Computer control for your Xbox controller

This wiring nightmare lets [H. Smeitink] map all the buttons from an Xbox 360 controller to his PC. It gives him the ability to push control input from his PC to the console. But it goes a step further than that because it actually acts as a pass-through device. He connected a wired controller to the computer and uses a program he wrote to translate those inputs and send them to the hacked controller.

The software is written in C#. It’s got a recording function that lets him save the keypress data from the wired controller while it’s sent to the Xbox in real time. When he finds a combination that he uses frequently he plucks out those commands, sets them up as a macro, and assigns one of the buttons to execute it. The controller hack uses one transistor for each button, and a PIC 18F4550 which controls them and provides USB connectivity with the PC.

This isn’t one nice package like some integrated rapid-fire and macro solutions we’ve seen. But it certainly opens up a lot more possibilities. See for yourself in the clip after the break.


  1. SAC_Rob says:

    Very cool setup. Too bad xbox live is so quick to ban for any type of hardware mods.

    • adcurtin says:

      I’m afraid you’re wrong. They can’t really detect hardware mods like this, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen microsoft saying they don’t care much about auto controllers (not sure they could do much if they did care).

      Hardware mods that affect piracy they will happily ban. Mods like this (especially a one off) there’s almost no chance.

  2. bio says:

    Cant you use a USB device controller to accomplish the same thing?
    just emulate the controller?

    • No One says:

      XBox 360 has a security chip that prevents just any old USB HID device from working on it. Hence, you need to hack up an existing XBox 360 controller to make it work.

      • bio says:

        ohhhh okay

        far change from the origonal Xbox :P

      • NewCommentor1283 says:

        1st of all now THIS project is what hacking is all about!!! awesome!

        2nd) now its things like that that make me not own or even want to own any xbox or any xbox logo’ed equipment ever. EVER EVER EVER.

        not even kinect

        games i play never ever ever ever kick you out for a modded controller, not even for stolen copy of game! XD … as long as level(edit: all extra files) data matches up…

        if im NOT cheating, dont &^&^%*& kick me! FFS!

        if its NOT cheating why in I^&&%*)^(&*_)+* would you kick somebody??? you elite BS??? or you just hate loosing to a bunch of kids microsoft??? … kids who ALSO know how a circuit works.

        PS: nes controller PLUS super-combo moves, mapped through keyboard (for all games) is the best FTW!

        PPS: actually, they kick you if u send more then 1024 “buttonclicks” a second, like you can even imagine doing that :P

        peace out

  3. NoneisGiven says:

    I did this same thing but with a cheap USB xbox controller and soldered wires to the breadboard to one side of the controllers contacts and then with my arduino i “pulled” the buttons low and bam.. button pressed. write the button pushes you want and let it go. alot more simple then this. but awesome still.

  4. plfx says:

    I had to read the first paragraph about eight times to realize it didn’t make any sense.

    “This wiring nightmare lets [H. Smeitink] map all the buttons from an Xbox 360 controller to his PC. It gives him the ability to push control input from his PC to the console. But it goes a step further than that because it actually acts as a pass-through device. He connected a wired controller to the computer and uses a program he wrote to translate those inputs and send them to the hacked controller.”


    You’re talking in circles. I think you meant to say that the control signals get passed to the console at some point.

    This paragraph makes it sound like the controller is controlling a pc that’s controlling the controller.

    • daenris says:

      It’s actually correct. He has a hacked apart wireless controller which he has hooked to a bunch of transistors being controlled by a microcontroller. This is connected to the PC through USB. Then he has another wired USB controller connected to the PC. The buttons he presses on the wired USB controller are passed into the software, processed, and then sent out to the hacked wireless controller which is sending them to the console.

      • plfx says:

        Now that makes sense. All I’m saying is the description is vague and confusing. I had to read the article to get even part of a clue what was actually going on.

  5. Nick says:

    I’ve been wanting to do something similar to this for a long time.
    I’m glad to see that he plans on releasing the software and the circuit diagrams.

  6. adcurtin says:

    Nice! I have a hacked controller like this, but I did it with arduino. I also only have digital control over the 6 analog axis; digipots are next on my todo list for my project. After that, recording and playback of control data. I will definitely check this out.

  7. jonimus says:

    BrandonW has done the same thing with a TI-84+/SE calculator, and it doesn’t require any custom parts or soldering, only things that can be found at an Office or school supply store. I’m surprised no one picked it up here before.

  8. Cyril says:

    What is this for if not for cheating?

    • adcurtin says:

      I made one of these for two reasons, first is experience, and it’s kinda fun to do. The second is for boosting things in games. In halo 3, there are commendations, like get 8000 grenade kills in campaign. There are a ton of these. I’m a completionist and like to finish this sort of thing, but some of these goals are ridiculous. In gears of war 3, there is something like interact with 20000 objects in campaign. That is literally sitting in front of an arcade machine and pressing x for like 5 hours. No thanks. I can just automate that.

      When something takes skill to do, then it should be done manually. When it just takes time to do repeatedly, automate!

    • adcurtin says:

      Also, just though of a ton more uses:
      Wanna play xbox with a keyboard and mouse? This is for you!
      Wanna play xbox with a ps3 controller? This is for you!
      Wiimote? Awkward, but this is for you also!
      Are you disabled, and need to remap buttons so meet your disability? This is for you!
      Want to just remap buttons because games are shitty and don’t let you do this anymore? This is for you!
      Have a nice racing wheel for your computer, and want to use it with xbox? This is for you!

      The possibilities are endless.

      • NewCommentor1283 says:

        buddy of mine thought i was crazy when i said that lol.

        hell yeh a box that allows you to play ANY console made in the last 10-20 years with only a ps2 keyboard,
        and i mean personalsystemtwo NOT playstationtwo.

        usb keyboards and their 5 or 6 button-held-down-at-once “feature” can,,,,,,, (i wont use)

  9. barryronaldo says:

    Has no one done some sort of MITM device that does all of this through radio or USB? I am comfused. That breadboard is impressive with the extra sprinkles on it :) I call the wires sprinkles now thanks to my wife. She thinks breadboards look like poptarts when populated lol.

    • adcurtin says:

      there are security chips in xbox controllers. To interface with the xbox, you need to use controllers (or radios) with the microsoft security chip. i.e. all data has to pass through an official controller.

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