As of Summer 2011, new information has come to light about RAM Controls. Previously, there were problems with delays, orders not being filled, monies not being repaid and borrowed parts not being returned. The dollar amounts of the unfulfilled transactions had surpassed $25,000. "Dave" had partially placated some members of the community by giving away parts, although this did not satisfy the more fervent detractors. It turns out that those detractors were correct -- "Dave Adams" is actually a con-man called Adam Judd (aka Adam Starr and David Adams). In the Spring of 2011, "Dan Johnson" took over RAM Controls, purportedly to recoup monies owed to him by "David Adams". "Dan" shipped out new orders and filled some of the outstanding orders (sometimes with different parts). It turns out that "Dan" is actually Jim Bloomquist, a long-time associate of Adam Judd, who knew Adam's true identity, yet continued the deception, as well as adding a new deception about his own identity and his relationship with RAM Controls. There are are other players floating around the periphery of this scam maelstrom, including Errol Mihalik.
There is much more to the story than has been written above and hopefully I will get a chance to flesh things out a bit more, but in the meantime interested parties are referred to the ongoing discussion in a dedicated forum over at KLOV, which contains all of the lies, revelations and information about legal actions proceeding against the perpertrators.
The text below was written by "Dave" as a history of RAM Controls, but we now know that much of it is false. For now, it is preserved here, but should not be taken as fact.
Founded in 2005, RAM Controls is an arcade parts supplier that specializes in manufacturing reproduction controllers and parts for classic arcade games. The prior owner of RAM Controls, David Adams, has a lengthy history in the arcade industry. As a child, he was afforded the opportunity of having access to Atari from the inside which gives him a unique perspective. His dad, a design engineer by trade, was often sought after by the Atari executives to handle contract work related to controller design and circuit analysis. David has been an arcade game collector since before most people realized you could even collect them. He's had extensive experience as a repair tech and has amassed an amazing cache of parts and documentation.
In 2003 (before RAM Controls existed), David was able to acquire all of the remaining tooling which was originally owned and used by Atari for pretty much all of the plastic items they ever made, plus a few of the aluminum extrusion items. Midway Games West was shutting down their facility (which was formerly Atari Games up until 2000) and had all of their tooling up for grabs, along with artwork, miscellaneous components and many other items. It was a honest to goodness treasure trove of parts! The stash he picked up included pallets loaded full of plastic injection molds, vacuum forming molds, plastic extrusion molds, aluminum extrusion molds, jigs, rigs and various plates. The tooling alone was enough to fill a 26ft stake-bed truck. While exciting to obtain these items, it was a sad day to see Atari's legacy reduced to a pile of boxes. This cache of original Atari tooling gives RAM Controls a unique opportunity of creating precise near-OEM reproduction parts which has an obvious advantage of cost-savings due to non-existent tooling cost.
David used to be an active participant on the BYOAC forums, offering the first and best deals on reproduction parts to it's community, including heavily price-cut exclusives on rebuild kits in particular. Additionally, on occasion, David has been known to have freebie giveaways, offering unique and valuable parts to the forum members.
RAM controls was created from the desire of it's owner to have quality parts available for his personal collection of arcade games. With no existing option available, he took it upon himself to create the parts in question. In the last few years, RAM Controls has offered several reproduction items to the community. RAM Controls is well known for it's attention to detail and the amazing quality of it's parts, however there has been extensive ridicule surrounding the lengthy wait for at least one of their projects: the Star Wars yoke controller.
Major Havoc Roller Controller
The very first production item from RAM Controls was a reproduction Major Havoc controller, originally designed by James Marous in 2000. He came up with a solid design but, unfortunately, only manufactured a one-off for his own use. A few years later, Mark Davidson of Basement Arcade produced a couple of runs of the same exact design and quickly sold out. David having a personal need for one of these controls and nobody having them available, RAM Controls was conceived overnight. Starting with James original design and making a few modifications, RAM Controls has produced a quality product which has some notable improvements. Until the day the controller was announced, the community had no clue that it was being developed - no details, no warning - it was a complete shock to the community. Years earlier, there had been another reproduction of the Major Havoc roller controller which was great, but the attention to detail, the upgraded materials and, most of all, the translucent roller made RAM Controls version of the reproduction controller an instant hit!
The listed specs on this reproduction item are as follows:
- Steel frame with precision laser cutouts and zinc plating
- Stainless steel shafts
- Stainless steel encoder wheel
- Stainless steel fasteners
- Hard anodized black aluminum top plate
- Translucent roller (made by OEM)
- Lamp assembly mounted underneath
- Happ Controls RED encoder board
- Includes mounting hardware (four #10-24 stainless steel carriage bolts with black oxide coating, four stainless steel locknuts) and two spare lamps.
Atari Button (Volcano) Cones
The next item(s) offered by RAM Controls was the infamous Atari button cones. Not one type, but all three type: Tall Black, Short Black and Short Silver. Again, without warning, RAM Controls released this reproduction product to the surprise of the community. However, this time, by pure coincidence, another supplier offered one type of button cone (the Tall Black version) at the exact same time. Talk about incredible timing. Anyhow, this situation immediately lead to an all out "war" between this other supplier and one of RAM controls vendors. It's been affectionately referred to as the "cone wars" ever since. It ended fairly quickly, the outcome being LOW prices for anyone who wanted quality button cones.
Star Wars Yoke Controller
Started around the same time that the idea for RAM Controls was conceived, the Star Wars yoke project began to form. This was in 2004. A very ambitious goal, RAM Controls took on the job of reproducing the Atari Star Wars yoke controller. Not as a creative-license remake, but an honest to goodness dead-on reproduction of the original controller. This project has been in progress for a very lengthy period of time, but it hasn't been for naught. Several versions of "rebuild" kits have been offered by RAM Controls to help keep existing controllers in good repair while the project continues to be ongoing. RAM Controls even went so far as to hire a company to make extreme-life potentiometers for use in this (and the lunar lander) controller. They turned out better than the original A-B (Allen-Bradley) potentiometer that Atari used.
While everyone is in agreement that the reproduction parts offered are top notch, second to none and possibly better than original, this project has been the centerpiece of many debates, arguments, complaints and mudslinging contests. The sole issue being the length of time it has taken to complete the project. This has been explained as a two-fold answer. The first being a serious issue with the powder coating on the handles which has sent RAM Controls back to the drawing board more than once before determining the culprit being the choice of metal alloy. The second being RAM Controls owner, David, being MIA (on contract job in Australia) at least twice during the timeline of the project which stalled this and every other ongoing project. There was some concern raised about the pre-orders (which was very few to begin with) that money was accepted for the preorders without a product being provided. Everyone who paid for a pre-order has always had the option of getting a refund if they choose not to wait any longer. The offer still stands.
Regardless of any manufacturing problems or associated drama, the project has progressed to the point where all parts have been completed, coated and tested. Assembly has commenced and the wire harnesses are being produced. It's been a long time coming, but this project is close to being released once and for all.
Missile Command Maxi TrakBall (4½")
RAM Controls makes reproduction Missile Command MAXI Trak-Ball parts.
Lunar Lander Thrust Controller
RAM Controls makes reproduction Lunar Lander thrust controller parts.
720 Rotary Controller, Hall Effect Controller, LOGO Controller, Assault Controller
RAM Controls makes reproduction parts for the entire line-up of Atari Joysticks (720 Rotary controller, Hall Effect controller, LOGO controller, Assault controller). While none of these whole controller projects have been completed as of yet, RAM Controls has made available a vast selection of reproduction parts to keep existing controllers maintained.
T-Molding 1½" Star Wars Cockpit & 2¼" Major Havoc / 720
RAM Controls just released reproduction t-molding in two different flavors. Using the original plastic extrusion dies that Atari originally used to produce their t-molding, RAM Controls had a 10,000ft run of 1½" Star Wars cockpit t-molding and a 10,000ft run of 2¼" Major Havoc/720 Degrees t-molding produced. It was a major undertaking to get the plastic material just right, but it was accomplished. Finally, a real solution to long needed t-molding!