Modifying Gaming Controllers

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Marcopolo
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Modifying Gaming Controllers

Post by Marcopolo »

Hi all,

After getting my old ST fixed, next stage is sourcing/modding some new controllers so me and my son can get on with some retro gaming. I had a look at the Wiki section and there's a good list of available compatible controllers but there doesn't seem to be much technical discussion anywhere on hardware modification of controllers to make them work with an ST.

So I bout the following item(s) on eBay and only a fire button works. The D-Pad seems to nothing even though the item listed says its compatible with the Atari St:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/112142177561

So my question is, are Atari controller signal
Lines a simple toggle switch between the signal line on pins 1-9 and the 0v rail or are they more complicated that than? Can I modify Amy controller with bypass wires to take that simple on/off signal for each micros witch in the controller and bypass any output electronics?

Many thanks,

Marco.
Dal
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Re: Modifying Gaming Controllers

Post by Dal »

This page has a nice diagram:
http://old.pinouts.ru/Inputs/JoystickAt ... nout.shtml

The ST uses exactly the same pinout as the standard 2600 controller. Paddles aren't supported in the ST, so you just need to worry about switching the signal lines to GND.

Should be enough to get that controller fixed.
STE: Desktopper case, IDE interface, UltraSatan (8GB + 512Mb) + HXC floppy emulator. Plus some STE's/STFM's
Marcopolo
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Re: Modifying Gaming Controllers

Post by Marcopolo »

Thanks Dal, so tonight's project is resolder both 9pin connectors on motherboard as I think they are both a bit cracked from use. Open up new controllers for inspection and modification as per your link.
Thanks.
insanity
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Re: Modifying Gaming Controllers

Post by insanity »

guide to soldering the joystick ports here: http://www.atari-wiki.com/index.php/Ata ... ts_Problem
Dal
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Re: Modifying Gaming Controllers

Post by Dal »

Yes - good luck. I suspect the connectors on the ST will be the source of all your problems. Those solder joints suffer a lot of punishment with plugging/unplugging controllers.

One point of reference (and this will make perfect sense later). The Atari ST keyboard has small silicone dome-shaped contacts (one per key). I suggest taking the whole thing apart in a box to contain them.
The 'return' key has 2 plungers however only one silicone contact is used. Remember this before you start panicking when you can't find one during re-assembly! ;)
STE: Desktopper case, IDE interface, UltraSatan (8GB + 512Mb) + HXC floppy emulator. Plus some STE's/STFM's
Marcopolo
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Re: Modifying Gaming Controllers

Post by Marcopolo »

I resoldered all of the controller pins on the Mobo, 2 pins actually fell off completely and were clearly snapped within the solder joint but i've bridged it well.

The ebay controllers still didn't work so I opened up and modded. Using the Atari pin out diagram I basically bypassed the microcontroller completely, dremmeled out the lines (did a bit more dremmeling on the other side of the IC also as it the controller was still behaving badly after the mod).

I then bypassed the lines with wires tacked to t he pads up/down/left/right fire and bridged the earth land in the center also. I was careful not to route the wire close to the pad contacts.

All working perfectly. To be honest it was of messing around but for £5 and 1 hours worth of work all in I got a new gamepad (no autofire).

Thanks again for the help guys.

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