Since the mechanism goes nowhere near the point where the wiper stops turning I assumed that the reading should be lower, especially because the brand-new controllers I was testing were reading 350k-385k ohm. I was wrong.

 

As it turns out, you should measure near-0 and near-500k ohm at the joystick port between the two extremes of the joystick. The "CTS" pots included with my late Rev 9 controllers somehow decrease resistance as they age, even when completely unused.

 

Three of the four pots I've tested stop increasing resistance right around the point where the joystick would stop turning the pot's shaft/arm even though they continue on. Both "CTS" pots and one "Made in Japan" pot did this. The fourth one (also Made in Japan) continued increasing to over 750k ohm, IIRC (probably spec'd for 800k ohm). The supplier probably tests to see if they are around 500k ohm as the specified position and if they are too far off they do something to the pot to bring it into spec which also prevents higher resistance as it is turned past the joystick's maximum. The Japanese one that behaved this way hits a hard limit of 594k ohm and stays there as you keep turning.

 

These Japanese pots seem to be the ones to have!

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the pot arms are press-fit so set the centers at around 230kohm the top one is up/down so around 230kohm should be set at 9 oclock

the bottom one should be set at the 6 oclock position

 

so in order to get it you will need to go past the stop then back up if you go too far go to the other extreme and let it slip it sounds complicated but you will get the feel

 

you can use a couple small paperclips a bit straightened to poke it in pin holes 9 and 10 and then 9 and 11 to test with a meter

 

there should be no folds made in the flex circuit just a curve to the proper position

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the pot arms are press-fit so set the centers at around 230kohm the top one is up/down so around 230kohm should be set at 9 oclock

the bottom one should be set at the 6 oclock position

 

so in order to get it you will need to go past the stop then back up if you go too far go to the other extreme and let it slip it sounds complicated but you will get the feel

 

you can use a couple small paperclips a bit straightened to poke it in pin holes 9 and 10 and then 9 and 11 to test with a meter

 

there should be no folds made in the flex circuit just a curve to the proper position

Unless it's a quirk of the mechanism that 9 o'clock and 6 o'clock are not aligned with the centered joystick, it's probably best to aim a bit higher at that point: 250k ohm. That's because it's a linear pot that is supposed to read at ~500k ohm at the joystick's extremes.

 

The best way I know of to set the arm using normal tools is to turn the arm all the way as far as the shaft allows and then force it a little bit more so that the arm turns a little bit on the pot shaft. Reassemble, test, disassemble, tweak, reassemble, test, disassemble, tweak, ... tedious, I know. :( Unfortunately, the CTS pots don't nearly make it to 500k ohm so it was of little use for me. :(

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This is later than I expected and very likely way more detailed than you would care to fully watch since it is over 46min in total length. But...here is my process using the 3M foil tape method to repair my 5200 controllers...

 

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I have since obtained the third kind of pot: Alps (also made in Japan). The previous Japanese pots were also confirmed to be Panasonic/Matsushita (logo looks like three filled-in triangles linked by the outline of a larger triangle). The Alps pots were also good! I updated my Imgur gallery:

https://i.imgur.com/0tkgf6r.png

 

Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the pot arms/shaft on the Alps pots have extremely limited movement range such that they physically stop around 500k when the joystick reaches it's extremes anyway.

 

This is later than I expected and very likely way more detailed than you would care to fully watch since it is over 46min in total length. But...here is my process using the 3M foil tape method to repair my 5200 controllers...

 

https://youtu.be/dwZfE7xbPmY

Awesome! I'll check it out. Edited by CZroe

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Thanks! The second link worked for me as well.

 

I've seen at least three completely different pots in 5200 controllers including the full metal housing "Made in Japan" pots, the "CTS" pots (metal on one side; open enough on the terminal ends to see the wiper inside), and something that looks like a cross between them (haven't been able to inspect these up close).

 

The CTS pots go bad even in new-old stock and all the Made In Japan pots I've encountered so far have been in-spec.

 

As for the resistance values:

I saw a lot of sources saying "500k ohm" with no context so I thought that was the potentiometer's maximum spec. Since the mechanism goes nowhere near the point where the wiper stops turning I assumed that the reading should be lower, especially because the brand-new controllers I was testing were reading 350k-385k ohm. I was wrong.

 

As it turns out, you should measure near-0 and near-500k ohm at the joystick port between the two extremes of the joystick. The "CTS" pots included with my late Rev 9 controllers somehow decrease resistance as they age, even when completely unused.

 

Three of the four pots I've tested stop increasing resistance right around the point where the joystick would stop turning the pot's shaft/arm even though they continue on. Both "CTS" pots and one "Made in Japan" pot did this. The fourth one (also Made in Japan) continued increasing to over 750k ohm, IIRC (probably spec'd for 800k ohm). The supplier probably tests to see if they are around 500k ohm as the specified position and if they are too far off they do something to the pot to bring it into spec which also prevents higher resistance as it is turned past the joystick's maximum. The Japanese one that behaved this way hits a hard limit of 594k ohm and stays there as you keep turning.

 

These Japanese pots seem to be the ones to have!

 

Never did find out if the Pete's Test cart is showing the actual resistance value on the controller test or just arbitrary numbers that are assigned for the test to coincide with the actual values, but as you can see in the end of my video, most controllers that are calibrated well on their own should have a reading in that test program of between 90 - 120 on both pots when centered. So..I tend to adjust them at about 110 or near to when centered as I can. The values for extreme travel should be between 10 - 200 in most cases. Though I have gotten pots on controllers that would read between 1 and 225 on that test. Beyond that and it will just error on the reading. Even after proper adjustements, some still won't work for Bounty Bob but work excellent for everything else.

Edited by -^Cro§Bow^-

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Never did find out if the Pete's Test cart is showing the actual resistance value on the controller test or just arbitrary numbers that are assigned for the test to coincide with the actual values, but as you can see in the end of my video, most controllers that are calibrated well on their own should have a reading in that test program of between 90 - 120 on both pots when centered. So..I tend to adjust them at about 110 or near to when centered as I can. The values for extreme travel should be between 10 - 200 in most cases. Though I have gotten pots on controllers that would read between 1 and 225 on that test. Beyond that and it will just error on the reading. Even after proper adjustements, some still won't work for Bounty Bob but work excellent for everything else.

Finished watching the video. Very nice and thorough for anyone with button issues! I didn't notice your warning about using an eraser on Rev 9 mylars. I could have simply missed it so I'll ask: do you still suggest not using one on a Rev 9 mylar with carbon traces?

 

Only other thing I might have added was an acknowledgement that some pots are just bad and can't simply be adjusted/calibrated to work properly, but you did acknowledge that "every controller is different."

 

IOW, I'd change "There might be some calibration required" to say that calibration may be off but this can sometimes be corrected. All eight CTS pots in all four of my NOS Rev 9 controllers are bad and can't be adjusted enough to work. I strongly suspect that all late-produced controllers with Rev 9 mylars and CTS pots will have this issue. Yes, the buttons are the primary issue for the vast majority of these controllers but there will also be many Rev 9 controllers with working buttons and bad pots. This info could save a lot of time for people troubleshooting these bad pots who may not have a button issue at all.

 

The Alps and Panasonic pots seem solid. FWIW, those are Alps pots in your video. I have four Panasonic and two Alps pots and they all hit ~500k ohm at maximum joystick range (measured through the joystick cable) so it does seem that the software value isn't using an established resistance unit of measure.

 

If you ever update to go in-depth with pots I would suggest making four easy-to-digest parts:

Assembly/Disassembly

Mylar flex PCB/wire harness

Buttons/rubber membranes

Pots/joystick

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This is later than I expected and very likely way more detailed than you would care to fully watch since it is over 46min in total length. But...here is my process using the 3M foil tape method to repair my 5200 controllers...

 

 

 

Did you post that link yourself in the Atari 5200 Fanboyz group on Facebook? I saw it posted the other day but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet.

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I don't normally mess with the pots too much other than testing in Pete's test program. I have run into pots that I couldn't ever get working properly with games like Gyruss and naturally Bounty Bob, but can't say that I ever had any that didn't work at all.

 

No..I didn't mention the rev 9 flex and I will tell you why: (BTW I can see that someone had read through my PDF on this! Thank you!)

 

1st - I have only encountered the rev 9 white mylar flex with carbon graphite traces maybe 3 times ever in the 20 years I've been rebuilding these things. My personal favorite revision is the Rev 7 as you see in my video. The traces and wider and much better in dealing with the stresses of use. But you are correct in that using an eraser on the rev 9 white mylar carbon/graphite trace circuits will essentially erase the traces.

 

2nd - I'm not a fan of the rev9 circuit at all. Those carbon/graphite traces do not corrode like the alum ones do, but they are much more brittle and will break much easier even when doing a cleaning on them. However, having said that..

 

The rev9 traces that Best Elect sells, appear to be alum trace flex circuits similar to the rev 7. But they aren't as thick and I have had several of them just like the rev 6 before them, where the contact traces on the fire buttons begin to lift off the mylar and once they have started to do that, it is difficult to reform them back down and have them stay down.

 

I have never received or found a NOS 5200 controller myself. But I think those are the ones that were made in Mexico right? I have had a few come across my way, and those were the ones with the most issues and usually end up becoming parts spares for other controllers.

Edited by -^Cro§Bow^-

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Did you post that link yourself in the Atari 5200 Fanboyz group on Facebook? I saw it posted the other day but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet.

I did yes. But I actually posted all of this at the same time there on FB, the AA group on FB, and here in the forums. Others apparently shared it to the same group and I'm not exactly sure why?

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I don't normally mess with the pots too much other than testing in Pete's test program. I have run into pots that I couldn't ever get working properly with games like Gyruss and naturally Bounty Bob, but can't say that I ever had any that didn't work at all.

 

No..I didn't mention the rev 9 flex and I will tell you why: (BTW I can see that someone had read through my PDF on this! Thank you!)

 

1st - I have only encountered the rev 9 white mylar flex with carbon graphite traces maybe 3 times ever in the 20 years I've been rebuilding these things. My personal favorite revision is the Rev 7 as you see in my video. The traces and wider and much better in dealing with the stresses of use. But you are correct in that using an eraser on the rev 9 white mylar carbon/graphite trace circuits will essentially erase the traces.

 

2nd - I'm not a fan of the rev9 circuit at all. Those carbon/graphite traces do not corrode like the alum ones do, but they are much more brittle and will break much easier even when doing a cleaning on them. However, having said that..

 

The rev9 traces that Best Elect sells, appear to be alum trace flex circuits similar to the rev 7. But they aren't as thick and I have had several of them just like the rev 6 before them, where the contact traces on the fire buttons begin to lift off the mylar and once they have started to do that, it is difficult to reform them back down and have them stay down.

 

I have never received or found a NOS 5200 controller myself. But I think those are the ones that were made in Mexico right? I have had a few come across my way, and those were the ones with the most issues and usually end up becoming parts spares for other controllers.

Thanks. I realize now that Best Electronics may be biased when they say that Rev 9 is the best, since that's what they sell. ;) That said, it seems that a lot of Rev 9 controllers aren't nearly as bad as most when it comes to buttons, the easily fixable problem, but are terrible when it comes to pots, which can't be readily repaired (requires known-good replacements). They nearly solved the original issue and introduced a worse one.

 

I'll check the origins of my New Old Stock Rev 9 controllers. I do recall that the shiny stamp area on the bottom was blank, unlike my Rev 7 controllers.

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FWIW- I use Rev-7 in my go-to controllers and have had good luck with them. As for the pots, the good ones seem to be the ones that have the add-on white or orange ring to make them fit the controller. The other style without the ring never seems to work on games like gyruss or tempest.

BTW- I'll be up at my stash of parts in July.

Pic is a rev-8 with the seemingly good pots.

post-25215-0-65369000-1495677436_thumb.jpg

Edited by zylon

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FWIW- I use Rev-7 in my go-to controllers and have had good luck with them. As for the pots, the good ones seem to be the ones that have the add-on white or orange ring to make them fit the controller. The other style without the ring never seems to work on games like gyruss or tempest.

BTW- I'll be up at my stash of parts in July.

Pic is a rev-8 with the seemingly good pots.

Those are Panasonic pots. They should have a logo on the back that looks like three solid triangles linked by a larger triangle outline.

8OO0pz2l.jpg

 

There are at least three styles though. The Alps pots also seem to work well. It's the CTS pots that go bad and don't work even when they've never been used (black plastic at the base of the shaft).

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...I have never received or found a NOS 5200 controller myself. But I think those are the ones that were made in Mexico right? I have had a few come across my way, and those were the ones with the most issues and usually end up becoming parts spares for other controllers.

Well, there could be New Old Stock controllers of each revision/variance as long as someone never opened/used them. ;)

 

My Rev 9 controllers are from Republic of China (Taiwan).

8bea93d4d27c8c770023f7dbabb6ac9e.jpg

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