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Project mouSTer ā€“ Mouse adapter for retrocomputers (retrohax.net)
57 points by retrohax 31 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 29 comments

What a great project.

The ST's mouse was/is terrible. Unergonomic and brittle. Back in the 80s I went several months without one, trying to use programs by using the alt-arrow keys to move the cursor because mine broke (and I was broke, too). And then they went and put the mouse/joystick connectors under the keyboard where they were subject to torque and twisting that could cause the leads to break internally, and were a constant hassle to change (lift machine up to swap joystick... accidentally hit reset or power switch on something, or power cable gets pushed out...)

Mice (and floppy drives) are really the weakest link on keeping old STs running. There have been a few adapters around but they usually require either a PS/2 mouse (getting harder to find), or need software drivers. This looks like a great project.

Happy to see some Atari ST content here.

The only trouble I ever had with my Atari ST mouse, which I used for about 10 years, was that the axles got dusty. Well, dusty is an understatement. It was a mechanical mouse, with two axles and a ball with a plastic coating of some kind. As you moved the mouse, the ball brought the axles into motion, thus tracking your (more or less) exact movements.

Every few months I had to use my Swiss knife to scrape the accumulated dirt and dust from the axles. With some finesse, so as not to damage the axles.

The mouse could take quite some abuse too. I used to play Arkanoid (also known as Breakout) a lot, at some point. As well as other games which required a lot of clicking and moving around.

Yeah I had a pretty dusty house and had to clean mine probably once a week :-) Gunk collected on those axles pretty bad.

But I had buttons fail, and mouse ports break, both. I have a couple sitting around here which still work, but man are they uncomfortable.

Replacement mice back then weren't cheap, either.

The only good thing about the ST mouse was that you could use it in confined spaces. It was possible to lift the mouse a bit, twist your wrist, and scuff the pointer across the screen - I called it "ballistic mousing".

I actually built a just-swap-the-pins adapter to use a Xerox Star mouse on my ST.

I can't imagine being able to get my hands on a Xerox Star mouse in the 80s. Hell, I would have given $$ just to see a Xerox Star in person.

Now that you mention it - I now recall the mouse connectors being underneath my 1040ST. What a horrible place for them, but the back panel was full (SCSI connector, DB-25 connector, MIDI ports, floppy DIN, and more) so they were tight on space.

The STe and later machines added a new set of joystick ports on the left hand side of the machine (south of the cartridge port). But they were "extended joystick", DE-15 ports, semi-compatible with the Atari Jaguar.

But there's no reason they couldn't have put the original mouse/joystick ports on the sides, in a similar way. Put one on each side and then make the choice of which is mouse swappable, to be friendly to left handed users.

Not the best industrial design as it was. Kind of neat at first, but then a pain later.

I am not sure whether it is a good idea to use an SMD component for one of the two connectors. Connectors are exposed to a lot of physical stress in particular when plugging in and out. Through-hole connectors are more robust with respect to this kind of stress.

In this case the DB9 connector is not just surface-mounted, as it sits on the board edge so the force when inserting it will be taken by the board, and the surface-mounted solder points are at both sides of the board so the pull force will not cause bending as it would in a plain surface-mounted connector.

My hunch is that all that makes up for it. I would be very surprised if it breaks off. Iā€™m however not an expert beyond having repaired several surface-mounted connectors that broke off in my own computers.

One connector is THT and the other is soldered to the PCB via its pins

SmallyMouse is another project in the same space: https://www.waitingforfriday.com/?p=827

The original target was Acorn computers, but it works on the AtariST as well: https://www.waitingforfriday.com/?p=827#Atari_ST

yup, the difference AFAIK is that it only supports USB mice with PS/2 support which becomes rare nowadays

I'm pretty sure it supports normal USB mice: https://github.com/simoninns/SmallyMouse2/blob/master/Smally...

Does anybody know of a project like this for old PCs?

I want to plug a specific USB mouse into a 486 and the mouse chipset does not have the PS/2 emulation layer included with most mice produced in the early 2000's :(

There are a couple of KVMs that supposedly do USB to PS2.

ATEN CS82U and IOGEAR GCS1722 are two I looked at. About $55 on Amazon.


That giant "Mouse Lives Matter" image is a cheap and tasteless joke and you're distracting from whatever cool hack you did.

Sorry for sounding like the PC police, but for me it's comparable to showing off some plane autopilot system and saying "you can even program it to fly to the nearest skyscraper"...

I owe you an explanation. It was supposed to be a joke but looks like it wasn't good. I've removed it after reading your comments

Thanks for being sensitive to other people's concerns

Struck me as weird. It's not really a play on words, it's not funny or witty.

agreed, its like a couple of years ago when slides and posts were titled 'make x great again' - absolutely tone-def.

Yikes. I don't see it, did they take it down?

Looks like they did. It was just a "lolcat"-esque (nowadays aka "meme pic") of a white mouse (the animal) with the caption as I quoted.

Yep, I read the article that far and then came back here to ask if people think that's an OK thing.

Agreed. It is in poor taste.

Thats super awesome! Hopefully it will spread around. Thanks for creating this adapter!

> Amiga, Atari ST, joystick/gamepad

No Commodore 1351 support?

Unlikely to be similar enough. The 1351 does some very strange things with capacitors and analog output to the VIC.

ITYM SID. The 1351 essentially looks like paddles, and those come in through SID registers.

The article says 1351 compatibility "Commodore 64" is planned. However, any joystick adaptor will be sufficient to emulate a 1350, which just looks like a joystick anyway.

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