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5200 Joystick Solution(s) -- What would you do?

Which solution would you choose?  

38 members have voted

  1. 1. Which solution do you think is the most reliable and cost effective?

    • Best Joystick (Gold Dot) Rebuild Solution
      14
    • Masterplay Clone (Used with Atari Compatible Joystick)
      8
    • Other (please explain in message are below)
      16


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For digital games, I use a Masterplay Clone and a Sega Control Stick (for 2-button play). For analog games, I currently use the trak ball or the stock joysticks. I'm going to probably make my own 5200 paddle in order to play Pole Position better.

 

I use the Sega Control Stick because it is a right-handed joystick with two buttons and self centers. Other than the WICO and Competition Pro joysticks, what other right-handed, two-button, self-centering joysticks are available?

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I just clean my stock controller contacts every couple years, play it often, and rebuild when needed.

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The Redemption is basically the same thing as what Bohoki does except he often ads a start button. I use original, and two bohoki adapters for my 2 makopads... I don't like the angle the makopads dpad is on though. I look forward to trying other solutions when I'm no longer broke.

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I have the best re-built controllers (they are awesome) and the masterplay clones. I probably use both about 50/50 depending on the game. I like the analogue feel of the 5200 stick sometimes :)

 

What is crazy is that best in no longer doing refurbs...so it sort of puts a shelf life on usable 5200 controllers at this point unless a new solution comes to market, or someone else offers the service.

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Masterplay clone with a big Sega compatible Capcom 4 way/ 8 way convertible joystick for me. Genesis pad if I need something tighter and, on rare occasions, actual 5200 controllers for Space Dungeon or Robotron or whatever.

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I have both the Competition Pro and the Wico "butt plug". The Competition Pro excellent for games that play better with "digital" input, like Pac-Man, Berzerk, etc. I don't like the Wico very much, and I think that the self-centering feature is kind of over rated. I actually prefer the stock 5200 controller to the Wico for most games where analogue is preferred. The Wico likes to drift off center, and you have to mess with the trim controls frequently. On my Wico, the center locking switches aren't too secure and can be disengaged during game play. The only good thing about my Wico, is that I got it essentially for free. It was included with the 5200 I bought from a friend a few years ago for $40 for the whole bundle.

 

I also have the track ball, and it's excellent for playing Missile Command, and even Space Invaders! I got lucky with this one as well. I purchased it for $35 on eBay in untested condition, and it works perfectly. I didn't even have to use foil tape on the keypads like I did with my 5200 joysticks.

 

I've been considering upgrading my stock 5200 controllers with Best parts, but their website sucks. It looks like it hasn't been updated in 25 years, and was designed by someone with severe ADHD. I've hear that it's perfectly secure, and the products are excellent, but still. It's 2018 Best, it's time to join the 21st century.

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I have the best re-built controllers (they are awesome) and the masterplay clones. I probably use both about 50/50 depending on the game. I like the analogue feel of the 5200 stick sometimes :)

 

What is crazy is that best in no longer doing refurbs...so it sort of puts a shelf life on usable 5200 controllers at this point unless a new solution comes to market, or someone else offers the service.

 

Yes, Best are still doing refurbs, just only with their Gold products. If you send your own in, they will upgrade for $42.00, or buy assembled for $79.00. Honestly I don't know why you would spend money on controllers that don't have the gold upgrades?

 

I have both the Competition Pro and the Wico "butt plug". The Competition Pro excellent for games that play better with "digital" input, like Pac-Man, Berzerk, etc. I don't like the Wico very much, and I think that the self-centering feature is kind of over rated. I actually prefer the stock 5200 controller to the Wico for most games where analogue is preferred. The Wico likes to drift off center, and you have to mess with the trim controls frequently. On my Wico, the center locking switches aren't too secure and can be disengaged during game play. The only good thing about my Wico, is that I got it essentially for free. It was included with the 5200 I bought from a friend a few years ago for $40 for the whole bundle.

 

I also have the track ball, and it's excellent for playing Missile Command, and even Space Invaders! I got lucky with this one as well. I purchased it for $35 on eBay in untested condition, and it works perfectly. I didn't even have to use foil tape on the keypads like I did with my 5200 joysticks.

 

I've been considering upgrading my stock 5200 controllers with Best parts, but their website sucks. It looks like it hasn't been updated in 25 years, and was designed by someone with severe ADHD. I've hear that it's perfectly secure, and the products are excellent, but still. It's 2018 Best, it's time to join the 21st century.

 

I have a Wico as well, not a fan. Trak-Ball is cool, but just way too big. I just did the gold upgrade myself. All you have to do is email Best, and Bradley will give you all the prices and what not. It's pretty fast. I used Paypal though, won't give CC info in an email. I'm still not convinced the gold painted flex circuits are worth it. I got them, but to me, nah, overkill. However, their new custom made gold buttons work great!

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Agreed on the Wico. I had a pair of them as a kid and never really liked them all that much. I think you have somewhat better results with a real refurbished controller.

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I am all for the PC controllers with the adapter bohoki makes. Really a great product. You can add an Innovation Smart Joy "Emulator Adapter" to it to get N64 and PS1 and 2 controller compatibility (including the really cool paddle-like Playstation racing controllers). At the moment there's one left on Ebay for around $35.

 

Have you come across any good PC gameport (15-pin) or PSX joysticks that have really good 4-way gate-like motion, like for sharp turns on pac-man games, so you don't miss a turn. It would be one where moving diagonally would be difficult or impossible. I'd especially like a hand-held one, but a larger ones would be okay. For instance, for 2600 and 7800, I found the Sega Control Stick has the best 4-way of any hand-held. In fact, it is very hard to go diagonal with it.

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Git 'R Dun Got your self centering right here. :P

post-25215-0-16364400-1518957849_thumb.jpg

Edited by zylon
  • Like 3

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I chose 'other', because I'm a broke college student and can't afford no fancy pants gold build controllers!

 

I currently only have one controller. After taking it apart and cleaning the board, I used a hole-punch to punch out circles of tinfoil and attached them to my buttons with Elmer's glue. They still work!

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Bohoki's suggestion is probably the best one when your primary qualifications are price and reliability. Old PC joysticks and gamepads are really cheap, and bohoki himself makes a great inexpensive adapter so you can use them with the 5200. A big advantage of this solution over the Masterplay/MP clones is that you can play the analog games with a PC joystick (Missile Command, Centipede, Gorf, Star Wars)

 

(If price is no object, the rare 5200 Wico joystick and even rarer Wico keypad makes for a nice option. If you can get a deal on these, go for it!)

I have a Wico, a couple of CP, the masterplay and regular 5200 JS and I would say the best all around one is the competition pro, but the Wico is really good too, especially for analogue games. The Wico has slides on it that allows it to be both a self-centering and non self-centering analogue joystick, while the CP is digital.

One problem that these options have (except the MP) is interference from the 5200 stick which is required. You have to screw around with it for a while to get it to center, but then it can randomly uncenter itself, which really sucks during a game of MS Pacman.

 

If price is in fact an object, rebuilding the original might be the best option because you are likely going to need to rebuild it anyway to get the pad and the start buttons to work.

 

One thing I really found helpful was opening the JS and really giving the plastic circuit board a good thorough cleaning and then get a piece of paper and take the buttons and use the black carbon dot on the back and slide it across the paper with slight pressure (this works for remote controls too) a couple of times. The first time with each of the roughly 20 dots will leave a black streak. Some of it is dirt, some is actually part of the carbon dot, but if it already doesn't work, taking a little bit off is no big deal. I have found that this helps a lot, especially if you just want to use the reset and start buttons with a CP or Wico stick.

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Git 'R Dun Got your self centering right here. :P

I tried this a million different ways and could never get anything remotely close to working. Even trying to get it to just stay centered to use a different joystick doesn't work. Don't waste your time.

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There do not appear to be any inexpensive solutions when it comes to the Atari 5200 joystick blues.

 

If you can't afford a roll of tin foil, a paper punch, and a single-use tube of super glue, you've got bigger problems than your Atari 5200 controllers. ;) :P

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If you can't afford a roll of tin foil, a paper punch, and a single-use tube of super glue, you've got bigger problems than your Atari 5200 controllers. ;) :P

 

Yeah, got all that stuff on hand, it's just some of us (myself included) like fixes that are not so 'short-term temporary'. I ended up with the standard rebuild kit, not the gold. I'm sure it'll work out quite well in the long term.

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Yeah, got all that stuff on hand, it's just some of us (myself included) like fixes that are not so 'short-term temporary'. I ended up with the standard rebuild kit, not the gold. I'm sure it'll work out quite well in the long term.

Whats short-term or temporary about supergluing tinfoil dots to the carbon pads?

 

I did mine a few years back. They still work great. 😁

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Whats short-term or temporary about supergluing tinfoil dots to the carbon pads?

 

I did mine a few years back. They still work great.

 

Really? I had someone tell me a few months back that it wouldn't last. I kinda took him at his word and applied the logic that if he was wrong, there would not be so many people buying more expensive options. Glad it worked out for ya! :) :thumbsup:

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At age 14, I thought I had invented the Aluminum foil / SuperGlue fix. LOL. There was no Internet, so I couldn't share my invention. I didn't read it anywhere. I find it fascinating how everything under the sun truly has been done before.

 

As good as this solution was, I would have to re-glue a couple every few months. That also introduces wear, because I had to take them apart more often than one should.

I later used graphite powder to make the pads conductive again. That also required maintenance, but it seemed a little less invasive to the pads. Although I would have situations where a punch fell off, the graphite could sometimes fail. It seemed to last a long time though.

 

So far, I have not had any issues with gold pads, because they are one piece.

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My other: There is no "Swiss army knife" solution.

 

Best-electronics-ca.com only does Gold Dot solutions if you provide working either 5200 controllers, or maybe scratched up button pads with the analog potentiometers working and the orginal cases in good shape. That's the conditon of my 5200 controllers, scratched up buttons. If those don't matter if they need replacing, or they CAN replace, I'm good. Those are good for analog games.

 

The Competition Pro might be best for one button games, assuming you're a right-stick player and not a left-stick player, because button 2 is out of reach. If someone made a button swapping dongle, then the Competition Pro for left-stick people would be good on either 1-button games or games where the second button is an auxiliary feature.

 

There's 2 classes of games I'd use the Masterplay Clone on.

 

One is games like Defender where, (I assume, since I haven't played it with my controls broke) you need a third button for hyperspace, which is the keypad, but I'm working on getting to get my custom omni-system stick to accept keypad presses for action buttons on my 8-button ambidextrous fight stick. Also qualified are games where you have to use 2 buttons frequently and is good as a digital game.

 

The other class are certain 4 way games like Popeye and Mountain King, which, even though they are digitial, have runtime errors that were not caught in the developement. I believe that's because there's a weird programming trick where if the joystick is actuate 80% in one direction or more, it can't actuate beyond 60% in a perpendicular direction, due to the circular restrictor on the analog stick.

 

This part is important, because I had an Apple IIe, and those joysticks were analog and had a square restrictor, where if an axis's maximum is 100%, then because x^2+y^2=r^2 X can equal 100%, and y can equal 100%, using that formula r^2=200%, which when you square root, r=141%, greater than the radius of a circular restrictor.

The Competiiton Pro are activated in a binary way, either x=100% or -100% or y=100% or -100% and has a ground state of whatever the attached 5200 was set at. but activating a diagonal made both x and y have absolute values of 100%. Some people made games that were intended to be 4-way by setting the center dead zone so big that only obvious cardninals would be recognized and diagonals would be dead. And codes correctly assumed if X is activated, the it was physically impossible for y it be activated and vice versa.

 

But the Competition Pro threw out that assumption, and that came after Popeye (and maybe Mountain King). So the lazy code which may have saved a few bits made it so the game has glitches when x and y are both beyond their activation threshold. If it's (I'm probably sure the 5200 wasn't using a human-readable "laundry list" language, but let's assume it is for human purposes and for the purposes of this discussion) intended to say in human terms "if pressed right in a 4-way sense" you'd have code like "If X>80%...." takes up a lot less bits than "If X>80% AND ABS(Y)<60%..." and because they assumed they were using default 5200 controllers, the "and ABS(Y)<60% is assumed and unnecesary.

 

There's 3 solutions I can see to playing those games, one is making a complex circuit which limits diagonal actuations to 70% of cardinals, but keeps cardinals at 100%. Another is in the vein of a Simultaneous Opposite Cardinal Directon Scrubbers, make Simultaneous Any Cardinal Direction Scrubbers, where If you're at +100% as x, it will asuume the same input until EITHER X AND Y is centered, OR ALL 3 OF x ceases to be in the original direction AND x goes in the opposite direction AND Y isn't actuated, OR BOTH X is centered AND Y is actuated either way.

 

But the easiest of the 3 solutions is already built into my fight stick, a square/diamond selectable restrictor. Just unscrew, twist and rescrew. In diamond mode (still techincally a square, it's just a matter of orientation relative to the actuation axes) the mode is ABS(X)+ABS(Y)<=100%, a linear function, so a perfect diagonal would not register as anything if the physical joystick mechanics 75% movement in one direction. it would physically restrict the case where an X and Y are simultaneously actuated. Now just to find a Masterplay Clone.

 

Maybe someone can combine an external selectable Simultaneous Any Cardinal Direction Scrubber AND a button swapper switch, and make it compatible with those 4 or less games 4-way games that have errors in diagonals not physically presented in default 5200 controllers. And with 2 switches on the controller one for stick right/left and one for scrubbers on/off, you never have to unplug it except for an analog game. The button swapper makes it sell to those who want it left handed. Might as well tackle 2 markets with one item.

 

By the way I got lucky, I found a 5200 that didn't have the extra switchbox, a Competiiton Pro, a default 5200 controller, and a few games for $15. I tested the 5200 with the default switchbox I had at home, and sold it without the switchbox for more than $15 and got basically a free Competition Pro. I believe it was in the 1997 when I found it at an Akron OH (Cuyahoga Falls technically, but most people have heard of Akron thanks to Lebron James and the Rubber Tire industry.) thrift store called Abbey Ann's, which ironically had 2 locations under the same franchise attached to the same parking lot in a 3 store plaza, owned by 2 different owners, but both had the rights to the Abbey Ann's name. Prices were so cheap, they were competing against themselves. That plaza is torn down and they combined and moved into the newer plaza that got renovated.

 

I only had a 5200 for a couple months in 1997, but the buttons were so mushy, that I new this would be valuable, both as a collector's item AND as a score enhancer. Also more games were just plain better with this than with a 5200 controller. When I heard the clicks on the joystick, I knew what I got.

Edited by tripletopper

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Git 'R Dun Got your self centering right here. :P

Seeing a :P and not a :) makes me think this is not very practical in gameplay. But if it really is practical, there's YouTube, and there's Twitch

 

Film yourself playing a game with a Larry the Cable Guy Redneck Joystick centerer. Then film yourself making the joystick attachment, and you can get lots of Youtube hits and make commercial money.

 

But even if it is, you don't want to be fighting centering resistance in Kaboom. Tires you out too much. If you don't believe me, try plying Warlords (either Arcade or 2600) on the Xbox One version of Atari Flashback Collection* with "absolute paddle setting", the only way you can "dial-a-position" If the thumbpad didn't have the auto center and the game wasn't high ping in local mode, it might actually be playable. Otherwise you'll have to make a performance compromise somewhere by either using relative controls or fighting centering resistance. Literally the only way I'l play it is online, because that's the only way to play online possible.

 

So, because of games where analog position is important, this isn't a "Swiss Army Knife" solution. You have to unplug it for Kaboom and Super Breakout.

 

*= (s, I forget which volume has Warlords. They should have organized it in either categories, putting like games together, like all paddle games, or organized by year, older on one disc, newer on another, or pure alphabetical, or just offered it as one download-only collection where you can buy games individually or save by paying for the whole 80-100 pack at once. Maybe worth it becuase it's online... if I can find someone who IS online with my particular game. Unfortunately, unlike Sega Genesis collection, you can't accept an invitation for any of my online games passively while playing one game, waiting.)

Edited by tripletopper

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I just finished building this: Also you can add a PC15pin DAC to the controller port end for digital joysticks for old PC, Atari, Amiga. 190nF cap parallel to y axis for missile command. Switch sets to 190nF or 260nF on y axis as 260nF may suit you best for other games. Pole position cart may work better than Rom as Rom sometimes is only in trackball mode so need keypad for shifting. I just realized, at the top switch, point 2 (where D is) should have a wire to ground (pin 15) I forgot to write down. Pobody's nerfect.

post-54985-0-53656900-1531971827_thumb.jpeg

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