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There is another way... (5200 controller ...mod?)



This isn't a new idea, as even Atari themselves played with this idea but for some reason didn't go along with it. I also tried this on another controller a few years back and while it worked great where I had applied this on that one, I had never done the controller completely. What was that change/modification you ask?








and this...



So yes, those are in fact snap dome switches that I've used kapton tape to hold in place securely to activate as new tactile contacts onto the mylar. However, it is a little tricky to do this. First is that these aren't the usual 10mm snap domes that our Atari CX-40s and CX-24s came equipped with. These are smaller snap domes and they took way longer to arrive from Aliexpress than I would have liked. However, while this size is idea to cover the area of the contact sections on the mylar, it is also a problem. That is because, you have to align them just right so that you don't have the corners of the snap domes touching both halves of the contact section at the same time or else the buttons are always registering all the time. So, this does require that some of them be offset a tad, and in the case of the fire buttons and a few other locations, I actually use two small strips of kapton to mask the contact traces on the mylar where the corners of the snap domes sit. This was especially important for the side fire buttons where room isn't at a premium.


How does it work? Great! Everything registers with a nice tactile click you can feel and hear when pressing all of the buttons now. And I didn't have to modify the rubber buttons at all. Even with their carbon contact pads still in place, there is room for them to sit ontop of these snap domes and actuate and don't feel much different to use other than feeling the click of them. 


Is this better than the foil dot method? Yes... by a large margin as these snap domes are actually gold plated and I used a brand new rev9 mylar when I did this controller. But is better than other solutions with gold plated contacts etc? Well, I don't know? I like the tactile feel I get using these controllers and I don't think the kapton tape and snap domes are going to wear out anytime too soon. But time will tell. I will also state that the time needed to line these little buggers up and tape it all down to look nice without being too much is way way longer than it takes to just purchase a ready made kit would or cutting and applying the foil dots. And the snap domes weren't as cheap as I would have expected cost wise. I purchased about 20 snap domes initially so that I could have enough to do two controllers and after the shipping and wait time and amount of time it took to do it. The other kits are about on par cost and labor time wise LOL!


But I'm happy I've done this and so far these are only my test lab controllers that I use when working on 5200 consoles. But I might swap them out with my main ones in the near future to see how they hold up over time that way. But for now, they are getting more use in the lab here at the ITC!



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