So with my US QL I have two female DB9 sockets (Atari style) joystick ports. I wired my own joystick to the QL many years ago. It's a CH Products Mach 3 Joystick that supports 3 buttons and the 4 directions -- so 7 keys. It has some nice features I like. First the joystick either springs back or you can just have it sit in the last position. You can also adjust the tension (that's what the dials and sliders are for). So much better than an original Atari Joystick where you had to press the different directions and hold and wonder if you were actually connecting the switch.
I seem to only have 5 keys wired: up, down, left, right, and space (the two orange buttons to space since one is on top of the joystick so you can use your thumb). Is 5 the max the port can handle? The UK versions had the 6 pin phone plugs so I'm guessing ground and 5 keys but just curious. I looked for a diagram and I can't recall if I just did it by trial and error back in the 90's.
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The 2 joystick ports on the UK QL just read a bunch of keys on a single keyrow - so technically it would be possible to offer more keys on the same row on a 9 pin connector (full row in fact).
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