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colecovisionary

My Kingdom for an arcade quality Intellivision controller!

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Edladdin explains why he's not warm to the proposition, but please there must be one extremely obsessed Intellivision technogeek out there who is willing to take on this Herculean task. 1. Controllers were hard-wired attached to the consoles in 2/3 of the Intellivision versions, so most customers could not even plug in a new controller.

2. That wheel/pad actually has 16 zones that the console reads like a clock, which means no regular, easy joystick options.  We’d have to come up with some solution from scratch and write code to get the controller to talk to the console.

Edited by colecovisionary

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Did Ed do a post here about it?  I completely understand his reluctance to try and serve a pretty small market, but I don't remember seeing any posts about it.

 

As for your request, I totally get it.  I've thought a lot about such a project as well, but I don't know if I have the chops to even attempt starting such a project.  So far, I've settled on creating an arcade quality controller that internally is wired up like a genesis controller and then using the genesis-to-inty adapter that was available for a while.  I only get 8 directions on the stick and have to use the keypad on the adapter rather than on the controller itself, but it's decent for arcade style games.  A controller like what Edladdin did for Colecovision on the Inty would be great and an insta-buy from me.  But coming up with a 16-directional joystick would be something interesting to work out.  I think the best that could be done without attempting to fabricate something completely new would be an analog stick and logic to convert the analog signals to the 16 digital signals.

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Oops.

Edited by BigO
Got my controller memories mixed up.

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I wouldn't get hung up on a 16 direction joystick.  There are many intellivision games that use eight, four, or two directions.   It's not hard to adapt an 8-way arcade stick and buttons to work with many of these intellivision games.  A couple of diodes needed for buttons.

 

The original intellivision controllers are not exactly hardwired.  You can unscrew the top cover to get at the connectors.   Again, it's not hard to give it external de9 connectors.

 

A few years ago someone was selling neo geo aes controllers converted to work with intellivision.

Edited by mr_me

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I've been pondering this exact project for a little while now...the 16-way joystick to match the original controllers capability is the killer.  Are there many games in the Intellivision library that can actually use all 16 directions?  And of those games, how many are absolutely necessary with all 16 directions...versus say only 8? 

 

Is this desire for a 16-way arcade stick for the Intellivision, similar to the questionably unnecessary desire for an analog arcade stick for the 5200...for the very few games it's truly necessary, and proper for? 

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Maybe with the atari 5200, people were looking for a replacement controller.  With the intellivision, it can be an alternative controller.

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I don't know if Ed ever posted anything about it on this forum Rick Reynolds, but it's a direct quote from an email I received from him after I asked him if he had ever considered building an Intellivision arcade controller.  I have one of his Super CV controllers and bought an Easy CV Input/Output Board + Keypad that I'm using to build another Super CV controller with a JLW stick and Crown SDB-201 buttons in a metal Hori Fighting Stick SS case.

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Mr Me, the point is that no one is doing it presently and it seems to me that Ed is of the opinion that it's more than "A couple of diodes"  Quote Ed ":We’d have to come up with some solution from scratch and write code to get the controller to talk to the console." But maybe you know more about controllers than Edladdin Mr. Me. so please build one!

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Start here:  http://arcarc.xmission.com/Web Archives/Deathskull (May-2006)/games/tech/intvcont.html

http://arcarc.xmission.com/Web Archives/Deathskull (May-2006)/games/tech/intvsticky.html

 

As mr_me stated, Intellivision 1 to Intellivision 2 adapter has already been around.  http://intellivisionaries.com/flashback/

 

I would say the Intellivision controller would be easier than the colecovision.  ( limited to 8 directions )

 

Coleco's Keypad:

Colecovision Custom Controller

 

 

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The problem with making a new Intellivision controller is quite simply the 16-way joystick...which doesn't exit outside of Intellivision controllers.  When people reference simply "adding diodes," usually they are referring to either making a pinout/wiring adapter that allows for the use of some existing controller (Atari or SEGA or the likes) with an Intellivision, or in reference to using single pole push-button switches for the 12 keypad buttons and/or the 3 side buttons on a custom controller, versus using double-pole switches (which wouldn't require any diodes), as in how the existing Intellivision controllers work, and are wired.  

 

So I had a chance to look into the Intellivision's controller wiring tonight, and after some actual physical and electrical testing here, I've determined that it would be no problem to create a custom arcade quality controller, with actual arcade components...that is completely passive (requiring no power, electronics, or witchcraft) with either a 4-way or 8-way joystick, 12 button keypad, and 3 buttons...but to create a 16-way joystick...that's a whole different animal.  

 

It could look something like this:

 

xJS0bJ.png

 

...but with 1 less button, different artwork, and with different colored components.  

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I built one once.  It was a PITA.  I still play with it.  My advice is to abandon the 16 directions.  If you want 16 then play with the original controller.

 

 

This thing is awesome for Dreadnaught Factor and some others.  I've thought about making more, but I don't know if the effort to cost ratio really makes sense.  I believe @grips03 has made more than a few and perhaps could be persuaded to make more.  Send him a message to find out.  I probably couldn't be bothered to make one for less than a ridiculous amount of like $200.  You'd probably hate it at that price too.

 

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On 10/20/2020 at 8:36 PM, doubledown said:

The problem with making a new Intellivision controller is quite simply the 16-way joystick...which doesn't exit outside of Intellivision controllers.  When people reference simply "adding diodes," usually they are referring to either making a pinout/wiring adapter that allows for the use of some existing controller (Atari or SEGA or the likes) with an Intellivision, or in reference to using single pole push-button switches for the 12 keypad buttons and/or the 3 side buttons on a custom controller, versus using double-pole switches (which wouldn't require any diodes), as in how the existing Intellivision controllers work, and are wired.  

 

So I had a chance to look into the Intellivision's controller wiring tonight, and after some actual physical and electrical testing here, I've determined that it would be no problem to create a custom arcade quality controller, with actual arcade components...that is completely passive (requiring no power, electronics, or witchcraft) with either a 4-way or 8-way joystick, 12 button keypad, and 3 buttons...but to create a 16-way joystick...that's a whole different animal.  

 

It could look something like this:

 

xJS0bJ.png

 

...but with 1 less button, different artwork, and with different colored components.  

Nice stock photo.  You are great at "Internet!"  Also, you know your Sh!+ based on all your other designs, but rein it in a bit.  Maybe you are right about a passive controller, but you need to account for the 3 buttons AND directions.  Build one yourself for real and then show us what can be done.  Mine was certainly no innovation.  It required power for the gate to handle the signals for directions.  I chose a design that already incorporated batteries to compensate.

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For the Intellivision arcade controllers I use to make I used a Xilinx CPLD to convert what arcade buttons, joystick and keypad sent (common ground) to what the Intellivision wanted.  The single AA battery usually lasted quite long with normal usage.  Perhaps a passive one could be made, but at the time the CPLD seemed like the way to go.  It would certainly cost less if power/CPLD was not needed.  16 directions is not really needed IMO.

 

I think people would like a 4/8 switchable arcade stick with built in keypad that required no external power, and perhaps rapid fire too :)

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That's right, using regular single-pole buttons it would be two diodes per button.  But with double-pole buttons, no diodes required.

 

A regular 8-way joystick would work fine with all 4-way and 2-way, and some 8-way intellivision games.  Without extra logic the diagonals would be at the wrong angle for some 8-way games and all 16-way games.  If doubledown has a way to do this passively, that's awesome.

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Quite simply, wire as following:

 

Keypad 1 - 4/5 & 6/5

Keypad 2 - 4/5 & 7/5

Keypad 3 - 4/5 & 8/5

Keypad 4 - 3/5 & 6/5

Keypad 5 - 3/5 & 7/5

Keypad 6 - 3/5 & 8/5

Keypad 7 - 2/5 & 6/5

Keypad 8 - 2/5 & 7/5

Keypad 9 - 2/5 & 8/5

Keypad Clear - 1/5 & 6/5

Keypad 0 - 1/5 & 7/5

Keypad Enter - 1/5 & 8/5

 

Button 1 - Upper (both sides) - 6/5 & 8/5

Button 2 - Lower (left side) - 7/5 & 8/5

Button 3 - Lower (right side) - 6/5 & 7/5

 

Joystick Up - 2/5

Joystick Right - 3/5

Joystick Down - 4/5

Joystick Left - 1/5

 

...then add a secondary set of (4) micro-switches, only hit far into the diagonals, so that

 

Joystick Up/Right - 2/5 & 3/5 (from the factory Up and Right micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

Joystick Down/Right - 4/5 & 3/5 (from the factory Down and Right micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

Joystick Down/Left - 4/5 & 1/5 (from the factory Down and Left micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

Joystick Up/Left - 2/5 & 1/5 (from the factory Up and Left micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

 

It works here, and achieves the "pure diagonal angles": of 45, 135, 225 & 315 degrees, tested with Tennis:

 

yAYIF5.jpg

 

When removing the "added" (4) micro-switches (or simply not installing them), then the diagonal angles achieved are 67.5, 157.5, 247.5, & 337.5 degrees.  

 

And @wongojack the "stock" photo from my website was simply posted as an example of what such an Intellivision controller built by me would look like...i.e. housing style, control layout, and the likes.  

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1 hour ago, doubledown said:

Joystick Up - 2/5

Joystick Right - 3/5

Joystick Down - 4/5

Joystick Left - 1/5

 

...then add a secondary set of (4) micro-switches, only hit far into the diagonals, so that

 

Joystick Up/Right - 2/5 & 3/5 (from the factory Up and Right micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

Joystick Down/Right - 4/5 & 3/5 (from the factory Down and Right micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

Joystick Down/Left - 4/5 & 1/5 (from the factory Down and Left micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

Joystick Up/Left - 2/5 & 1/5 (from the factory Up and Left micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

I like the addition of the extra set of switches for the diagonals, so you don't need to use the NAND gate ICs for the diagonals.

 

2 hours ago, doubledown said:

When people reference simply "adding diodes," usually they are referring to either making a pinout/wiring adapter that allows for the use of some existing controller (Atari or SEGA or the likes) with an Intellivision, or in reference to using single pole push-button switches for the 12 keypad buttons and/or the 3 side buttons on a custom controller, versus using double-pole switches (which wouldn't require any diodes), as in how the existing Intellivision controllers work, and are wired

Not necessarily just that.  

 

In one of my homemade controller projects I needed to add diodes on the 8 signal pins to keep my Intellivision 2 from going crazy when I went in certain directions.  Once the diodes were installed my 16-direction homemade controller worked great.

 

1108852211_garbledvideo.jpg.45b42611188372a4934791092c88e326.jpg

 

 

2 hours ago, doubledown said:

but to create a 16-way joystick...that's a whole different animal.

 

I've not been able to find an arcade size analog stick - well, not one that was economical.

 

I've found these little guys, and I plan to buy one for another controller project of mine, but I am in the middle of three other projects i need to get finished before I start another project.

 

image.png.24ea230d34325db7b51ff22ab405fc5d.png

 

 

But they appear to be too small to be used in an arcade style controller

 

image.png.6f4afae13fea222e520c437d9961286a.png

 

If you are interested in making a 16-way joystick using an analog stick, please let me know and I can give you some pointers.

 

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11 hours ago, grips03 said:

I think people would like a 4/8 switchable arcade stick with built in keypad that required no external power, and perhaps rapid fire too :)

Yeah, everybody wants a 4-way / 8-way switchable joystick...but without opening the controller housing to manipulate/switch the gate...the only 2 options for this I know of are, Ultimarc's Mag-Stik Plus, and Ultimarc's ServoStik.  I've never read one single "glowing" review of the Mag-Stik, and thus have never bought one, to try it for myself.  I've used the ServoStik before...it's a modified Sanwa JLW series with a controller PCB, and a servo motor manipulated gate.  Functionally it works as advertised, but in the realm of component joystick costs...it's fairly pricey at about $80 (joystick + control board + shipping)...plus it has to be powered to rotate the gate, and 2 switches are required for it's operation, 1) to turn on/off the power to the controller PCB, and 2) to activate the "rotation."  Additionally modern Japanese joysticks, like those from Seimitsu/Sanwa, are built substantially different from Western controls (HAPP, iL), and wouldn't lend themselves well to the addition of 4 added micro-switches...due to their assembly.  

 

8 hours ago, fdr4prez said:

I like the addition of the extra set of switches for the diagonals, so you don't need to use the NAND gate ICs for the diagonals.

Not with 8 separate switches (4 for U/R/D/L, plus 4 for UR/DR/DL/UL)...as its functionally the same as what the stock Intellivision controllers are doing...also without NAND gate ICs.  

 

8 hours ago, fdr4prez said:

If you are interested in making a 16-way joystick using an analog stick, please let me know and I can give you some pointers.

I have a SEGA, Japanese candy cabinet, analog arcade stick, that I got when I was working on building a few 5200 controllers a while back.  But once I realized how very few 5200 games actually require, and are properly played with, an analog joystick...I decided not to use it, and just went digital.  Like you said...they're not very economical...as I think I paid about $75 for the one that I got...plus they're not currently made, so finding one isn't always easy.  I don't think I'd be interested in using it for a 16-way joystick for the Intellivision...but I can understand how it would be a good starting point.  

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11 hours ago, doubledown said:

Quite simply, wire as following:

 

Keypad 1 - 4/5 & 6/5

Keypad 2 - 4/5 & 7/5

Keypad 3 - 4/5 & 8/5

Keypad 4 - 3/5 & 6/5

Keypad 5 - 3/5 & 7/5

Keypad 6 - 3/5 & 8/5

Keypad 7 - 2/5 & 6/5

Keypad 8 - 2/5 & 7/5

Keypad 9 - 2/5 & 8/5

Keypad Clear - 1/5 & 6/5

Keypad 0 - 1/5 & 7/5

Keypad Enter - 1/5 & 8/5

 

Button 1 - Upper (both sides) - 6/5 & 8/5

Button 2 - Lower (left side) - 7/5 & 8/5

Button 3 - Lower (right side) - 6/5 & 7/5

 

Joystick Up - 2/5

Joystick Right - 3/5

Joystick Down - 4/5

Joystick Left - 1/5

 

...then add a secondary set of (4) micro-switches, only hit far into the diagonals, so that

 

Joystick Up/Right - 2/5 & 3/5 (from the factory Up and Right micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

Joystick Down/Right - 4/5 & 3/5 (from the factory Down and Right micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

Joystick Down/Left - 4/5 & 1/5 (from the factory Down and Left micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

Joystick Up/Left - 2/5 & 1/5 (from the factory Up and Left micro-switches), plus additionally 9/5 from the added Up/Right micro-switch

 

It works here, and achieves the "pure diagonal angles": of 45, 135, 225 & 315 degrees, tested with Tennis:

 

yAYIF5.jpg

 

When removing the "added" (4) micro-switches (or simply not installing them), then the diagonal angles achieved are 67.5, 157.5, 247.5, & 337.5 degrees.  

 

And @wongojack the "stock" photo from my website was simply posted as an example of what such an Intellivision controller built by me would look like...i.e. housing style, control layout, and the likes.  

I like this picture much better :)

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Not sure how you plan to do the double-pole button but if it involves two switches I would wire it as follows and ensure the switch with the ground pin 5 is connected last.

 

Button 1 - Upper (both sides) - 6/8 & 6/5

Edited by mr_me

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20 minutes ago, mr_me said:

Not sure how you plan to do the double-pole button but if it involves two switches I would wire it as follows and ensure the switch with the ground pin 5 is connected last.

 

Button 1 - Upper (both sides) - 6/8 & 6/5

For the "side" buttons, I can see any 1 of 3 possibilities...depending on the hardware used:

 

1) with standard arcade push-button installed with SPST or SPDT switch, 5 to the COM, and 6 & 8 (with 1 diode on each) to the NO

2) modify an arcade push-button to accept a DPST or DPST switch, 5 to COMs (1&2), and 6 to NO (1), and 8 to NO (2)

3) modify an arcade push-button to accept, and simultaneously cycle, 2 separate SPST, or SPDT switches

 

Out of curiosity, if 2 switches were used, and 1 was made for a fraction-of-a-second prior to the 2nd one, why would you think to pair 6/8, then (6+8)/5?  6/5 & 8/5 are not individually registered inputs that I can discern for any of the directions, keypad, or button functions.  Is there a known problem if the console would "see" either of these pairs contacted without the other?

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If the side button grounds pin pin 6 before pin 8 or pin 8 before pin 6, when combined with a disc direction, it would trigger an unintended keypad press.

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Gotcha...good tip.  Probably best to just eliminate option #3 (2 switches) as an option (would probably be more trouble than it's worth anyways)...and more than likely, just use option 1 with the diodes.

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So I was working out the final fastening and adjustments for the joystick's extra 4 micro-switches last night...and it all seems to work very well.  If I decide to go forward with this, and build up a full controller...I do have a question for the Intellivsion fans...what order do I wire/install the 3 (or maybe 4 buttons), that would make the most sense? 

 

I've owned in Intellivision II, and an INTV System III (and about 50 games) for probably the better part of 20 years now...but I've never spent much time with them, thus don't know the games well enough to know how the buttons are most used.  Now I realize that asking 2 or more people for their opinions regarding a topic or subject, will result in no less than 3 different answers, but I'm curious to know what you think.

 

If I used 3 buttons, does this make sense as the most logical order (from left to right, on a controller with the buttons on the right side of the controller)

 

Top - Left Bottom - Right Bottom

 

Is there any good reason to use 4 buttons, with a duplicate Top button?

 

Top - Left Bottom - Right Bottom - Top (2)

 

Or something completely different?

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Should be no reason to have 2 top buttons. 

 

Maybe have a 3 button layout in a bit of a triangle. 

 

The top button would be the middle peak, and then you'd have a lower left button and a lower right button. 

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Most intellivision games use two side buttons or less with the top being the primary action.  Intellivision Defender being one of the exceptions where the bottom button is primary.  Then there is Pinball where the bottom left and right side buttons are each left and right flippers.  And there is Atlantis, although it's 16 directions, the top button is the left gun and the bottom button is the right gun.  So when you build the right-hand joystick version of the controller keep these left/right quirks in mind.   I think the button layout in that colecovision example is good, omit the button on the exterior side, and make the button in the middle the primary/top action.

Edited by mr_me

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