anyone own a commodore 64 ??

15 years 5 months ago #6962 by dave_lillis
anyone own a commodore 64 ?? was created by dave_lillis
Hi All,
I just thought I'd share a nifty modification I made to my scope here at home.
I was going through some old boxes last week when I came across my old Commodore 64 "computer" , if you want to call it that.
Good old Commodore, those were the days when writing a game was an artform, since you had to pack the entire program into less then 50KB of memory.!!

I was looking at the joystick and was thinking wouldn't be cool if I could control the scope (12" LX200 classic GOTO scope) with it, so I took apart the handcontroller and found the solder points where the bottons are attached to the main board of the handcontroller, and re-wired the joystick and hey presto, I can now control the telescope in the 8 cardinal directions and select 2 speeds from the joystick, the handcontroller is still alive so you can use it simultaneously.
The joystick is a simple 6 microswitch arrangement, 4 for direction and 2 for buttons, so pushing the joystick is equivilant to pressing a button on the hand controller, but it is way easier.

Looking at the autostar, such an arrangement would also be possible.
I bought a second handcontroller from astromart as the joystick is permanently attached the the orig handcontroller, and incase I blew the hell out of the orig handcontroller, its good to have a backup :)

If you want to do this, your joystick cannot be of the variety where the further you push in a direction, the faster you go (e.g a variable speed character in a game), it must a simple on/off joystick (uses microswitches).

Its a mod I'd highly recommend, you need a small bit of electrical knowledge, but is well worth it.
I can give a more detailed explaination, if anyone wants it.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 5 months ago #6964 by DaveGrennan
Replied by DaveGrennan on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
Nice one Dave. I suppose the next thing is to integrate the C64's CPU into the LX200 so when its cloudy you can play Dig-Dug or maybe even Bomb Jack :)

Really interesting mod WTG:)

Dave.

Regards and Clear Skies,

Dave.
J41 - Raheny Observatory.
www.webtreatz.com
Equipment List here

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15 years 5 months ago #6965 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
Yea I want more details...

I didnt think you could just send voltage signals down to the autostar and have it respond, I thought you would need to implement the instruction set for this. Then again I dont own an LX200!

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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15 years 5 months ago #6966 by mjs
Replied by mjs on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
Dave,

Obviously these cloudy nights are getting to you!! :lol:

Michael Scully

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15 years 5 months ago #6967 by voyager
Replied by voyager on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
That is such a cool idea!

..... and I thought I was a nerd ........ :wink:

My Home Page - www.bartbusschots.ie

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15 years 5 months ago #6972 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??

That is such a cool idea!

..... and I thought I was a nerd ........ :wink:


What would be cool would be to build a voice activation box to accept the commands!

"left" "left" "up" "left" "follow that star!"

clouded over, no more geminids for me :(

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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15 years 5 months ago #6976 by Paul FitzGerald
Replied by Paul FitzGerald on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
I'd like to get more details for sure too.
It just goes to show that still the simplest things are the best. :o

Paul Fitz
MAC Treasurer

'Astronomy shows how small and insignificant and rare and precious we all are.' - Contact.

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15 years 5 months ago #6984 by John OBrien
Replied by John OBrien on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
*shakes head* - sacrilege, some would say you should be cutting up a LX200 for parts for a C64! Ah no, good job, you could probably use any old joystick (pre 1990) for this as they don't use controller chips and are straight pass-through from controller to console, just switches and cables.

"We are the music makers ... and we are the dreamers of dreams." - W.W.

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15 years 5 months ago #7020 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
Exactly John,
This joystick is just 7 wires and switches, each switch has 2 points for wires, when you push the switch, it effectively joins the 2 points toghether.


So, one of the wires goes to the first terminal of each switch, the 6 remaining wires go to the 6 switches, for the 4 direction axis's and the 2 buttons.




As you can see, there is nothing complicated about it, its just 6 switches and 7 wires, no software/firmware or ICs.

Now this is where it got a small big hairy.

I then dismantled the handcontroller and found the seven points on the controller board the 7 wires, but this is not as hard as you might think.


If you open up the controller further, you can see that the actual keypad section is joined to the electronic board by a 20 line blue ribbon cable, one common line and the 19 are for the nineteen buttons on the front.

All you got to do is find the common line and each line that corresponds to each of the buttons you want, all you need do is press the button and use a multimeter to see which 2 lines short out, obvious the power is off when you do this!.
In my hand controller I found that there was a built in 50 ohm resistance in the buttons, so I had to get a resistor to conpensate for that in the joystick.

Obviously the autostar would be different, but the principle would be the same, you would just need to find the tracks on the PCB and "intercept " them with the cables for your joystick, which is effectively what I've done here.

I don't think the C64 will be in action any time soon again, but those joysticks were indestructable by modern standards considering the hammering they got, we even had one of those light guns where you'd point it at the screen and shoot targets, I wonder if it could be modified where I shoot at a star and the scope would slew to it :wink:

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 5 months ago #7025 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
Ah now I get it.

Fire buttons implemented as slew speed control?

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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15 years 5 months ago #7028 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??

Ah now I get it.

Fire buttons implemented as slew speed control?


Exactly,
the left button is a middle slew speed and the right button is ultra slow so I can can center Jupiter on the screen when using astrosnap for example.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 5 months ago #7030 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??

albertw wrote:

What would be cool would be to build a voice activation box to accept the commands!

"left" "left" "up" "left" "follow that star!"


if it only responded to "where is my beer" :wink:
it might point towards my fridge in the kitchen, now thats real GOTO.


Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 5 months ago #7053 by wormhole
Replied by wormhole on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??

Fire buttons implemented as slew speed control


plus a rapid fire button to deal with those pesky invaders!

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15 years 5 months ago #7060 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
That is a really cool modification alright Dave, wtg.

Would you not think of checking out if this can be done with other more up to date joysticks that have the same controllers? I mean, its hard to get a C64 joystick, let alone onethat you will risk taking apart - they're almost antiques!

Publish it on the web, get some feedback - could be a new day job for you?

Maybe a new contract with Meade to test all their 16" scopes with your new modified hand controler??

:wink:

You wish!

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 5 months ago #7061 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??
Actually Dave, here is a small telescope that would be a great little challenge to test your new JoystickStar with Meade...

:D

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 5 months ago #7066 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??

Actually Dave, here is a small telescope that would be a great little challenge to test your new JoystickStar with Meade...

:D

Seanie.

Seanie,
"joystickstar", thats almost worth patenting!
Its a very simple idea and its a wonder that Meade or Celestron haven't come up with it already, they'd sell like hot cakes.
If only Meade would have me testing their 16 inch scopes, morale and workload would never be a problem !!


As for using newer joysticks, alot of the newer types, almost anything newer then 15 years would have devices called varistors or other devices in them instead of switches, this allows you to make small and fast movements of your character in a game for example by pushing the joystick further or less, I just dont think they would work for us.

You might be able to fiind really cheap modern joyticks that would do the job.

Remember, your trying to mimick the actions of the button which are fully on and off, no inbetween, which is what varistors do.

I'm going to have a look at the ETX70 controller to see how it could be done there, but I dont think I'll make the mod with it.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 5 months ago #7103 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: anyone own a commodore 64 ??

I'm going to have a look at the ETX70 controller to see how it could be done there, but I dont think I'll make the mod with it.


Just make sure its out of warranty before you blow it up with another 240V surge!

:lol:

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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15 years 3 months ago #9045 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Adding a joystick for the LX200
Hi All,
I have a more complete description on how to make this mod which is now in the MAPUG archieves.

www.mapug-astronomy.net/AstroDesigns/MAPUG/Joystickstar.htm

Seanie, note the name, thats worth a pint or two for you :D

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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15 years 3 months ago #9047 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: Adding a joystick for the LX200

Hi All,
I have a more complete description on how to make this mod which is now in the MAPUG archieves.

www.mapug-astronomy.net/AstroDesigns/MAPUG/Joystickstar.htm

Seanie, note the name, thats worth a pint or two for you :D


I thought I had that copyrighted... :D

JoystickStar TM


Worth more than 2 pints if I decided to be Bill Gates, but your offer is sound!

:wink:

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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