Information on the AtariLab Interface
chaosotter76 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 6 14:09:03 CST 2007
It took me longer than I meant to, but I dug up the manual for the AtariLab
package that I'd mentioned in the thread on getting kids into older
computers. In case you weren't reading that discussion, the AtariLab system
was a science kit for the Atari 8-bit home computers that included a
cartridge, an interface box that plugs into the joystick port, and a variety
of measurement probes. Atari must have manufactured them far in excess of
demand (no! not Atari!), because they're still fairly inexpensive NIB.
At any rate, here's the scoop on the interface box: it has 8 phono jacks on
it, arranged into 4 pairs: PADDLE, PTRIG, CONTROL, and POWER.
The PADDLE inputs are the analog inputs; they're simply expecting to see a
variable resistor on the other end, just as you'd except.
The PTRIG inputs are digital inputs corresponding to the joystick fire
The CONTROL jacks are indeed digital outputs (this was the question that
came up in the original thread). They are wired to the UP and DOWN pins of
the connector -- the Atari joystick interface can be programmed to use these
pins for output rather than input, it seems. You must use controller jack 3
or 4 on the original 400/800 and 1 or 2 on the XL series. The PTRIG inputs
can be reversed in the same way, giving you a total of four digital output
lines per interface.
The POWER outputs are just connected to the +5V supply of the joystick
interface. The manual doesn't indicate how much current you can draw from
the interface, but I imagine it's not much.
So there you have it: 2 analog inputs, 2 digital input/outputs, 2 digital
outputs, and 2 power connections.
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