Couple of weeks ago, I received a request on if I could make my retro joystick adapters compatible with Atari 5200 controllers, so I decided to give it a go. So I got myself a controller on eBay for $30 so I can begin the project. I knew right away that i would likely need to design a whole new adapter, given Atari 5200 controllers use 15 pin connectors compared to 9 pin connectors of most of their other consoles.
With some googling, I located the schematic below showing the controller has two potentiometers that control the x and y coordinates and couple of switched for the two fire buttons, and then a 4×4 keypad matrix. So thats total of 12 input lines needed for each joystick. 8 lines for 4×4 matrix, 2 for the stick position, and 2 for the fire buttons. To handle 2 joysticks, I would need at least 24 input ports.
I decided to use a Pro Mirco micro-controller along with a 16 port PCF8575 I/O expander and created the schematic below.
With some modification to my core code I had for the Atari 2600/XT/ST/8Bit Adaper, I was able to get it to work!
For a while I had trouble getting the buttons to work, but with some trouble shooting, I found out the controller I purchased had a bad flex circuit.
Luckily I had a conductive ink pen and it did the magic, at least for my testing. I ordered a new flex circuit for the controller for long term fix but I suspect the ink patch I did will last for several years.
I had 6 ports to spare, so I added common buttons on the unit dor things like Start, Select, etc.. I then designed the PC Board, and cleaned up the code to get it to professional quality, designed and printed a case and success!
Check out my video above to see it in action and give me a thumbs up. If you want to purchase one, you can get them here as well.
Atari 5200 Controller USB Adapter Pro – 2 ports
Connect 2 Atari 5200 joystick controllers with this device to your USB port. Your system will recognize your Atari 5200 joysticks as standard gamepads ready for you to use with your emulators and games. Small screen shows mode your ports are in and reacts to your movements. No drivers needed!
Remember this is home made quality. Does not include joysticks. All net proceeds go to charity since I just make these for fun.