PC joystick interface

Posted on Feb 7, 2014

This joystick model was presented by IBM together with their first IBM PC computer. The joystick is just a basic analogue joystick with two buttons. The original joystick interface had circuit for connecting two joysticks, but had only one joystick connector. A special Y-cable was needed if there was need for two joysticks at the same time. Later time some

PC joystick interface
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manufacturers put two connectors to their interface card and some card manufacturers implemented only one joystick input. Fortunately most of the card nowadays have option for two joysticks like the original IBM joystick card. The joystick interface card was designed to be as simple and cheap as possible. The card consisted only of bus interface electronics and four monostable multivibrators (all in on 558 chip). Those monostable multivibrators were simple timer circuits which put out a pulse with width directly proportional to the joystick resistance value. The pulse width was then measured using software loop. This has caused anormous amounts of problems to game programmers when computers have become faster and faster all the time. On faster machines, the joystick routine in the software does not read the joystick signal properly resulting in a timing problems. Some dedicated joystick cards are designed to vary the joystick signal so the software can properly detect the joystick and process the data. The joystick consists of two potentiometers with variable resistance value between 0 Ohm and 100 kohm (in some joysticks up to 150 kohm). The potentiometer resistances have the minimum values when the joystick is at the top left position. One end of the potentiometer is connected to +5V pin and the center pin is connected top the analogue input of the joystick. The other end of the potentiometer is left not connected to...

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