There have been a few questions about how to hook up the Boffintronics C64 / Atari Joystick Adapter to a Raspberry Pi. Here is a quickstart guide to get you up and running so you can enjoy all of that retro computing magic!
1. Plug in the Boffintronics C64/Atari adapter to the Raspberry Pi using the GPIO Ribbon Cable.
Make sure that Pin 1 on the Pi is connected to Pin 1 on the adapter board. The picture below has Pin 1 on the top of both boards.
3. Replace /boot/retrogame.cfg with the retrogame.cfg file from here and reboot.
I have the joysticks mapped to the following keyboard keys
J1 Button 1
J2 Button 1
You can change the keyboard keys to anything that you want in the retrogame.cfg file, just don’t change the column of numbers that set up the GPIO. Those are mapped to the proper signal lines on the joystick ports on the adapter.
Have you ever wanted to add haptic feedback to an existing project? Boffintronics has you covered! We’ve created a haptic feedback module that you can integrate quickly and easily.
The module consists of an ERM (eccentric rotating mass) style vibration motor and a MOSFET driver. It can be powered from 3.3V power pin and the enable (VB pin) can be driven from any 5V or 3.3V digital output pin.
The module has 0.1″ connectors on the bottom for plugging into standard breadboards as well as terminal blocks to connect wires.
PetRockBlock has also come up with the GamepadBlock. The GamepadBlock adds 17 inputs for additional joysticks or buttons. The GamepadBlock connects to a computer as a standard USB Human Interface Device (HID). Since HID is a standard protocol, the GamepadBlock can be used with Windows, Mac, Linux, and many other systems.
The GamepadBlock does not have separate inputs for Player 1 and Player 2 as the ControlBlock has, just numbered inputs 1-17. To make things simple, I hook up Player 1 on the left and Player 2 on the right.
To hook them up, connect the following wires;
Player 1 – Right
Player 1 – Left
Player 1 – Up
Player 1 – Down
Player 1 – Button
Player 2 – Right
Player 2 – Left
Player 2 – Up
Player 2 – Down
Player 2 – Button
For the GamepadBlock to work correctly with the C64 board, the firmware must be updated to at least version 1.2.0. The instructions to update the firmware is here.
Set the DIP switches to the correct mode for C64 and Atari controllers. (A=1, B=0, C=1). This mode allows for the best functionality in the C64 emulator VICE as well as MAME.
Note: If you are using the GamepadBlock on a Linux based system, such as the Raspberry Pi, you will need to patch the OS to allow for 2 player functionality. The instructions for the patch is located here.
While the Boffintronics Commodore 64 Adapter board can be hooked directly up to the GPIO of the Raspberry Pi, one of the easier ways is to use the PetRockBlock ControlBlock.
The ControlBlock is an add on board for the Raspberry Pi that adds 32 extra inputs for additional joysticks or buttons. The ControlBlock also allows for adding a power switch and LED with intelligent start up and shutdown scripts.
Hooking up the C64 board is fairly simple since standard Commodore and Atari joysticks are just switch closures that ground the corresponding pin on the connector. Each joystick will require 5 connections plus a ground.
The ControlBlock breaks up the inputs so that Player 1 is on one side and Player 2 is on the other.
For Player 1, connect the following wires;
ControlBlock (Player 1)
For Player 2, connect the following wires;
ControlBlock (Player 2)
If you want to use the power switch and LED functions of the ControlBlock, the instructions can be found here.
You will need to install the drivers for the the Controlblock on your Raspberry Pi which can be found here.
Once the driver is installed, use the arcade button profile. This allows for the best functionality in the C64 emulator VICE.
My love for the Commodore 64 runs deep. It was my first computer and I spent many hours playing games. I still have my original C64 and I still bring it out on occasion, but with the Raspberry Pi and Retropie I find it a better solution for a quick nostalgia hit. I’ve also been enjoying the experience of showing my kids the programs and games that I grew up on. The only downside is that using a keyboard or a USB gamepad just isn’t the same as my original C64 joystick.
This adapter board allows you to use your classic C64 and Atari joysticks with a Raspberry Pi for maximum authenticity. This board is compatible with any add on program that interprets Raspberry Pi GPIO signals.
This adapter also pairs great with PetRockBlock’s ControlBlock or GamepadBlock. Full hookup instructions for both of those boards to follow.