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Wiring and Mounting the 49-way Joystick

The Happ 49-way joystick, being natively optical rather than digital, has a pin header that can be connected either with a floppy cable or a cable connector. Happily, since my local Radio Shack didn’t carry floppy connectors, Floyd included an extra 13-wire connector, one for the connection of the 12-position rotary to Druin’s interface and one for connecting the wires from the joystick’s pins to the GP-Wiz49.

The 49-way Joystick, Disassembled

GGG includes a hookup diagram with the GP-Wiz 49 that made wiring the 49-way joystick very simple. Both the joystick and Druin’s board need five volts in order to operate. Luckily, the GP-Wiz49 includes a +5 volt connection that can be shared between the joystick and Druin’s rotary interface board.

I found that it took longer to wire each of these joysticks than my digital joysticks, because I had to keep checking the diagram to make sure that I ran each wire from the joystick to the correct terminal on the GP-Wiz49.

Despite the fact that the 49-way joystick mounts with standard hardware, similar to the Super and Competition joysticks manufactured by Happ, the pin header that sticks out from the 49-way joystick’s PCB nearly frustrated me while installing this joystick.

When viewed from the top, the pin header needs to be facing to the left for the GP-Wiz49 to function normally. On your control panel, this means that you need to account for the extra space for the joystick’s pin header, the connector (unless you’re soldering) and the wires—not really a problem, but good to remember when designing a control panel with little or no room for adjustment.

The Assembled Joystick

Installing the GP-Wiz49

Anyone familiar with GGG’s other encoders should feel right at home wiring this versatile device. The Max version comes with screw down terminals and the Eco version comes in two flavors, with solder terminals and with an IDE header. The GP-Wiz49 wires virtually the same as every other encoder on the market, except that the first eight buttons double as joystick mode switches for the DRS technology.

The GP-Wiz49, Installed

One button input will serve as the “joy mode” that, in addition to enabling the DRS, also acts like the “Shazaaam!” key for shifting five of the inputs. This means that five of the button inputs on the GP-Wiz49 can have dual functions when the “joy mode” button is depressed.

This makes the GP-Wiz 49 fully functional as a 23-input gamepad encoder with an additional five shifted inputs, as well as being an interface for the 49-way joystick. Since it is priced competitively with 32-input encoders on the market, this makes it quite possibly the most versatile encoder on the market today.

Due to customer request, Randy Turner of GGG added software support, i.e. command-line switching to this encoder, an incredibly versatile feature that has yet to be fully utilized.

GP-WIz49 Joystick Modes

Using this feature, frontends that pass command lines to programs like emulators should be able to automatically send a command line argument that passes a number to the GP-Wiz 49, essentially telling it which mode to switch into for any given game or set of games, thus eliminating the need for a joystick mode button.

Right now, software switching lacks automated support from any of the available frontends, but the possibilities seem endless, from writing batch files for lists of games to having the program parse controls.ini to automatically choose the proper control for a given game.

A rotary switch similar to the rotary adaptors in this review is yet another method of joystick mode switching. This method would require the dedicated use of the first eight inputs for mode changing only and eliminate all shifted inputs. Just the fact that it is possible to go this route brings incredible depth to this device.

Installing Mark Oates Rotary Adaptor with Druin’s Board

For the 12-position rotary adaptor, some basic soldering skills will come in handy. The adaptor has thirteen pins, one for each position and one for the ground wire. One must solder or fasten each of the thirteen wires and connect them to Druin’s board, which is not labeled. The diagram for connecting the wires to Druin’s board can be found on his website.

Wiring up the rotary adapter

My soldering skills are adequate, but it took me quite a while to solder the wires to the adaptor and run them to Druin’s board. I was ready to start playing (testing) long before I had completely finished the wiring to these ingenious little devices.

Druin's Rotary Interface Board

The rotary interface connects to the 49-way joystick via a plastic sleeve held in place by a set screw that requires a very small hex wrench. I had to borrow a hex wrench from a friend who had a set he used for repairing his bicycle.

The rotary interface is restricted from rotating with the joystick shaft by a long set screw that replaces one of the set screws holding the PCB and lower assembly of the joystick together.

The Set Screw Assembly

After I completed the soldering job and connected the wires to the rotary interface board, then ran the output wires from that board to buttons on the encoder, I was finally ready to start the fun part.

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