This section is where anyone can post their projects as "work in progress" threads, share their project and it's progression, share tips and also comments. When key information is posted within the project logs, they will be copied into the Reference section as suitable!
Here is the front of the master controller, nearly finished before painting; I need to mount the N64 cart port though which will be at the top section of the controller.
Started making the mould for the vacuum forming for the back of the master controller. Used clay, and just a small amount of water so as to not get much shrinkage. I had a pack of the clay I used before left over, which was handy, especially as the pack, which is about 12mm thick, is the ideal thickness needed. Just placed the bulk of it in place, trimmed the top and bottom, then took some slithers off the remaining piece of clay and using a little water on my finger, pressed the lightly wet clay into place and pressed together.
The clay is left on the case backing, so if it does shrink, I can bulk up the areas concerned when dry; i'm hoping I can part the clay from the controller without hassle. The other reason of course for keeping the clay on the controller during drying process is to keep the shape correct. The clay is in my airing cupboard at the moment, it'll probably take a couple of days to dry out properly so I can see what areas if any need attention; when done, it'll of course need a good sanding session to include a bit of extra shaping too.
For the keypad overlay, using the rectangle from an Intellivision controller. The calculator keypad I used is a little shorter than the Intellivision keypad but it works fine and is a pretty perfect size. It was placed on the case for illustration, keeping it black.
I'm now in the process of spray painting the buttons black and the master controller's top off-white, I think it's called Antique White as I recall, it's like a light cream colour.
BTW - one trick I used, from experience before, is to paint the case lightly with a brush with white paint, the reason being it adds enough pigment to the surface to mean you don't need so many coats of spray paint, as otherwise you'll find the dark colours of things like the keypad I used and the d-pad plastic will take several more coats to hide; not an issue using a dark spray paint, but is when using light. That's why in the picture above it looks pasty. Before spray painting, you can fill in small gaps with paint, then when dried, give the controller a sanding before the spray painting stage starts!
Making the button tops is quite quick, now I have a rhythm - use a CD marker pen to mark out the height a button needs to be reduced to, sanding drum to make it so, rub along sandpaper to get it finished and smooth, then insert the nut into the bolt and hold these via a pair of pliers over a gas hob until the nut starts to change colour (ie hot enough), then press the nut into the reverse button side, making it sink into the button and remain level: just when the screw is warm to touch and not hot, unscrew the bolt from the assembly, and onto the next one!
With this design, can make buttons however I need to to have them as different pics or colours as appropriate to the system being used.
Colour of case is wrong, which is what happens when I take a photo at night with the desk lamp on!
Anyway, wired up the N64 interface port (which will communicate data between the master controller and the various console controllers), after sanding the port down as much as could so the trace board can make maximum contact. Had to put a piece of 2mm thick perspex under the port to raise it to about 1mm higher than the closed case height.
So here's the view of the back of the case (showing the shoulder triggers too):
The MadCatz DreamCast controller has proven to be a good choice to have used, everything fits tightly, with limited height, etc, but fits fine. Cut off the cable from the old master controller to use in this one instead as it uses a 13 foot long cable, 9 strand, and good shielding inside. I need the length to be about 10 feet to use comfortably on my sofa from the base unit's location, so the extra 3 feet is welcome.
The strip of plastic on the right side has a strong magnet underneath from an old computer hard disk.
Each system controller is installed into their own section as they have to be independent of each other, so pop one out and replace with a different system and all's fine.
Here is an example of that section, wired to a dismembered N64 game cart butchered for the part of the contact board with the traces section.
Insides - the glob at the bottom of the case section is a hole through the case, hot glue holding the metal piece in place. It is tight in there, only gave myself 8mm height, ie the height of the board and the small capacitor, to give an idea...
Here is the controller section underside (circular metal piece inserted after photo taken):
In place and secure! The tiny white bits of the joystick holes will be made the same colour as the case in due course.
Front view, showing the joysticks - move nicely! The slight ridges on the top of the case were from where it rested for a couple of days upside down on a couple of wires - will resolve later on.
Had to make an 8 way dpad for the Intellivision as 4 way wasn't good for many games (16 not needed).
*Cut out a piece of perspex to the size of the d-pad circle.
* Made a hole in the centre of the perspex through was glued a pointed plastic bead with a hole in the middle; married them up so a thin wire can go through, tied two knots in the wire, dremelled out the inside of the d-pad circle for the knot to fit through, glued in place.
* Sanded (with a sanding drum) the edges of the tact switches, and cut off the two pins on the short edge on one side as not needed.
* Hot glued the tacts in place, the grey ones are rubber topped tact switches so have a nice mushy feel, the blue ones are normal clicky tact switches with a raised shaft, which I can sand down to the level needed. The grey tacts were raised 2mm so the blue tacts (clicky ones) could work better as less cut off them.
* Hole in the base piece, this keeps the part in place with friction; i'll introduce a shaft/groove to do this better, later.
In this pic, a normal direction is pressed, the grey tact is depressed, the blue one isn't
and here, two grey tacts are depressed, ie a diagonal - the blue tact is also engaged and depressed.
I need to wire it up to test, and demonstrate it working fine, however it looks like I got this probably working first time...
This is the completed d-pad i've made, the grooves in there are to house the wires against the unit.
At the moment, the contact pads are under the d-pad pressing against the bottom piece, instead of the regular way of the other way around. Not decided if this is better or not.
I was originally wanting the diagonals to work in conjunction with their neighbours, so in other words, if you pressed NE direction, then N, E and the diagonal would register. On testing with 8 LED's, it seems that there is a sweet spot where the diagonal only works; slightly off and either N or E are on too, slightly more you get all three registered. So thinking laterally, if you're pressing NE then it doesn't matter if N and/or E also registers as the important thing is the diagonal. The diagonal will contain connections to ground, N, E and also pin 6 off the Intellivision connector which makes the proper diagonal register. I could do some fine sanding work to get the diagonal working precisely when N and E are pressed, but there isn't any point. I'll just use some diodes to separate the N, E, pin 6 on the diagonal direction (also SW, SE, NW of course too). I've used diodes to make the signals one way on the Intellivision matrix anyway: if using two diodes degrades the information too much, then i'll sand the diagonals down more; plan "B".
Pics showing what I mean:
Next job will be to rig this up for real on my Intellivision construction, that way i'll know it works or not and how well it works, before incorporating it into the controller cartridge for the Alpha Omega system.
Thought about it a bit and decided to reverse the d-pad, the wires won't need flexing anymore as the d-pad top is on the regular flat side, no point creating potential problems. Mounted in onto a trimmed joystick cap in preparation for it fitting into its casing, before wiring it up for testing on the Intellivision console.
The basic configuration, as per the upcoming video which will explain things in more detail:
Up = up + ground (as normal)
Right = right + ground (as normal)
Up & right diagonal = up, right, ground (as per usual) plus pin 6 of the Intellivision controller cable
Each contact, apart from ground, uses a diode to keep the data flowing one way and it works as per the previous Intellivision video clip for this project; I can't tap off the existing up and right d-pad contacts (as per above) as that would make either right or up become a diagonal, also they need to be segregated from the pin 6 extra contact or i'll get a different d-pad direction; solution in theory in easy enough, more wires and diodes to keep each line separate. On the tact switches for diagonal movement, ground will be one contact and the other three connections to make the diagonal work will be on the other tact contact.
Doing it this way will mean in my video I can show "before and after"; once it all works then, i'll make the whole thing compact to fit into the controller casing.
Two types of tacts were used, rubber topped ones and also "clicky" ones with longer top.