Introduction: Universal USB Game Controller

Picture of Universal USB Game Controller

Ever felt that your gamepad is kinda boring, or you had a great idea for a game controller?
Nowadays there're tons of cool gamepads, joysticks and others like the drums or guitar type controllers, but if you want something unique, someting that you made, than this Instructable might be of some help to you!

Step 1: Stuff You'll Need

Well, for this basic project you'll need a:

-cheap USB gamepad (any kind will do)
-soldering iron
-some wire
-a connector that has at least n+1 contacts/pins, where "n" is the number of buttons on your gamepad (male or female, depending on your choice)
-some skill in soldering SMT

Step 2: Get to It!

Picture of Get to It!

Take the controller apart, and look for the button contacts, and trace their path to the IC.
Find the common path, that connects all the buttons to each other, as you'll need this first!

My Genius MaxFire G-08XU is a 2-axis 8-button gamepad, wich after the make-over will give me the same configuration, or 12 freely usable buttons!

Step 3: Making the Soldering Points

Picture of Making the Soldering Points

Now to make the solder points you have to find a place for them somewhere along the path of the buttons' contacts.
After you have the place for it, use something to scrape off the green soldering mask from the copper film, but be careful not to scrape it off the other paths, or else you'll find yourself shorting them.

I didn't have to make a solder point for the common path, because there was already an unused original common point on the PCB, and the same goes for the shoulder buttons! (5-8)

Step 4: Soldering

Picture of Soldering

Now, here's the fun part. Solder the wires to the points you made so they won't be in the way of the rubber of the buttons.

I used IDE wires, because I have a tonne of them, they're easy to use, and they're sturdier than they look!

Step 5: The Connector

Picture of The Connector

We're almost done with our little adapter addon.
Here I drilled a hole on the housing of the gamepad, run the wires throughit, and soldered them to my connector, paying attention to the one that connects to the common path, which I soldered to the connectors #1 pin!

I used a 25 pin d-sub male connector (I used the top line's 13 pin (n+1, 12 button + common), only because I havel a buncha females, to conbnect it to, after I made my own controllers!

After finishing, and closing up the controller, I tested the connections, by hooking it up tho my PC, and shorting all the pins one by one to the #1 pin!

(And yes, the controller still works with the original buttons as well)

Step 6: That Is All...for Now

Picture of That Is All...for Now

All you need now is to make a controller, and plug it in your newly made adapter.
You might add fancy stuff, like a switch to the common wire to turn the adapter on/off, placing the connector inside the housing etc...

This is my first Instructable, so go easy on me please, and comment! Comment if you have a question, comment if you find a mistake, and comment if you just feel like it!

Have fun building!


rudyzimms (author)2014-07-17

Sadly this lacks several important steps and explanation as to the terms used and how to determine which areas to connect and use. Not very helpful for a beginner, but thanks for the effort.

sIDsleeper (author)rudyzimms2014-07-17

You don't realise that this Instructable presumes minimal knowledge of electric circuitries. It's as primitive as it gets, it was meant for "beginners" not "dabblers" and also anyone who has a question is encouraged to ask, see the example below.

"how to determine which areas to connect"- I explained both the signal contacts and the GND point. (In this case though the "common" point is more appropriate, since my controller's common is a "high" and the signal contact points connect to ground) But if you're not satisfied the "common point" is the ONE that all buttons are connecting to as well as the IC, and the "signal contacts" are the other side of the buttons and the "area to connect and use" is the closest point to the buttons your skill allows you to solder to.

This was pretty much your only point, so please define the rest of the "several steps" you meant, I'm more than happy to answer any other question you may have!

Thanks for the effort on making a constructive comment and sorry if I wasn't to your help!

ChilliByte (author)2013-05-02

What about analogue sticks?

sIDsleeper (author)ChilliByte2013-05-02

Well, as my donor controller did not support analogue input I didn't bother with that (as well as I didn't need it), but it's doable just the same way, if your mother controller has analogue support, or you're willing to implement a costly A/D method (costly compared to the whole project). This is essentially just a way to let you easily make a custom controller and still retaining the original one by interfacing your circuitry through an already established connection. Actually you're using the original controller's USB interface IC's input pins with alternative switches, buttons, etc.