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atarialoha

Any Atari style controllers using USB, for emulators?

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Folks,

 

I can't have a physical Atari system just yet. I have to make do with emulators, but I really would like to use them with controllers, and I was even wondering if I could buy an 800XL keyboard off eBay and repurpose it for USB (i.e., take an old USB keyboard and connect the chips to the 800XL switches; never done it before, have only just mulled it).

 

Anyway, is there any such Atari controller product that you guys have tested and know works well for emulators? If it even exists?

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, atarialoha said:

Folks,

 

I can't have a physical Atari system just yet. I have to make do with emulators, but I really would like to use them with controllers, and I was even wondering if I could buy an 800XL keyboard off eBay and repurpose it for USB (i.e., take an old USB keyboard and connect the chips to the 800XL switches; never done it before, have only just mulled it).

 

Anyway, is there any such Atari controller product that you guys have tested and know works well for emulators? If it even exists?

I use the 2600daptor.   That works great with both joysticks and paddles, assuming you have some real Atari controllers available.  The 2600dapter lets you connect them to your PC via USB.

 

http://2600-daptor.com/

 

Not sure about connecting an actually Atari keyboard to PC though.  If you are going that far, why not just use the real thing (the entire 800XL system) then? :)

 

 

Edited by erichenneke
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19 minutes ago, atarialoha said:

Folks,

 

I can't have a physical Atari system just yet. I have to make do with emulators, but I really would like to use them with controllers, and I was even wondering if I could buy an 800XL keyboard off eBay and repurpose it for USB (i.e., take an old USB keyboard and connect the chips to the 800XL switches; never done it before, have only just mulled it).

 

Anyway, is there any such Atari controller product that you guys have tested and know works well for emulators? If it even exists?

You can buy USBJoy 2.0 and use standard atari joystick.

 

https://stepstick.pl/?35,en_usbjoy20-adapter-connect-your-atari-amiga-c64-joystick-to-pc!-develop-your-own-usb-device!

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, erichenneke said:

I use the 2600daptor.   That works great with both joysticks and paddles, assuming you have some real Atari controllers available.  The 2600dapter lets you connect them to your PC via USB.

 

http://2600-daptor.com/

 

Not sure about connecting an actually Atari keyboard to PC though.  If you are going that far, why not just use the real thing (the entire 800XL system) then? :)

 

 

Haha, there are some pros/cons.

 

Emulated Atari runs faster if I want (e.g., assembling programs), no peripherals (disk, print, etc. all emulated), video and sound already done (no need to buy extra CRT), etc.

 

Having said all that, of course I do want real hardware, just can't afford the physical space right now. I already have a lot of other "stuff" and LITERALLY I need to think about every cubic centimeter of space at home. I have, for example, bought a paper cutter (those large guillotine cutters) to cut off (ouch) the spines of some of my cherished paper books, so as to scan them perfectly into PDF. Basically I am only keeping a very small collection of paper books that I *must/want* to keep (think of Captain Picard and Archer with their very small bookshelves on their Enterprises).

 

(If anyone is interested, search for "Guillotine Stack Paper Cutter")

 

However I do want an Atari keyboard. Well, let me think about how it can be done. If I can get the voltage signals from the keyboard, then it is a "simple" matter of just having a microcontroller convert them with a lookup/substitution table and issue the respective mapped keys to USB. This falls into the "Hmmmm" category of ideas, which is not quite critical enough yet for me to sit down and figure it all out in detail.

Edited by atarialoha
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https://www.instructables.com/ATARI-65XE-AS-USB-KEYBOARD/

 

This has been done a lot.  Not just the 65XE but other 8-bits as well.  You confuse though with

Quote

"I can't have a physical Atari system just yet. I have to make do with emulators,"

and then  want to use a whole system as a keyboard ???   At which point, you already have the same physical space taken up.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, suspicious_milk said:

https://www.instructables.com/ATARI-65XE-AS-USB-KEYBOARD/

 

This has been done a lot.  Not just the 65XE but other 8-bits as well.  You confuse though with

and then  want to use a whole system as a keyboard ???   At which point, you already have the same physical space taken up.  

 

 

Ah, no that’s not correct. A physical keyboard is quite thin. Thinner than the thickness of a real 800XL and the depth is shorter too. There are also no peripherals and no extra screen needed. It’s just the size of a USB keyboard. I can slide it into a space on the bookshelf when not in use.

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2 hours ago, suspicious_milk said:

https://www.instructables.com/ATARI-65XE-AS-USB-KEYBOARD/

 

This has been done a lot.  Not just the 65XE but other 8-bits as well.  You confuse though with

and then  want to use a whole system as a keyboard ???   At which point, you already have the same physical space taken up.  

 

 

Thanks for the instructables link 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

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4 hours ago, erichenneke said:

I use the 2600daptor.   That works great with both joysticks and paddles, assuming you have some real Atari controllers available.  The 2600dapter lets you connect them to your PC via USB.

 

http://2600-daptor.com/

I 100% recommend the 2600-daptor.  Real Atari controllers (actually most *any* 9 pin controllers are useable with it) and all but imperceptable lag.  Everything that you could ask for.

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I took a dead 800XL and mounted a mini PC in the case.  I used an Arduino Leonardo to convert the 800XL keyboard to work with the PC via USB.  

Here is a link to a good video of DJ Sures doing the conversion.  He also has the required connections and coding to do the job.  The hard part is connecting the keyboard mylar to the wires going to the Leonardo.  Since my motherboard was dead I cut the connector off the board and used soldered the wires onto the back of the connector.  The keyboard works fine now.

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8 hours ago, djglish said:

I took a dead 800XL and mounted a mini PC in the case.  I used an Arduino Leonardo to convert the 800XL keyboard to work with the PC via USB.  

Here is a link to a good video of DJ Sures doing the conversion.  He also has the required connections and coding to do the job.  The hard part is connecting the keyboard mylar to the wires going to the Leonardo.  Since my motherboard was dead I cut the connector off the board and used soldered the wires onto the back of the connector.  The keyboard works fine now.

I think I saw your video. Good job.

 

What is the mylar BTW? I saw someone selling a keyboard but the description says NO MYLAR. Is that a problem or is that saying it's a different model that does not need to use the mylar component?

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Thanks for all the tips folks!

 

I ended up getting this one. $20. Worth a gamble. Will use for other electronics projects if it doesn't work with Atari800MacX.

 

61tGsTJ8x0L._SL1200_.thumb.jpg.b2ee5eda5dd5416602a4415ff21328ca.jpg

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On 5/15/2021 at 6:24 PM, atarialoha said:

Ah, no that’s not correct. A physical keyboard is quite thin. Thinner than the thickness of a real 800XL and the depth is shorter too. There are also no peripherals and no extra screen needed. It’s just the size of a USB keyboard. I can slide it into a space on the bookshelf when not in use.

Couldn't you just use your PC's keyboard instead?

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I can see wanting to use an XEGS or even a replica style XL or 800 keyboard with your PC when emulating with Altira, but I wouldn't want it matched to the PC keyboard by the adapter so the key substitutions used by Altira are still needed. It should work directly as it would with an 8-bit computer.

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11 hours ago, atarialoha said:

Thanks for all the tips folks!

 

I ended up getting this one. $20. Worth a gamble. Will use for other electronics projects if it doesn't work with Atari800MacX.

 

61tGsTJ8x0L._SL1200_.thumb.jpg.b2ee5eda5dd5416602a4415ff21328ca.jpg

Looks good, just what you were asking about, an Atari looking USB pad with no devices in the chain (I know the lag is minimal but its still there, why add to it)

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14 hours ago, Asaki said:

Couldn't you just use your PC's keyboard instead?

Haha yes I have been doing that but I want to use OPTION and START to help with DDT debugging. Anyway I decided I am just going to rig up some external keypad or something and map the function keys. I don't like pressing function keys on the top row. It's more natural on the side. Anyway my keyboard doesn't have function keys (need to hold down FN which is a hassle).

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13 hours ago, Swami said:

I can see wanting to use an XEGS or even a replica style XL or 800 keyboard with your PC when emulating with Altira, but I wouldn't want it matched to the PC keyboard by the adapter so the key substitutions used by Altira are still needed. It should work directly as it would with an 8-bit computer.

I will report back when I finally figure out how I want to do it. I might map keys from another USB/BT keypad to the emulator's function keys (active only when the emulator is running). On MacOS I am using Atari800MacX (preferred platform) and on Windows 10 I have the equally awesome Altirra, but I consider Windows to be the helper computer (I usually access it via realVNC from my Mac). I used to have those fancy USB/HDMI selector things between my Mac and Win/Lin computers but I realized pragmatically I don't need that and screen sharing is good and saves desktop cable crawl.

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8 hours ago, Mclaneinc said:

Looks good, just what you were asking about, an Atari looking USB pad with no devices in the chain (I know the lag is minimal but its still there, why add to it)

Yup! I am eager to get it! Amazon said it will arrive sooner than expected by a couple of days. However I think it won't work right off the bat with the Mac. I found some review comments that said you need to map it with an app (for the Mac) called Joystick Mapper. That's fine I already bought that years ago (I think $5 or something). On the Windows machine it should work directly. We will see. Either way it will be fun to hold this type of controller again! Haven't done that for 35, 37 years?

 

I am still amazed there is a whole THRIVING community of people I can talk to about Atari 8-bit stuff, without thinking I am muttering to myself. LOL

 

And not everyone is an Old Fart™ either. It's great to see so many young(er) people get into retro computing. Are we considered Retro-Teenagers? 😆

 

 

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23 hours ago, atarialoha said:

Thanks for all the tips folks!

 

I ended up getting this one. $20. Worth a gamble. Will use for other electronics projects if it doesn't work with Atari800MacX.

 

61tGsTJ8x0L._SL1200_.thumb.jpg.b2ee5eda5dd5416602a4415ff21328ca.jpg

I've had that thing sitting in my Amazon cart for a while.  Let us know after a few days of heavy playing how it holds up would 'ya?   

I've got a D sub to usb, that I usually plug in a Wico bat, but no extra buttons ...

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1 hour ago, suspicious_milk said:

I've had that thing sitting in my Amazon cart for a while.  Let us know after a few days of heavy playing how it holds up would 'ya?   

I've got a D sub to usb, that I usually plug in a Wico bat, but no extra buttons ...

Haha ok, I will.

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Now that I think about it, I can probably also remap the two buttons when using MAC/65 on the emulator. So one button will be START and the other OPTION, for stepping through the debugger. Well, you guys will know in a few days. Either it will be WOOT! or it will be a string of frustrated ASCII from me, haha!

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Haven't tried it yet. I have some work to finish first. But just had to open the box at least. Haha!

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Posted (edited)

VERDICT: Pretty good! A definite buy at $20.

 

I tried Star Raiders, Lode Runner, and a couple of other games.

 

Works pretty much like I remember, but it seemed to be a bit less stiff than the original Atari joysticks.

 

Of course, I only think I know the feel of the original Atari joysticks from memory.

 

Worked fine with Atari800MacX with zero configuration problems. Plug and play. Just had to enable "Joypad 1" - I think to the Mac it is just like a joypad except mechanically you are pressing the directional switches using lever. No contiguous analog input of course.

 

The beveled corners is a great improvement IMHO! I remember hurting my palm on those corners from hours and hours of playing.

Edited by atarialoha

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