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If Your Joystick isn't Centering


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Greets All

Today i have been repairing a faulty vectrex controller, which has a joystick which is no longer centering

As many here will already know, this almost always occurs when the spring (which is found inside each of the dual potentiometers inside the vectrex controller) has snapped

it is known that you can get a suitable replacement spring from an Atari 2600 cartridge (i dont know if the required spring is found in ALL atari 2600 cartridges, but i heard it is found in a lot of the early cartridges, such as 'Combat') .. there is more about this subject, in this video: http://youtu.be/FdhybZfr2Mk

if you dont have any atari 2600 cartridges (and dont want to wait for one to arrive via ebay ;)), i read (on this forum) that you can instead just buy some 'spring wire', and 'shape' your own replacement spring out of it (eg. you could begin by wrapping the spring wire around a suitable thickness screwdriver shaft, in order to get the correct size 'center circle' of the spring)

if you dont have any spring wire (and dont want to wait for it to arrive via ebay ;)), perhaps u can instead do what i did; i looked through my various boxes of 'junk' and found a spring, which happened to be about the same thickness as the vectrex controller pot spring, so i just used that (i simply unravelled the spring/shaped it to my needs, using my hands, and also some small 'needle nose pliers').

you can see the pic below.. it is not so hard and a good solution. the spring is strong and feels fine with good resistance, and 'springs back' just fine. so thats it, a solution you can use if you have a problem with a vectrex controller. you can fix the problem if you have some springs in junk boxes around your home (providing the spring you use, has a similar thickness to the original spring found in the vectrex controller pot)


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it is a shame that, today as you know i was working on restoring the vectrex controller with the broken spring, but it in the end it turned out that, i had to give up because, although the springs i made were fine (no problems with those), the vectrex controller 10k pots themselves were extremely worn. the conductive material 'track' inside the pots had worn right through so that there was a hole where there should have been conductive material. i tried to bend ('re-aim') the contact arms/pins inside the pots so that they instead made contact with a fresh track of conductive material inside the pot, but it didnt work out and i ended up getting really odd readings when measuring the pot (one of the pots started measuring a resistance of 40k from one outer lug of the pot to the other outer lug, and then really odd/random readings as i turned the knob).

anyway so i gave up and guess will just use it for parts instead. still, i have lots of spare springs now :)

ps. if anyone knows of any kind of replacement pots available (must be pots which support self centering springs.. that's the problem).. please let me know ... or also if anyone has any ideas to put some kind of other 'replacement' joystick stick/thumbstick inside the vectrex controller ('digital' would be ok ... ie. joystick direction contact is either ON or OFF, like how the buttons work).... i personally dont care about having an analog joystick when using the vectrex.. doesnt seem necessary to me, and i would guess that 99% of games on the vectrex dont even support the analog features of the joystick anyway (correct me if im wrong ;-) )

Edited by vtek
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it did seem the resistive portion of the potentiometer could be swapped with a non-centering one (but I haven't tried myself)


I have repaired a crack acrossed the resistive path with conductive paint before, I don't know if the bare spots could be coated with the stuff to restore them or not


a replacement for the whole unit would be the ideal solution but haven't found one as of yet.

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