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DOUBLEDOWN Custom ColecoVision Controllers

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25 minutes ago, Mr. John ColecoVision said:

Any chance of a Spy Hunter run?

It's possible...how much money you got!?!  Seriously though...it is possible, but I haven't looked into the total cost, and thus the selling price, for that one yet at all.  

 

I had been specifically contacted about the Mouse Trap controller previously and wanted to check/gauge the current "interest" for this particular model, so that we can figure out if anybody else was interested...and thus...what the selling price would be per unit.  

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7 minutes ago, doubledown said:

It's possible...how much money you got!?!  Seriously though...it is possible, but I haven't looked into the total cost, and thus the selling price, for that one yet at all.  

 

I had been specifically contacted about the Mouse Trap controller previously and wanted to check/gauge the current "interest" for this particular model, so that we can figure out if anybody else was interested...and thus...what the selling price would be per unit.  

haha yes,  I would think it would be among the most expensive to build. Have you posted any finished pictures ? I looked back but did not find.

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33 minutes ago, Mr. John ColecoVision said:

haha yes,  I would think it would be among the most expensive to build. Have you posted any finished pictures ? I looked back but did not find.

He created a special post for it

 

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Like this:

 

Uhhf3X.png

 

I had actually created a separate post for this one...due to how special it is: HERE  I meant to add it here so they're all in one place at some point...along with the Tutankham controller.  

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So at the request of a friend, for his friend, I was asked to create a custom Lady Bug controller for the ColecoVision.  After some discussion on size, hardware components, artwork, and the likes... we came up with this; a Lady Bug Edition - VVG Joystick Controller:

 

5c5Zj0.png

 

Normally for a build like this I would match the controller's housing to the cabinet's original color, try to replicate/use as much of the original CPO artwork as possible, and match the joystick & buttons to the originals...again, as much as possible.  So Lady Bug cabinets were Universal's "White/3-stripe" cabinets, but we didn't want to paint this one.  Next, the original Lady Bug CPO isn't really that graphically pleasing, and what was artistically usable from it, wouldn't really fit well on this small sized controller...so I used the marquee's artwork instead (the purple variant, not the green variant...obviously).  Then I matched the joystick (black ball, exposed metal shaft) to the original, but instead of the original's white body, red plunger P1/P2 start push-buttons (which kind of look out of place color-wise) I made red body, black plunger push-buttons...to simulate an actual lady bug...the insect.  Obviously Lady Bug does not require push-buttons for game-play, but the 2 buttons were installed for universal game compatibility.  And no your eyes don't deceive you, and this isn't some Photoshop trickery...this was actually built as joystick/right & buttons/left, for it's new owner's play preference.  The hardware details are:

 

Hori HSS-09 donor controller housing

Seimitsu - LS-32 Joystick

Ultimarc GoldLeaf push-buttons (red body/black plunger)

Edladdin CV PCB w/ keypad w/ custom keypad overlay

Arcade cabinet inspired artwork CPO

...and the controller's original "Start" button was dyed red, and wired as a duplicate * keypad button

 

Enjoy!

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Just read through this thread, and all these custom controllers are amazing! Really inspiring work!

 

This makes me want a custom Smurf controller, now. Smurf Rescue was the game I saw as a kid that made me want a Colecovision (I was amazed at how good the Smurf looked in the game).

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On 8/20/2020 at 6:22 PM, lawdawg710 said:

Man, you do absolutely AMAZING quality work!!!  

Thank you. This was actually the first right hand stick model i built into this enclosure type.  I looked into it before and knew it was possible, but i had to modify my PCB mounting plate due to the short length of the keypads flex cable...but nothing too bad.  I think it came out pretty well.

2 hours ago, chicgamer said:

Just read through this thread, and all these custom controllers are amazing! Really inspiring work!

 

This makes me want a custom Smurf controller, now. Smurf Rescue was the game I saw as a kid that made me want a Colecovision (I was amazed at how good the Smurf looked in the game).

A Smurf controller could definitely be done...I envision a lot of blue and white, and either a few select smurfs (Papa, Smurfette, Jokey or others) or a gaggle of them as artwork on the CPO.  In the Hori enclosure, like the Lady Bug (and others) above, assuming the plastic housing was painted blue or white (and not left as factory black)...it would be something in the neighborhood of $275.

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3 hours ago, doubledown said:

A Smurf controller could definitely be done...I envision a lot of blue and white, and either a few select smurfs (Papa, Smurfette, Jokey or others) or a gaggle of them as artwork on the CPO.  In the Hori enclosure, like the Lady Bug (and others) above, assuming the plastic housing was painted blue or white (and not left as factory black)...it would be something in the neighborhood of $275.

If you're interested in creating such a controller, then we should talk. :)

 

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I didn't see one in this thread, and maybe I missed it, but have you looked at doing a Galaxian controller??  One of my all time favorite games and one of my favorite and go to Colecovision games so was just curious!  With what you do with everything else, I can only imagine how you would make it look!!

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13 hours ago, lawdawg710 said:

I didn't see one in this thread, and maybe I missed it, but have you looked at doing a Galaxian controller??  One of my all time favorite games and one of my favorite and go to Colecovision games so was just curious!  With what you do with everything else, I can only imagine how you would make it look!!

I haven't yet built a Galaxian controller...but it is in the works.  To my recollection I knew of Galaga first...before I had ever heard of Galaxian...years later...simply due to my age (43), and what was in the arcades at the time; as "older" games had already been removed to make room for newer games.  And while I can play and enjoy Galaxian, I find its slower pace a bit boring (not easier mind you, just slower)...when compared to it's (4) true 2D successors (Galaga, Gaplus, Galaga '88, and Galaga Arrangement), that I have more experience with.  Now when it comes to Galaga...I have to admit I'm a bit of a snob with this particular game, and I can really only enjoy an arcade perfect port, or console emulated affair.  So as such, as the PS1/PS2 consoles, are the only consoles that have all 5 of these games, what I refer to as the "Galaxian 5", I am planning to build all 5 of these as Experience Controllers, initially for me, for the PS1/PS2.  The first one I've built thus far is is this series is for Gaplus (only because its the one I've been playing the most lately):

 

YoK6Wk.png

 

I currently already have in my possession, the original arcade joysticks for Galaxian, Galaga, (pictured below) and Galaga '88 (not pictured), (and obviously Gaplus pictured above), I still need to track down the one used in Namco Classic Collection Vol. 1 for Galaga Arrangement.

 

SxMqHN.jpg

 

The joystick on the left is the rare Japanese Namco 2-way stick used in Galaxian.  The middle 2 joysticks are North American Bally/Midway 2-way sticks used for Galaga (the far right joystick is a DECO Burger Time joystick for a Burger Time controller project).  The North American Bally/Midway 2-way sticks used in Galaxian are near identical to the above pictured Galaga sticks, but due to Galaxian using a wood control panel, versus the metal control panel of Galaga cabinets, the top plate would have been flat for the Galaxian machines, whereas the Galaga joysticks have the center drop area for the dust washer. (but basically interchangeable).   

 

So currently my personal plan is to build all 5 controllers as a matched set (all with the same size/type of enclosure) using only the original, arcade accurate controls, and all as large Experience Controllers; but again for the PS1/PS2...for me.  But as there are obviously ports of Galaxian and Galaga for the ColecoVision...these could also be built/wired as controllers for the ColecoVision, if someone wanted one.  Currently I have all of the artwork done for these large Experience versions for Galaxian, Galaga, and Galaga '88, I just need to order the enclosures, buttons, ancillary controls/buttons, and the donor controllers for the PCB wiring.  

 

After that..."smaller" Joystick or Enhanced controllers, themed for Galaxian or Galaga can also be possible, but obviously those wouldn't be large enough for arcade accurate controls, or most of the artwork...which can and will be included on the large Experience controllers.  So anything is possible...it would just depend on what you wanted.  Would you want a large arcade-accurate Experience Controller for Galaxian (true authentic 2-way joystick, 1 fire button, and thus only usable with a few game), or would you be more interested in a smaller Joystick or Enhanced Controller, with a universal 8-way joystick, 2 buttons, and a full keypad...that is simply themed for Galaxian...but usable for most of the ColecoVision library...like the Lady Bug controller a few posts above?  Something to think about! 

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I was reminded that I did already make a Galaxian controller:

 

9izhxv.png

 

...two of them actually.  These were Experience Controllers, featuring the original arcade controls from North American, Bally/Midway, Galaxian Cocktail Cabinets.  

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In honor of the CollectorVision Experience Club (2020), “exclusive,” members only game, please allow me to unveil my: ************* Edition - VVG Joystick Controller:

 

r6u3m1.jpg 

 

Featuring:

 

**Seimitsu LS-32, *-way joystick w/***** ****-knob

 

**(2) Ultimarc GoldLeaf Pushbuttons, (1) ******, matching the original arcade cabinet, and (1) ********** to camouflage with the CPO, but present to offer 2-button game compatibility

 

**Edladdin CV PCB w/ Keypad w/ custom overlay

 

**The donor controller's original Start button was dyed ********* to match the original arcade cabinet's P1/P2 start buttons, and wired as a duplicate * keypad key

 

**The controller’s housing was painted *********** to match the *********** cabinets’ color. 

 

Enjoy!

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It's a good thing you mentioned the CollectorVision Club, otherwise I would have thought this was for a XXX adult game.  :P 

 

  • Haha 2

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35 minutes ago, Pixelboy said:

It's a good thing you mentioned the CollectorVision Club, otherwise I would have thought this was for a XXX adult game.  :P 

 

Well fortunately (or unfortunately...depending on your point of view), the ColecoVision never had any games programmed by Mystique...so it's safe to say it's "family friendly."  😇

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About a month ago, I built my Coleco Black Edition - VVG Standard Controller, wherein I used new to me, PCB-mount / thru-hole, key-switch push-buttons, and created a custom made 3 x 4 keypad assembly.   For that build, I simply soldered the key-switches to a proto-board, and hand-wired their contacts down to one edge.  I then hand-wired those contacts at the bottom edge of the proto-board, to an original Hand Controller PCB with its diode array, in essence, simply replacing the membrane keypad that was original to the Hand Controller, with this new key-switch keypad assembly.  I really like the way these key-switches look and feel, I like their available sizes, shapes, and color selection, and they are reasonably priced...and widely available.  Now I knew if I was going to use them going forward, I wasn't going to want to do all of that custom hand-wiring each and every time...so I had the thought of getting custom PCBs made up for the keypad assembly.  Mind you, I had never done this before, I had no idea how one went about doing this...all I knew is that it seems like lots of people have custom PCBs made.  So after talking with a few people and doing a little online research, I found my starting point with EasyEDA software, and tried to see if I could figure it all out.  Initially my plan was to simply create a custom PCB for the keypad push-buttons, with which, I would still wire to, and use, an original Hand Controller PCB for the diode array...again as my first time, I figured I'd start simple.  But after a couple of hours playing around with the software, and getting the hang of it, I thought what the hell, lets see if I can make one PCB which will allow for the mounting of the key-switch push-buttons, as well as accommodate for the ColecoVision diode array, the wiring contacts for a joystick and up to 4 buttons (including the S.A.C. buttons), and for the cable to connect it to the console.  I figure I spent somewhere around 4-5 hours with the software, really getting the hang of it, and playing around with all of the facets of it, to make sure I really knew what I was doing.  After that I probably spent another 2-3 hours with the schematic, and the PCB layout...and this is what I got:

 

x3SHBO.png

 

I ordered these from OSHPARK as their "Prototype" special, wherein you get 3 copies of your design for $5/square inch.  I received them today, and if memory serves, it was exactly 14 days from order to receipt.  In the picture, the left PCB is a bare board, the middle PCB just has the 34 diodes installed, and the right PCB has the 34 diodes and 12 (10 grey / 2 black) "small" square C&K push-button key-switches installed.  The solder pads at the top edge are for connecting the cable, the left pads are for the joystick (as the joystick should be on the left), the right pads are for the buttons (where the buttons should be), and the (4) large holes are for mounting into the enclosure.

 

So after I got these today, I fully wired one up tonight to see if my design worked...and what do you know...everything works perfectly.  I'm super happy with the layout, and basically everything about the design.  And the really good news is...now I can stop cannibalizing original Hand Controllers for their PCBs, and simply just use my own design.  Even if I'm building a controller with different and/or fewer push-buttons for the keypad, I can still use this PCB, and simply wire the different push-buttons to the solder pads on the PCB where the C&K key-switch push-buttons can mount...win, win!  This little endeavor/adventure taught me 2 things, 1) creating a custom PCB is incredibly & surprisingly easy, and 2) custom PCBs can be completely reasonably priced, to incredibly cheap, depending on where they are ordered from and what kind of quantity you're ordering.  Now I will admit, that this is by no means a "complicated" design, nor was I trying to absolutely minimize the size of the PCB, as I already needed a decent sized, fixed amount of space, for the C&K buttons...and because of all of that, I just decided to use thru-hole mount diodes versus surface mount components, making the assembly so much easier.  And realistically, as these will be installed in larger controller enclosures...I wasn't concerned with the overall size at all, although the larger the PCB, they more they cost each...but again, still pretty marginal.  So there you have it ColecoVision fans, that's what I've been doing for the last couple of weeks, and you can now all rest easy, knowing that I won't need to salvage PCBs from original Hand Controllers, thus taking them off of the market any more.  

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Well another step closer to my endgame.  So you may recall, I recently starting using new C&K, PCB mount, thru-hole push buttons for a custom keypad assembly for my controllers.  The first ones I used were their round push-buttons, mainly for the simplicity of machining round holes (vs. square holes) and to verify that I liked, and could use these push-buttons.  Then I designed, and had custom PCBs fabricated to simplify the assembly and wiring of these new push-button keypad assemblies, wherein I installed C&K's "small" square push-buttons.  The final goal here, was to then snap on C&K's "large" square accessory caps (onto their "small" square push-buttons), in an attempt to simulate the original Coleco Hand Controller's keypad "look" as closely as possible, while using physical buttons/switches, versus a membrane type keypad.  The trick was going to be, could I machine square holes, with tight enough corners, (with a round, rotating tool) to my satisfaction, where I wouldn't be required to hand file each of the 4 corners, of each of the 12 button holes.  After a bit of test machining and tweaking...voila:  

 

ZqxInY.jpg

 

The "large" square C&K caps are approximately 0.500" square, versus the original Hand Controllers' approximately 0.625" membrane button / grid openings...but hey, close enough. The fact that they're a bit smaller actually works in my favor with regards to the overall room/space on the controllers play surface.  So the 0.500" square holes were initially machined with a 1/4" end mill (for speed), which left 1/8" radius'ed corners, which were too round for how sharp the corners of the "large" square button caps are.  I then re-machined the the cutouts' outer perimeter with a 1/16" end mill, which leaves 1/32" radius'ed corners, and how 'bout that...a perfect slip fit.   Now I just need to figure out how to add legends onto the button caps.  I've got a couple thoughts/idea for this, but I wasn't going to order anything to do this, until I knew that i could use these "large" square capped, key-switch push-buttons, as I wanted to.

 

"Everything's comin' up Milhouse!"

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On 8/18/2020 at 3:20 PM, doubledown said:

Like this:

 

Uhhf3X.png

 

I had actually created a separate post for this one...due to how special it is: HERE  I meant to add it here so they're all in one place at some point...along with the Tutankham controller.  

Such a great piece! Want to buy it!! hahaha

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1 hour ago, ColecoKing said:

If OP is still around, are you still selling these? I am to put it mildly, extremely interested in whatever stock you may have.

I think I'm still here!  😁

 

I don't "stock" any controllers...each model is initially built as a first edition "prototype" (which then either I keep or sell)...then after that they're all built to order, when I've got time to make a run of them.  I've been meaning to start a pre-order/interest thread to find out who is currently interested in what models/editions, for my next "production" run.  I'll try to get something posted in the Marketplace forum by this weekend (and post the link here) to see who is currently interested.  FYI...I'm not making any of the "Hand Controllers" in this next run...or possibly ever...not sure yet.  Due to the unavailability of the dyes I use to use...there really aren't many of them that I could re-make anyways.  But stay tuned.

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1 hour ago, ColecoKing said:

Hand controllers?

 

THESE

 

Alternatively, follow the link in my signature for my full portfolio of works.

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