Buckle up, bust out your soldering iron and gear, your about to embark on the How-To section. Clear pictures and detailed text will provide a simple step-by-step process teaching you how to build anything from replacement Vectrex controllers, to lightpens, to modifying your own Vectrex for improved sound or speed (or lack thereof). Projects will be popping up here all of the time so check back often!

 

"How-To Projects"
--- MULTICARTS ---
Multi-Player Cart
(
MPC)



by Brett Walach
The purpose of the Multi-Player Cart (MPC) is to facilitate a need amongst the Vectrex population by providing programmers and users with the ability to develop and play multi-player games that are linkable from one Vec to another. This link can be a direct cable, or a connection over the Internet provided by a PC. The MPC also provides users with the ability to program any game they desire onto the cart with ease, and no extra hardware other than a PC.
Sean Kelly makes a very fine MultiCart v2.0 that will knock your socks off. It includes almost every Vectrex game created (old and new) and comes fully assembled. Selling price is $70.
Full Blown MultiCart
by Ronen Habot
For another menu-driven multicart, including a nice PDF detailing its design, visit Ronen Habot's site.
Vectrex MultiCart
PIC #1
Vectrex MultiCart
PIC #2

by Richard Hutchinson
Richard Hutchinson no longer offers the multicart he created, but if you kick and scream for one you might just get it ;) It incorporates a PIC µC to do the bank switching via an LCD interface on the cart. He's over in the UK.

UPDATE:
Richard is now making VecRAM CARTs which are powered by the Vectrex (in sleep mode) and use a serial port for programming. They have 32KB of non-volatile EEPROM. See his website for more details.
--- LIGHTPENS ---
Official Vectrex Lightpen
(
VLP)

by Brett Walach &
Rob Mitchell
So you've been wanting to doodle in Art Master, yearning to jam out to some hip tunes in Melody Master, and become an animation expert in AnimAction...but just don't have a lightpen? Can't afford to pay over $100 for one, and even if you did you still wouldn't want to put the wear and tear on a collectable item?? Have I got a project for you!! Get those games ready, because a lightpen is yours for under $20 and 3 hours worth of work.
Modified Vectrex Lightpen
(
MVLP)

by Brett Walach &
Rob Mitchell
OK, so you don't want to spend 3 hours or even $10 for a lightpen, and you don't care if it's the "official" Vectrex lightpen circuit? This is the next best thing! Works just as good (if not better) than the original, and it's sooo easy to build. You'll be wanting to build one for all of your friends, and pretty soon so many people will have lightpens...and be longing for a NEW lightpen game! ;)
Vectrex Lightpen FAQ v1.0

by Rob Mitchell
ed. Brett Walach

If you want to get the low down on the Vectrex lightpen and modified versions, check out the online HTML FAQ! Grab the TEXT version here.

--- CONTROLLERS ---

Modified Atari 2600 Paddle "Pong" Controller




by Rob Mitchell
ed.
Brett Walach

With the Atari 2600 Paddle controller you can play games like Hyperchase, Vectrace, Vaboom!, and the analog version of Spike's Water Balloons with greater accuracy than the standard Vectrex controller. Improve your scores, diversify your gaming strategy, and add another peripheral to your Vectrex collection!

The following description shows you how to make a "pong" type controller for the Vectrex from a standard Atari 2600 paddle. Also, you can read the Paddle FAQ for more paddle related information.
Sega Genesis Controller Adapter #1
(separate ground paths)





by Brian Holscher
It is important to note that this controller conversion is for those controllers which do NOT have a common ground "point" for the UP, DOWN, LEFT, & RIGHT joypad. Instead, it relies on the fact that your controller has momentary push buttons or 2-lead resistive contacts for the joypad. Some controllers may just pivot in the middle, but actually push a separate button or contact in each direction. Some will actually pivot on a ground point. NOTE: It may be possible to slice up the common ground point to make this circuit work, but it might be wiser to just use the circuit below. Also note, even though your controller has separate buttons, it should still have a common ground (which will still need to be separated). Not to be confused with a common ground point/pivot.
Sega Genesis Controller Adapter #2
(common ground point)


by Jay Tilton
Also known as the "D/A Converter For Digital Controllers by Jay Tilton". This circuit IS for controllers that have a common ground point/pivot. It will encode each button into its respective Vectrex equivalent analog value by means of a crude D/A converter. It's basically just an multiplexer that connects the desired steady-state voltage to the Vectrex's X or Y controller input. Think of it as two "analog" SPDT switches that are controlled by the four "digital" inputs, UP, DOWN, LEFT, & RIGHT.
Ahh, so you're a leftie and you wanna play Vectrex games...but you don't want to hack up some freaky "left-handed" controller? Here are some instructions on how to make an adapter to plug between the Vectrex and its original controller allowing you to just turn the controller upside down and play left-handed!

Standard Atari 2600 Joystick Conversion

Ya know, this is really the same as the "Sega Genesis Controller Adapter #2"
The only real difference is you only have 1 button and must add some... If such a text is written I'll be sure to add it here for your viewing pleasure.
Just as it says....complete instructions on how to build your very own Vectrex Trackball using an Atari 2600 CX80 Trackball as a starting platform. Excellent step-by-step instructions by Mark Shaker. NOTE: This conversion utilizes Jay Tilton's D/A Converter as seen above.
Autofire Adapter

by Rob Mitchell
If you been looking to increase scores on your favorite rapid fire shooter, give your wrist a rest and look no further. Rob Mitchell has cooked up an LM555 Astable Oscillator circuit that's sure to rock the Vectrex's world!
Battlezone Style, Two Lever, Tank Tread Control Circuit
COMING SOON...hmm, maybe we need a Battlezone Port first?
Rotary 360 Degree Spinner Controller
COMING SOON...This one might be good to have for Ronen Habot's "Rounders" or John Dondzila's "Wormhole".
--- 3D IMAGER/GOGGLES ---

Sega Master System 3D Goggles

by Kevin Horton (project taken up by Sean Kelly)

Apparently, the problem holding up production on this project is the fact that the original PCB layout was designed to fit inside a certain Sega Genesis controller, and now they are very hard to come by. The PCB layout would have to be redesigned, which would require a controller first of all...and then some time. Maybe Sean will release the schematics so all of us techies can build one ourselves. Until then, if you see a pair of Sega 3D Goggles for a good deal, snack 'em up.
--- DISPLAY MODIFICATIONS ---

5 Inch CRT
( 5inchecrt.zip, 846Ki )
by Fred Konopaska

Add a 5" CRT to your Vectrex!

"(1) Samtron 5" amber monitor ($16.00)
(1) Wyse 50,150, or 60 yoke
(needs to be rewound, but not to hard a task) $7.00 to $12.00 new
(2) LM1875 Audio amps. Maybe $2.00 each.
Misc caps, resistors and wire.
+/-12 power supply for the monitor and new deflection.

I etched a nice pcb for the new deflection circuit that really looks and
works nice. I would recommend this to keep noise in the circuit down.

I tried this monitor on my Space dual arcade PCB (real arcade board) and you
could play the game and tell what was going on, but the slew rate is not
there for the real arcade games. Everything was a bit curved and hard to
read. It works perfect for the vectrex though. I tried it with John
Dondzila's games and of coarse Minestorm, and in some ways it looks better
then the original monitor (because it was away from the sound amp and did
not get the distortion), but of coarse its smaller." - Fred, ed. BW

--- GENERAL VECTREX MODIFICATIONS ---

No Buzz Vectrex
( no_buzz.zip, 235Ki )
by Bill Seiler

Modifications to reduce the buzz in your Vectrex audio. The idea is to increase signal to noise ratio by adding a preamp to the Logic Board increasing the audio signal level sent to the Power Board. The gain of the existing audio amplifier is reduced to match the higher level signal now coming from the Logic Board.

Quiet Vectrex
ed. by Brett Walach (all credits included within file)

Modifications to reduce the buzz in your Vectrex audio. This one really attacks the root of the problem. The audio ground path is contaminated with noise from the rest of the Vectrex circuitry resulting in an audible "buzz". (Read doc for more info.)

 

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