Paddle Controllers for HA-8-3

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glenn.f...@gmail.com

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Sep 12, 2021, 11:36:13 AM (10 days ago) Sep 12
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Les: I found a pair of Gemini paddle controllers which follow the Atari 2600 wiring scheme.  These appear to have 1 Meg pots in them and provide access only to the wiper and one side of the pot so they provide a resistance from 0 to 1M as you rotate them.  I think I had these sort  of working with my HA-8-3 a long time ago (but lots of jitter)  I imagine with 10K pots and following the NOGDS blueprint we’d get much better results. 

 

I think you had ordered some controllers to experiment with? Did you make any progress?  I guess I could order a few pots and see if I can get these to work reliably.  I believe we could rewire using existing cables and build a DB-9 to molex converter cable to plug into the board. Thoughts?

 

Do any of your games use the “shot” buttons?  There’s one on each paddle.  We would need to agree on which digital port to connect those to.

 

Here’s how they’re wired:

https://www.atariage.com/2600/archives/schematics/Schematic_2600_Accessories_High.html

 

 

  • Glenn

 

 

From: se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com> On Behalf Of Les Bird
Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2021 5:52 PM
To: SEBHC <se...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: [sebhc] Re: VCF East and SEBHC

 

Glenn,

 

What a fantastic booth that's going to be. Looking forward to pics from the festival.

 

Did you make any progress on analog controllers for the HA-8-3?

 

Les

 

On Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 5:03:05 PM UTC-4 Glenn wrote:

Well VCF East begins a month from today so I thought I’d loop the group in on my thoughts and plans.  Alex Bodnar and I plan to be there representing the Heathkit community and SEBHC. Here are our writeups (complete exhibitors list here):

 

Heathkit: Keeping the Legacy Alive – Glenn Roberts

Demonstrating the H8 in original form but also the many enhancements that the SEBHC group has developed. Demonstrates the range of capability of this machine and how the group is very much keeping it alive! 10Mhz Z80 CPU; sound; graphics; networking; interfacing to modern devices (I2C) etc. Including information on how to order blank boards and build your own.

Adventure 1.0 on the Heathkit H89 – Alex Bodnar

Original hardware showing off the text adventure “Adventure 1.0”. This is adventure 1.0 from 1976 the predecessor to Colossal Cave Adventure and The Very Big Cave Adventure among others for other machines of the day.

I have asked for two tables for my H8 exhibit, and I believe Alex has one, hopefully they will be adjacent to each other per our request.

 

I am planning to exhibit three H8 systems:

 

  1. “traditional” H8 circa 1979 or so:  This will be an 8080-based unit with (hopefully) an H9 terminal (if I can get that working, otherwise H19).  It will be used to demonstrate loading and running software via the H-8-5 serial interface (PC emulating the cassette player).  I plan to show some demos from the early days of HUG, mostly little LED-based games (for those of us who could only afford the H8 computer and 4K!) plus some of the early HUG BASIC stuff.  This system will have a large slave LED display unit that Terry Smedley designed especially for this purpose (thanks Terry!!). Hopefully this “eye catcher” will bring people over to the table.  The system will have Norberto’s battery-backed dual-64K RAM board so I can call up demos from RAM. If I have time to prepare for it I may also demonstrate the early music software that used the front panel speaker.  If I can get it working I may use an H9 as the terminal for this system (most authentic setup for a late 70’s system) – right now having problems with a poor RS-232 signal.  I might add an H17 (100K) disk unit and show early HDOS (1.0? 1.5?) Here’s a teaser picture of the system as of today: https://photos.app.goo.gl/PWRrMy2evJoMUGJy7

 

 

  1. “gaming” H8 circa 1981 or so:  This will be a Z80-based (2Mhz only) system including the HA-8-2 and HA-8-3 boards from NOGDS.  I will demonstrate music and video here. I’ll also put other gaming software on here like invaders, munchkin, chess, etc. I’m still working to finalize the hardware. I’d like this to be a fairly authentic setup so I’ve configured with an original Heath Z80/WH-8-37/H-8-4 setup. For disk I’ll have an H77 with dual 3.5” drives and the Z67-IDE+. I’ve made a few concessions to modern stuff including a modern RAM board plus a USB interface to load games, etc.  teaser picture:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/S5jttptmWHekENFXA (system on bottom is “rusty”, my development box; may take it for backup purposes)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZQD7fkyocjJXTMt79

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SDNPEEXTSpAyzPnAA

 

 

  1. “H8-2020”.  This will be my flashy new H8 system using all new components including the latest backplane, front panel, Rev4 Z80 board and whatever else I can get in there.  I’ll have CP/M3 (banked) running, and hopefully HDOS 3 (overachieve goal: UCSD Pascal P system too!) I may try to use George Farris’ H19 emulator and a laptop for the console.  I will have available a list of boards that Todd can provide for anyone who wants to build a similar capability. I’ve begun some work on fabricating cherry side panels. This baby is currently still in pieces awaiting my order from Phoenix connectors. Teasers:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZFMeZzknfd5ECZ5f6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/LHb3FN7BamjxSvPG8

 

 

I’ll probably bring an SVD unit but may not demonstrate that.  Also possibly some other boards of interest to show.

 

If anyone else plans to attend please let us know and perhaps we can coordinate booth duty or at least meet up face to face!

 

I’ll post more pix as we get closer…

 

  • Glenn

 

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Terry Smedley

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Sep 12, 2021, 12:49:20 PM (10 days ago) Sep 12
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Glenn/Les:

(This from a non-gamer, so take with several grains of salt)

I have used 5K and 10K joysticks in several places with the multiplexer and 8-bit ADCs as used in the HA-8-3.   These were in purpose-built housings for robot/servo/stepper control, so the physical arrangement isn't for gaming - unless you have an enormous lap.  Here's a page from servocity that lists a number of available types, some with buttons/switches (they can be had cheaper from other suppliers):  https://www.servocity.com/joysticks-potentiometers/

I also used the thumbsticks from Adafruit with good results (but my human thumb control is not well developed): https://www.adafruit.com/product/512  
If you've got access to a 3D printer, there's a fun project at Adafruit:  https://learn.adafruit.com/joy-controller-feather  (You could skip the feather, and wire the buttons and thumbstick direct to the HA-8-3 - and possibly use a color other than pink)

I will be setting up a wireless joystick box for the HA-8-3 using XBEE modules, by repurposing a previous project to make a wireless joystick remote for the HERO-I robot.  In this case the input to the HA-8-3 will be a voltage applied direct to pins 9/10 of the HA-8-3 connectors, rather than a resistance divider across VREF.  

The photo is of a joystick controller for a 6DOF robotic arm.  Conveniently sized for laptop gameplay??

Terry
joystick_box.jpg

Les Bird

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Sep 12, 2021, 2:40:32 PM (10 days ago) Sep 12
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Glenn,

I ordered a pair of Atari 2600 paddle controllers which should arrive tomorrow so I'll be able to test them when they get here.

The 500ohm pot I wired up last week had zero jitter. It also went from 0 to 500ohm rotated. As long as you hook it up to VREG on the HA-8-3 you'll get proper control in the game.

Yes, all of my games use the "shot" button. In Warlords it is used to grab and hold on to the fireball and when the button is released the ball is freed. In Spacewar it I used to fire projectiles at your opponent. I don't remember which pin I used for the shot button. When I get the controllers tomorrow I'll work it all out and post here and on the Wiki page.

Playing around with some of the other Color Graphics demos on the HUG disks (Raiders and GOOP), they all used the keypad/keyboard of the H19 to control movement. There was no standard back in the day so if joysticks/paddles were used in games it was all probably custom wired by the developer as I did with my games.

I agree, I have DB9 females here so when the controllers arrive I'll wire up the DB9 to plug in to the HA-8-3.

Les

Les Bird

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Sep 12, 2021, 3:23:56 PM (10 days ago) Sep 12
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Based on that schematic, here are my thoughts on how it should interface to the HA-8-3 10-pin header. Possible that DB9 pin 9 might need to go to joystick 2 pin 10 connector on the HA-8-3 along with DB9 pin 3 to HA-8-3 pin 8 for player 2 control.

PaddleToHA83.JPG

Les Bird

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Sep 15, 2021, 8:53:57 PM (7 days ago) Sep 15
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Well, no luck trying to wire it up via the DB9 connector so I gave up and cut the cord of one controller and wired it up as follows. Works great but is jittery - although it is jittery it is not bad and the game is 100% playable. I would imagine replacing the potentiometers in the paddle controller with better ones would fix the jitter.

A couple things I discovered.
1. One of the connectors on the potentiometer was open and not connected to anything so I routed a wire from the connector to GND.
2. I could only trace 2 wires to the DB9 so it's possible the wiring inside the DB9 connector was broken.

Here's a pic inside one of the controllers after I routed a wire to GND (soldered to the BLK wire on the trigger button)
ATARI2600Inside.JPG

A pic of the end connector that plugs into the HA-8-3 (1=GND, 3=VREF, 8=BUTTON, 10=ANA-IN)
ATARI2600Connector.JPG

And a pic of the wiring diagram
ATARI2600Diagram.jpg

Terry Smedley

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Sep 15, 2021, 11:36:33 PM (7 days ago) Sep 15
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Les,

You and Glenn have both mentioned "jitters" in joystick inputs.

Are you mapping the joystick A/D reading to a position (a pixel location), or a velocity (speed+direction)?  Are you using any averaging algorithms in your code to dampen noise?

I have found that with 8-bit ADCs, the software has to do some processing to get a clean signal when trying to eek out +/- 1 bit resolution.  

Don't mean to be nosy - just trying to understand your use case.

Terry

Norberto Collado

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Sep 15, 2021, 11:56:05 PM (7 days ago) Sep 15
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One of the connectors on the potentiometer was open and not connected to anything so I routed a wire from the connector to GND.

 

I think a better connection will be short the unconnected pot lead to the center lead (pink cable) of the pot; remove the GND wire. Then connect a .1uf cap between the center lead (pink cable) and the other side (yellow cable) to smooth out the signal.

 

Norberto

 

Well, no luck trying to wire it up via the DB9 connector so I gave up and cut the cord of one controller and wired it up as follows. Works great but is jittery - although it is jittery it is not bad and the game is 100% playable. I would imagine replacing the potentiometers in the paddle controller with better ones would fix the jitter.

 

A couple things I discovered.

1. One of the connectors on the potentiometer was open and not connected to anything so I routed a wire from the connector to GND.

2. I could only trace 2 wires to the DB9 so it's possible the wiring inside the DB9 connector was broken.

 

Here's a pic inside one of the controllers after I routed a wire to GND (soldered to the BLK wire on the trigger button)

 

A pic of the end connector that plugs into the HA-8-3 (1=GND, 3=VREF, 8=BUTTON, 10=ANA-IN)

 

And a pic of the wiring diagram

 

On Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 3:23:56 PM UTC-4 Les Bird wrote:

Based on that schematic, here are my thoughts on how it should interface to the HA-8-3 10-pin header. Possible that DB9 pin 9 might need to go to joystick 2 pin 10 connector on the HA-8-3 along with DB9 pin 3 to HA-8-3 pin 8 for player 2 control.

 

On Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 2:40:32 PM UTC-4 Les Bird wrote:


Glenn,

 

I ordered a pair of Atari 2600 paddle controllers which should arrive tomorrow so I'll be able to test them when they get here.

 

The 500ohm pot I wired up last week had zero jitter. It also went from 0 to 500ohm rotated. As long as you hook it up to VREG on the HA-8-3 you'll get proper control in the game.

 

Yes, all of my games use the "shot" button. In Warlords it is used to grab and hold on to the fireball and when the button is released the ball is freed. In Spacewar it I used to fire projectiles at your opponent. I don't remember which pin I used for the shot button. When I get the controllers tomorrow I'll work it all out and post here and on the Wiki page.

 

Playing around with some of the other Color Graphics demos on the HUG disks (Raiders and GOOP), they all used the keypad/keyboard of the H19 to control movement. There was no standard back in the day so if joysticks/paddles were used in games it was all probably custom wired by the developer as I did with my games.

 

I agree, I have DB9 females here so when the controllers arrive I'll wire up the DB9 to plug in to the HA-8-3.

 

Les

 

On Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 12:49:20 PM UTC-4 Terry Smedley wrote:

Glenn/Les:

 

(This from a non-gamer, so take with several grains of salt)

 

I have used 5K and 10K joysticks in several places with the multiplexer and 8-bit ADCs as used in the HA-8-3.   These were in purpose-built housings for robot/servo/stepper control, so the physical arrangement isn't for gaming - unless you have an enormous lap.  Here's a page from servocity that lists a number of available types, some with buttons/switches (they can be had cheaper from other suppliers):  https://www.servocity.com/joysticks-potentiometers/

 

I also used the thumbsticks from Adafruit with good results (but my human thumb control is not well developed): https://www.adafruit.com/product/512  

If you've got access to a 3D printer, there's a fun project at Adafruit:  https://learn.adafruit.com/joy-controller-feather  (You could skip the feather, and wire the buttons and thumbstick direct to the HA-8-3 - and possibly use a color other than pink)

 

I will be setting up a wireless joystick box for the HA-8-3 using XBEE modules, by repurposing a previous project to make a wireless joystick remote for the HERO-I robot.  In this case the input to the HA-8-3 will be a voltage applied direct to pins 9/10 of the HA-8-3 connectors, rather than a resistance divider across VREF.  

The photo is of a joystick controller for a 6DOF robotic arm.  Conveniently sized for laptop gameplay??

 

Terry

 

On Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 8:36:13 AM UTC-7 Glenn wrote:

Les: I found a pair of Gemini paddle controllers which follow the Atari 2600 wiring scheme.  These appear to have 1 Meg pots in them and provide access only to the wiper and one side of the pot so they provide a resistance from 0 to 1M as you rotate them.  I think I had these sort  of working with my HA-8-3 a long time ago (but lots of jitter)  I imagine with 10K pots and following the NOGDS blueprint we’d get much better results. 

 

I think you had ordered some controllers to experiment with? Did you make any progress?  I guess I could order a few pots and see if I can get these to work reliably.  I believe we could rewire using existing cables and build a DB-9 to molex converter cable to plug into the board. Thoughts?

 

Do any of your games use the “shot” buttons?  There’s one on each paddle.  We would need to agree on which digital port to connect those to.

 

Here’s how they’re wired:

https://www.atariage.com/2600/archives/schematics/Schematic_2600_Accessories_High.html

 

Image removed by sender.

Les Bird

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Sep 16, 2021, 9:26:41 AM (6 days ago) Sep 16
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Thanks Norby, I'll give that a try and see how much improved it is.

Les

norberto.collado koyado.com

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Sep 16, 2021, 12:44:06 PM (6 days ago) Sep 16
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If this doesn't work, then you can connect one end of the cap to GND and the other end to the cap to the center pot lead. If nothing improves, then consult with Terry S.


From: se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Les Bird <lesb...@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2021 6:26 AM
To: SEBHC <se...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: [sebhc] Re: Paddle Controllers for HA-8-3
 
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