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Frank.Bullitt

Hyperkin Ranger Two Button Mod

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Hello all,

 

I'm looking to modify my Hyperkin Ranger controller to make it fully compatible with all my 7800 games.

 

It looks like all the pins are in use already.

 

Can anyone give any suggestions on how to add a second fire button?

 

159405968183418695397152067199.jpg

15940597147536288521835905626505.jpg

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Bump.

 

It looks like the analogue stick runs through an analogue to digital circuit.

All the pins are in use.

 

Anyone have any ideas on adding the secondary fire button?

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Awesome. You are already modding a brand new controller.  Love it.   I just received mine.  The jury is still out for me.  Some games work well, some not.  The hex-shaped Thumbstick has too my throw and it does hurt my thumb because of its angular shape.  Oh well.  Got it for $19 shipped. On sale at Amazon.

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I'll buy one and take a look. I'm guessing that it might be easiest to splice into the wires before it reaches the the PCB. What sort of physical button were you planning to add?

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You can find the schematic for the 7800 controller here on AtariAge.  Its in the now seldomly visited info section and not on the forums.  I'll edit this post with a link.

 

Its been a while, but basically, the 7800 uses both of the pot pins and it has pull up (or down I get those confused) resistors on both buttons so that it still works on 2600 games.  The schematic is pretty easy to read even if you aren't used to that kind of thing.

 

I'm guessing that your biggest problem is going to be the tight fit inside the case.  You'll likely need some teeny tiny resistors to fit in there and some very small gauge wires.

 

 

Joystick Pinouts

2600 pinouts:

_________________
\ o5 o4 o3 o2 o1/
 \ o9 o8 o7 o6 /
  \___________/

pin #  2600 control     7800 control
  1    WHT- Up          WHT- Up
  2    BLU- Down        BLU- Down
  3    GRN- Left        GRN- Left
  4    BRN- Right       BRN- Right
  5    unused           RED- Button (R)ight (-)
  6    ORG- Button      ORG- Both buttons (+)
  7    unused           unused
  8    BLK- Ground(-)   BLK- Ground(-)
  9    unused           YLW- Button (L)eft  (-)


2600 control (button)

pin 6 ORG(+) --------------()------------BLK(-) pin 8
                      Button

7800 control (buttons)

                                       /----------YLW(-) pin 9
                            Button L  /
                      /---------()---| YLW splits
                     /                \----/\/\/-----\
pin 6 ORG(+) -------| ORG splits           520 ohm    |---BLK(-) pin 8
                     \                /----/\/\/-----/
                      \---------()---|     520 ohm
                           Button R   \ RED splits
                                       \----------RED(-) pin 5


Note that some controllers have 620 ohm resistors rather than 520 ohm ones.

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I will add that the mod for this will probably get a bit weird as there is only one fire button even though this is a Joystick and a paddle controller all-in-one.

 

On the 2600 paddles, the fire buttons are the left/right joystick inputs. On the classic 2600 joystick, the fire button is Pin 6 to Pin 8 ground. On the 7800, the fire buttons are pin5/pin9 immediate capacitor charge from pin7.

 

So hacking the fire buttons might be difficult as it might mess with the paddle and standard JS fire button.

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Yeah, I forgot that there is only one button on this thing.  Adding the button will probably take the most trial and error to get it mounted etc.  Very tight fit too.  I would just build my own controller with a project box and arcade parts.

 

When this thing was announced, my immediate reaction was that it was a huge missed opportunity to not have 7800 compatibility.

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Yes, it would have been better if the N 77 would have been a fully compatible 7800 instead of just a modern 2600, but maybe the 7800 isn't old enough to not violate patents. I don't know much about IP laws. 

 

I have an N 77 joystick, which has two buttons... it's just technically the same button for right/left handed persons. I've opened it up already and I think it wouldn't be too much of a problem to mod the N 77 standard joystick to be 7800 compatible... nice thing about that is that it wouldn't look modded.

 

I purchased a Ranger controller today, it'll be here on Friday. I'll poke around inside it anyway to see what might be possible.

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I received my Hyperkin Ranger today, and dismantled it to see what was going on inside.

 

I tested the stick while playing Berzerk.

 

In S (stick) Mode:

LS - Hold the gamepad with the stick and the paddle on the left works like you'd expect.

RS - Hold the gamepad with the stick and the paddle on the Right works like you'd expect.

That is, in both cases, pushing the stick away from you - moves up, toward you - moves down, left - moves left, right - moves right

 

In P (paddle) Mode:

Joystick still works, but except for the horizontal direction that is being used for the Paddle Fire button.

 

When testing in P mode with Berzerk, pressing the fire button always moves you to the right on the screen. It doesn't matter if you are in Mode LS or RS, pushing the fire button in this mode always moves you to the right.

 

This means that the paddle fire button is always mapped to the "Right" Joystick switch. This is probable so that Paddle merge thing they sell can "dumb-swap" the paddle fire button from right to left simply by doing a physical wire re-direct.

 

After digging around in side the controller, I got the feeling that the controller is a well constructed device.

 

Also, in regard to the fire button, all the toggle switch is doing when moving from S to P mode is remapping the fire button from Pin 6-8 (stick fire) to Pin 4-8 (stick right - paddle fire). Essentially, it's a two way switch that keeps the Pin 4-8 fire button circuit open in S Mode, and the Pin 6-8 fire button circuit open in P Mode.

 

So when it goes to modding for the fire button, the question is, how is the Paddle wheel setup? Based on the fact that the joystick is active while in P Mode, I would guess that the Pot of paddle wheel is probably also active when in S mode.

 

With a 2600, it would be impossible to tell if a Pot was live as a Joystick game has no way of knowing this.

 

So what about modding the controller for the 7800.

  1. Modding the built in fire button directly would cause a paddle short in the fire button when in P Mode. If you're only going to use the Ranger with a 7800, then this doesn't matter as you'll never use paddle mode.
  2. If you decide to not mod the existing fire button, but instead just add two additional fire buttons this won't be a problem.
    1. I would suggest inserting the proper wiring before the wires enter the PCB.
    2. I don't think you need the resistors as I think that's only needed for buttons you want to act as standard 2600 fire. But those who know better can correct me if I am mistaken on that point.
  3. I didn't look closely to see which pin (5 or 9) the Pot is wired, Is pin 5 considered Paddle player 0? I can never remember. Anyway, whichever it is, I believe since the Pot is likely active in S Mode, you will have intermittent fire button issues after a 7800 fire button mod because the Pot will still be sending power to Pin 9. Pin 5 (or Pin 9 - whichever). While the Pin 5 wire is attached to the PCB, it doesn't appear to be connected to anything beyond just being held in place.
  4. Two ways around this issue:
    1. The simple way: Turn the Paddle wheel so that the Pot is set to full resistance. Should be fine as long as you don't bump the wheel while playing.
    2. Otherwise, a slightly less simple way, if you don't care about the paddle control because you are only going to use it with the 7800, just disable the pot. I didn't look closely to see how it could be done, but I'm sure it wouldn't be hard. Probably right at the Pin 5-9 connections on the PCB would do it. In fact, if you did it there, you could probably wire your fire buttons up to that spot. But only do this if you don't care about paddle control.
    3. Personally, I like the idea of just adding two new buttons. When holding the controller with two hands, it felt like there should be some Trigger buttons along the front. This would be a good spot for your buttons if you mod. It would make playing the pinball portion of 7800 Baby Pacman feel more like playing actual pinball.

If someone else digs into the Ranger and sees that I have it wrong, or if I don't fully understand how the 7800 fire buttons work, please feel to correct me. It's an opportunity to learn something new. :D

 

So my only two initial gripes about the Ranger: 1) it's a bit small for my hands - would be more comfortable to use for play if it was slightly larger, which means it also might be a tight fit when putting in new wires and mounting switches for a mod; and 2) I agree with wongojack, Hyperkin missed an great opportunity when it chose to only put one button on the controller. A 2nd button with full 7800 fire button compatibility would have made the Ranger awesome.

 

Maybe later models will be slightly bigger with a second fire button. IDK. It's a nice controller for the 2600 if that's all you care about. I think, one of the better ones.

Edited by flickertail
I took a closer look at the Ranger PCB
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5 hours ago, flickertail said:

Personally, I like the idea of just adding two new buttons. When holding the controller with two hands, it felt like there should be some Trigger buttons along the front. This would be a good spot for your buttons if you mod. It would make playing the pinball portion of 7800 Baby Pacman feel more like playing actual pinball

I think adding trigger buttons for 7800 games is a great idea.

Sorry if this is a silly question, but how would I do this given that all of the pins are already in use?

 

 

Thanks for all the replies everyone, I must have had my notifications turned off.😅

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Take what I said with a grain of salt.

 

So I took a crack at modding my Ranger controller to add 7800 fire buttons in addition to the 2600 fire button.

 

Results:

  • Joystick (2600)
    • Joystick works as expected in both LS and RS modes.
    • Fire button works as expected in both LS and RS modes
  • Joystick (7800) - Tested in Baby Pac-man and Ace of Aces
    • Joystick works as expected in both LS and RS modes.
    • Fire Buttons:
      • Right fire button does not work at all.
      • Left fire button is the same as joystick up (if in RS mode, the same fire button is the same as joystick down).
    • 7800 DigDoug
      • Joystick worked as expected.
      • 7800 fire button - neither button worked at all.
      • 2600 fire button worked just fine.
      • I'm guessing 7800 Dig Doug uses 2600 joystick controls, I'm guessing that everyone knew that but me.
  • Paddle (2600) - Test in Super Breakout
    • Fire button worked as expected.
    • Pot didn't work at all (Did I cut the wrong pin?) - well, it didn't control the player line (racket... what is that thing called?)
    • Odd - when playing Super Breakout, the joystick center-to-down was able to move the racket.
      • This just worked in JS mode.
      • In Paddle mode, the Pot didn't move the player line, but the joystick could move the racket as pot resistance was "not maximum".
      • At higher resistance, the the center-to-down position of the joystick the player could almost accurately control the racket, if moved the joystick was moved very slowly.
      • Otherwise the racket. jumped back and forth to the other side.

More thoughts in a minute.

 

 

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Things I did and Didn't Do

  • I didn't connect ground to Pins 5 and 9, which needs to be done using a 640 Ohm resistor. I thought that was only needed when also expecting the buttons to work with the 2600, but I guess I was wrong.
  • To be honest, there is so little room inside the controller, I could barely get the additional wires inside the Ranger. It would be an extremely tight fit adding in another set of wires and resistors. I was surprised I got the case closed again.
  • I spliced into the wire coming in from Pin 5 before it reached the PCB. The splice goes to the left fire button and then the fire button connects to pin 6. Yeah, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I need to ground the fire buttons too... I don't know what I was thinking. I think the 7800 checks if Pin 6 is grounded, and then if it is, it checks to see if Pin5 or Pin 9 was the culprit to decide which fire button fired... No pin 6 ground, then the 7800 doesn't register a fire button press. Still doesn't explain the "up" "down" thing. Makes me wonder if I have a short too.
  • I cut Pin 9 from the PCB entirely, and connected it to the right fire button. I couldn't see if it was actually connected to anything on the board. Maybe it was. Maybe the controller chip on the PCB needs input from both 5 and 9.

I don't think I'll get to it this weekend, but later this week, I'll open it back up again. Reconnect Pin 5 to the PCB, see if I can add in the Pin 5 and Pin 9 connections to ground through a resistor. I just don't see how I'm going to pack any more stuff in that case. I barely got it shut this time.

 

I suppose I could have burned out the switches while soldering. I'm not very good at soldering... I could have gotten some solder on the actual switch.

 

Attached are some photos: 1) my non-working mod with the 7800 buttons in the trigger position. 2) a shot of the PCB where the pins are connected and a description of the Pin is written, and 3) the same connection on the opposite side so the wire colors can be seen.

 

If you'll notice that they didn't wire the PCB in Pin order. Their wiring order goes: 1,6,2,3,4,8,7,9,5. At least that's the way it appears to me. IDK... I'm slightly confused by that PCB... maybe I'm getting tired, now that I think about it, think the right paddle on the left port is player 0. Maybe I shouldn't have cut that from the board completely.

 

IDK... looking at the photos, I can't see that pin 5 is connected to anything.

IMG_8115.jpg

IMG_8116.jpg

IMG_8117.jpg

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Update: Not Good News

 

This morning when I got up I thought I'd take a stab at fixing everything I did wrong with the Ranger last night.

 

Changes I made:

  1. Reconnected Pin 5 to PCB
  2. Added ground (Pin 8 ) to the pins 5 and 9 connections to the 7800 fire buttons with 620 Omh resistor at each connection point.

And the results were worse than last night.

 

When tested with 2600 Frogger:

  • 2600 LS Mode;
    • Right, Up, and Down worked in LS Mode
    • Pressing the fire button caused the left to engage... essentially, the fire button became Joystick left
  • 2600 RS Mode: Essentially LS mode, but opposite when it came to the fire button issue.

When tested with 2600 Berzerk:

  • M0 missile fire was constant even though no buttons were pushed.
  • Moving the joystick caused the direction of fire to change, but the player didn't move... My guess is that in Berzerk the player can't move while shooting, so since "fire" is constant, the P0 couldn't move.

7800 Baby Pac-Man:

  • Same joystick problems as with 2600 Frogger
  • Most disappointingly, the 7800 fire buttons did not work at all. However, the single 2600 fire button still resulted in the left/right issue described above.

So, I'm giving up on this for now, but potential problems with my mod:

  • Potential Problem: 1) I suck at soldering - some or most of my soldered connections aren't working or causing a short of some kind.
  • Potential Problem: 2) I am just mixed up when contemplating how the 7800 joystick works, and I made the wrong assumptions and connections.
  • Potential Problem: 3) Since there is a chip that decides how the JS and Pot works, my added pre-PCB wiring is somehow changing how the chip interprets the input coming in to it.

Which one of these is the most likely culprit? IDK. It's probably a bit of all three. Someone more qualified than me is going to have to attempt this mod.

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On 7/15/2020 at 8:13 AM, gilsaluki said:

Awesome. You are already modding a brand new controller.  Love it.   I just received mine.  The jury is still out for me.  Some games work well, some not.  The hex-shaped Thumbstick has too my throw and it does hurt my thumb because of its angular shape.  Oh well.  Got it for $19 shipped. On sale at Amazon.

If it is a standard thumbstick, can you replace the cap with a standard thumbstick cap?

 

There are tons on ebay to choose from

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On 7/19/2020 at 12:08 AM, fdr4prez said:

If it is a standard thumbstick, can you replace the cap with a standard thumbstick cap?

 

There are tons on ebay to choose from

Already have some of those on their way to me now.

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On 7/20/2020 at 4:04 PM, gilsaluki said:

Already have some of those on their way to me now.

Let us know how you get on changing the thumb stick, and if you feel it's a worthwhile improvement over the original. 🙂

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1 hour ago, Frank.Bullitt said:

Let us know how you get on changing the thumb stick, and if you feel it's a worthwhile improvement over the original. 🙂

I love it!  The rubber thumb pad fits perfectly.  It feels right now.  In fact, the Ranger is my favorite controller now.  It takes a bit to get used to, if you have been a joystick jock like me for 35 plus years.  The real test of a controller's usefulness, at least for me, has been any Pac-Man type game.  Anything that requires quick reversals and sharp directional control.  I am really enjoying my maze games now with it.  It works well for games.  Wizzard of Wor, Qix, Loderunner, Galaxian, Spider City (a Defender type game).  I have not yet been able to use the Paddle function as it did not work on my XEGS.  I think that is why the packaging only references for use with the Hyperkin 77 and the Atari 2600 machines.  The computers are not mentioned on the package.  Anyway, I love the build quality, it feels solid and the balance is just right for my hands. I bought another for $19 from Amazon.  

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On 7/21/2020 at 8:54 PM, gilsaluki said:

Anyway, I love the build quality, it feels solid and the balance is just right for my hands. I bought another for $19 from Amazon

I have to agree, I really love using this controller. The only downside in my opinion is the lack of a second button, but for 2600 games you really can't go wrong 🙂

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On 7/18/2020 at 7:59 PM, flickertail said:

Update: Not Good News

 

This morning when I got up I thought I'd take a stab at fixing everything I did wrong with the Ranger last night.

 

Changes I made:

  1. Reconnected Pin 5 to PCB
  2. Added ground (Pin 8 ) to the pins 5 and 9 connections to the 7800 fire buttons with 620 Omh resistor at each connection point.

And the results were worse than last night.

 

When tested with 2600 Frogger:

  • 2600 LS Mode;
    • Right, Up, and Down worked in LS Mode
    • Pressing the fire button caused the left to engage... essentially, the fire button became Joystick left
  • 2600 RS Mode: Essentially LS mode, but opposite when it came to the fire button issue.

When tested with 2600 Berzerk:

  • M0 missile fire was constant even though no buttons were pushed.
  • Moving the joystick caused the direction of fire to change, but the player didn't move... My guess is that in Berzerk the player can't move while shooting, so since "fire" is constant, the P0 couldn't move.

7800 Baby Pac-Man:

  • Same joystick problems as with 2600 Frogger
  • Most disappointingly, the 7800 fire buttons did not work at all. However, the single 2600 fire button still resulted in the left/right issue described above.

So, I'm giving up on this for now, but potential problems with my mod:

  • Potential Problem: 1) I suck at soldering - some or most of my soldered connections aren't working or causing a short of some kind.
  • Potential Problem: 2) I am just mixed up when contemplating how the 7800 joystick works, and I made the wrong assumptions and connections.
  • Potential Problem: 3) Since there is a chip that decides how the JS and Pot works, my added pre-PCB wiring is somehow changing how the chip interprets the input coming in to it.

Which one of these is the most likely culprit? IDK. It's probably a bit of all three. Someone more qualified than me is going to have to attempt this mod.

Did you manage to make any progress on your mod?

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