The circuit board designs for the Retro Adapter have been finished and sent off for manufacturing at Seeed Studio. Hopefully everything will be fine and I can then do a larger production run, and start selling kits and finished units.
This is the first PCB I have had professionally made, and the first time I’ve tried to do a kit or sell anything. Fingers crossed all will be well!
As well as PCBs for the main Retro Adapter, I have designs for the individual controller adapters too. These are needed for controllers which do not use a 9-pin female sub-D type connector such as the Famicom/NES/SNES or PC-Engine, and for controllers which require extra circuitry such as PC Gameport joysticks, Atari Paddle controllers and Neo Geo controllers.
I’m still trying to work out the best way to do some of these adapters. PCBs make construction a lot faster than having to wire the connectors up by hand, but sometimes it’s unavoidable due to PCB mount connectors not being available (e.g. Sega Saturn / Playstation). Where PCBs are possible the question becomes how big to make them. Smaller PCBs save money on manufacturing but don’t fit in a case so have to be used “bare”, while larger ones cost more to produce but will fit in standard cases like a DB9 shell.
There are other issues still to be resolved. The way I am going to implement multi-taps is going to need some experimentation to find the best solution. At the moment I’m thinking that the best thing might be to use a dynamic HID config, and when a multi-tap is plugged in have the Retro Adapter disconnect, change the config and re-connect. The implementation of Atari driving controllers is dependent on emulator support and I’m waiting back to hear from the authors about that. I need to test out bootloaders as well for firmware updates, so I can add more controllers as I acquire them.
Things are moving along well and I’ve now proven that the modular design can cope with pretty much any controller imaginable. It is also possible to connect DIY controllers using a variety of methods, which could either replace the “pad hack” method or complement it by offering dual console/USB support.