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DanthWader

7800 Controller Project

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Good afternoon Atari friends hope everyone had a great turkey day!


Several months ago I delved into the Atari 7800 world and I love this thing.

Except for the Pain-Line controllers, I bought 4 of them, One almost new. None were very responsive and very hard to use.

I think everyone could go on and on about these controllers and very few people actually like them.

I love the "look" and that's about it.



Thus, begins my journey... First I did the simple NES controller MOD.

LOVE IT. You don't have to "think" about using the controller, It just feels natural.



I figured, what the hell, I'll get some CX78s from best... $40!? Eek but worth it for the hardcore Atari collector.

also, do not look on ebay for these things unless you want to pay $70+... insane.

New old stock, they are nice but button placement is strange and the D-pad does not feel as natural as the NES Controller.


I still went back to the NES controller...

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I found "new" SNES aftermarket controllers in my controller bin and thought, why not, and modded it to work with the 7800.

utilizing every button. L & R bumpers all 4 buttons and start and select. The left bumper and the left buttons and select are all

FIRE1 and the rest are FIRE2. This was a nightmare to mod, took too much time as I was also trying to wrap my head around the

7800 controller circuit. It works great, but too many buttons. Almost too confusing to play with.

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So I decided to make my own controller. Osgeld was kind enough to offer some guidance AND his controller plans, which were just to complicated

for me to reproduce. I set off on learning some PCB creation software. I'm a hardware guy, so learning new software is a pain. 3 programs later

I landed on a freeish program called Diptrace. I designed the PCB within this program and boy was I in for a treat.

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I have a hobbyists knowledge of circuits and CAD programs, in layman I knew nothing.

I had to create this layout twice the first being a cleaner design but the files did not save properly.

I rushed to get the second design printed and almost screwed up royally.


SOLDER MASK GOES WHERE YOU DON'T WANT SOLDER MASK

SOLDER MASK GOES WHERE YOU DON'T WANT SOLDER MASK

SOLDER MASK GOES WHERE YOU DON'T WANT SOLDER MASK

SOLDER MASK GOES WHERE YOU DON'T WANT SOLDER MASK


so when you layout solder mask you have to put it in areas you do not want solder mask not where you WANT the solder mask...

are you following?

I didn't follow. I put it where I WANTED mask. This would have covered all my button contacts with solder mask making some expensive beer coasters.

In the PCB world that is wrong, but I caught this RIGHT before I sent them In to print.


Its all an acceptable learning process, this is an ultra simple PCB design and makes me appreciate real creators like Bryan and his UAV and Curt with the XM.

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After weeks of back a fouth with chinese suppliers I found a resonable place for black NES controller shells. I ordered the

DB9 cables and PCBs and I'm off with a rolling start.

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I still would like to print custom labels for the controller but it was not cost effective ATM. Maybe If I ordered large bulk (100+) I could get costs down. This design is from a forum member as well

but I cannot for the life of me find that post and would love to give credit where its due, but I also am not using this on this run.

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But this first run is just the prototype phase, which will always be more expensive. R&D is never cheap!


What do ya'll think? Am I on the right path, or should I stop while I'm ahead?

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I'd be interested in just purchasing the PCBs so I could retrofit some old NES controllers!?

 

Still if you had them in black shells with that label, I'd be all over that too!

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I'd be interested in just purchasing the PCBs so I could retrofit some old NES controllers!?

 

Still if you had them in black shells with that label, I'd be all over that too!

I thought about that, I may make the next batch of PCBs a little prettier so I could just sell the PCBs.

 

I'm making 20 controllers total this batch, I wanted so badly to put the Atari branded front label. I couldn't find a cheap place without cutting all the holes by hand. It would look nasty so I've just settled on my little Atari sticker on the back. :P

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Well..either way I'm in for at least one of the standard black NES style controllers.

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I'm interested in one of the rounded controllers with multiple buttons.

I only made one and it was a nightmare. Not really for sale but every things for sale in waterworld.

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PM me and I'll put you on the list. I haven't decided how much I would charge so I'll ask the community, what would you consider a fair price with shipping. I'm sure shipping wouldn't be more then $3 or $4.

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Great work! I do not need any more 7800 controlers as I have 11 of them but these look good if someone needs something better and is still holding a painline.

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Everything looks really nice except the sticker on the face of the controller. It's way lower quality versus the rest of your build.

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Great job on your design, if I could ever figure out how to use these CAD tools I have been wanting to do a design to drop in Sega Genesis controllers. Looking at your design I think it may be possible if you were to add a diode to each fire button you might be able to get this to also double duty work as a Colecovision controller. I don't have the Coleco controller schematic in front of me, but I know the diodes give the magic ability to use 2 fire buttons and use them at the same time as opposed to only one working at a time.

 

I love both the 7800 and Colecovision and have been wanting a 9 pin controller that is more universal among many 9 pin consoles.

 

I realize these things are out of your scope of what you designed but it got me thinking.. haha..

 

In any case great job on your build, its quite excellent and will definitely be appreciated!

Edited by imstarryeyed
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Everything looks really nice except the sticker on the face of the controller. It's way lower quality versus the rest of your build.

I put that front facing sticker on the first prototype that I’m personally keeping. All of them will just have the little sticker on the back.

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I love both the 7800 and Colecovision and have been wanting a 9 pin controller that is more universal among many 9 pin consoles.

I will look into this as well.

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Okay so official price will be $25 shipped in the US. PM me for details about shipping internationally.

 

There are 15 left. Please PM me for paypal info... this is the finished product....

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I have 11 left. :-o I really cannot believe the response, this is amazing. I'm letting everyone know through PM that their controllers are ready. I have 7 shipping already in the morning, so if you are expecting... expect it shortly. If I get tracking info I will e-mail/PM everyone that info. Thanks again so much for your interest. :D :D :D

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I know the first batch of the one's I made, I could not pack them fast enough, then it kind of tapered down on batch 2 or three, but its been what .... coming up 3rd year since my first batch I bet there's some hungry folks out there heh

 

kind of why I stopped doing mine, it ended up being a good chunk of time, and I had a newborn, shopping for a house, and whew!

Edited by Osgeld
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Great work guys giving more 7800 owners a great controller to use! :)

 

no this is all DanthWader, I just chime in to bump the thread some more :)

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no this is all DanthWader, I just chime in to bump the thread some more :)

Hey you had the match when the fire started...

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