Few things are more satisfying than finding an old, forgotten piece of technology somewhere and bringing it back to life. And while it’s great to see a rare sports car or an Apollo Flight Computer being restored, even not-very-successful game consoles from the 1980s can make for some great repair stories. Just look at how [Discreet Mayor] describes his restoration and modification efforts on a ColecoVision that he literally found in a barn.
Given that the ColecoVision was on the market between 1982 and 1985, we can assume that [Discreet Mayor]’s console had been sitting on a shelf for at least three decades, and the machine was definitely showing its age. Several components had failed due to corrosion, including the clock crystal, a 7400 series logic chip and a capacitor in the power supply, but since these are all standard components it was rather straightforward to replace them.
The controllers however were sadly beyond repair. Replacing them with standard joysticks wasn’t really an option because the ColecoVision controllers included a numeric keypad, which was mainly used to select game options. Making something completely new was the way to go, and [Discreet Mayor] decided to go for a wireless system while he was at it. After all, he had already developed a modular wireless IoT system based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, which turned out to be a perfect fit for this system.
[Discreet Mayor] built a simple joystick-plus-fire-button setup on a piece of MDF and equipped it with his IoT transmitter. Instead of adding a replacement numeric keypad he decided to use the joystick to simulate the most commonly-used buttons: “right” for “1”, “down” for “2” and so on. The receiver module uses digital switches to mimic keypresses to the console’s input port. The end result might look a bit hacky, but the console is fully functional again and runs its games just like it did over thirty years ago.
We’ve seen several projects that add wireless controllers to a variety of classic consoles. If you’ve got a ColecoVision that turns out to be beyond salvaging, you can always just build your own from scratch.
Remember those old wireless controllers made for the consoles of our youth like the NES and Super Nintendo? They didn’t work well, mostly owing to the fact they were built using the same infrared technology that is found in a remote control. Now that all the modern consoles are wireless, [micro] over at the nftgames forum decided to update his classic systems for wireless control.
The transmitters and receivers are built around an nRF24L01+ radio module that operates in the 2.4 GHz band. [micro] has the process of converting his controllers down to a science. He cuts the cord and wires the controller up to an AVR running at 16 MHz. The AVR sends this to the receiver where the button presses are sent through the original controller port. Basically, [micro] recreated a WaveBird controller for his NES, SNES, Saturn and N64.
The controllers are powered by internal lithium batteries, but the charging ICs are too expensive to put in each controller. To solve this problem, [micro] crafted a small external charging circuit that plugs into a 3.5mm jack on each controller. Check out [micro]’s controller demo after the break.
Continue reading “Wireless Controllers For All Your Retro Systems”
If you’re one of the hordes whose Xbox 360 died the fiery death associated with the RRoD you may be wondering what to do with that multi-hundred dollar door stop you’re left with. Why not salvage the parts for other uses? If you’ve ever wanted to use your wireless controller with a computer here’s a way to pull out the RF module and reuse it.
The concept is simple enough, there’s a daughter-board in the Xbox 360 which hosts the RF module for wireless controller connectivity. Once you extract it from the carcass of the beast, you just need to find a way to read and push the data to your computer. Any USB enabled microcontroller will do, in this case an Arduino nano was chosen for the task. A bit of level converting was necessary to interface with the device, but nothing too involved.
It sounds like at first there was an issue with syncing a controller with the hacked module, but as you can see in the clip after the break that problem has been solved.
Continue reading “Reclaim The Wireless Controller Module From A Broken Xbox 360”
Reader, [Fox9p3400], opened up an Xbox 360 controller battery pack so we could all see what goes into one. It contains two Sanyo 2100mAh NiMH AA rechargeables (Model HR-3U 1.2V). In addition to that, there is an Atmel microcontroller (not pictured) and the copper temperature probe you can see above. He has more pictures on Photobucket.
[Alpay Kasal] of LitStudios as come up with an interesting way to use laser pointers as a wireless controller for games and applications. The process is currently being patented, which may explain why [Alpay]’s blog is a little slim in the details. We doubt they’re doing anything more than just using a camera to track the laser pointer; exactly like laser tagging.
If you’re just itching to get your hands on some wireless game play and can’t wait for this to go commercial you could always just get a Nintendo Wii.