Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

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cheshirenoir
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Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by cheshirenoir » Thu Jun 23, 2022 4:39 am

Hey folks,
So I'm still working on what to do about controllers. The controllers we have are slowly dying, one by one, and it already feels like there are more base units than there are controllers.
I've decided the best way forward for controllers, will be to make new replacement membranes for the ones we have.
This isn't going to be quick or cheap, but I'm feeling inspired by this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8XBBfvsPj0
I'll post here as I go through the process for getting these done. Initially I'll probably try a simple Flex PCB as a proof of concept, and if that works, I'll look at going to a full metal dome replacement.

Cheers!

Chesh
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Scouter3d
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Re: Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by Scouter3d » Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:58 am

Hi Chesh!

Yes! Replacement membranes would be the next best thing after "sliced bread" :0)

I am also thinking about this for a while...

On my search i (naturally) found RWAP - the creators of Replacement membranes for ZX81 and other micros...
https://www.rwapsoftware.co.uk/membranes.html
A cuple of years ago i bought a ZX81 membranefrom them and i was very happy with it :0)

A few month ago i got an Intellivision, where the controller-membranes are in a very bad shape (the "direction disk" has even worn thru the whole membrane like a cookie cutter :0()
So on my search for replacement - to my surprise RWAP popped up again!
They made a complete membrane replacement for the Intellivision!!!!!! Which is in many aspects like a Creativision membrane...
https://www.sellmyretro.com/offer/detai ... -set-38583

Maybe they can help or provide a contact with the production firm?

Cheers, TOM:0)
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cheshirenoir
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Re: Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by cheshirenoir » Fri Jun 24, 2022 1:07 am

Cheers for that. I might reach out to them. I'll also remove my current membranes and scan them in at high resolution. I can then trace them in CorelDRAW and have something to start working with.
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cheshirenoir
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Re: Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by cheshirenoir » Sun Jun 26, 2022 7:48 am

Hey Folks,
They got back to me:
We get approached by several people about different types of membranes,
and we are always faced by the same problem:

a) Finance for a production run
b) Size of market
c) Having access to original computers / controllers for the factory
(based in Scotland) to take apart, recreate and test the replacement

In order to get a reasonable sale price, you have to order around 250
membranes / mylars. Taking account the initial setup fee (approx £500)
and cost of individual membranes, this means an initial outlay of around
£2500 - £3000 with VAT (based on the intellivision membranes as we do
not know anything about the Creativision ones, complexities, touch pad
etc).

You then have to balance that outlay against the amount of time it takes
to recover your investment (if ever) based on the potential size of the
market, so that sets the final price for the membranes. We tend to aim
to recover the investment within 12 months based on selling half the
stock - leaving any future sales for the profit element, but allowing
the investment to be used for other projects!

So the question has to be back at the user group - is there sufficient
call for these - say at least 100 membranes needed?

Rich Mellor
www.rwapsoftware.co.uk
I'm guessing we'd be hard pressed with the current community to get an order together of 100 pieces?

If not, I'll go back to looking at flex PCBs. I suspect the cost will be more per controller, but we should be able to do runs as low as five.

Chesh
Mamejay
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Re: Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by Mamejay » Mon Jun 27, 2022 3:19 am

I am in for a set and I already know of a couple of people in Australia that would grab at least one set each
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Scouter3d
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Re: Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by Scouter3d » Mon Jun 27, 2022 9:16 am

Hi, yes, the biggest part is of recreating the membranes is Money-related...

I would gladly take 3 Sets (i think left and right are different membranes? or not?) reaching 100sets sounds far fetched with such a small community... :0(

Maybe some kind of crowdsourcing like kickstarter to "see" the demand and pre-finance the productionrun...?

@cheshirenoir: What happend to yor replacement keyboard-pcb project? may be a PCB and a 3d-printed keyboard fixes a lot of things?
Or a completely new homemade 3D printed handset? with pcb, gold contacts, microswitches for Fire... Just dreaming :0)

Cheers, TOM:0)
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cheshirenoir
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Re: Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by cheshirenoir » Mon Jun 27, 2022 1:06 pm

Still working on the replacement. :-)
I'm currently trying to work out the best way to do various parts. The holdup is the 16 way joystick. I could do the main keyboard part with the DPST pushbuttons I found. They's actually be a fairly good fit. The joystick, however is NOT fun. I'm yet to come up with a good solution to that. I'm thinking something built around a pair of Flex PCBs.

I still have so much work to go on the design.

Chesh
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Mobsie
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Re: Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by Mobsie » Mon Jun 27, 2022 6:55 pm

It remember me on the keyboard they made on AtariAge for the Tomy Tutor. I bought 2.
E9C3CCAF-2558-4FAF-B59B-52EA148FF8BC.jpeg
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cheshirenoir
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Re: Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by cheshirenoir » Thu Jun 30, 2022 1:16 am

So my current thinking, from both a cost saving POV and an ease of use POV is to have the main key area be a mechanical keyboard using the DPST switches I already located, and the joystick to be a pair of Flex PCBs designed to connect the keyboard to the cable as well as emulate the membrane beneath the joystick. I'll probably do the joystick buttons as smaller sub boards that get low profile switches soldered on so we can still use the original buttons.

Lots of planning still to go... The keyboard part should be easy. It's just a remix of the keyboard design I already came up with. The joystick part is more... interesting :-)

Chesh
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Scouter3d
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Re: Replacement Membranes for Creativision controllers

Post by Scouter3d » Thu Jun 30, 2022 8:54 am

Hi,

yesterday i found, that PCBWAY (or maybe other producers also) can produce also very thin PCBs (like 0.6mm or 0.8mm)...

one possibility could be to produce such a thin Dual layer PCB where every "key" consists of a Contact, where all 3 necessary signals are present "entangled" like the 2 on the original Keyboard PCB (only all 3 of them) plus small round "gold" Stickers to add under the keys to close the 3 signals together...

such a PCB would costs under 2 Euros to produce (plus Gold-Contact points or even thin Graphite ones or cut aluminium foil (or even one big piece of aluminium foil).

Same for the Firebuttons (they allready have a contact PAD)

"Only" the joystick would be the tricky part ;0)

Cheers, TOM:0)
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