Vaus Arkanoid Paddle Clone

diy replica of a classic controller

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The Arkanoid Controller, or Vaus, is an optional game controller for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and MSX game Arkanoid which enhances the feel and play of the game. (source: Wikipedia)

The circuit is a replica of the Vaus controller made by TAITO and implements a DAC using a counter, a clock generator and a timer.

Half of a 556 is composes an oscillator with a fixed frequency around 60kHz.

A negative pulse coming from the MSX joystick port pin 8 resets a counter and start a timer formed by the other half of the 555 and has a potentiometer in its RC timing network. The output of this timer also works as a clock enable the counter.

The position of the knob determines then the amount of time that the counter has to count up clock pulses:

  • fully counter clockwise: 1ms
  • fully colockwise: 6.5 ms

Later, an assembly program was written to read the device and the results are

  • fully counter clockwise:  63 counts
  • fully colockwise: 405 counts

The outputs of the counter are connected to a shift register which is ready to send the data serially when the counting time is over.

Seial data is read at pin 1 of the MSX joystick port (UP) and clock pulses coming from pin 6 shifts out the next data bit

Interesting to notice is that the bits are read FIRST then the next counting cycle is initiated, thus the MSX can have the


Source code for reading the Vaus Paddle. Compile with pasmo --msx ReadPaddle.asm testvaus.bin

asm - 2.08 kB - 06/14/2019 at 04:16



Load this program from BASIC wuth bload "testvaus.bin" and run with defusr=&HA000:print usr(0)

octet-stream - 161.00 bytes - 06/14/2019 at 04:16


Vaus Arkanoid paddle.brd

PCB for CP-011 board, Eagle 7

- 111.78 kB - 06/13/2019 at 22:23


Vaus Arkanoid paddle.sch

Schematics, Eagle 7

- 857.14 kB - 06/13/2019 at 22:22



Eagle 7 library with pcb outline for CP-011 box

lbr - 4.70 kB - 06/13/2019 at 21:00


  • PCBs ready!

    danjovic10/10/2019 at 03:01 0 comments

    Boards arrived from JLCPCB

    And they fit perfectly on the CP-011 box

  • De-glitching

    danjovic06/14/2019 at 04:03 0 comments

    The paddle " character "  was a little glitchy while playing the game. The first guess was the wiring from the counter to the shift register but it  was OK.

    Second guess was some glitches found in the capture by logig analyzer

    A 100nf capacitor was placed from the output pin (pin 1 - UP ) to ground and the glitches disappeared from the capture and the behavior of the paddle character now is smooth as expected!

    PCB and schematics were updated

View all 2 project logs

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