Something old, something new….

I got a hold of an original Tempest Control Panel with all the original controls in it. That’s right, an original Tempest spinner and two Atari “volcano” buttons. Sweet! I already have a TurboTwist 2 from GGG, but I started thinking that it would be really cool to have the Tempest spinner in my cab. My first question was if the Tempest spinner would be a good controller for a MAME application. I posted on the BYOAC board and got a reply from RandyT (owner/operator of GGG):

For Tempest, the original control will be great.  But, if you plan to play games which used a dial (potentiometer) based control, or games which require high resolution, like Arkanoid, you will no longer have the optimal resolution for accurate gameplay.

Of course, I would expect him to be biased toward his spinner, but I already bought one of his so it isn’t like he is losing a sale if I go with the Tempest spinner. I still haven’t decided, and in fact would like to be able to test both, so…..

First I took the spinner apart and Steve made a longer shaft so it would mount under my 3/4″ CP instead of the thin metal CP of the Tempest cab.

spin

The old shaft is resting in the left mounting hole. The new shaft is assembled in the spinner. A little lube and she spins like new!

Second, I redesigned the CP to accommodate the Tempest spinner. This meant moving some things, which meant redesigning the CP Overlay, which if I was going to do meant I could fix whatever, so….

I added the volcano buttons as P1 and P2 button onto the CP. Worried that some day they might break and not be replaceable, I designed an insert for a standard button hole to mount the smaller volcano buttons in. If they ever go bad and can’t be fixed or replaced I can pull out the insert and replace with a standard button.

volcano

Additionally, since my cab is orange and black, I didn’t really want red lens in the buttons. This is a problem as they have not been made for a long time and they were never made clear or orange, just black and red. A lot of searching and reading on the BYOAC board led me to this guy who was casting his own replacement lens for the same buttons. I contacted him and he is making me a set of lens for my buttons!

Finally I had to adjust my CP Overlay to accommodate the parts movement and additions. During that process I dropped the numbers for P1 and P2 and created neon Atari player people like were on the early Atari games (including Tempest!) and the result is:

cowboy-cp-overlay-3d-proof

I like this version a LOT! Now I can mount either the TurboTwist 2 or the Tempest spinner and see how I like them in real game play. I get the original Atari cone buttons and P1 and P2 and I get the little Atari guys and all it cost me was about $90 for the original control panel, a few hours in the shop to make a new shaft and mounts for the volcano buttons, several hours redoing the CP Overlay art and the $ to reprint it. I’d say that’s a bargain at twice the price :)

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