One console to rule them all

[Bacteria] retro console modder extraordinaire, is back at it with a rather massive project. “Unity”(originally Dubbed Alpha Omega), this will be a single unit that can play games from 20 different console systems. It will run from one power supply, have one video output, and strangely enough, one controller.

[Chris Downing] was nice enough to tip us off to a video of the Unity controller in action.  The controller isn’t quite as bulky as we would have assumed with the extensive list of consoles it has to support, but that could be, in part, due to the fact that you actually swap out the brains for the controller for each system’s compatibility.

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Universal 20 channel project controller from a Ps2 controller

So you’ve got a really cool project that requires a wireless controller and a ton of different channels. What are you going to do? Are you going to go pick up an expensive RC controller? Nah, you’re going to build your own. This project makes a generic 20 channel controller for your projects by stuffing an SMDuino and an XBee module inside a ps2 controller.  Unfortunately you lose the force feedback since you have to remove the motors to make space for the extra components and batteries. You do end up with a decently ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing controller though.

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PS3 IR dongle tamed for use with a Linux box

So a man walks into a Radio Shack and the clerk says “Why the long face?”. No, that’s not it. [Ms3fgx] walks into a Radio Shack and says “holy crap, that PS3 IR dongle is only two bucks”. He’s been looking for an IR remote receiver to use with a Linux machine and decided to bend this PS3 dongle to his will. It’s a lot less expensive that the parts to build the simplest IR receivers like this FTDI cable version, or a microcontroller based receiver.

He plugged it in and was delighted to find that it enumerates. The kernel has PlayStation 3 controller support built-in and has no problem picking up this device. When he uses ‘cat’ to display the incoming data all he gets is repetitive garbage. This is because the dongle only supports Sony remote control codes. But after a bit of universal remote setup, he’s got unique commands for each button. The last piece of the puzzle is to map the controller commands to keyboard keys. This is done with the QJoyPad package, but there are a myriad of ways to remap these buttons so go with what you know.

PlayStation 3 controller made fully remappable

[Hazer] managed to take a PlayStation 3 SixAxis controller and modify it so that all of the buttons can be remapped in hardware. Aside from this being really cool, he had a good reason for doing it. Regular readers should remember the feature regarding [Chuck Bittner's] internet petition calling for button mapping as a feature in all games. As the industry still hasn’t taken up the torch in this area, [Hazer] developed this mod for [Chuck] to use and has released it for any others out there who wish to give it a try.

The hardware alterations are pretty hardcore. On the left of the image, just below the rumble motor, a DIP microcontroller is nestled dead-bug style. This is a PIC 18F14K50. It’s running a bootloader, and has its own USB port on the opposite side of the controller. By cutting traces and soldering to vias, this chip intercepts button presses and shoots them off to the controller’s processor based on alternative mapping stored in EEPROM. There’s a helper app that lets you plug the controller into a computer to specify what each button does, including features like toggle for the buttons. Check out [Chuck's] thoughts on the hardware in the video after the break.

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“Extrem Konsolen Modding”

Not to be outdone by their North American counterparts, these German-speaking hackers have come up with a truly unique console mod. Although modding one system may be OK for most, the builders of this console decided to combine three systems into one clear plastic box. A stripped down Xbox360, Playstation3, and Nintendo Wii were all put together to form this “Extrem” system.

The build style should be very appealing to those interested in video game hardware. Combining the look of a tower PC with a clear plastic allows one to see all components in action. Since the box is lit up with electroluminescent lighting, one is able to show off this system in the day or at night. Continue reading ““Extrem Konsolen Modding””

Internal 7-segment PS3 display

[Zach] sent in his temperature controller and display for PS3, and even though it only works with a PS3 fat, we like our PS2 backwards compatibility very much, thank you.

The build stated off with [Zach] putting thermal sensors on the CPU, the RSX, and Northbridge of his PS3. After starting out controlling the fan with his laptop, he moved on to an integrated fan and display controller after seeing this post about a ‘hidden display.’ In the end, one of the coolest looking PS3 mods we’ve ever seen was born.

The build runs off an Arduino Pro that gets the temperatures from the sensors, prints everything to a custom 7-segment display board, and controls the fan. [Zach] thankfully made the Arduino source available and also put up some board files if you’d like to make your own. It’s a pretty impressive build that’s completely invisible when the PS3 is powered off.

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Man spends 30 years helping disabled gamers

xbox_sip_puff

Using our hands to manipulate game controllers is something most of us take for granted. However for quadriplegics, whose arms and legs are completely paralyzed, gaming becomes a nearly impossible task. One man has spent the last 30 years of his life trying to help quadriplegics once again “pick up” the controller and enjoy a few rounds of their favorite video games.

Retired aerospace engineer [Ken Yankelevitz] has been using his skills to create game controllers that can be easily used by disabled gamers, offering them for sale at cost. Starting with Atari joysticks in 1981, he has been perfecting his craft over the years, creating some 800 mouth-operated game controllers. As the systems and their controllers became more complex, so did [Ken’s] designs. His new Xbox and Playstation controllers use all manner of components, including sip-puff tubes and lip-activated buttons in order to allow users to access every single controller function.

Even as he approaches his 70th birthday, he is busy making controllers, though at a slower pace than he has in the past. He has said that he will continue making them for as long as he can, but at some point he will have to close up shop. This has disabled gamers worried that they may no longer have someone to turn to for custom controllers, though we hope someone steps in to fill the gap whenever that day comes.

Be sure to check out his site to take a look at his designs, what he has done for the disabled community is amazing.