Adapter Lets Digital Gamepads Work On The Tandy Color Computer

The Tandy Color Computer came with analog joysticks, quite unlike most computers and consoles of the early 1980s. Many games of the era actually worked best with digital input, so [Gadget Reboot] whipped up a converter board to allow Nintendo gamepads to work with the computer.

The build relies on an earlier breakout board that [Gadget Reboot] built in order to read early Nintendo gamepads and output a digital 5 V signal. Meanwhile, the Tandy Color Computer is expecting variable o-5 V signals from the X and Y axis pots in its standard joysticks. To convert the gamepad button presses into voltages for the CoCo, the build uses a CD4066 analogue switch IC. When no controller buttons are pressed, the 4066 is set up to output 2.5 V on both the X and Y axes. Pressing up or down, or left or right on the D-pad, outputs 0 V or 5 V respectively as required. This essentially lets the controller’s D-pad act as a digital joystick for a computer that never actually had one.

It’s a neat hack that might make playing certain games on the Color Computer significantly easier. It’s also just neat to interface a different controller to the old hardware. In the early 80s, computers were simple enough that this could all be achieved with a minimum of dumb circuitry.

Thanks to [AnotherMaker] for the tip!

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