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Rolo

Super Cassette Vision: Detachable Joysticks

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Detachable Joysticks for the EPOCH SUPER CASSETTE VISION

 

I just modded my SCV. The quality of the SCV-joysticks is questionable, which kills much of the fun of the small game library. First step for an improvement is to make the original joysticks detachable. This is what I'll show now:

 

After disassembling the console, cutouts for the two sockets must be made. I chose a convenient position in the bay. It turned out, that space is very limited on the right side. Next time, I'd probably try a different position, like on the backside of the console, behind the Cassette port.

IMG_001_Cutouts.thumb.jpg.b3c7fddb5ef3a40d5d8dbea898f3d357.jpg  IMG_002_NewConnectors.thumb.jpg.52b01a86239cef5a69517dbe8f9b7755.jpg

 

 

I'm still using the original five pole joystick cables, which I cut off. For future use I added a power supply (VCD, GND).  
IMG_003_CutJoystickCables.thumb.jpg.b90446479932c1ae385f5aeb181471a8.jpg  IMG_004_PreparedJoystickCables.thumb.jpg.8171806d5b58bf0973d0f237c5956341.jpg

 

 

Power supply needed:after desoldering a cap at the cartridge connector, I soldered in a connector to draw the power from and put the cap on the backside of the board.. 

IMG_005_PowerConnection.jpg.f98c909a2e2289e87d39b2f05ab804a4.jpg  IMG_006_PowerConnection.jpg.0d364b2f11175d8f42d62e90e63cb316.jpg  IMG_007_PowerConnection.jpg.d3caa9828f2db738b658c97110fe32cb.jpg

 

 

Now, the art of putting the case together again ... Oh no! Too narrow at the keyboard. I had to make a little notch at the rim of the keyboard for the back-part of the DSUB-connector. Just a little bit, since there is a line running at the rim of the pcb! The pcb is made of some very uncomfortable, aggressive material. Very dusty when mechanically working on it. You notice it immediately in the mouth and throat. Better do it outside the house!

There is not much space for the cables and putting it all together is kind of complicated. It's probably better to use flat cables or at least strip off the grey isolation of the original cables!

IMG_008_Backside.jpg.1d82f208954edcb0c4b8af4242894e1a.jpg  IMG_009_PuttingTogether.jpg.ded532a8c1489fa4ce8934902af3dbca.jpg  IMG_010_NeedsNotch.jpg.d3205afc6ee50e4d54501538b6ea6eb5.jpg 

 

 

After a while of playing around and trying different approaches, I finally managed to put the two shells together. 👍

A little test in the end. Yes, it is working ...

IMG_011_Ready.thumb.jpg.f73432b9e2cf4b979108ef9453cab314.jpg

 

- Rolo

👾

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Neat! I guess, given the cabling and the fact it's hardwired, that the SCV use direct contact, à la Atari with two buttons? Is that compatible with any standard? Atari, MSX two-buttons maybe?

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My first thought was some kind of matrix arrangement like the Sord M5 which has 6 pins to register four directions and two fire buttons. In particular as Rolo added separate wires both for 5V and GND to the DE9 connector suggests that the original pinout doesn't have a common ground.

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Unfortunately it's completely non-standard. A classic Atari joystick will not work. I know, the decision to take a DSUB-9pin connector is misleading and might be no clever choice. 🤪 I was thinking of taking a DIN connector, but I do not like soldering those and I did not have DIN-connectors in the drawer. 

A SCV joystick uses four direction switches and two buttons, communicating via 5 wires with the board. Or more exactly, since two lines are in common (PortA0 and PortA1), 8 wires are used for two sticks (8 direction switches and 4 buttons). Obviously this doesn't work straight forward, but needs some scanning, like a keyboard matrix. Without having looked at real signals with a scope, the schematics show, that:

 

Port   is         when       on 

Pin    connected  pressed    controller

       to

------------------------------------------

PA0     PB0        left       A

PA0     PB1        up         A

PA0     PB2        fire1      A

PA0     PB3        left       B

PA0     PB4        right      B

PA0     PB5        fire2      B

PA1     PB0        down       A

PA1     PB1        right      A

PA1     PB2        fire2      A

PA1     PB3        down       B

PA1     PB4        up         B

PA1     PB5        fire1      B

 

The remaining port-pins of Port A and B are used for scanning the 12 buttons of the keypad of the console.

 

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Yes sure, the port pins of port B are isolated from each other with the help of diodes to prevent shorts, when more than one switch is closed. Four diodes inside each controller.

 

SCV_pcb.thumb.jpg.a12a63ffbce1bbeaf6250d70803f8d64.jpg

 

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Neat! This photo makes me realize I never opened the joystick of my Yeno French export model. This logo is really intricate when you know that no one but a few people would ever see it...

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So is the plan to make Y-cables where one tail has some sort of built-in matrix multiplexer that lets you connect an Atari style joystick, while having the original controller plugged in parallel in order to use the keypad?

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No, the plan is to make a new - hopefully better - joystick for the console.

In the beginning I was thinking of an adapter, too. But wiring is to different. ATARI style joysticks connect every switch to common ground, so they are all connected to each other. The Super Cassette Vision does not work that way.

 

I'll report in this thread...

🕹️

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I know. Many years ago I begun on an Atari to M5 adapter which would use some 74xx chip to multiplex signals in a matrix. I got as far as soldering a lot of diodes, the IC holder and a 9V battery connector since the computer didn't have any power in the connectors. Then I gave up, and rewired two spare PC gamepads to my liking. Of course there was no numeric pad to include in this equation.

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I see your point. A good idea! A kind of "translator"-circuit. Of course, this can be done. Could be a real old-fashioned flipflop-based decoder (anybody still remembers how to do Karnaugh maps? 😆), a rom table or a microcontroller (electronic overkill) or something else. Or even simpler: some 4016 based switch rewiring. Yes, that's simple and straight forward! I may do some thinking. Thanks for your input.

 

Still a two button joystick would be required.

 

The numeric game selection pad of the console is not a problem. It simply stays where it is. No need to have it on the joystick.

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I feel stupid not to look at the console. The numpad of course is part of the system, not the controllers... scratch what I wrote above about an Y-cable.

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A custom-made Joystick for the Super Cassette Vision

 

I finally made some progress with the project. To make joysticks detachable, but having nothing to attach, is not really attractive. So I started working on part 2 of the SCV-project.

In the beginning, it felt like being an old Arcade-guy building wooden cabinets out of plywood. 😄 I've been using this kind of case already for a VECTREX controller and I have a few of those in the drawer. (https://atariage.com/forums/topic/240542-new-vectrex-joystick-kit-for-sale/?do=findComment&comment=4681514)

The auto-firing board also is a re-used part of the Vectrex Controller Kit, a little bit modified. For this console, two Arcade-buttons are enough. I tried an industry 4-axis joystick, which proved to be a good choice. This type is sold in many electronics shops and on ebay. It's easy to find and not very expensive, compared to the quality you get.

IMG_8855.thumb.jpg.fe35bf1fbd849bae33c9a36a0b25e283.jpg  IMG_8857.thumb.jpg.f6125eca0acf7f9f1190e36ada0c95a0.jpg

 

 

Some cabling is required. An analog switch IC (i.e. CD4066, two of the four switches used), too, which is operated manually by the buttons or repeatedly by the auto-firing circuit.  Simple GND-switching like on the 2600 is not working, since a defined port signal of the SCV's processor port (PB2/PB5) has to be fed through. The schematics of the SCV-joysticks are available in the internet. Power & ground, needed by the auto-firing board, are fetched from the console, with two additional wires of the cable. This is shown in the post above. 

IMG_9226.thumb.jpg.bfcc596d609c460654adca7d68197962.jpg  IMG_9228.thumb.jpg.77c5699bce5f20fb2ff3f5c45199eba6.jpg

 

 

This is the whole set-up, somewhat larger than the original controller. A functional check with NEBULA and BOULDER DASH, played from the Dragon Multi-Cartridge attached to the SCV-adapter.

What a difference it makes! A decent controller changes games a lot. Suddenly, there is some fun Pushing manufacturing costs, by making cheap controllers, is not a good idea. A crappy controller spoils the whole system. The SCV could use some more well designed games. It is a quite powerful console, with a much too small (and odd) game library. 

IMG_9248.thumb.jpg.6c1c7df6f1a49f8f5c1f670cde21d32d.jpg  IMG_9245.thumb.jpg.015a4a6722e97c3d73617f54b9b0cff1.jpg

 

:waving:

 

 

 

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"Somewhat larger"? You made a controller easily more than the hypotenuse of the system!

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Almost...

Well, size matters. 🤪

I've got big hands. I like it, if I can put the controller in front of me on the table and if it is not so tiny.

And what is more, I had this case ready in the drawer, so I just used it. Sure, it could have been made 5 to 10 centimeters shorter, but this was no intention of mine.

 

IMG_9249.jpg.d3a4c385e763e93c65a1cf4b2b7e2d6b.jpg

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Yeah, why should only the Neo Geo have huge controllers relative to the size of the base unit? :)

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