Jump to content
IGNORED

Paddle controller substitutes


Rhindle the Dragon
 Share

Recommended Posts

Has anyone ever come up with an alternative to the crappy potentiometer-based paddle controllers?

I know they sell reproductions, but if I'm thinking right, they will also suffer from jitters after a while since they are based on the same mechanism.

It seems like a super-easy problem to fix. Maybe modify a rotary encoder somehow?

Somebody look into this!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fixing said pots is one of the many exercises for the VCS enthused. Prying tiny metal tabs and cleaning forty year old grease brings the controller back to decent functionality (I've cleaned many and Buttons is using my best ones for chopping down brick game scores on highscore.com). The best alternative to the pots is found with the Gemini system and it's single PCB, potless controllers that use one metal rod and some feelers to cram a paddle and extremely sensitive controller into one frame. There are conductive pathways that are touched by activators like with more modern controllers (no frail metal, taped-down blisters to break off or collapse) although the dial for the paddle is like this as well. It's a circle that is brushed down on by a metal 'feeler'. If these are clean they are quite good. You have to hold down the button when you start certain games with them and I believe someone somewhere mentioned a 'Y' connector that makes them functional with all paddle games as they don't work with a couple of them.

Edited by Papa
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's an answer to a problem that doesn't exist.

I can take 40 year old paddle controllers and have them working perfect again in a few minutes by simply removing the back and spraying something like Deoxit into the pots.

 

I'd rather have an electromechanical device that requires minor maintenance maybe once every ten years and can stand up to DECADES of use vs. a modern piece of shit that will fall apart within a year.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's an answer to a problem that doesn't exist.

I can take 40 year old paddle controllers and have them working perfect again in a few minutes by simply removing the back and spraying something like Deoxit into the pots.

 

I'd rather have an electromechanical device that requires minor maintenance maybe once every ten years and can stand up to DECADES of use vs. a modern piece of shit that will fall apart within a year.

There's also a way to "permanently" fix them by taking them apart and cleaning the grease off. I can't do it myself though. I ruined a pair of paddles because I couldn't

put them back together properly.

 

There's a step-by-step guide here on Atariage somewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I disassembled and cleaned all my paddle sets about 10 years ago, and they're still working great.

They're electrically so simple that a replacement can be built by anyone with very basic electronic skills using cheap off-the-shelf parts, so I don't think it would be worth the effort to design a digital alternative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're not the most technically inclined and don't want to deal with jittery paddles or trying to refurbish them yourself I'd recommend ordering a set of upgraded paddle controllers from Best Electronics with their lifetime warrantied super pots in them. I picked up a pair earlier this year and they're so vastly superior to any original production Atari paddle controllers I've ever used (and I had owned 6 of them before this) that I'd recommend them to anyone into paddle controller games. Smooth as silk operation, zero jitter, and perfect precision control every time I've used them. Plus they're warrantied against jitters for life so you can always get them replaced for free under warranty should you ever have any problems with them. :)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mostly use the paddles to play Night Driver, so the 2P paddle never gets used and is just in the way. A single plain old stock paddle, untethered to a second paddle would constitute a nice "alternate paddle controller" for me.

 

Can I just cut the 2P paddle off and hide the spare wire ends, without messing up P1?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes. Anyway, there could be some game that have paddle 1 and 2 reversed (as they're not marked in any way). So if you have some soldering skills, a better solution would be to wire a new cable and add a switch on the controller to select which player you want to use. In that way it can also be used for alternating 2-player games.


This is mine (you can see the switch on the side of the controller):

post-10599-0-36738600-1435911953_thumb.jpg
Edited by alex_79
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always felt that the gittery paddles are just as much a part of the Atari gameplay experience as the fuzzy video from the antenna connection, not having a pause button, having to get up to hit reset so you can restart a game, etc.

 

The only thing that matters is: "Have you played Atari today?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been thinking of replacing the "consumer grade" pots with versions like used in f.i. Atari's Star Wars arcade cabinet (the yoke has two expensive pots).

(like these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/172395261311?vectorid=229466&lgeo=1&item=172395261311&rmvSB=true)

 

The values differ but it should be possible to get the right one's. HOWEVER..... I never looked further into this because I have two paddle sets which I bought "recently" (i.e. couple of years) and they simply work just fine.

One set was already cleaned by Mr.Atari, the other I did myself. A bit of contact spray should fix any real problems. I usually clean up with pure alcohol afterwards.

 

(p.s. those "arcade" quality pots are also bigger and have a larger spindle. If they would fit it would require some mechanical changes to the Paddle units. And a final note: I replace those pots on my arcade machines too. Often they are jittery as well....it's dirt and dust.....usually cleaning them is enough but when I restore entire cabs it makes sense to replace them.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

So if you have some soldering skills, a better solution would be to wire a new cable and add a switch on the controller to select which player you want to use. In that way it can also be used for alternating 2-player games.
This is mine (you can see the switch on the side of the controller):

 

 

Alex, this is a great idea I would like to do myself. Can you tell us more, perhaps in a new thread, or message me?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You only need a dpdt switch and a new cable. The switch connects the pot and button to either paddle 1 or paddle 2 inputs of the port.

post-10599-0-77715700-1483179735_thumb.jpg

post-10599-0-39654700-1483179731.jpg

 

You can use a genesis extension cord which has all pins connected, or build your own using a cable with at least 6 wires and a 9-pin female connector. A standard connector with shell won't fit on all consoles (especially heavy sixer and 7800, where the ports are quite recessed), so you need to modify them. I posted some pitures of the method I use in the videopac.nl forum:
http://videopac.nl/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=544fa181217704b34e199770b3418383&topic=2330.msg22880#msg22880

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...