Last year, I designed an adapter that would let me use original CoCo (or Tandy 1000) analog joysticks on a modern computer via USB. I also designed an opposite adapter, which would let a modern USB controller be used on an old CoCo or Tandy 1000.
I ordered all the parts for a prototype, and did some quick tests to prove that it worked… And then promptly moved on to other things.
Eventually I found some time and I dug out all of these parts and began wiring things up again. My hope was to have a few things available to sell at the Chicago CoCoFEST this past April 25 and 26, 2015. (Money is very tight here, so any thing I can do to generate some extra income is a good thing.) I was unable to go, so did no more work on the project.
Rather than collect dust, I thought I’d share my work so far in this article I originally started working on last February.
The hardware components I have will allow several things:
For the CoCo
- Use modern USB joysticks/gamepads on the CoCo
- Use modem Bluetooth wireless joysticks/gamepads on the CoCo
- Use modern USB keyboards on the CoCo
- Use modern Bluetooth wireless keyboards on the CoCo
- Use an original CoCo/Tandy 1000 joystick as a USB input device
- Use an original CoCo/Tandy 1000 joystick as a wireless Bluetooth input device
- Use an original CoCo keyboard as a USB keyboard
- Use an original CoCo keyboard as a Bluetooth wireless keyboard
As you can see, there are two main goals (use modern stuff on a CoCo, or use old CoCo stuff on a modern computer), with a focus on USB or wireless Bluetooth. All of these are possible, with the cost of doing Bluetooth about the same (or maybe a few dollars less) than USB.
My current prototype reads a PC USB joystick and turns that in to a CoCo-readable analog joystick. I also wired up CoCo joysticks to use on my Mac (very direct and easy).
The keyboard stuff also interests me. I plan to order the Bluetooth part I need so I can embed it inside my CoCo, hooked to the keyboard connector, and use an external battery powered Bluetooth keyboard on my CoCo.
The other combinations are not high on my project list since I do not even own a wireless Bluetooth gamepad or controller (unless my OUYA console controller can be used). However, when I get to that point, I may be able to find someone I can borrow one from for testing.
My eyesight took a hit last year, and now I can no longer focus on things more than a few feet away so I probably won’t do much until I can afford a new set of glasses ;-) Mid-40s is trying to make me think I’m no longer in my mid-20s!
To be continued…