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My homemade 5200 controller

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I made a 5200 controller this week:

 

 

It's kind of crude, a pcb attached to a piece of hardboard. I'm not one for making fancy cases, but it is functional and the thumbstick is analog. Uses the same technique as the Ben Heck controller, a microcontroller talking to a digital pot, though different choices of microcontroller and digital pot. I'm thinking through a possible revision to do away with the microcontroller/digital pot and go for a fully analog solution.

 

An advantage of this controller is that it's relative easy and cheap to make. Aside from the pcboard, the most expensive component is the thumbstick at $4.

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Are there any disadvantages to a digital pot/counter? Fewer moving parts, right?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Are there any disadvantages to a digital pot/counter? Fewer moving parts, right?

 

 

The digital pot and microcontroller are necessary because the 5200 needs a relatively high value potentiometer (it wants 500K, you can get by with 100K by adding some additional capacitance at the controller) whereas the pot is a relatively low value, 10K. The quick and dirty solution is to sample the analog pot using the microcontroller and then output that sample to via the digital potentiometer. This also allows the opportunity to do some custom scaling and potentially some custom offset. The disadvantage is that this has 8-bit resolution and therefore there are only 256 possible values for the analog joystick. It may be possible that the 5200 is converting it to a number between 0-255 anyway (this is what the diagnostic cart shows), but I couldn't say for sure. Anytime you're going from analog to digital back to analog, it seems like a way to introduce unwanted digital artifacts.

 

A fully analog solution might be viable using some op-amps. I have received some suggestions on the op-amp approach, but haven't tried a prototype yet.

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Doesn’t the pokey just read 0-255 on the X and Y pot anyway?

 

That I don't know -- I'm not familiar with 5200 programming or the internal 5200 hardware. If it was a PC joystick, then I'd say you could time it yourself for additional precision.

 

If the POKEY fixes you to 8 bit resolution, then you're right the Microcontroller/DigitalPOT shouldn't impede that resolution.

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I made a 5200 controller this week:

 

 

It's kind of crude, a pcb attached to a piece of hardboard. I'm not one for making fancy cases, but it is functional and the thumbstick is analog. Uses the same technique as the Ben Heck controller, a microcontroller talking to a digital pot, though different choices of microcontroller and digital pot. I'm thinking through a possible revision to do away with the microcontroller/digital pot and go for a fully analog solution.

 

An advantage of this controller is that it's relative easy and cheap to make. Aside from the pcboard, the most expensive component is the thumbstick at $4.

 

Looks like you got that thumb stick off of a Playstation controller! Cool!

Edited by Atari PAC-MAN Fan
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Looks like you got that thumb stick off of a Playstation controller! Cool!

 

Sparkfun sells them new, and digikey sells the Sparkfun-branded ones. I don't know whether or not they're identical to the PS controller part (Sparkfun says "very similar" in their description).

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I made a 5200 controller this week:

 

 

It's kind of crude, a pcb attached to a piece of hardboard. I'm not one for making fancy cases, but it is functional and the thumbstick is analog. Uses the same technique as the Ben Heck controller, a microcontroller talking to a digital pot, though different choices of microcontroller and digital pot. I'm thinking through a possible revision to do away with the microcontroller/digital pot and go for a fully analog solution.

 

An advantage of this controller is that it's relative easy and cheap to make. Aside from the pcboard, the most expensive component is the thumbstick at $4.

 

Care to share the PC board files? And controller code? I'm sure others would love to see it and possibly make their own.

 

I've been thinking for awhile about wiring up some kind of prototype with an Arduino just as a proof of concept but as usual, I have more projects and ideas than free time and it just hasn't happened.

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This is outstanding work. I wish more people would do this. Maybe one day we could see a small scale, independently produced 5200 controller? The 5200 is one of Atari's best consoles. I hate that the barrier of having a functional controller keeps so many people away from this machine.

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Care to share the PC board files? And controller code? I'm sure others would love to see it and possibly make their own.

 

I've been thinking for awhile about wiring up some kind of prototype with an Arduino just as a proof of concept but as usual, I have more projects and ideas than free time and it just hasn't happened.

 

The code and schematic are up in my github repo, and there's a writeup including BOM on my blog at http://www.smbaker.com/homemade-atari-5200-analog-controller

 

I'm probably going to offer pcboards for sale, perhaps programmed microcontrollers as well. At least enough to sell off my initial supply of extras, and if there's sufficient demand perhaps I could consider ordering more and/or doing a board revision.

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This is outstanding work. I wish more people would do this. Maybe one day we could see a small scale, independently produced 5200 controller? The 5200 is one of Atari's best consoles. I hate that the barrier of having a functional controller keeps so many people away from this machine.

I made a free hanging keypad today it cost like 2 dollars in parts, I need to figure out a good solution for a joystick then I can start making them.

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I made a free hanging keypad today it cost like 2 dollars in parts, I need to figure out a good solution for a joystick then I can start making them.

 

It's too bad the jackass seller tripled the price on this baby. It works marvelously with bohoki's 5200-to-15pin PC adapter

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Use-any-PS2-Dual-Shock-N64-Controller-Pad-on-PC-w-Innovation-Smart-Joy-Emulator/183204807392?hash=item2aa7db82e0%3Ag%3AURMAAMXQO21RnmFk&_sacat=0&_nkw=Use+any+PS2+Dual+Shock+N64+Controller+Pad+on+PC+w%2FInnovation+Smart+Joy+Emulator+&_from=R40&rt=nc&_trksid=m570.l1313

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It's too bad the jackass seller tripled the price on this baby. It works marvelously with bohoki's 5200-to-15pin PC adapter

 

That's funny, I've been considering this approach. It's not difficult to interface a PS2 controller to a microcontroller. Build a keypad directly into the adapter. Done.

 

If we want to get fancy, we could use the two sticks on the PS2 controller to function as two 5200 controllers, map the start and select buttons to the 5200's start and pause, etc.

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Excellent project!

It would be nice if you could sell at least the PCB boards (and programmed chips), or if the PCB company you got the boards from offered them for sale.

Maybe a group buy?

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He raised the price above what I ever imagined when I revealed the 5200 adapters secret on my YouTube channel. It's like it's made of gold now or something... Or at least the seller believes he's sitting on a goldmine. The problem is that in the next couple years, someone will eventually start making a direct PS2 to 5200 controller adapter- undercutting that crazy high price by probably 50%. It will be someone with the knowledge and drive to do it. Edladdin--this could be your new calling. Or maybe Atariguy1021 might be our guy..... Or, heck, maybe Ben Heck! But even better would be Swami, DrVenkman, or smbaker.

Edited by ave1
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He raised the price above what I ever imagined when I revealed the 5200 adapters secret on my YouTube channel. It's like it's made of gold now or something... Or at least the seller believes he's sitting on a goldmine. The problem is that in the next couple years, someone will eventually start making a direct PS2 to 5200 controller adapter- undercutting that crazy high price by probably 50%. It will be someone with the knowledge and drive to do it. Edladdin--this could be your new calling. Or maybe Atariguy1021 might be our guy..... Or, heck, maybe Ben Heck! But even better would be Swami, DrVenkman, or smbaker.

 

I wouldn't blame your youtube channel. Wired Up Retro showed people how useful they could be, then when people started buying them, he used his monopoly to try to exploit the interest. But you are right, we should find a way to end the monopoly. I just need to learn how to program a microcontroller chip.

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I think the most beguiling part about the innovations PS2/N64 to pc adaptor is that they dont come with instructions. What exactly does that switch on the side do? Is there coherent signal coming through for the ps2 right thumbstick? I get something on the voltmeter from 2nd x-axis (pin 11?) for the gas and brake on my mad cats mc2 ps2 racing wheel but it is a strange pulsing signal.

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I made a 5200 controller this week:

 

It's kind of crude, a pcb attached to a piece of hardboard. I'm not one for making fancy cases, but it is functional and the thumbstick is analog. Uses the same technique as the Ben Heck controller, a microcontroller talking to a digital pot, though different choices of microcontroller and digital pot. I'm thinking through a possible revision to do away with the microcontroller/digital pot and go for a fully analog solution.

 

An advantage of this controller is that it's relative easy and cheap to make. Aside from the pcboard, the most expensive component is the thumbstick at $4.

My thoughts, if you decide to sell these, would be to somehow, as an individual or as a group, find someone to 3-D print cases for them like the 7800 ones being made. You would be a hero. If you add the extra two SAC buttons, you would be a god. Oh, never mind the extra buttons...that's what I want for the ColecoVision. :grin:

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I could design the cases, if I could get one. I'm not an expert in 3D CAD, but I can do it. Similar to Ben Heck's, maybe.

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The code and schematic are up in my github repo, and there's a writeup including BOM on my blog at http://www.smbaker.com/homemade-atari-5200-analog-controller

 

I'm probably going to offer pcboards for sale, perhaps programmed microcontrollers as well. At least enough to sell off my initial supply of extras, and if there's sufficient demand perhaps I could consider ordering more and/or doing a board revision.

 

I will do whatever I can and the Atari 5200 Podcast to make this a viable project.

I personally would want 4 to start. I love my 4 port and would have to have a controller for each port.

Let us know what we need to do :)

Edited by Protestari
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Wow, I bought one of those after our cohost Steve Averitt made a video about it. I think it was about $20 when I bought it, now $100.

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I've been out on a business trip for a week, and I see this has stirred up some interest. ;)

 

As I have a limited quantity (only eight!) of prototypes on hand, it'll be a maximum of 2 pcboards per customer. I will not sell parts or assembled controllers, just pcboards. Preferably to people who are capable of sourcing and programming the microcontroller themselves. Please keep in mind that it does require some level to skill to build the controller, and the appropriate programmer to program the microcontroller. The price per pcboard will be $10 each, plus shipping.

 

Once some others have built them and there have been positive results, I'll either make a second order (with possible revisions, if there is feedback from the initial round of builders), or release the board files so folks can make a group buy, Enough to eventually supply everyone who wants them.

 

If you're interested in these, please send me a PM now. Priority will be given to 1) those who are able to program the microcontroller, 2) those who feel they are capable of designing a case, and 3) those who wish to feature the controller on a blog.

 

Scott

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I finally took a few minutes this morning to watch this video all the way through. I love it even more. I definitely want to build one of these, but I don't currently have the hardware setup to program the ATTiny microcontroller. Other than that, building one of these using your PCB design seems like it would be really straightforward. I especially like the fact that you desinged the board to be built ambidextrously. For instance, I prefer the thumbstick on the left, fire buttons on the right, so if I ever built one, that's how I'd do it (ANYONE DESIGNING 3D-PRINTED CASES, PLEASE TAKE NOTE TO MAKE MIRROR TOP HALVES AVAILABLE!)

 

That said, if you or someone else in the community (*) does a run of these boards and programmed chips, I'll buy two in a heartbeat. This is a great solution to a decades-long issue. Thank you for sharing your work with the community.

 

(*) I'd get it touch with Marlin Bates (user 'Macrorie' here on AA). He's put together bill of material kits for the 1088XEL A8 computer project, builds and sells Robin Edwaards' UNO and Ultimate Carts for the A8, and Robin's new UNO 2600 cart. He's setup with a pretty good system to handle his parts kit inventories, ordering and payment, etc.

Edited by DrVenkman

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