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trying to repair an Atari Jaguar pro controller


ziggaboogi
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Hey guys,

 

I'm looking to see if maybe someone could give me some advice on repairing a pro controller I found recently for a great deal.

 

The issue with the controller is that the up direction on the d-pad does not work.

 

Here is what I've tried so far.

 

1. cleaned the contacts - no effect

 

2. reflowed all the solder connections - d-pad worked for about 10 minutes and then stopped working again

 

3. replaced the diode right after the contact for the up button - same as before and the button worked for about ten minutes and stopped working again.

 

At this point I'm not quite sure what else to try troubleshooting for the controller as the button sort of works for a while and then doesn't.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Have you tested all of the other buttons? Is the up direction the only one that's not working reliably?

 

If so, look at the PCB carefully. There may be a tiny hairline crack on one of the traces. It can cause that kind of intermittent problems.

Edited by Zerosquare
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Yes every other button on the controller works without issue. Another observation I made after testing the controller again after letting it sit overnight, the up button worked for a few minutes before stopping again. It seems like something about hooking it up causes the issue, and once the controller has been unhooked for a while it works for a little bit.

 

I've looked all over the traces connected from the button to the IC but I can't find anything that looks like a crack. How small can these trace cracks be?

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Thanks, I'll go ahead and try that and see what happens. Could it also be the capacitors on the main board? I'm only asking because it seems to be fairly consistent with the "works for a few minutes, stops working for a few hours" pattern. Which makes me wonder if a trace crack could cause something that consistently. It looks like the two ceramic capacitors are connected to the same trace as the one leading to the pin for the Up button.

 

Edit: unfortunately shorting the traces did not seem to help the issue. Standard behavior of worked for 10 minutes and then stops working.

Edited by ziggaboogi
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So it turns out the *, 0, and the # buttons do not work and I did not notice it as on AvP they aren't used but they are on Hoverstrike. Which of the two chips is the buffer chip? I actually got replacements for both so am ready to try swapping out the buffer chip.

 

Just to double check you do mean all buttons including the number pad correct? More specifically the *, 0, and # buttons as this row and "up" go to the same input on the buffer chip.

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I only had a schematic showing one chip but I guess because it wasn't the pro I was looking at. The 74LS244 is the buffer chip shown in the one I was looking at.

 

EDIT:

I can't find the right schematic for the pro you may have to trace it to the correct chip.

Edited by SignGuy81
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Okay so some updates on the repair,

 

I've done the following,

 

1. replaced both ICs on the board - this time the up button and the bottom row of the numkey is comepletely unresponsive - all other buttons work fine

 

2. swapped out controller cord with working one from a 3 button controller - no change

 

3. double checked that all traces had continuity for the up/3 button line

 

At this point the only thing left would be to replace the two disk capacitors on the board. Would anyone happen to know the specs of them or have the schematic for this controller?

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Wow that sounds like a lot of work you've done and still not working right :( I hope you got it for a killer price on that! My local game store has 2 pro controllers (but for insane prices) and they offer a 90-day warranty on them and will fix the issue if there is one. If you got yours for a great deal likely it wasn't at a store with a warranty, so I hope you can fix your problem dude!

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Thanks, the reason why I'm so intent on trying to fix it is that I got it for $20 from a retro game store that didn't know about the pro controllers, so they sold it as a regular controller. Obviously I can't just return it and ask for a replacement and $20 is still worth it even for a broken pro controller.

 

As for updates, now I'm having similar but slightly different issues with my 3 button controller as well.

 

I need to press the connector on the port down for it to register the up button and the three number buttons, while the pro controller's up button does not respond at all same as before. So now I'm even more confused if this is an issue with the pro controller, the controller port or both controllers (this one being the least likely.)

Does anyone have a good suggestion for a multiplayer game that uses most of the buttons so I can do more testing with the second controller port as well?

 

Attached are some pics of the boards on the pro controller. Some notes about the pics are that D11, and the two ICs are on the opposite side of the board from when I did a janky install. However these have not affected the rest of the controller buttons and it continues to show the same symptoms.

 

At this point I'm debating if it would be worth trying to get a pcb from a regular 3 button controller and just rigging it up into the shell of the pro controller and wiring up the extra buttons accordingly.

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For $20 it was worth the shot and pickup! I wish my local store didn't know what the pro controller was and had there for a regular controller price. Someone traded in 2 of them, they have a loose one for $200 and a boxed one for $230. Still too much for my liking. I really hope you get it working and if so then $20 would be well spent!

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As for updates, now I'm having similar but slightly different issues with my 3 button controller as well.

 

I need to press the connector on the port down for it to register the up button and the three number buttons, while the pro controller's up button does not respond at all same as before. So now I'm even more confused if this is an issue with the pro controller, the controller port or both controllers (this one being the least likely.)

 

 

Well, actually it is very possible for it to be the port yet some controllers still work. It may work out by chance that it might make contact with one plug while another doesn't. It may be one cord end is pressing a pin in the port in a way that it connects while some don't and some have a loose connection like described. EDIT: I just realized I read that wrong you meant both controllers being less likely.

Edited by SignGuy81
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Okay so I managed to find a copy of Zool 2 today and tested the controllers out on the second port.

 

3 button controller: sames issues as when plugged into first port - up button only works when the connector is pushed down while connected to port

 

6 button: up button is not responsive at all

 

Is it fair to rule out the ports themselves if the controllers behave the same on both? This is probably the first time I've ever used the second port. For the 3 button controller is the issue that a pin is out of alignment or something or would it be advised to try swapping out the cable itself? Same with the cable on the 6 button?

Edited by ziggaboogi
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Well I forget to bring my Pro controller into work to reverse engineer the circuit and see what that second IC is doing as in reality I cannot see why it would be necessary as the extra switches just need to be wired in parallel with existing one but I suspect it is logically ORing the outputs from the additional switches with those of the normal switches.

 

There are a couple of things I noticed about the IC's in your photos...

1) They do not look like regular IC's as there appears to be no writing on the top indicating what they are and as far as I could see no notch or dot to indicate the correct orientation, if that is indeed the case there is a possibility of them being inserted the wrong way around.

2) Assuming that those devices are both function and pin compatible with the devices they are supposed to be, mounting them on the wrong side on the PCB would mean they are definitely inserted the wrong way around with the pins in the wrong places as it is impossible for them to be otherwise.

In reality it should not work at all under those circumstances but miss wired IC's can sometimes appear to function correctly under certain circumstance through strange internal current paths, consequently it is probably blind luck that the controller appears to function correctly at all.

The fact that it appears to work for around 10 minutes before failure and repeats that pattern after not being used for a while (cools down) is certainly indicative behaviour of a thermal issue which occurred to me upon first reading the post a couple of days ago although before seeing the IC's mounted on the wrong side of the PCB I discounted it as I could not see what would cause the IC's to heat up, however being inserted the wrong way around could certainly cause that although why it only affects the one line is uncertain unless that is the one the device is drawing power from.

 

If you resolder the IC's (preferably new ones as they may have been damaged) on the correct side of the PCB with all the other components you will probably find that the controller functions correctly, FYI there should be a little notch (center at one end) or circle (one corner) on the top of the IC's, that should be at the same end as the notch on the silkscreen (printing) when correctly inserted.

 

As for the one that does not work until you press on the port it may be a cable issue, you will need help to do this but try holding the controller plug stationary and wiggling/flexing the controller cable particularly the section near to where it enters the controller plug/where it exits the controller with someone pressing an affected button. If the button press flips between being recognised and not as the cable is flexed when both the cable plug & controller are kept stationary that may indicate a break in the cable.

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Well I forget to bring my Pro controller into work to reverse engineer the circuit and see what that second IC is doing as in reality I cannot see why it would be necessary as the extra switches just need to be wired in parallel with existing one but I suspect it is logically ORing the outputs from the additional switches with those of the normal switches.

 

There are a couple of things I noticed about the IC's in your photos...

1) They do not look like regular IC's as there appears to be no writing on the top indicating what they are and as far as I could see no notch or dot to indicate the correct orientation, if that is indeed the case there is a possibility of them being inserted the wrong way around.

 

 

 

The IC's have the pins bent. What you see is the bottom of the chips not the top.

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Yeah basically what Stephen said. The chips were 74HC04 and 74HC14. I was able to source some very similar ones although with slightly different suffixes. At this point I'm going to do a bit more testing and try to see if I can source the original/better replacement chips and replacement cable cords from Best Electronics. I'll report back in a few days.

Edited by ziggaboogi
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