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Old 14 January 2021, 10:56   #1
MBG
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Homemade Joystick

So I decided to dig up my old (yellowed) A500 from under the guest bed a few weeks ago.
After playing a few games I realized that none of my joysticks were working very well and that they were difficult to put down on a table
Especially playing a game like Xenon II Megablast was difficult because you need to press the fire button very fast and that tends to move the joystick around.
Time for a little project!

Last edited by MBG; 14 January 2021 at 14:24.
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Old 14 January 2021, 11:01   #2
chip
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Welcome to the forum and good luck with your project !
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Old 14 January 2021, 11:04   #3
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Welcome. I'll look forward to seeing the result. I wonder if it's possible to make a durable non-microswitched joystick today? I don't know how I tolerated all that noisy clickery as a kid.
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Old 14 January 2021, 11:07   #4
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First I made a 3D design in Sketchup to see what it was going to look like and how all the parts would fit.
I wanted the box to have three buttons and that buttons 2 and 3 would be switchable to also work as 'up'.
This is nice in platform games so you can make the character jump by pressing a button instead of moving the joystick up.
There should also be room to rest your hands on the box while playing.

I wanted to make the box out of wood because I have some experience making things out of wood.
Also getting my hands on other materials is a little difficult during the Covid-19 lockdown because a lot of stores are closed here now.
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Old 14 January 2021, 11:11   #5
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Thanks guys. I thought it would be nice to document what I did so others could try something similar.
It was a little bit difficult to find all the information I needed from different websites.

@ dreamkatcha:
Mine is also "clicky" but that's what I'm used to. I don't hear it anymore after a minute of playing.
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Old 14 January 2021, 13:24   #6
Mikerochip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamkatcha View Post
durable non-microswitched

Those two things don't go together!


Non microswitched connectors wear out quickly.


Microswitched ones wear out, but, can be easily swapped out for new ones, so you don't need to throw away the whole joystick.


Arcade machines had a few different kind of switches, but microswitches are the most common.


The JP designed ones don't click quite so badly, but then, the button itself makes the noise, rather than the switch.


You could also look at leaf switches but they're huge, by comparison, and far too spongy feeling in use for my taste.



Maybe a JP style Sanwa switch, with a rubber O ring around the joystick plastic to dampen the sound. No clue if that's even possible, really.


They do something similar with keyboard microswitches to change the sound and the key travel distance.
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Old 14 January 2021, 13:48   #7
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Next I cut some boards I had lying around to the right size and then
made some slots to help glue them together later.
It's nice when you don't have any screw heads showing but it isn't
absolutely necessary.
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Old 14 January 2021, 14:21   #8
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On a piece of paper I drew out where I wanted the holes for the buttons and joystick.
Then I punched dimples to mark the spots.
Next I drilled small (about 3 mm) holes all the way through the board.
These holes make it easier to drill large (28 mm) holes from both sides of the board with a forstner bit.
Drilling from both sides made it a little easier to get nice clean holes.
I still had to sand them a bit though.
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Old 14 January 2021, 17:34   #9
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After sanding all the sharp corners off, the parts are ready to be glued together.
The wood biscuits help line everything up.
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Old 14 January 2021, 17:45   #10
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In the corners a few blocks were glued to hold the bottom lid in place.

The lid has a hole in it so it's easier to open.
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Old 15 January 2021, 10:26   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikerochip View Post
Those two things don't go together!


Non microswitched connectors wear out quickly.


Microswitched ones wear out, but, can be easily swapped out for new ones, so you don't need to throw away the whole joystick.


Arcade machines had a few different kind of switches, but microswitches are the most common.


The JP designed ones don't click quite so badly, but then, the button itself makes the noise, rather than the switch.


You could also look at leaf switches but they're huge, by comparison, and far too spongy feeling in use for my taste.



Maybe a JP style Sanwa switch, with a rubber O ring around the joystick plastic to dampen the sound. No clue if that's even possible, really.


They do something similar with keyboard microswitches to change the sound and the key travel distance.
Ah, so not a lot has changed in all these years. Thanks, you've saved me doing the research. I always preferred the comfy, silent, Python-style joysticks, but know objectively they're the inferior option.

These days I tend to use an old Comp Pro Mega Drive pad rather than any joysticks at all, mostly because that's what I've left plugged in and it seems to be indestructible. Odd because there's little nostalgia in joypads for me personally.
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Old 15 January 2021, 13:03   #12
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The box got a few layers of clear laquer to protect it from stains.
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Old 15 January 2021, 13:05   #13
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The magnets keep the bottom lid on.
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Old 15 January 2021, 13:12   #14
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Now the wiring.
I cut one end of this 9 pin joystick extension cord off.
The reason I didn't use a cord from an old joystick is because they often
don't use all 9 pins and save money by not having wires for them.
This extension cord has all 9 in use.
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Old 15 January 2021, 13:22   #15
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Next I crimped these red connectors on. These also come in blue and yellow
but red is smallest. The wires from the extension cord are very thin and
were fairly easy to pull back out of the connectors after crimping.
The solution to this was to fold the bare end of the wire back over the insulated part and then crimp them.
This gave more thickness to grab on to.
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Old 16 January 2021, 09:44   #16
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With my multimeter I was able to figure out which colour wire went to which
pin on the 9-pin connector.
The diagram and table below helped me wire everything up.
The table shows that the same joystick will also work on the C64 and ZX Spectrum.
On those computers button 2 and 3 won't work but they
don't have a lot of games that use them anyway.
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Old 16 January 2021, 09:48   #17
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This is basically how it's wired up.
The diagram doesn't show buttons 2 and 3 but they work the same as button 1 but using pins 9 and 5 in stead of 6.
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Old 16 January 2021, 09:52   #18
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This is the grounding wire that is daisy chained to the COM lugs of all the switches and then to pin 8.
Here I used the slightly larger blue connectors as they had to hold two wires.
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Old 16 January 2021, 09:56   #19
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Now the switches have their NO (normally open) lugs wired to their
respective pins from the table.
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Old 16 January 2021, 10:00   #20
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A lot of work for this little project .... looking for the final result !
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