And Now For Something Completely Different...
Treyonics has completely rebuilt their spinner — it's a completely new design, and I was very impressed with the improvements.
The first thing you notice about the spinner assembly is the thick, imposing looking bar that holds the assembly in place. While I've mentioned spinners being built like a tank before, this one definitely takes the crown. I wouldn't be surprised if it was bulletproof.
The spinner is Treyonics' own design, with some parts from Oscar Controls. The spinner uses a low-profile rubber-covered plastic knob, which has a handy "dimple" on top for spins.
The new bearing system is very smooth and quiet, and a quick spin test yielded a very impressive spin time well over two minutes! There was no wobble at all with this new spinner design. The "weight" of the spinner felt just about right, as well, not too heavy or too light. I gave it a spin with a game of Tempest and it felt great.
Here are my scores for the new Treyonics spinner if it had been part of the Spinner Roundup (please note that I didn't get the chance to test the backspin level or ease of installation):
* With Optional Sleeve Bearing Installed
The design refinements continue down to the bottom of the Centurion, which is covered by a unique plexiglass bottom panel. This gives it a unique "glass bottom boat" aspect which is actually very cool. Need to see if a wire's loose? Just flip over the controller!
Flipping over the Centurion reveals a very clean, professional wiring job. The wiring is well routed, with good bundling throughout. It's very well done. A nice touch is that each button has a hand-written label nearby indicating its assigned function.
Treyonics grounds all the switches via a terminal strip, with "daisy-chained" connectors on each set of buttons and each joystick. This is a unique technique which differs from SlikStik and Ultimarc’s “daisy-chained” ground connectors for all of their ground connections.
As with the Devastator II, everything in the Centurion is controlled by Ultimarc’s MiniPAC, an “all-in-one” encoder that handles keyboard, spinner, and trackball encoding in one tiny unit. This allows the Centurion to interface with just a single USB cable.
One thing to remember with using the MiniPAC is that it can control both the spinner or trackball, but not both at the same time – if you start using the spinner, the MiniPAC disables the trackball. To switch between using the trackball and spinner controllers, you need to wait about 5 seconds. Which ever controller is used next becomes active, while the other controller is deactivated.
This activation/deactivation of controls can obviously cause some confusion, but in some ways it can be a positive thing: for example, accidentally bumping the trackball during a spinner game won’t cause any control problems, or vice versa. The MiniPAC does simplify a lot about the internal design, and once again, kudos to Treyonics.
Treyonics has obviously been working very hard at refining and improving their controllers, and their devotion certainly shows. I am very impressed with the improvements in design and implementation, and the Centurion is a great controller. Even the new logo plate is improved!
Treyonics offers many customization options, from button colors to joystick configuration. While it's not online yet, an online "Configurator" for picking custom colors and joystick configurations will soon be available, similar to the one currently available for the Devastator II. You will get definitely get personalized attention from Treyonics.
The Treyonics Centurion is an excellent controller. My only gripes are minor style issues that are more a matter of personal taste than any functional issues. For $450, this is a good value for a solid, well thought-out MAME controller. Recommended by RetroBlast.