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ADB To Atari ST Converter

raoulduke

Well-known member
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/198878-mouse-conversion/

I just got a reasonably cheap Atari 1040STF without any accessories.  I jury rigged a VGA cable that I'll solder into a real 13-pin DIN connector when it arrives, but I still have no mouse.  The potentially easiest way of circumventing that, since I don't want to pay the $20 for any of the originals on eBay, is to make my own adapter.  So far it's looking like this will probably cost just about the same as an adapter on eBay... but be that much more fun.

But I may need help with this.  I posted on vintage-computer forums but they will be less familiar with the ADB end, I think.  Can anyone decipher how much of this is actually on his board - and which components are on his board?  The chip I get; pretty much everything else eludes me.

 

raoulduke

Well-known member
Wow... I actually tried to find a contact email for this dude to express displeasure, but I didn't see one quickly.

 

Gorgonops

Moderator
Staff member
Racist failed joke aside, the page in question is basically accurate in describing how the mice for older systems work. That link you had in the OP, showing the mod to an ADB mouse, was perhaps a little unclear about how it *isn't* an ADB protocol converter, it's just a little vampire board that's just using the mechanical and optical components of the donor mouse directly. (You could build a similar hack using just about any old mechanical mouse, and indeed you'd be well-served to use a two or three button mouse as a donor because you'll actually want the other buttons.) Almost all the components in that schematic other than the chip and some resistors refer to the LEDs and optical sensors built into the mouse's quadrature encoders. It's a simpler circuit than the one on the other page, but it sort of looks to me the tradeoff might be that it's not "tunable" if it doesn't happen to like the mouse you use for your donor while the other one has some adjustment.

Choose your poison, I guess. You can refer to the pinout on the FUNNY GUY's page for the exact pinouts you'll need for an ST; it's interesting how ST, Amiga, Mac Plus, and PC Bus mice are all basically compatible other than the signals being rearranged.

 

archer174

Well-known member
Does anyone have a suggestion on where to get the 9 conductor cable that is as light and flexible as what you would find on a typical mouse? 

 

raoulduke

Well-known member
Archer, I'll probably cut something up; but Mouser no doubt sells the connectors; I just bought one for VGA.

And yeah for sure, Gorgonops and avadondragon - I just happen to have a bunch of spare ADB mice.  I also have an MS (2-button) bus mouse.  But three-button bus mice might be a little hard to find.  Am I wrong in assuming that this really only applies to bus mice?  The page puts PS/2 and serial mice in a different category; USB?  I know 'bus' is like a standard; idk if "USB" is per se a 'standard.'..?

 

Gorgonops

Moderator
Staff member
What do you mean "really only applies to bus mice"? I think you might be confusing the the "Bus" in "Apple Desktop Bus" (or for that matter the "Bus" in "Universal Serial Bus") with the "Bus" in "Bus Mouse, in the old-fashioned PC compatible sense".

Serial, PS/2, ADB, *and* USB mice are all technically in the same "category" in that they are "protocol mice", IE, the mouse sends data packets across a wire that describe the motion of the mouse and the computer interprets them by "unpacking" the packet and interpreting the message inside. (The contents of the packet are essentially shorthand that says "the mouse has moved X-many clicks to the left/right and Y-many up/down since the last time I talked to you.) Where they differ is the electrical signaling that carries the packets.

By comparison the Amiga, Atari ST, pre-ADB Apple II and Macintosh mice and PC "Bus Mice" are "dumb" in that all they do is send pulses to the host computer whenever they're moved. (Said pulses being generated by the interrupter wheels in the optical encoders.) It's up to the computer to watch for the electrical signals on the port and count them all itself. The advantage of this is you need less circuitry in the mouse, the downside is, depending on what's on the other end, they may be more processor intensive than the protocol variety. These mice are all pretty much the same electrically, the only reason they're incompatible is the various manufacturers arranged the pins on the connectors in incompatible ways. The reason these dumb mice are called "Bus Mice" when they were intended for PCs is using them required an interface card to be plugged into an ISA bus slot. Again, this is completely unrelated to the meaning of "Bus" in the ADB/USB sense, in which the electrical and signaling design of the wires to the mouse itself is called a "Bus" the protocol it uses to transfer data is designed to be capable of supporting more than one device per physical port.

If you actually *have* a real Microsoft bus mouse from the 1980s according to the pinout information on that page you might be able to use it just by changing the cable. Obviously you don't want to do this if you have a computer that needs said mouse.

 
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raoulduke

Well-known member
Yeah I was just about to correct myself when I realized I was making an arbitrary distinction in my head.  And yeah I have the InPort card also; meaning that the equivalent controller is on board the ST (etc.) and at least in theory the mouse shouldn't matter?

I don't need the MS InPort mouse for anything, but I assumed the fact that it only has a single data line would be problematic - but maybe I didn't find a proper pinout diagram for the ST.

My only other concern was about potentially harming the ST's controller [something like hot plugging ADB... at least in theory], because I don't know much about buses in general or the ST's specifically.

But if that's indeed accurate/nonharmful then I will probably just try rewiring the bus mouse.  Clearly the cheapest option.  But I'm about to be saddled with some Apple II projects also.

 

trag

Well-known member
If you actually *have* a real Microsoft bus mouse from the 1980s according to the pinout information on that page you might be able to use it just by changing the cable. Obviously you don't want to do this if you have a computer that needs said mouse.
The old Microsoft Bus Mouse is the one that works properly when plugged into the connector on the back of the keyboard of the Outbound Laptop Model 125.   So there's even a Macintosh related use for the old Microsoft Bus Mice.

 

raoulduke

Well-known member
It looks like what I posted ... somewhere, definitely on vintage-computer ... about the Atari ST pinout was correct; this is the bus mouse pinout for the MS mouse from here and the Atari pinout from here or here [which reverses the Xa and Xb seen below]:

MS --------------- Atari

Black | 1 | +5V -- 7

|Brown | 2 | Xa -- 2
|Red | 3 | Xb | ---- 1
|Orange | 4 | Ya -- 3
|Yellow | 5 | Yb --- 4
|Green | 6 | Left --- 6
[|Violet | 7 | Middle]
|Gray | 8 | Right --- 9
|White | 9 | GND -- 8

And this has veered off topic.  But thanks for your help.  And thoughts on sourcing an InPort female connector?  I'll take one off my Logitech (but not MS) card, but I'd rather not if unnecessary.  Or I can just wait in hopes of finding another card.

 
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Gorgonops

Moderator
Staff member
I used to have an InPort card with no matching mouse in my junk box of ISA cards, but I sold some of those off recently and I can't remember if I tossed it into the bundle or not.

 

raoulduke

Well-known member
I have an MS InPort card and the Logitech one, and I was going to pull the connector off of one of them [which is self-defeating because they actually tend to sell for more than the Atari mice on eBay lol].  So because of that logic I scoured Mouser... and so then there's no reason to bother wrecking old tech [well... except that Mouser costs more than the port on an already-possessed card].

I'm going this route because I'm cheap, but it's not a practical mass solution.  I just happen to have a bus mouse (with the $1.99 tag still on it) because the thrift stores near me don't sort between PS/2 and bus - or at all.  And I think it's a fair argument that it would be inefficient to train them to do so (given scarce resources amid all the meta-issues in other departments like clothes, tools, etc.).  So every once in a while there'll be a bus mouse really cheap; I think I got the cards in a plastic bag even cheaper.  I have no other use for them though.  I just had to order other stuff from Mouser anyway, which helps me justify the flat-rate shipping.

I also found a fairly cheap Atari Trakball on remote craigslist that the guy has agreed to ship to me.  I don't see why that shouldn't work.

But these are not good mass solutions for posterity.  And the ADB solution is at best not accessible to casual hobbyists.  However, if I ever find a cheap Amiga, maybe I'll try making a board for ADB to Amiga.

 
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Gorgonops

Moderator
Staff member
Since I'm terribly pedantic I have to point this out: that schematic you found is not "ADB to Amiga (or ST, or whatever)", it's "mouse guts to Amiga". The ADB circuitry is completely bypassed, it doesn't matter what protocol the mouse originally spoke.

There *are* microcontroller-based translators for those computers that have a *real*, say, PS/2 mouse port on them and the MCU uses software to read the protocol mouse and generate the appropriate clicks to emulate a dumb mouse. Saying "ADB to X" implies you built something like that. (Something like this is the only practical way to go if you wanted to use a modern non-mechanical optical mouse on one of those machines because they're much less trivially hackable than the old wheel mice.)

 
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avadondragon

Well-known member
Yep there are PS/2 and USB to Amiga/Atari adapters readily available on eBay.

They cost as much or more than a genuine Atari mouse though.  I have been thinking about getting one and adapting it for use with early Macs.  Considering Pre-ADB-Mac/Apple/Lisa mice go for like $80 I'm surprised no one has done that yet actually.

Speaking of which, does anyone know if there are open reference designs for one of those adapters?

 
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