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Repairing an Arcadia 2001/HMG-2650 controller


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Repairing an Arcadia 2001 Controller


I had problems with a fire button of the left Arcadia 2001 controller, not firing anymore. :( The Arcadia-controllers are very simple and were cheaply made. Even working, they are not great controllers. In the end nothing will help, but making complete new controllers of quality components, with real switches. I might do that sometime, if there should be some games I really like and want to play decently. Not sure yet. But for the beginning a repair should be enough. Simultaneously I'm using the opportunity to preserve that technology by uploading a few pictures.

That's my left controller: post-32856-0-15920300-1535840340_thumb.jpg


Inside everything is glued together. :| By pulling carefully the parts can be separated. The mylar is quite corroded and a bit dirty:



Showing the color scheme the plug: post-32856-0-22902100-1535840369_thumb.jpg


The wiring of the mylar itself, in case somebody wants to make a reproduction (or wonders, why pushing the "2"-key, also triggers the gun). Both red fire buttons are wired in parallel. They are just simple buttons, no rocker switches, no up and down. It is a 5x5 millimeters grid in the background.



I cleaned the corrosion and without heavy rubbing, not only oxidation went off, but also the printed conducting traces. :-o They really are not bound firmly with the plastic carrier. Look at the red circle. I cleaned away part of button and wire, by using alcohol, an ear pad and too much pressure and rubbing. Cleaning must be done extremely careful:



For the first time I tried to repair with conducting silver, since soldering is impossible. I made a mask of transparent tape for painting the new trace. I learnt, painting one time is not enough: To lower electric resistance, the trace must be thicker. I painted three times. Narrow traces are bad, too. They have to be wide. Contact with the original traces must overlap as far as possible to make good contact. Left picture: painting a few times. Right picture: pulling off the tape.



I also re-painted the conductive pad of the fire-button later on. I took no photo.

Before reassembling I protected the new traces with transparent tape, since the silver color can't get inside the mylar's surface and gets scratched off quite easily.

Reassembled the controller, checked it, working again! :thumbsup: ;) I can't predict, how long the new pad of the button will last, of course. Hopefully some time...






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I really don't know. You see that everywhere: calculator keyboards, remote controls ...

Does anybody know? There could be a production problem with large copper areas, during the soldering process, maybe. Or plotter based layout tools, that could not do fillings, but only draw lines. But just guessing...


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I admit that I'm inexperienced with electronics, but wouldn't NE and SW produce the same result electrically? They both connect the same wires (1,2,6,10).


Looking at the schematic, I see that the keypad rows go to a different chip than the columns. Each one has a single wire, do they alternate acting as ground?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looking at the schematic, I see that the keypad rows go to a different chip than the columns. Each one has a single wire, do they alternate acting as ground?


Yes. The 74LS145 is used to output a logic 0 to one of the six sets of four keys each. The 74LS258 is used to decide which of the two handsets to read, and outputs the state of the four keys selected by the '145 to the low bits of the databus.





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I admit that I'm inexperienced with electronics, but wouldn't NE and SW produce the same result electrically? They both connect the same wires (1,2,6,10).


The joystick circuitry is odd indeed, and I can't say that I fully understand it.


The 2637 pins 8 to 11 that read the joystick switches are analog inputs that are measured by an analog to digital converter on the chip. The asymmetric values of the resistors and capacitors in the circuit (10k/470k ohm and 0.1/0.047 (uF?) ) must be significant, perhaps forming some sort of timing circuit, but that is just a guess. I have no idea what the jack plugs J1 and J2 are connected to or what role they play.

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  • 3 weeks later...


I have no idea what the jack plugs J1 and J2 are connected to or what role they play.

Well, obviously "they" prepared the console for paddle controllers and analog input devices, which they finally never needed.


According to the Signetics' 2637 datasheet the IC needs "external RC-networks" on its four analog input channels (pin 8/9 and pin10/11), which can't be read simultaneously by the way. The pairs have to be selected by a register flag of the chip. I did not find any application notes for the chip.

Looking at pin 8 the network is made of R20 (180K), R19 (10k) and C5 (100n), which makes a time constant of 190kOhms * 100nF = 19 ms (52 Hz).

Pin 9 the network consists of R17 (470k), R18 (10k) and C4 (47n) => 480kOhms * 47nF = 22.5 ms (44.3 Hz), which is the same, taking into account, which component values you can buy, and their tolerances (52/44 => 20 percent).

Same for the other controller port (pin10/11).


Plugging in the two paddles interrupts R8 and R20 (the two 180 kOhms-resistors) and replaces those by the paddle-pots.


Operating the controller joystick-switches, bypasses the four large resistors (2x180k and 2x470k) and is pulling the four analog inputs to nearly VCC via R9 (1K) or nearly GND via R21 (1K), with the 10k-resistors and the caps still in the circuit.


Hopefully this was not complete nonsense!


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I think, the schematics of the service manual are not a hundred percent correct, concerning paddles.

I did some editing, from what I saw inside my console. The changes are not confirmed!!!

Maybe somebody can have a look, if I did right or if I'm introducing new mistakes:





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  • 1 month later...

I just discovered, there is an application for paddles for the ARCADIA 2001 type consoles:

It's the game CIRCUS, which indeed only is playable with paddles. Otherwise the springboard just jumps into positions left, middle, right and the clown :party: most likely crashes and dies.


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springboard touching left side: 30 kOhms (0x1f)

springboard touching right side: 285 kOhms (0xd5)


I think, i'm gonna make an adapter for ATARI-type-paddles. ATARI paddles will probably be very sensitive due to the 1 MeqOhm pots. Commodore paddles will fit better (500 kOhms-pot). Or I'll just look for some kind of old cheap pong paddles.

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  • 2 months later...

Well, obviously "they" prepared the console for paddle controllers and analog input devices, which they finally never needed.


I though it was for that, but I never checked on mine what the jack inputs were for.


I have some Pong controllers that are just pots with a 3.5 jack connector, I guess that should work :)

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  • 1 year later...

Paddle for the Arcadia 2001


Finally I made a paddle for the Arcadia.

ArcadiaPaddle.thumb.jpg.d164fc0091c9c6f67e7d51d2032833cb.jpg connector.thumb.jpg.aff585370db4b2e38db30779ff3fefe6.jpg


Notice, the black-silver knob is an original part of my very first pong console from "Quelle" - a "UNIVERSUM-Multispiel", like this one (Internet picture):


Ours just had a silver plate on top of the knobs. It must have been Christmas 1977. There is nothing left of our console, except the two knobs and that selector switch. When the console died, I kept those for use somewhere else. They were lying in a box for decades. I think, this application is the right one, to bring them back to action! ?️


A paddle is quite simplistic. I used a linear 500kOhm potentiometer. The button is for future use and does not do anything, yet. The Arcadia does not provide a paddle button, but I might need the paddle for another console someday.


The cable is an old PC-audio cable, which I cut into two. The potentiometer is connected to 1 and 3. The button to 2 and 3.

The case is a standard electronics-shop housing. A quite nice and good looking component, which is available in different sizes.?


A little test, playing Circus, the only Arcadia compatible (originally not Emerson) game, I know of:



Wow, this is a fast game! ? But finally playable. 










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  • 2 months later...

Detachable Controllers for the Emerson Arcadia 2001


So, what else can we do with an Arcadia 2001? ? How about making the controllers detachable? (https://atariage.com/forums/topic/315672-super-cassette-vision-detachable-joysticks/)

I don't like the original Arcadia controllers. They are simply not good, not responsive. The fire button(s) are breaking player's fingers. A prerequisite to improve the situation is to make the controllers pluggable and removable, like the 2600 joysticks, for example. Obviously, marketing or management people did not comprehend the chance to generate a secondary market, besides the cartridge sales, by offering different and maybe more expensive deluxe-controllers. They saved a few pennies by putting the connectors inside the console, instead of preparing it for some more high-profit-accessories.? Like so many other companies ... (Odyssey 2, Intellivision, etc.)


There seems to be some space on the backside, which I can use.



There are 11 wires running inside these thin coiled cables. Astonishing! ? DSUB-15 connectors seem to be a good choice.

First some DREMEL-action:



Making cables next. As usual I cut the controller cables and solder the wires to DSUB (m). Additionally, I provide +5 VDC and GND for later use. So, 11 + 2 = 13 pins of the DSUBs are used.

A quick glance inside the black connectors showed the same color coding for both controller cables.



Soldering +5 VDC and GND directly to the pcb. There is a 7805 voltage regulator on the top-side of the board.



Some mechanical work and voilà:



Some more soldering of DSUB 15 (f) at the two controller cords:



All right:



Let's check, if everything is alright... ?

Oh no‼️ 

One controller is working, the other not. When I swap controllers, none of them is working. ?

This looks more like a general mistake.

Ok, let's rip the thing apart again...


Well, it is a single sided pcb. Not easy to route all the lines on the tiny board and to avoid crossings. Let's have a closer look. The two pcb-ends of the coiled cables are equally soldered to their plugs. No difference. How about the controller-ends of the cables? They really did it! There is a left controller and there is a right controller! ? 

P1060146.thumb.jpg.74fb760d71da6e19c5555375ca1f7ee8.jpg  P1060143.thumb.jpg.efb6a2bd379e743869be558adea1e95b.jpg


The controller mylar is the same, but not the coding of the connector. Those controllers can't simply be swapped. I've never seen that in any console at all. Some investigation reveals the way, how things are connected. The controller sockets on the pcb are wired completely different, to make routing of the pcb straight forward! So they had to compensate for this by connecting the mylars of the controllers in different ways. The cables are translators.

OrigCabling.jpeg.f452b1a12e338ae302e2de784260e39c.jpeg  or the mylar side  mylarCabeling.jpeg.c3411b3e28ecf381ebb366c06e907f54.jpeg

I can't use this. I just want a controller, not two types of controllers. I define the left controller scheme as a "standard" for all controllers. I re-soldered the right mylar connector and changed its color scheme from right controller to left controller, making it a left controller. I only have "left" controllers now.

The translation "left to right" for the right port will be done by the short adapter cable inside the console. The left controller adapter is unchanged. I stick to the pin-numbering, to not get confused. The right controller adapter is wired differently and reversing the effect of the different pin-outs of the board-sockets.


adapters.jpeg.f2dc3c45c3b409c6fd5e4705f10e6819.jpeg    P1060151.thumb.jpg.f5d6d6f1a8cd8d92209c7b3af996ef85.jpg


Let's reassemble the box and check:


Thumbs up ??!
All controls working as supposed to do. Controllers can be swapped now. 



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A New Controller for the Arcadia 2001


As you surely expect, the Emerson Project is not complete yet. ?

Again, I'm using one of my wooden cases to make a new controller for the Arcadia. My requirements: a real joystick, a decent fire button, real numeric keys and -of course- auto fire. 

A couple of years ago, I helped out AtariAge-member "Endprodukt" with a schematic of my VECTREX firing circuit, since he wanted to reproduce a couple of those for his joystick projects and to sell the rest. He sent me one of his pcbs to say thank you. That board will be used to provide the auto-firing feature.P1060157.thumb.jpg.cabfa5ba0c636c3c00db1e62bd4788eb.jpg 


A second board is built into the case, too. It contains a 4016 CMOS-analog switch, which will be operated by the auto-firing circuit, and several connectors. This board distributes the wires from the main cable to the components.

P1060161.thumb.jpg.db4e1ad1555cb15910d8bc33c00db75c.jpg  P1060162.thumb.jpg.7743836274bd8abfc98d95e81e268eb0.jpg


The finished device:



Some games simply NEED an auto-firing button. Again quite a big device, but finally a real joystick! 




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