Atari Like USB Paddle Using Arduino Leonardo

This is an easy project. A paddle controller that can be used with any emulator that makes use of a mouse. In fact, you can say it is nothing more than a mouse with only horizontal movement.

Step 1: The Materials

You are going to need:

· An Arduino Leonardo Pro Micro or a normal Arduino Leonardo or Arduino Pro Micro. It must be one of these Arduinos, otherwise it is not going to work. I bought one from Ebay and it costed me 3.33€. Here is the link:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Leonardo-Pro-Micro-ATmega32U4-5V-Arduino-Bootloader-IDE-1-0-3-replace-Pro-Mini/172239182998?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

· A potentiometer of 10 Kohm, preferably with metallic axis, so it will be durable. You can search for them to Ebay too for prices less than a euro (or dollar).

· A normal push button.

· A general purpose PCB, optional. You can make the necessary conections straight to the Arduino.

· A project box of logical size. Imagine that you will holding it on your hand’s palm as a controller.

· Something that will resemble a paddle to be over the potentiometer axis that you will turn when playing. I found mine on an old radiocassete player (you can tell from its appearance. But, I later painted it silver). You can buy one again from the Ebay or an electronics shop.

· Some pieces of slim cable. It would be good to use red and black cables to know which goes where according to the picture.

When you are satisfied you have collected all the above it is time to assemble them.

Step 2: The Assembly

The connections are simple (also see the picture). I made the connections on a PCB, but you can solder them straight on the Arduino:

Solder two cables on the push button. One of them has to be soldered to the gnd pin of the Arduino (it doesn’t matter which of the two) and the other on Arduino pin 9.

If you hold the potentiometer, axis on the up side and pins toward you, then you have to solder a cable on the right pin (preferably red color), that is going to be soldered to Vcc pin on the Arduino. On the middle pin I soldered a blue cable which have to be soldered on the A0 pin on the Arduino. Finally, solder a black cable on the left pin of the potentiometer, the other end to be soldered to gnd pin on the Arduino.

Step 3: The Programming

Check your connections again and upload this program on the Arduino using the Arduino IDE. Make sure that from the menu “Tools” you selected as board the “Arduino Leonardo” or the "Arduino Pro Micro" and as port whichever port the Leonardo is (mine was COM 8 but it may be a different one for you.

Step 4: Epilogue

That’s it!!! I have tested the paddle with MAME games Arcanoid and Super Breakout on a Pc, and with Kaboom! on the Stella emulator, also on the Pc. Oh, and into the program, changing the cspd variable affects the sensitivity of the paddle.

This is my first instructable and I know I may have made some mistakes. Feel free to ask me whatever question you might have.

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    2 Discussions

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    Alex in NZ

    9 days ago

    I remember those! Neat project. Thank you for sharing it :-)

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    audreyobscura

    14 days ago

    This is a clever build! Thanks for sharing your project!