Rewiring your +2/+3 Joystick Ports to Atari Standard

When Amstrad designed the +2, they included a feature that really should have been part of the 128 specification from the start – Sinclair compatible joystick ports. This was achieved by including the same IC that was contained in the Interface 2 addon (MT62001) onto the PCB itself (rebadged Amstrad 40057).

Unfortunately, someone in the design team, or most possibly Sir Alan himself, decided to apply a good old dose of vendor lock-in by changing the pinouts of the joystick ports to a proprietary standard – and of course then launched the SJS joystick line of compatible joysticks to take advantage.

Of course, it didn’t take long for enterprising third parties to produce joystick adapter cables, and even secondary plugs on some joysticks to support the SJS standard.

These days, it’d be nice to just be able to plug in the joystick of your choice without having to worry about such issues. Here’s how…

Tools required:

  • Soldering iron
  • Desoldering pump (in my experience, solder wick doesn’t cut it for this job)
  • Colour coded, insulated wire
  • Suitable shrink wrap

Step 1: Desolder the joystick ports

This is straightforward if you’re used to removing through hole components, just be careful not to use too much heat as the Amstrad PCB is quite delicate, and it’s easy to lift a pad. As always, slow and steady is best.

Once the ports are removed, bend the pins straight from their usual 90 degree angle.

Step 2: Attach new wires to the ports

Using the diagram below as a guide, solder some short lengths of wire to each pin on the joystick port. Cover the joint with shrink wrap to insulate the connection. Make sure you’re consistent with your colour coding – it’ll make it much easier to install.

Step 3: Resolder the ports in place

Again, using the diagram below, solder the wires from each joystick port to their new points on the PCB, taking care to ensure that each connection won’t foul the port and will leave enough room for the port to be replaced.

Once all connections are in place, push the ports back into the PCB so that the retaining latches click into place, then reassemble the board.

Atari (top) to Sinclair (bottom) wiring connections.

You’re now free of the shackles of the awful SJS line of joysticks!

Rewired joystick ports in place, on a Spectrum +3.

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