Basics of gamepad modding?

Hey, I’m interested in making my own gamepad, but everywhere I look I’ve always had problems finding information. Everywhere from instructables to tom’s hardware and back.

I’ve read stuff here a few times and it never struck me to check (After seeing the awesome stuff on joysticks).

I’m really interested in making my own gamepad because I never see stuff out there about them, but I:
A)Barely know about electronics, but have a few places to learn some basics
B)Have never soldered, but have family members who know and are willing to teach me who do it daily for their jobs and stuff

I’m mostly looking to make a gamepad that can work set up to USB, but if it has to be another way, that’s cool too.

Gamepad or Arcade Joystick?

Making plastic molds and custom pcbs are super expenisive for one offs. A working prototype pad from scratch can cost a hundreds or even thousands to make, and only pays off when you can make a few thousand and sell them. The biggest problem is making and engineering molds for all the plastic pieces and next is fabricating pcbs to fin it conjuction with those molds. Plastic molding with home made stuff isn’t really all that feasable.

Your best bet is to find a gamepad you like, and either gut it and put in a different PCB or, more simply, just get an adapter to make it work through as USB cord, like these here:

Though for easyUSB interface, Toodle’s cthulhu boards work perfectly fine on the PS3 and PC and the multi-console version can be modded to play the PS2/GC/Xbox(look for his thread on the first page here). It is possible to shove one into a gutted pad but skill involved would be pretty advanced for modding (see this thread for an extreme example).

People here and in other communities focus on joystick setups because there are few good commercial suppliers, the parts are easy to work with and can be installed in home-made casings and are easily customizable for your own needs, sometimes this is all for less cost than commercial products (suck as the Madcatz Fighstick).

Yes, I’m indeed looking to either mod or make a gamepad.

My main problem is that right now any gamepad I find doesn’t have enough buttons, and the ones I find with enough buttons have something terribly wrong with them (like the Dual-Trigger 3-in-1 with the terrible feeling analog sticks).

What I want to do is make a controller that’s pretty much like a PS2 controller with 2 extra face buttons (near Triangle/Square) or a Saturn controller with 2 extra shoulder buttons.

My other consideration was to start with something like an NES/SNES controller since I can scoop those up for under $5 locally (tons of them too) and messing up wouldn’t be a problem.

My issue though is that I have no idea about things like the different kinds of buttons, how they work, and all of that stuff. I know some people suggest if you want to make your own to work it off of a keyboard’s innards (but you’ll end up with something as huge as an A-Z gamepad).

I know of the awesome site for learning about joysticks (coinslag or whatever it is), but I can never find anything on gamepads. I’m guessing the price mentioned is the issue. :[

Well, it’s not impossible to take an existing gamepad and mod it with extra buttons, and then make it USB. If you only need one or two of these gamepads made, you can just cut apart a couple of existing pads and patch them back together in any way you choose, provided the PCB’s are pretty simple. Ben Heck breaks apart old controllers all the time so he can mod them into his home-made portable consoles and handicapped controllers, so I would imagine it only takes a bit of Bondo and a lot of patience.

I’m not sure why you would need 4 shoulder buttons with a 6-button layout, but if you were to attempt this, I think the easiest method would be to connect the extra buttons to the L3 and R3 inputs.

Really the most difficult part about performing a mod like this is figuring out how to get it all to fit in a single controller. Personally I’m lazy, and I probably would just run wires from the buttons in a Saturn pad to a separate box that houses a PS1/PS2 controller PCB, and then connect that to a USB converter. It’s a lot more work to shrink an existing PCB or redesign one from scratch so that it will fit the way you need it to.

Would this fit the bill? It sounds like you’re in over your head.

Anyone used one of the pads in the amazon link above?

Interesting. I saw a few people do that with the wires instead of trying to keep it inside of the actual controller. That would definitely work fine with a USB controller to be honest. Problem is I can’t find a controller that I like the outside too.

I only really plan on making one or two really, so modding an existing controller is fine, I know some fundamentals of electronics but I’m not too knowledgeable on gamepads or too far into electronics overall. I’m assuming that after looking at the joystick guides it works in a similar way overall.

Looks like a good controller overall but it doesn’t look like something I’duse the layout of (I’d probably swap the dpad to where the left analog is and I’d want extra shoulder buttons.

I’ve found a few setups after hitting around page 50 in google search :expressionless: Mostly modding NES controllers and stuff, but nothing on working out cases. Not sure what would work as a good replacement for the plastic used to repackage the controller.

I’ve got a few things that I’ve wanted to work out, but looking online I never run into where to even start on info to know to work this stuff out.

I just ran across Ben Heck’s site from elsewhere and saw his 360 controller, gonna have to check that stuff out.

Edit: Heading to my local Play n Trade tomorrow, they tend to have NES/SNES controllers for under $3 a pop, I’m hoping to find a few old controllers to play around with. Gotta go find my grandfather’s multimeter and other such items too, but that’ll be a journey. :<

Thanks a ton for the Ben Heck site seems a good deal of info is there, except working out the external body. :S

I made this controller a while back. I put some pics in the thread, but it was more of a proof of concept than a tutorial. It is not too hard to do, but you would need to be able to solder well.

nubytech street fighter 15th anniversary pad?

Still doesn’t have those top 4 buttons. I’m looking for something with a A,B,C X,Y,Z setup but also an L1,L2 R1,R2 setup. :<

I’m considering taking apart one of my Nyko Wing’s because I like the way the 4 buttons up top are setup.

I’d also consider messing around and attempting to put 8 buttons on top (Like the Nyko Wing with 2 extra in back) and skip out on the 6 face buttons. I’ll have to set out exactly what I’m looking for, but for now I’ll play around and make sure it’s doable. :confused:

Anyone know of a good substitute for a plastic cage?

I remember a few tactics people used to make stuff like knock-off ‘kunai’ when I used to go to anime-conventions with my cousin.