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Mini ColecoVision

Started by DoubleDownOn11, August 13, 2008, 04:47:24 AM

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Just got finished last week with my Mini ColecoVision.  I figured since I don't use stock ColecoVision controllers any more, I didn't need the stock controller holder locations either.  Look how cute it is:

"Insert Phrase Here", I mean "Cartridge":

Some beefy A/V/S-Video jacks on the rear:

A pic with his big brother right after he was made:

The cartridge almost looks too big for the console:

Aww..look, he's made a friend.  A "Super Action Control Pad.":


Very cool.

DAMN those are some big ass connectors!! It looks like the nozzle from a jet refueling tank!
Are you planning on modding it so it can fire 12 gauge shotgun shells from the composite video?

Looks like we're rockin' Jaguar controllers, eh? Good stuff. I hope to see you contribute some info on the Jag pad to the wiki/nfgcontrols (granted that ejp faq is epic already).
If you can mod it... I'll find a way to screw it up!


The A/V connectors are on the big size, but they look/are super industrial.  They're made by Neutrik, who makes mostly audio/video connectors for commercial and industrial amplifiers and PA systems.  I like them because they recess the jacks into the housing versus just sticking out of the back side.  I think it has a more factory installed look.  They're definately a little costlier than standard phono jacks at $6.00 ea. but they work nice to fill out the back panel of the casing. 

The Jaguar-SAC control pad was a bitch, a lot of wiring and a little bit of space.  I started by stripping down the Super Action Controller pcbs and wiring each of the Jag Pro Pad contacts to their matching contact on the SAC pcbs.  Here's a few pics of some of the other custom CV controllers I've made:

The first one is an NES pad conversion, no keypad, but I made a case for it too:

Then I made a completely custom controller.  The D-pad was from an original 3-button Genesis controller, everything else was new:

Then there was my first Jag conversion from a standard Jag pad.  I made a custom Mouse Trap overlay for that which works on the Pro Pad conversion too:

Next was the Jag Pro Pad - Super Action Control Pad conversion :

And most recently the Famicom NTT Modem Controller conversion:


That's really fantastically cool, the amount of work you put into making them look nice is impressive.

If you have time, some details of the mods would be appreciated.


The Famicom NTT controller is a homerun.

Does the Colecovision us an encoder for the controller? Looks like a 9 pin d-sub which wouldn't be enough for all of the buttons on the ones that have a keypad. Or is there some other trick to it?
If you can mod it... I'll find a way to screw it up!


The Famicom NTT controller is one of my favorites because of the size.  I never even knew about these controllers untill I saw a post about someone selling the Super Famicom version on Digital Press a while back.  Then when doing a search for information about them I came across the Famicom version.  The Famicom version suited me better as it was rectangular and black to start with and I had already figured I would need to make it thicker, the rectangular shape would be easier to match.  I checked with a buddy in Japan and he was able to find me one.  Its one of the thinnest controllers I've ever seen, so I had to add a spacer plate in between the front and rear housing to add some thickness to be able to stuff the ColecoVision controller PCB and wiring inside.  The ColecoVision controllers use a diode matrix in the controllers and a decoding IC of some sort inside the console to read all of the functions.  Even the keypad outputs are discrete, meaning one contact for each key, rather than the more standard matrix, one contact for each row and column.  This is the reason that 1st and 3rd party ColecoVision controllers don't work on the Dina 2-in-1 and Telegames Personal Arcade ColecoVision clones.  Since they had a keypad built into the console, and came with thier own d-pad controllers, they apparently figured no one would want to use actual ColecoVision controllers so they omitted the decoding circuitry from their PCBs.  The ColecoVision controller PCBs can be cut down to about 1/2 of their original size for these kinds of controller mods.  I cut them right above the keypad contact solder pads, and I have a map of where all of the directional and button contacts trace to down at the diode matrix since I'm cutting off the top half where the actual working contacts were.  I've heard about people talking about making themselves a new diode matrix board for this kind of work, but I figure why, the old ones work fine, and all of the controllers I've wanted to make conversions out of had enough room for the extra board. 


It is possible to build a Coleco out of scrap parts ? It doesn't use any custom parts do it ?
Seeing your project made me "itchy" about making one in a breadboard :D

Any possibilities ?

I have the TMS9918 (I know the coleco uses a TMS9928 but they're the same thing just the 9918 has NTSC composite out and the 9928 has Y+ B-Y and R-Y) and the SN76489 (Sound) here.

A beautiful custom built console you have there.

Congrats !


All of the components were off the shelf back in the day, but about 1/3 to 1/2 of them aren't made any more.  The VDP is one of them, but you already have a suitable replacement (TMS9918ANL).  The BIOS would be another off the top of my head, but it's available on the internet if you can burn your own EPROMs.  With a little searching on the web I've been able to obtain 3 sets of the ICs which populate the entire PCB (never hurts to have back-ups of your back-ups).  Check with Digi-Key and Arcade Components as they should have most/all of them. 


Quote from: l_oliveira on August 16, 2008, 02:39:40 AM
It is possible to build a Coleco out of scrap parts ? It doesn't use any custom parts do it ?
Seeing your project made me "itchy" about making one in a breadboard :D

If you do, it'd be really cool to see a project log of it.
If you can mod it... I'll find a way to screw it up!