Atari 5200

Atari 5200 projects and resources

Well, I’m new to the brotherhood / sisterhood. Just got a 5200 in August 2019. So I’m researching and posting what I discover here.

Controller alternatives

The 5200’s DOA controllers are legendary for their badness. What are the alternatives? Here are perhaps the best options I know about…

Option #1 – Refurbishing your original controller with the gold kit from Best Electronics. Order by phone for best results. Call: 408-278-1070 (1:30 – 5 PM, PST, M – F.)


  1. Replace the flex cable with Best’s Gold plated Rev. 9 Flex Circuit. (CO18124-G,) $16 ea.
  2. Replace numeric buttons with Gold Numeric Keypad (CO18126-G,) $7 ea.
  3. Replace aux. keypad (start, pause, reset) with Gold Auxillary Keypad (CO18128-G), $5 ea.
  4. Replace fire buttons (CO20501-GT,) $7 ea.
  5. Controller boot (CO21084H,) $5 ea. You may not need these depending on the condition of your stick.

This appears to come to about $40 per stick, not including shipping. I will report here if I get around to giving it the real-world test.

Too expensive? A DIY concept (*untried and as yet unproven) refurbish the existing flex circuit with contact cleaner like DeoxIT, and then plating it with either Tinnit or Cool-Amp. Then using conductive tape over the old carbon dots. I will try this and see how it holds up. Probably marginally better than a standard refurb which only lasts a couple of years. I might as well try that too.

Option #2 – Build your own custom stick. Yikes. This is a deep rabbit hole for deep rabbits. Still, I’ll probably give a few of these a try. Here’s what I know about so far…

Buy a WICO joystick from ebay. These are hella expensive.

DIY 5200 Joystick – Digital options

Clone the Starcon. Schematics are available at AtariAge.

Build a Masterplay clone to use a 2600 joystick or Genesis pad. Here’s the Masterplay clone at Grand Design Studios.

DIY 5200 Joystick – Analog options

A DIY project by Scott Baker with a case contribution from Jarrod Smith.

You will have to:

  1. Buy the circuit board from Scott. ($17 shipped.) See Scott’s project page for schematic and parts list.
  2. Buy the 3d printed case from Jarrod dba Fantastic Plastic 3d ($30 shipped).
  3. Buy the parts.
  4. Assemble it.