Resurrecting a PS3 controller that won’t charge

[SJM4306] grabbed a used PlayStation 3 from a game store that was going out of business. He got a pretty good deal on what had obviously been the floor model for a number of years. The one real problem was the controller that came with it. The thing was so filthy that he literally used gloves to disassemble and sanitize it. It worked just fine after that,until he discovered that it wouldn’t charge from the USB port as it’s supposed to. But he managed to replace the charging circuitry with some of his own.

When cleaning the insides of the controller he found there were numerous deposits of sludge which he attributes to spilled soda. This must have damage one of the chips responsible for charging because he was probing an unstable 2V rather than the regulated 5V which should be coming in on the USB lines. His solution was to desolder the USB port in order to separate its 5V pin from the PCB. He then etched a tiny board to host a MAX1555 charging IC. With the new hardware in place the controller is back in action.

UnoJoy makes your Arduino play well with Xbox 360 or PS3

We’ve seen Arduino-based game controllers before, but the UnoJoy project wants to make it easy for you to plug them into a gaming console.

The project is targeted at the Arduino UNO. Why only that hardware… isn’t Arduino universal? Well yes, but in this case the bootloader needs to be overwritten so that the Arduino will enumerate as an approved controller on your game system. Here the device is being put into DFU mode in preparation for flashing.

Once that part’s done it’s time to get to work on your own hardware interface. The UnoJoy library provides all of the hooks you need to push controller data to the game console, it’s up to you to use the Arduino IDE to decide when these events happen. This would be a great opportunity to make the Pinball Stop controllers work with the Xbox Live Arcade games. Or take a look after the break to see [Alan Chatham] using the library to control Gran Turismo as if it were an NES Power Pad game.

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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.

Short and squat balancing bot is extremely stable

[Lauszus] really put together an impressive self balancing robot platform. It is virtually motionless when balancing in place, and that stability is never lost even when motoring across the room.

Part of the success behind this build is the use of quality components. He’s got a really nice set of motors with built-in encoders which give feedback to the balancing system. They work in conjunction with a gyroscopic sensor and PID code to keep the two-wheeled platform upright. An mbed board running 96 MHz provides plenty of computing power for the balancing system. But an Arduino can also be found on board. This was included to facilitate Bluetooth connectivity with the remote control as [Lauszus] didn’t want to port the code he had already written.

The fourteen minute video after the break shares the details behind how the PID controller is tuned and how [Lauszus] implements target angle and a few other factors. Of course he talks about the hardware choices, and demonstrates functionality by driving the bot around using a wireless PS3 controller.

The construction method which uses masonite strips and threaded rod does a good job of protecting the hardware mounted on it. We’re always a bit worried about these bots falling over and some of the projects we see offer little or no protection. Once thing that helps protect against a spill is a piezo buzzer which sounds when the battery is getting low.

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Hackaday Links: January 16, 2012

Finally the 13-year-old on Battlefield 3 will get their comeuppance

[Shawn] sent in his fully adjustable auto-fire mod for an XBox360 controller. It’s pretty simple – just an ATtiny85 soldered to a button with a pot to adjust the rate and switch to turn it on and off. It could have been done with a 555, but this is good enough.

Now one for the PS3 bronies

[Capt-Nemo] loves and tolerates everyone so he modded his 60 Gig PS3 with a bunch of LEDs to display Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark. Yes, it’s from My Little Pony. Don’t judge us. Watch the demo video instead.

How do you organize resistors?

A while ago we saw a neat way to store resistors in a piece of foam with a grid according to the first and third color bands. [Greg] did it another way that just puts a label on a piece of foam. Can you think of a better way?

It’s not a synthesizer, but is it fake?

A lot of people have been sending in this video of [Stephen] turning his kitchen into a synthesizer. We’re thinking he turned a bunch of bowls and cans into an MPC / MIDI controller at best, or it was all done in post. We’ll let our readers duke it out in the comments.

Blinky things spinning very fast

A gracious Hack a Day reader sent in a mechanical television demo he found during late night intertube browsing. We know it’s from a 1992 episode of Computer Club that aired in Germany. It’s four rotating bars of 232 LEDs that will display a standard TV signal. We think it might be time for an RGB LED version of this. Any takers?

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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Fake PS3 tracks thieves all the way home

ps3_tracking_system

One of [Wayne’s] relatives had their house robbed during a blizzard/extended power outage, and as is typically the case, none of the stolen items were recovered. His nephew’s PS3 was among the pilfered belongings, which didn’t sit well with him. Taking a cue from police “bait cars”, he thought it would be cool to fit a dummy game console with a tracking device, should anything similar happen in the future.

He bought a hollowed out PS3 shell on eBay, filling it with an Arduino, an accelerometer, a GPS sensor, a small GSM modem with a prepaid SIM card, and a reasonably sized LiPoly battery. The system usually sits in a sleeping state, but when the accelerometer senses motion, the Arduino powers up the GSM modem and sends an SMS security alert to his mobile phone. Using his phone to control the tracking system via SMS, he can request GPS coordinates and directional information, which can then be relayed to the police.

His tracking system is a great idea since hawking stolen game consoles are easy money for thieves. If there happens to be a string of robberies in your neighborhood, you could certainly rest a little bit easier knowing that your Playstation doppelganger will let you know if someone is looting your house.