Adaptor for old Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad (Serial DB15 male) to USB female?
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Thread: Adaptor for old Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad (Serial DB15 male) to USB female?

  1. #1
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    Adaptor for old Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad (Serial DB15 male) to USB female?

    Hello, all. My first post.

    I have a circa 1999 Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad with a male DB15 connector (7 pins across top row (left-to-right), and 8 pins across bottom row, L-R).

    Pin numbers (top row; L-R) 1, 4, & 7 are missing, and pin numbers (bottom row; L-R) 1, 3, & 6 are missing. This is how the connector/serial plug was configured when I bought it. No modifications have been made. A piece of tape around the cable indicates it is a REV3A.

    Possibly the word "Digital" throws a monkey wrench into the entire situation - I don't know.

    I love my Gravis Xterminator Digital gamepad (worked fabulously on all Win98 games I threw at it), but, of course, there are no serial and/or old gameport DB15 interfaces on newer Windows XP machines - not on mine, anyway).

    I need an adaptor for converting the DB15 male connector on the Gravis Xterminator Digital gamepad to insert into a USB (V2.0 or less) port on my new computer.

    I'm pretty good at modding cables, pins,etc., but was wondering if anyone here has any success in:

    1) Finding an adaptor that works for this configuration (Serial DB15 (Digital) to USB)

    2) Modding a cable to get the Gravis Xterminator Digital gamepad to even work properly through the USB port.

    It has been a never-ending search, and I have hence bought a Logitech USB game controller - but it just ain't the same. I don't like it.

    I dearly miss using my old Gravis - its weight, programmability, and especially the "heft" - how it feels in my hands.

    Living a bit in the past but hoping against hope (and many sincere thanks to all comments, fixes, recommendations, references, and even "Oh, just give it up and join the real world." comments are greatly appreciated.

    Mark

  2. #2
    Geezer confus-ed's Avatar
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    Hi mark, I just googled for 'usb game port adapter' & got a ton of suggestions for cables that look ok, for example .. I bust my xterminator long since casting it asside in frustation, yours surviving from '99 is a testiment to build quality, or you don't play much !?

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    Quote Originally Posted by confus-ed
    Hi mark, I just googled for 'usb game port adapter' & got a ton of suggestions for cables that look ok, for example .. I bust my xterminator long since casting it aside in frustration, yours surviving from '99 is a testament to build quality, or you don't play much !?
    Thank you, confus-ed, and I took a look at the Radio Shack USB Game Port Adapter Model #: 26-164 but, alas, after reading the PDF file it says, and I quote:

    "This adapter is all you need to connect most analog joysticks and game controllers to your PC."

    And then the felling blow:

    "NOTE: This game port adapter is not recommended for digital game controllers."

    Quote Originally Posted by confus-ed
    ... I busted my xterminator long since casting it aside in frustration, yours surviving from '99 is a testament to build quality, or you don't play much !?
    Actually, my Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad has suffered much abuse, but when I play old games on my old Win98 system (and older) - it still works like a champ.

    Thank you, and maybe we'll find something soon!

  4. #4
    Geezer confus-ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkP8
    .."This adapter is all you need to connect most analog joysticks and game controllers to your PC."

    And then the felling blow:

    "NOTE: This game port adapter is not recommended for digital game controllers."
    So 'Mmmm' .. I think you'll find 'this' (or certainly similar) disclaimers on most of these cables .. I seem to remember that these particular controllers aren't really digital though ? .. but what they are is analogue controllers, using spaced signalling, which is similar but not the same ?

    I think you are likely to get at least 'limited function' but you may well be in for a lot of checking to get 100% 'guaranteed' .. happy googling !

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    Quote Originally Posted by confus-ed
    So 'Mmmm' .. I think you'll find 'this' (or certainly similar) disclaimers on most of these cables .. I seem to remember that these particular controllers aren't really digital though ? .. but what they are is analogue controllers, using spaced signalling, which is similar but not the same ?
    confus-ed, I really don't know "spaced signaling" from anything, so I went to Radio Shack last night and purchased this:
    Radio Shack USB Game Port Adapter Model #: 26-164

    $16.99 + tax. Brought it home, found my old Gravis Xterminator "Xperience" CD, installed the CD, upgraded the software to Gravis' latest version I have had for five years or so (V.4.50 - which was supposedly able to handle Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems. V4.50 was made as an upgrade/patch from Win95 to Win98, WinME, Win2000, and WinXP), connected the Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad to the Radio Shack adaptor - so far, everything looked okay.

    The Gravis Xterminator "skin" (an on-screen visual representation of the Gravis Xterminator gamepad) showed up ready for "Hot-Key" setting.

    Please read on.

    Quote Originally Posted by confus-ed
    ...I think you are likely to get at least 'limited function' but you may well be in for a lot of checking to get 100% 'guaranteed'...
    Uh, how about a LOT of checking for 0% solution? All this checking took hours - using different games, HotKeys - everything.

    So here's the big letdown. Please read below. Maybe I missed something.

    I went through all four settings for the Radio Shack #26-164 adaptor (Gamepad, Joystick "A", Joystick "B", and Wheel) in the Xterminator "skin", but nothing would respond. I also ran the Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad through the XP "Game Controller" utility:

    Start-->Settings-->Control Panel-->Game Controllers:

    ...takes you to the "testing area", and nothing would respond - in any of the Radio Shack DB15 Serial Gameport to USB settings on the Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad.

    Sure - the XP "Game Controller" utility said there WAS a device, but when I tried to test it, all values read "127". In the X-Y axis testing "box", the pointer was stuck in the upper-left corner of the demo box. Wouldn't budge.

    NOTHING worked. The D-pad, the sliders, joysticks, the programmable buttons - nothing.

    Radio Shack really meant what they said: "This game port adapter is not recommended for digital game controllers."

    So, I am back using the Logitech Dual Action USB gamepad for my new computer - and it was only $3 more than the Radio Shack adaptor. And I still want my old Gravis back.

    I guess it is time to retire my very favorite (sniff) Gravis Xterminator Digital Gamepad after all.

    Unless someone has a better idea. Please have a better idea.

    I need a DB15 pin Serial Gameport plug to USB - but it has to be able to convert a digital (not analog) DB15-pin Serial port gamepad to USB.

    And again, confus-ed: thank you very much for your offer of help. It is sincerely much appreciated, and it was well worth the effort to give it "the old college try"!

    Thanks!

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    USB to Gameport adapter

    I came across your post while also searching for a USB to gameport adapter. Having suffered a critial injury I've been bed ridden for a very long time and forced to use my laptop with wireless network in bed, rather than my home mini-tower system. I have a few games that require a joystick that I'd like to play again so I decided to search for a USB to gameport adapter. Like you, my modern home mini-tower system also doesn't have a gameport built in so I will eventually use it with my home system when I'm able to. Rockfire makes what appears to be the best USB to gameport adapter and it includes a 6 foot cable as opposed to the roughly 5" cable from Radio Shack. It's about $25 which is around $10 more than the Radio Shack model, but it appears to have greater compatibility, with 4 separate modes for various types of popular controllers, and specific drivers for all modern operating systems including WinXP. However, this adapter also specifically states that it will not operate digital joysticks, so if the gravis gamepad is truly digital, you're probably out of luck with this device as well, but it's another option you can try.

    You're situation is somewhat different though since you're using a desktop or mini-tower system. You have the option of adding a PCI game port card (assuming you have an available PCI slot) which will work with any joystick, digital or analog, I don't have that option with a laptop. Most sound cards including the modern Sound Blaster cards have built in gameports as they always have since the days of the original 8-Bit mono ISA Sound Blaster, so that's one option for you. Unfortunately you're having to pay for the cost of the sound card when all you need is the gameport, but you do get much better sound with a good Sound Blaster card. There are dirt cheap sound cards (I see one for $12 at Tigerdirect.com) that have built in game ports. I'm sure there are also stand alone PCI game cards but I'm having some trouble finding one at the moment so you'll have to search. Bottom line though is that you DO definitely have options, worst case scenario is you'll have to pay for a sound card.

    At any rate, good luck to you, I know how it feels to be attached to a joystick, I still love my CH Flightstick PRO .

  7. #7
    Geezer confus-ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edenney
    You're situation is somewhat different though since you're using a desktop or mini-tower system. You have the option of adding a PCI game port card (assuming you have an available PCI slot) which will work with any joystick, digital or analog..
    Welcome to wd forums edenney, your sideways thinking is quite right (& I dunno why it didn't occur to me ! ) .

    btw many motherboards with onboard sound, now come with a game connector (as the space saved in the place where all the standard connectors go, is generally used by extra usb ports). Which is added to a header on the board & then uses up the space of one pci card - Prebuilt stuff, does indeed often lack this..

    (also to explain what 'spaced signalling' is vs digital, that's where digital style signals go through analogue wires or ports, so instead of 'hard' getting signalled as say '99' on the wire it comes in on, it gets signalled as 99x up/down/left etc across a number of wires & must be why its hard to find one wired up right, as many of the connections wouldn't be used normally ..)

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    Partial Fix for DB15 joysticks.

    There are a couple of things you can do for db15 digital controllers. One is get an adaptor for your USB port. This supports a limited number of buttons, but may prove sufficient for your needs.

    Soundblaster included a gameport/midi input on their sound cards through the Audigy2. This will work well with all your digital db15 controllers, although you may have to add a registry patch to make it show up in Control Panel. I use a Logitec Wingman Interceptor, and logitec put out a reg patch for that purpose.
    I don't know if it will work for Gravis or not, but you may be able to edit it.

    Whether it's digital or analog, if you can get it recognized, there is a great way to make your buttons and axis programmable, called Total Game Control. My Interceptor has 33 buttons and 3 axis (including the throttle), and I can map all of them to keyboard, mouse, etc.

    Unfortunately, the Audigy 4 does not offer a gameport. I bought mine not knowing that, and as a result I'm handcufffed on that machine. The db15-to-USB adaptor covers nowhere near that many buttons. What I need is a pci gameport card. CH products used to make one called the Game Card 3, but I can't find one. Does anybody know of another db15 midi or gameport pci add-on card? And where to get it?

    Thanks-
    Lass

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    Driver Terrier NooNoo's Avatar
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    Why not just buy a sound card with a game port on it? You can have two sound cards installed.
    Never, ever approach a computer saying or even thinking "I will just do this quickly."

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    Hi @MarkP8. Did you ever have any success with this? I've just picked up a Gravis Xterminator gamepad and an original Gravis gameport to USB adapter but it isn't even being picked up as a device when I plug it in to either my Windows machine or my iMac. Ideally I'd like to be able to use it with my Raspberry Pi but I'm not having any joy at all. I have the original driver CD but obviously that's only got drivers for Win95 and Win98.
    Any help would be massively appreciated.

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