Project mouSTer – The ultimate mouse adapter for retrocomputers

… or it took a while to get here 😀

Origins

This project is fully lead by Willy/Lamers with my minor participation.

It all started with an idea to create the most convenient modern USB mouse adapter for as many retro machines as possible.

Willy started working on it in his spare-time six years ago. The project goals were simple.

  • small, smooth and not expensive design
  • reliable
  • quadrature encoder mouse support
  • easy to use and maintain
  • easy to personalize/configure
  • quick firmware upgrade

The project came about quite quickly and Willy ordered the first batch. Unfortunately, It met almost all conditions but one – reliability. The design was based on the FTDI Vinculum2 chip. Although the layout is not bad, the toolchain is terribly underdeveloped (at least it was at that time). There were memory leaks all over the place, debugging was almost impossible, mainly due to the processor for which there is no documentation. In addition, the configuration saved from time to time destroyed the config itself …
It was too much. The project has been abandoned. If you are a strong-willed person you can try it yourself. All work that was done on it, is accessible HERE. You can view or use it if you have the energy to break through the unfinished, wrong and undocumented code

The new hope

In the meantime, the design was repeatedly unearthed from a drawer, but unfortunately without much effect. Some of the original goals turned out to be impossible to fulfill.

Up to Silly Venture 2019 which turned out to be a breakthrough. the demand for a functional Atari ST adapter turned out to be quite large. The mouSTer project was born.

The project received a new name “The mouSTer” and Kroll (translator required) became its godfather. I hope he doesn’t mind :). Kroll is the best tester of an Atari equipment around.

The project has gained a new shape and new strengths.

Some early prototype pics:

At the moment, the current size has been reduced to a minimum – DB9 plug size + USB-A socket

Below some highlights:

  • it works with every mouse and with every Game USB pad
  • PS4 pad support – USB
  • config via USB flash drive – INI file + default config
  • config transfer via USB flash drive
  • firmware upgrade via USB flash drive (takes 3 seconds, of which 2 seconds is the time the bootloader needs to recognize the flash drive)
  • tested with flash drives from 32MB to 32GB
  • mouse emulation mode defaults – Amiga, Atari ST, joystick/gamepad

Current state

Finally, after a few months of testing in laboratory conditions, everything works rock-solid. Changing the firmware and configuration works confidently and is trouble-free.

Some pics:


What’s left to be done:

  • making a test batch in the target size – closing the plant due to COVID19 did not help at all 🙁
  • configuration file tuning
  • creating a poly-urethane case
  • adding config options for Commodore 64/128, Spectrum, and every other possible retro machine.
  • PS4 pad full support for all platforms.
  • 8-bit Atari will receive a special mode that will cover all the PS4 pad functions, mouse and other HID class devices
  • testing, testing, testing …

What has to be highlighted is that mouSTer started as an ATARI add-on but it aims to be multi-platform adapter!!

Outro

If you want to get retro gear or hardware modules, please visit our shop -> https://retrohax.net/shop/

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31 thoughts on “Project mouSTer – The ultimate mouse adapter for retrocomputers

    1. We would love to make it compatibile but we already know that it might be a problem. However, we are not saying definitely NO t this idea since we think that it would be super cool and worth implementing.

    1. Yes, very likely yes. It will be only a matter of setting up a config file. We will be able to tell more after more tests on real hardware 🙂

  1. Nice, I like the tiny size! Would be very useful having one for my C64, also, for those future config options, please don’t forget the “Sega Mega Mouse” for the genesis!, the plug is a DB-9..

  2. Would it be possible to map one of the face buttons on a PS4 pad to “Up” on the joystick? So that we can have a jump button essentially?

  3. Do you think you could come up with a design that, somehow, was at the same time, sideways and having the DB9 connector on the bottom, so it could be used on a Mega STE keyboard, sitting flush to the the SIDE of the keyboard, where the mouse connects to?

    If a Mega STE user connects this to the side, it’ll protude WAY more than the original already does, taking more space.

    If you could make this board the way I’m mentioning, it would be very narrow horizontally.

    Send me an email if you need more details.

    Thanks

    Carlos

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