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Number pads in custom controllers


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In fight sticks, the 3 rules of button placememt is similar to that of real estate's: location, location, location.


In 5200 Defender  It'd be better to have the 0 button as a third button on the ring finger as opposed to moving either hand to reach the keypad.


Also in CV Mouse Trap, with a fight stick, you want your index on dog, and middle  Ring, and pinky on red, yellow, and blue doors as opposed to having a thumb hunt and peck ( but eventually no visual hunting)


I know there are 2 ways to make a fight stick button or a keypad press work.


One is wiring a button to the pad hacked CV controller.  The other is recreating the circuitry in the keypad.


For CV, there is the Edladdin.com CV fight stick pcb, which you need to play Super Action games.


For the INTV, i assume for the keypad, it's as simple as disecting an INTV keypad.  


I hope this answer is $15 cheap, and not $70 with retro equpment... Can a basic JagPad be hacked and give you all 12 keys?  Even 8-button controller games?  I think it's (4,6,7,8,9) = (L,R,Z,Y,X).


Now the 2 hard questions:. 5200 controllers.  I wpuld rather not hack a 5200 controller, because i have 3.  At least 2 are getting the best electronics gold treatment.


1) is it worth gold modding the controller that will be disected fir the keypad?


2) i know working 5200 controllers are valuable, but broken controllers are a dime a dozen on ebay.  For this, make sure the direction sitck is working, and gold mod the button and keys.  Would this make ebay hunting easier? 


3) is the keyboard citcuit similar to the ColecoVision and Intellivision where each key us attached two or more simultanious pins and rely on the fact only one key is pressed at once (and in INTV's case, also rely on a lack of direction and action buttons) to work?  Or can multiple keys be pressed and not be mixed up, unlike INTV and CV? 


The other issue is the Arcadia 2001.  I guess i'll worry about it as someone makes an easy fight stick adapter for rhe 2001, like Nurmix made external  INTV controls possible on INTV 1 and 3 using INTV 2 or Flashback controllers and fight sticks. ...


... And when there are any titles worth playing on the American version. ;) (I heard elsewhere the Emerson machine, with almost as many names as there are national markets, and are more succesful, due to Atari  and other American companies specifically buying just the US rights and ignoring the rest of the world until Emerson filled the gaps.  And sue-happy Atari forced game-crippling changes in the American versions.  Lucky us ? )

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Here are pinouts for Atari 5200 and colecovision controllers.


http://arcarc.xmission.com/Web Archives/Deathskull (May-2006)/games/tech/5200cont.html


http://arcarc.xmission.com/Web Archives/Deathskull (May-2006)/games/tech/cvcont.html


The Atari 5200 keypad grounds two circuits for each button.  The colecovision varies between one to three circuits.  And no, using an intellivision controller flex-circuit won't help you connect arcade buttons.  The Atari 5200 controller has more wires/pins so the joystick and action buttons pins are independent of the keypad.


One challenge you might have is that for any given system, different cartridges use different keypad buttons.  Creating an optimal arcade button layout for all possible scenarios might not be possible, unless you create unique adapters for specific cartridges.

Edited by mr_me
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Due to radical differences in control schemes between games, especially for consoles with controllers utilizing keypads, you'd end up having to sacrifice some ergonomics & functionality unless you installed selector switches which would allow you to on the fly change each/any button, to whichever input assignment you wanted.  Basically re-mapping (hardware-wise), to allow for any button to be any function.  Ideally for say the ColecoVision, if you wired in-line with each button a 20 position / 2-pole switch, than any button could be any of the 4 joystick directions, any of the 4 super action buttons, or any of the 12 keypad buttons.  These switches do exist, I found one the other day for exactly this purpose, and they cost about $105 each.  Alternatively, if you want to play Mouse Trap on the ColecoVision as it was intended, I would suggest one of these:





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Here's an important question I have to ask about keypads.  Are they supposed to be either:


A) 12 independent buttons that can be pressed in any combination and provide the exact results of that specific combination?


If that's the case you can play keyboard finger twister bomb where to deactivate a bomb you have to press one button at a time and add a button and a button without letting go until you get to six buttons then you have to move one of your fingers off one of the keys and put it on another but because it might not be in a convenient location you might have to do some finger shuffling.  This type of game can exist with the current keypad then I know I have to pad hack any keypads where that is possible.


Otherwise I assume it's B) basically a keypad being a precursor to a touch screen kind of like the way the intellivision Amico interprets it.  ( Side comments about pronunciation):


I thought it was "uh ME Ko"  Like amigo, or amiibo, or Amiga, Or Coleco.   Not "AH  muh Ko ". Like the gas station Amoco orJaleco, like Jehricho.  i originally thought Jaleco was prounounced like Coleco.

if every keypad is like a touchscreen where it only makes sense to press one at a time and you get errors pressing more than one at a time that in theory you could build an external keypad partial PCB by understanding the key code and not destroying a real controller.


Some key codes are easy like the intellivision why three different pins represent three different columns and forur different pins represent for different rows and none of the joystick or button functions can be activated for the keypad to work right.  And each button lights up one Column pin and one row pin.  and if two columns are lit up, then the other four pins represent a joystick direction.


I have seen pinouts for the 5200 and it looks like it uses a similar matrix system to the intellivision.  With the start, reset and pause being the fourth column of the 4 x 4 matrix.  


I've seen the Coleco combinations on the pinouts.ru website and it's a mess and and I thank edladdin for making it into an easy to wire 13 pin ribbon cable which I assume the 13th pin is for ground B.


Those are the three I care about most. The two that may or may not be done depending on how well it works are the jaguar and the Arcadia 2001.  Until someone makes a separable Arcadia 2001 Joy port, kind of like how atariage user nurmix added an INTV2  port or an INTV flashback port and they made the controller on the INTV 1 removable and replaceable.  Once a pin setup has been established for the Acadia 2001 then we could adapt it for my controller.  But then again most of the American Acadia games are neutered versions of game licenses owned at home by Atari, Coleco or others, in the United States.  Is it worth it.


What would be more interesting is a Jaguar adapter.  According to a certain pin site I think it was pinouts.ru , I have no idea what it uses because it has a 5 by 5 matrix yeah it's all the other matrix base keypads show that only one button could be pressed the time.  North south east west A B and C are all part of The matrix and I know I could at least press any two of them at once and that is enough to destroy the keypad matrix theory.


If that's the case, then the PCB or the Jaguar does more then just read a single pass per frame.  So probably to be safe it is easier just to disect a real Jack pad and wire each 3.5 mm female to the actuators on the 12 keypad buttons as a pad hack.


That might be the reason why my idea finger twister bombs might work on Jaguar. If so someone should program it as part of Go to the Party Jag" kind of like those Mario Party ganes, and Sonic Shuffle,and Crash Bash, and Pac-Man Fever, etc., That would be kind of a cool retrobrew.  Find other minigames that use the Jaguar fully.


By the way, the only character I recognize on Atari Karts is Bentley Bear.  Are we going to add Hector the Centipede? (A metric system pun, get it?). Really any other Atari owned characters?  Lamar the Yar, Qtie Qotile from Yars' Revenge? White Hat Willie and Black Hat Benjamin from Outlaw?  I can't think of any distinctly Atari-owned characters that the people actually depicted in game


Finally is it true that Jack pro pad just maps the following sequence to the following corresponding buttons individually: 4 6 7 8 and 9 map to l r z y and x respectively.  If that's the case then  should I just buy a standard JagPad for the purposes of disection and just hardwire the pad normally except map the l r z y x to 4 6 7 8 9?


As fir the design, i can fit 14 buttins and 4 directiins on my stick. Does any game use more than that?  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/24/2019 at 2:05 AM, tripletopper said:

1) is it worth gold modding the controller that will be disected fir the keypad?

I would say yes. However it's also worth just doing the same with aluminum foil and double-sided tape. I found that you can get a roll of sticky foil tape from Wal Mart and use a hole punch to make a lot of circles. Put the circles on the rubber keypad dots.


First a word of warning about opening 5200 controllers: ALWAYS REMOVE THE BEZEL OVER THE START BUTTON ROW FIRST (those 3 buttons at the top), failure to do this can mess up the flex circuit! They aren't just the worst controllers ever, they even have a self-destruct trap!


Now an explanation of what happens. The flex circuits are tin plated (or some other crap metal) which oxidizes to the point where the resistance of them plus the black rubber dots is not enough to register as a button press. Putting foil over the rubber dot lowers the resistance enough to make the button work. It is entirely possible that almost every 5200 controller ever made could have gone bad within a few years of being new! The only exception I have ever seen is on a pair of controllers with a "REV 8" flex. I found them in a thrift store, and they worked properly as-is.


What is so special about that flex? Have you ever opened up a TV remote control? If you haven't, find a junk one and open it. Now look at the circuit board. Either the pads on the board are gold plated, or more likely they are coated with some black stuff. That is some kind of high-carbon epoxy or something. The important part is that it is conductive, but it doesn't oxidize. Those two REV 8 flexes are the only ones I have seen which had that black stuff on it. And think about this: I have also seen REV 9 flexes which are tin plated. So someone at Atari finally got it right, and yet they made another revision which went back to the crappy old tin plating!


The other thing to watch out for with 5200 controllers is that sometimes the CMOS chips on the motherboard that interface to the controllers get zapped, so one of your controller ports will have some inputs not working. That requires the chip to be replaced. But you have to figure out which one to replace, so you want to have 3 or 4 sockets ready to put the old chip back into if you don't have a schematic and it wasn't the bad one.


And yes, they are in a matrix, so you can't just press an arbitrary combination of number keys simultaneously. Every system comes up with its own matrix layout, so there is no way to make one controller that can work with multiple systems unless you put in a microcontroller that detects the scanning and responds accordingly.


Edited by Bruce Tomlin
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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, i was going to have a 16+ pin setup. Whete the 15 pins are the 15 buttons as discrete electrical signals (12 for 12 keys. Plus 5200 start, reset, and pause) one from ground ( looking at the Edladdin Coleco PCB, coleco uses 2 "grounds", and it seems keypad presses all use the same ground.)


I was goiing to do it in 2 stages.  First stage converts the 3.5 mm into a 16 pin separate from then db37 to be processed in the second stage.


The second stage takes the individual pins, and gets wired for each system: INTV and 5200 wired to the row pins and column pins individually, colecovision wired to a 13 pin ribbon cable according to the Edladdin standard.


... and what do i do for the Jaguar?


Is the Jag Pad so complex that It uses a special PCB, and newbies like me can't describe how to recreate it,  like i discussed how to recreate an INTV 2 or 5200 keypad.


I heard in theory, all 21 inputs on a single Jaguar controller, and all 84 inputs when using a Team Tap. Could be actuated in any combination, including all together if you have multiple people on one pad and the SOCD preventing pad N+S and W+E is curcumvented.  You can't replicate that with 21 inputs on 15 pins without replicating the PCB.


Since , on the Jag Pro Pad, all L R Z Y and X are are additional redundant, more ergonomic, repeat keypad presses, it just makes more sense to try take a standard Jag Pad, and hack it in the fighting stick PCB sense. And wire 4 6 7 8 9 as those above corresponding buttons.  Correct?





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Kind of reminds me of a joke I inadvvertantly created for myself, in second grade I thought programming was as simple as...


10 Ms Pacman

20  4 Mazes


Embarrassing? Or typical second grade logic in 1981?


Funny thing is with object-oriented programming and pre-defined game engines, that's closer than halfway to the truth today compared to real 80s programming. :)

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