Author Topic: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?  (Read 1298 times)

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Offline chinnyhill10

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I was sent a new Arcader Joystick by a channel viewer a few months ago. Nice joystick, well built but when used on the CPC it seemed a bit sluggish. So I checked it out in BASIC and saw that it was randomly throwing out "Z's" when I moved it. I spoke to the person who sent it who couldn't remember what configuration he had ordered.


So I then went and ordered another joystick and specifically selected CPC configeration on their website. It turned up last week and seems to be a newer revision. But it still had problems on the CPC.


No matter what configuration I use it in, I get odd things happening. Random fire button 2's appearing when not pressed. Probably easier if you watch this video:



https://youtu.be/IPZ1FuaUQIo


My best theory is that the auto fire circuitry isn't playing nicely with the CPC and is spewing out signals the machine doesn't like. But I can't be sure. I'm in contact with the seller but his response is "but it's fine in games". Which is a crap answer really. The joystick is spewing out random fire button two outputs so goodness knows what else it may be inputting into the micro.


I realise nobody will know how the circuitry of the joystick works, but does anyone think I'm right in suspecting that all the smart circuitry in this stick is tripping up the CPC and if so will it cause issues for other machines (doesn't the MSX also have similar auto fire issues to the CPC)?


Anyone know or have a guess? Or even better do you have one of these sticks on your CPC?


Cheers.
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Offline Fessor

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #1 on: 03:33, 11 August 21 »
Autofire does not work on the CPC because there are no 5V available on the joystick port.
The Quickshot 2 had the same Problem, but you could simply detach the connection from the circuit board back in time.
An alternative would be a port adapter that provides the required 5V.
« Last Edit: 03:34, 11 August 21 by Fessor »
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Online Gryzor

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #2 on: 09:33, 11 August 21 »
What's smart about it? Does it have a custom made board in it? Is it programmable in any sense?
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Online eto

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #3 on: 11:47, 11 August 21 »
What's smart about it? Does it have a custom made board in it? Is it programmable in any sense?


Nothing smart about it. Just a NE555 and a jumper to select Atari vs C64. However it's not clear if there is a specific Amstrad version. I would expect they simply shipped the Atari version and nobody ever recognized the secondary button issue as rarely games used it.

Code: [Select]
https://youtu.be/myyJnqXWbdg?t=504
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #4 on: 17:20, 11 August 21 »

Nothing smart about it. Just a NE555 and a jumper to select Atari vs C64. However it's not clear if there is a specific Amstrad version. I would expect they simply shipped the Atari version and nobody ever recognized the secondary button issue as rarely games used it.

Code: [Select]
https://youtu.be/myyJnqXWbdg?t=504


Sorry, my fault. The word "smart" has a different meaning these days. What I meant was it's got more going on internally than a standard joystick from what I can see. It has 3 fire buttons configerations and some sort of chip that manages the auto fire.


I guess I'm going to have to open it up and see if the fire buttons are wired the correct way.


But the disappointing part is how neither of these sticks behave as intended out of the box.




During ordering they offer the opportunity to select what machine you want it for. So I selected CPC. The website and manual also indicate that the stick should work with the CPC out of the box.


It seems while it may appear to work, it throws out random fire button 2's without you even touching fire button 2.

« Last Edit: 17:22, 11 August 21 by chinnyhill10 »
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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #5 on: 18:25, 11 August 21 »
On the Amstrad fire button 2 is on the same line as VCC on the other systems. I guess it's more like a side effect of the circuit rather than intended, that button 2 is "pressed".


The seller is not probably right that it works in games, as pretty much no CPC game used fire button 2. So even if it triggers the secondary button every now and then, no game will recognise that. However this is no longer the case, since many games have been patched for 2 button gamepads and there, it will fail.

It would be interesting to see the circuit of this specific joystick and compare it to those for C64 or Atari. Then we can at least see, if there are any modifications.
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Offline Vyper68

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #6 on: 22:50, 11 August 21 »
There is a teardown video on YouTube and the PCB seems to have a variable resistor and a 555 timer and a few SMD resistors. So I’m not sure how they would configure it specifically for an Amstrad.



https://youtu.be/myyJnqXWbdg
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #7 on: 00:59, 12 August 21 »
On the Amstrad fire button 2 is on the same line as VCC on the other systems. I guess it's more like a side effect of the circuit rather than intended, that button 2 is "pressed".


The seller is not probably right that it works in games, as pretty much no CPC game used fire button 2. So even if it triggers the secondary button every now and then, no game will recognise that. However this is no longer the case, since many games have been patched for 2 button gamepads and there, it will fail.



Even if the game doesn't recognise it, it seems to slow down the input. For example movement and fire seem laggy presumably as if you press a direction or fire at the same moment it decide to spew out a random "Z", your intended input is fractionally delayed.


I need to dig around more with it at the weekend.
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #8 on: 01:00, 12 August 21 »
There is a teardown video on YouTube and the PCB seems to have a variable resistor and a 555 timer and a few SMD resistors. So I’m not sure how they would configure it specifically for an Amstrad.



https://youtu.be/myyJnqXWbdg


It was Mark who sent me my first joystick. However he's also at a loss as to why it's not playing nicely with the CPC.
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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #9 on: 01:12, 12 August 21 »
Even if the game doesn't recognise it, it seems to slow down the input. For example movement and fire seem laggy presumably as if you press a direction or fire at the same moment it decide to spew out a random "Z", your intended input is fractionally delayed.

While the NE555 could have an impact on the fire buttons, the PCB in the video looks like that the directions are not going through any logic, so there should be no delay.

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Offline lmimmfn

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #10 on: 01:23, 12 August 21 »
Games only test for certian joystick inputs at specific times, i.e. is it in up position etc, there is no way that additional inputs would create lag unless the joystick is interfering with CPC behaviour, i.e. Incorrect power on lines or the joystick inherently has lag issues.


Have you tested the joystick on any other system?
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #11 on: 00:49, 17 September 21 »
Still been testing this. Then I was playing Rainbow Islands and the joystick was firing off rainbows when I pressed up or down. Finally confirmation that it wasn't all in my head that the stick was being sluggish and unresponsive in some games. Here's actual proof of it doing the same thing in a game that it does on the BASIC prompt.


Still no idea why though. I've done a rough cut of the review I'm doing and if anyone wants to take a look at it to see what's going on, just pop me a DM. Any input appreciated.



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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #12 on: 16:11, 17 September 21 »
The saga continues.


If you plug the Arcader into the back of a JY-2 it behaves itself.


So it's doing something with one of the lines (the ground?) that the CPC uses for the second stick and is sending ghost inputs into the CPC when used as the main stick.


So despite what their website says the stick isn't CPC compatible nor has it been properly tested. If you use it as a primary stick it MAY be fine, it MAY be sluggish or you MAY get ghost inputs which impact the game.


It's taken me 6 months to work all this out which included specifically ordering what they claim on their website was a CPC model. Retro Radionics claimed in an email that as long as the joystick was OK in games to ignore the BASIC prompt because they considered it an unreliable test. It's not the BASIC prompt that is unreliable.....


And in 35+ years I've never known a joystick to play up like this unless broken.


So basically this is one to avoid for the CPC. And I'm not sure I'd want it near machines like the Plus/4 which are notoriously easy to fry via the joystick port either.
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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #13 on: 16:39, 17 September 21 »
I would think that BASIC is the cleanest test?
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #14 on: 16:40, 17 September 21 »
Well yes......
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #15 on: 01:34, 08 November 21 »
So here we are, months later.....



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILzX2WMhIoo


The video is all over the place due to all the testing needed and the back and forth with the seller. However from information at the end of the process from Brendon Alford and a post tonight in the comments, it seems to be the 555 timer chip that is generating a signal that is creating ghost inputs to the keyboard.

If so, it's utterly disgraceful that they sell these joysticks as CPC compatible when clearly they have barely tested them with the machines.


And all because they inserted a chip in a joystick THAT DID NOT NEED ONE.


This has not been a happy experience!
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Offline Skunkfish

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Re: Retro Radionics Arcader Joystick - Not CPC Compatible?
« Reply #16 on: 16:28, 15 November 21 »
Just received my Retro Radionics ArcadeR joystick today.

I get the same behaviour as @chinnyhill10 when using on my 6128+.

However, when used with the CPC Plus adapter from Monster Joysticks (which basically rewires the second fire button to the correct pin for the CPC), it seems to be working as expected.
https://monsterjoysticks.com/retro-joystick-cpc-gx4000-adapter

I would assume their Joystick splitter for regular CPC models would do the same:
https://monsterjoysticks.com/retro-joystick-cpc-adapter

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