Something Old, Something new. Joystick Upgrade!

Some time ago, I ordered a Joystick from Retroradionics.

In Transparent Black! Has a few nice features, such as Autofire on two buttons, and togglable mode for C64 or Atari for example.

Inside, there’s a PCB that looks quite bare

So, I did gone glitz it up a little.
I figured that a joystick could do with some LED’s, there’s plenty of space inside for big ones!

and, maybe it could have some extra functionality

I started here – Knocking up a schematic – this is maybe rev 20!

So, after knocking up a schematic, I measured up and drew a PCB , well, had a little help from the developer of the joystick who sent me some dimensions of his PCB to get started with!

Always print 1:1 before ordering!
A Paper PCB fits like a charm

I’ve gone though quite a few revisions on the PCB – the ‘dongle’ in the middle was an original idea to inject 5v into the board from micro USB – to save drawing too much power from the host computer. I’m still researching specifications of old systems to see what they can handle

After printing was successful, I ordered a sample PCB – unfortunately in my excitement to get one made cheaply and quickly, I goofed up a few things.

So, I re-designed. Re-Re designed and, after maybe 40 hours of work, have come up with this – potentially the first one that i’m going to get made.

This is overall a considerably ‘safer’ design for everyone’s retro computers. it buffers the ‘output’ signals to protect the joystick, it also has open collector outputs to help with compatibility with older systems – the output stays floating, like what happened with original joysticks.

Still some revision needed and possibly minor changes, but i’m confident that i’m just going to be dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s at this stage. there’s quite a bit of work gone into this to make it primarily compatible with The spectrum Next, and secondary, compatible with other systems (and not blow up if connected to other systems that have 5v on pin 7 instead of 5!)

Version 20 something or other, and maybe the version i’ll get manufactured!

So, What does this do exactly?

It has LED’s – for you transparent case owners

It works like a joystick!

It has the same number of buttons as the original

It has an MPU6050 in it

It has an ESP32 in it

What all that means?

Should be possible to do some rather nifty stuff with it, if I can ever figure out how to program up the ESP32 to do so…

But, the basics’ll be a joystick, maybe autofire on every button and direction, configurable in any timings……

Then i’ll see how to best utilise the ESP32 featureset!

Author: Bleugh

Early Fourties, Wife, two kids in primary school. Both of us work full time...5 years now we’ve been Back in Blighty after a decade away...It's a new country for everyone! Still finding time to tinker!

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