Building an autonomous robot from an Xbox 360 controller

Wow, it’s amazing what [Carl] was able to build using an Xbox 360 control PCB as the base for his robot. His forum posts just touches the surface of the build, but he linked to a PDF file which has the full details.

This build basically attaches sensors and replacement motors to the controller board… and that is it! Some distance sensors are connected to the analog inputs for the left and right trigger. The whiskers use a couple of leaf switches soldered to controller button pads. The motors are geared replacements that use the same connectors as the rumble motors did.

The idea is that the controller is connected to a PC via the wireless radio it has on the PCB. Once the connection is made the PC software can read from all of the sensors and drive the motors accordingly. It would also be really easy to use a single-board solution like the RPi to do away with the need for a remote PC. But this is a fantastic start, and an approach which we had never before considered. See some video of the little guy getting around the room after the break.

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Bricking a Seagate drive while trying to make it work in an Xbox 360

If you’re looking to replace the hard drive in your Xbox 360 without just buying an official unit, you may be out of luck. There is a tool which will let you do it if you are using aWestern Digital drive as the replacement. But if your new drive is a Seagate this tool will not work. [Darth Circuit] set out to make his Seagate work in the Xbox 360, but his manual changes ended up bricking the drive because of just one little error.

The tool that does this with WD drives is called HddHackr. [Darth] started his quest by finding out what the program actually does. In order to stand in for the original drive the new one must have the same model number, serial number, LBA, and firmware revision. Once these values are changed in a binary file it is written to the drive at a specific location. He changed these values on the drive itself, and got pretty far. That is until he tried a new command which ended up locking him out of the drive. Right now it’s pretty much a brick but we hope someone can pick up where he left off and turn this work into something useful for others. Good luck!

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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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.

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Rapid fire update brings many new features

[Shawn McCombs] has been spending some time refining his Xbox 360 rapid fire hack. This time around he’s got a lot more features, many of which we haven’t really seen before.

When we looked at the original project he had added an ATtiny85 which read a potentiometer to set the rapid fire speed for one of the buttons. This time around he’s opened up settings for individual weapons in the game. For instance, if you have a hand-gun and a rifle, you can set different rapid fire rates for each to account for the reload speed for those guns. He patched into the ring of LEDs on the controller in order to indicate which preset is currently chosen. There are three tactile switches on the underside of the controller too. One of them is a reset button which gets you back to your primary weapon and the default rapid fire rate. Settings for each weapon are saved to the EEPROM so you won’t lose them when the controller goes to sleep. Check out [Shawn's] description of the project in the video after the break.

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Reclaim the wireless controller module from a broken Xbox 360

If you’re one of the hordes whose Xbox 360 died the fiery death associated with the RRoD you may be wondering what to do with that multi-hundred dollar door stop you’re left with. Why not salvage the parts for other uses? If you’ve ever wanted to use your wireless controller with a computer here’s a way to pull out the RF module and reuse it.

The concept is simple enough, there’s a daughter-board in the Xbox 360 which hosts the RF module for wireless controller connectivity. Once you extract it from the carcass of the beast, you just need to find a way to read and push the data to your computer. Any USB enabled microcontroller will do, in this case an Arduino nano was chosen for the task. A bit of level converting was necessary to interface with the device, but nothing too involved.

It sounds like at first there was an issue with syncing a controller with the hacked module, but as you can see in the clip after the break that problem has been solved.

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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?