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The analog 5200 joystick makes it perfect for a paddle conversion, right? Now there's a way to convert your joystick into a paddle controller.

PARTS required: at least one *paddle* from an Atari 2600 (not from the driving controller) and one 5200 joystick controller.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This project disables the horizontal capability of the 5200 stick which is assumed by the paddle controller. This works great for games like Breakout and Space Invaders but is less useful for things like Mario Brothers... Although the process is potentially reversible, it is recommended that you use a spare 5200 controller.

Take the 2600 paddle and cut one of the control cables right behind the end of the 9-pin connector. (I'm not sure if cutting off one paddle will still leave the other active for one-player games since I was operating with a defective pair. If anyone experiments with this, drop me a note.)

Open up the paddle and note the color of the wire connections to the pot (two wires) and fire button (two wires.) There should be three terminals on the pot. Unsolder the wire on the outside terminal (i.e. not the middle one) and solder it to the opposite side. If you don't do this, the paddle will cause the cursor to move in the wrong direction.

Close up the 2600 controller and open up the 5200 controller. I used a small file to make a notch in the top half of the 5200 controller just below the silver logo plate. The U-shaped notch I made allows for the paddle cable to slip into it and be held in place when the 5200 controller is reassmbled. One you have a satisfactory test fit, you are ready to wire the controllers together.

For convenenience, I will use the following colors based on the paddle I used. If your colors are different, make the appropriate substitutions:

red- paddle pot, center terminal
yellow - paddle pot, "outside" terminal
brown - fire button
black - fire button

Take the open 5200 contrller and detach both wires from the horizontal pot (the "lower" pot, closest to the numeric keypad.) Connect the paddle yellow wire to the black wire from the 5200 pot (although removed from the horizontal pot, it will remain connected to the other pot.) Connect the red paddle wire to the brown wire from the 5200 pot.

The remaining two paddle need to be connected "across" one of the lower 5200 buttons (to allow the paddle button to fire the ball in breakout.) You can do this by carefully scraping off the plastic from the traces going to each side of one of the lower buttons and carefully soldering the black and brown paddle wires to each side of the button. I chose to locate the on the outermost trace running down the left side of the numeric keypad and the brown wire on the next to outermost trace running down the right side of the numeric keypad. You may have to trim the keypad gasket edges slightly to clear these wires and allow it to lie flat.

The new paddle-joystick may be tested before reassembly. Pop in the Breakout cartridge and select a game. The button on the paddle should fire the ball to start the game and the paddle (which can also be tested before the game is started) should move the onscreen paddle left and right just like on the 2600.

If everything seems to be working ok, reassemble the 5200 stick with the paddle cable threaded out the side and enjoy! Be careful to route the paddle wires so they aren't crushed by any of the plastic supports in the 5200 stick and aren't in the way of the screw holes!

If you've felt that the joystick just doesn't cut it for 5200 Super Breakout, Kaboom and others, you now have a solution! Contact for questions about this conversion.


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