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Author Topic: Odyssey2 Controller Repair / Modification to also use Atari 2600 Joysticks  (Read 5121 times)
Neuronic
Trying to get the cartridge in...
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« on: December 03, 2009, 01:45:39 PM »

Just this week I fired up my old Odyssey2 to discover that the left Joystick was dead. After breaking out my voltage multi-meter I determined that the internal connector that slides over the plastic tab with the leads on it was not making a good connection. I could move it around and see that when the connection was made the game would respond briefly. I tried a few tricks and (involving tape and aluminum foil) but ultimately gave up as  I noticed that the more I played with it the more of the conductive material was rubbing off like a scratch off instant lottery ticket.

After pondering my situation and looking at Odyssey2 eBay auctions I decided to try another approach. I have a few Atari 2600 controllers laying around so I used my multi-meter to determine how I could connect it to my Odyssey2. My first 1979 Odyssey2 had external silver joysticks with plugs so they could be easily removed and replaced but I sent it in for repair back in 1981 and received the newer black joystick version that had hard-wired Joysticks (damn!). After looking around I found that I had two Atari joystick extenders, these are the cables that have the male 9 pin connector on one end and the female 9 pin connector on the other end. You can use these to make your Atari joystick cable about 6 feet longer. This is just what the doctor ordered, Now I can leave my Atari 2600 Joystick alone and simply do some cable rewiring!

The first thing I did was cut the Odyssey2 joystick cable and exposed about 1 inch of the 6 colored wires inside then I exposed the actual metal conductors for about 1 centimeter. After some testing, I was able to determine which color did what:

(Note that whenever any other wire is connected to the ground wire the game responded by performing the other wires specific function)

ColorFunction
------------------
BlackGround
WhiteAction Button
RedUp
YellowDown
GreenLeft
OrangeRight

Then I cut the Atari extender cable in half and exposed its 9 wires in the same way. After some testing I found the following things out about it and the Atari 2600 9 pin game port:

Atari Extender cable functions for its 9 pins

ColorPinFunction
-------------------------------
Brown1Up
Red2Down
Orange3Left
Yellow4Right
Green5-
Blue6Action Button
Grey7-
White8Ground
Black9-

I needed to make sure the correct Odyssey2 Joystick functions went to the correct pins on the male half of my cut extender cable so when I plugged the Atari Joystick into it, it would correctly map the Atari 2600 joystick functions to the corresponding Odyssey2 functions.

Note that 9 pin port extender cable wire colors may vary between brands and if you do this yourself you might want to validate (using a multi-meter or some batteries, wire and low voltage light bulb) that the pins actually map to the colored wires mentioned below, You may have to change the colors on the chart below to match your brand of extender cable. I purchased my Atari 2600 joystick extender cables from the following eBay vendor http://stores.ebay.com/Classic-Game-Source a few months back for $8.95 if you want to try and get the same ones I mention here.

Note that actual Atari controller pin-outs for a direct connection (if you want to bypass the extender cable) can be found here: http://pinouts.ru/Inputs/JoystickAtari2600_pinout.shtml


I simply twisted the correct pairs together and placed some heat shrink plastic around each one to seal in the exposed wires and pushed those into the back of the rear of the Odyssey2 I opened the Odyssey2 and added a zip-tie strip on the inside part to keep it from being yanked back out of the back of the Odyssey2. unit. 

The wires connected together like this:

AtariOdyssey2
Extension Joystick
CableCableFunction
--------------------------------------
BrownRedUp
YellowOrangeRight
RedYellowDown
OrangeGreenLeft
BlueWhiteAction Button
WhiteBlackGround

I liked this so much that I did the same thing with my Odyssey2's right joystick!

Since I had two female Atari Extension cable halves left over, I used one and rewired the good Odyssey2 Joystick to it so I can use it again with either of the player 1 or player 2 ports if I prefer it over the Atari Joysticks. One added Bonus is now I can now use my good Odyssey2 Joystick with my Atari 2600!!!

The last thing I?m going to do is to try to fix the broken Joystick so I can attach my remaining extension cable female half onto it. My plan is to purchase some conductive Ink from here
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/200-315&CAWELAID=220224889
and paint/draw the leads back onto the damaged tab and see if that works!

I hope this helps out anyone who is facing the same dilemma.

Smiley

John Reder
http://TacticalNeuronics.com








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Author of many games for the PC, Gameboy Advance and Atari VCS (2600).
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