Introduction: Homebrew C64 "Paddle" Box

Howdy folks, I just got a cynthcart which turns your commodore 64 computer into an awesome synthesizer! To control the synth's filter in real time you need a game paddle ... which I didn't have, but a knob box can be created to replace the paddles! AWESOME!
Cynthcart Site

Let's go!


What you will need:
Supplies:
# 1x 9 pin serial cable (half of it) - with a female connector
# 2x 470k potentiometers (I used 500k, and they work super - All Electronics Part)
# 1x Enclosure box (270-1802 from Radioshack works nice)
# 2x Knobs (274-0416 from Radioshack are pretty)

Tools
# Multimeter
# Soldering iron (and solder)
# Drill
# Wire cutters, strippers

Step 1: Map the Connector

Ok, so we have a C64 Pinout now we just figure out which wires connect to which hole on the end of the serial cable.

I just stuck a little piece of wire into the hole and used the continuity setting on my multimeter to find the wire that coincided with the pin.

(For example: brown to 5, blue to 9, yellow to ground etc)

*IMPORTANT note from tomtiki*
Unfortunately this did not work for me when connecting wires marked ground on diagram to pin 8 (ground) on the controller port, so I asked Mr. Google.

Wires marked ground in step 4 should actually connect to +5v, which is pin 7. See diagram here :

http://www.prophet64-forum.com/viewtopic.php?id=945

Here is an explanation of how the paddles work (see "game paddles" section):

http://personalpages.tds.net/~rcarlsen/cbm/ctrlport.txt

If you have Atari 2600 paddles, they will work, but the pot in the Atari is 1M ohm rather than 500K in the Commodore, so after you turn the knob halfway, there is no change.

Step 2: Drill a Few Holes

Use a drill on the enclosure. You will need to make three holes, two for the pots and 1 for the cable!

Step 3: Install the Potentiometers and Cable

Put the pots in the enclosure, install the mounting hardware so they are secured. Feed the bare end of the serial cable though the third hole, tie a knot in the cable to prevent strain on the solder connections.

Step 4: Solder Wires, Close Box, Play Etc

Solder the corresponding wires to the potentiometers, follow the diagram.

... close up the enclosure, and you are ready to play!

Comments

author
Diggy Dude (author)2016-03-25

I just bought one of the last two Cynthcarts on Ebay and was looking for something like this. Thanks!

author
marfz (author)2008-06-03

it looks nice! what kind of potentiometers did you use? How did you connect them?

author
nak (author)marfz2008-06-03

Thanks for the comment, I used 500k pots, but the commercial commodore pots were 470k, I just had 7 500k pots in my spare parts! Step 4 has a wiring diagram: connect one side of the pots to pin 5 and 9 and the other side to ground, I've also found that connecting them to the joystick button wires instead of ground also works.

author
JorisL1 (author)nak2015-07-28

Didn't you skip the ground in your original explanation? connecting 2 pins (middle & side) of the potentiometers to the same X or Y pot wire, and the other one to +5? I'm confused :-) Is there any danger to skipping the ground?

author
pyper (author)2011-01-21

You woldn't happen to know if Im better off using lin or log pots do you? My bro is pretty keen on me building this for him.

author
nak (author)pyper2011-01-21

Linear pots bro, also, I guess my wiring isn't the best.

author
pyper (author)nak2011-01-22

Built this today, works great, thanks mate.

author
oweng4000 (author)2010-04-04

 that sounds Moog like

author
Microscope (author)2009-10-22

Audio or linear taper pots?

author
tomtiki (author)2009-02-18

Unfortunately this did not work for me when connecting wires marked ground on diagram to pin 8 (ground) on the controller port, so I asked Mr. Google.

Wires marked ground in step 4 should actually connect to +5v, which is pin 7. See diagram here :

http://www.prophet64-forum.com/viewtopic.php?id=945

Here is an explanation of how the paddles work (see "game paddles" section):

http://personalpages.tds.net/~rcarlsen/cbm/ctrlport.txt

If you have Atari 2600 paddles, they will work, but the pot in the Atari is 1M ohm rather than 500K in the Commodore, so after you turn the knob halfway, there is no change.

author
D10D3 (author)tomtiki2009-07-17

D'OH!!!! I wish I had read this comment first. I built them using the above instructable and spent hours trying to figure out why they didn't work before I read this comment. After switching the pins my Paddle box (built in an Altoids can) is working perfectly.

author
nak (author)D10D32009-07-18

agh sorry, I'll make an edit

author
Ohm (author)2009-01-28

I have done something similar, I wanted a game pad style controller for my Vic-20 as well as paddles so I make a single unit with a d-pad, single paddle knob with a switch to select between the two sides and a large fire button of course. One thing I didn't notice on yours was the fire buttons for the paddles, uses the left and right buttons.

author
GorillazMiko (author)2008-06-03

You draw good. +5/5 stars.

author
nak (author)GorillazMiko2008-06-04

Thanks, I'll be sending that motor and couple batteries out

author
GorillazMiko (author)nak2008-06-04

Thanks.

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