Xbox 360 Controller Mod For A Friend In Need


[Adrian] has a friend that, due to an accident, can no longer play Xbox games in the standard fashion. His friend is unfortunately unable to hold the game pad properly, and no longer has the manual dexterity to reach the shoulder buttons and triggers on the top side of his Xbox 360 controller. Being the good guy that he is, he set out to see what he could do in order to bring the joy of playing Xbox back into his friend’s life.

Inspired by the many different gaming mods he has seen [Ben Heck] construct, he pulled apart an Xbox 360 wireless controller and began to investigate how the four top buttons were activated. In no time, he had four large buttons wired to the PCB where the triggers and shoulder buttons once connected.

[Adrian] mentions that his modification isn’t quite complete, as he is going to mount the buttons into a board which can easily be laid on his friend’s lap or a table. The only thing we are left wondering is whether or not he was able to replicate the analog functionality of the triggers, or if they are treated as simple on/off switches. Either way, we are sure his friend will be thrilled!

30 thoughts on “Xbox 360 Controller Mod For A Friend In Need

  1. @Addidis: Great idea. I wouldn’t mind helping out a few people.
    @afex: Good question, largest buttons I can find are 2cm. Maybe a dealer in slotmachine spare parts has these kinds of buttons.

  2. Looks nice. However, I think I’d use my feet for those buttons. Make the triggers like pedals in a car, and the tabs heel-activated. Add a small wooden block between heel and tow, and you’re golden.

  3. @kalleuld – That’s a good idea about the foot pedals. Maybe that’s what is going to happen since it’s not done yet.

    That’s a good idea about hacking for people with disabilities.

  4. you know if M$ would release it’s specs on the port on the bottom(I know nothing about) and/or it’s wireless protocol this could have been made without the wires, or atleast make them detachable, or a new device that would work better.

  5. Thanks for all the input.

    Unfortunatily due to the incident my friend is unable to use his feet for the buttons.

    The buttons are simply being used as on/off buttons at the moment with no type of variable input (at this time)

    MS should release the instructions if not sell a connector that just has the option of plugging in the same amount of buttons Positined on the controller as external options.

    I am up for chipping in on a site that gives decent clear instructions for modding devices so people with dissabilitys can still use the things they love!
    Stay tuned for the next stage!!

  6. This reminds me… back in the early 90s I had a customer where I worked (custom computer shop) that came in and wanted a keyboard modified for his disabled son. The “games” his son played required only to hit the space bar but keyboards weren’t/aren’t designed for the handicapped so his son had a problem of hitting ONLY the space bar (hitting other keys caused issues).

    I took this gentleman’s keyboard opened it up and tied in a line to the contacts for the space bar… ran it 6 feet out to a button box…a big round (5″) red button.. Every time the button was pushed, it closed the connection for the space bar… and viola! I didn’t charge the man.. and he was ecstatic for his child.

    Good feelings that day.

  7. @addidis – …and my axe! seriously though, this is a great idea and i’m down to participate. Maybe a wiki-style page would be a good format? I think it could start as a knowledge base with links to previously completed projects and instructions and then have a section to pair those in need with those able to do the modding.

  8. Yeah im really happy to see the support too. I am actually disabled my self (bad back and if you can believe it a terrible head injury). It looks like this is going to be done. Mike or HAD staff can you send me an email pls?

  9. Nice! I actually worked with an occupational therapist to spec out a very complex custom 360 controller for a guy with muscular dystrophy, and had Ben Heck do the hardware hacking. Check it out:

    @afex: There is a huge variety of “switches” used by people with disabilities (from buttons, to pull strings, to “sip and puffs,” etc.). Almost all use a 1/8″ mono plug, and they are used to control pretty much anything. Here is one good source:

    Because they are expensive, I made a guide to make a cheap switch, which was actually posted here on HackADay:

    @Adam: Nice work! The ultimate resource for “one switch gaming” is and in the place of that hacked up keyboard, we now use “switch interfaces” like this one:

  10. This type of hack needs to be publicized and emphasized. People should be able to modify their own property to suit their own individual needs and this is a great example of that.

    Customization and the freedom to tinker, hack, and exploit are necessary freedoms that we as consumers and hackers need to ask for. Not only that, we need to make it clear to the powers that be that by giving power to limit our abilities you limit innovation and mobility.

  11. @addidis
    Very good idea! I’m in. :)

    It might be a good idea to contact some organizations that deal with the disabled so they can spread the word. They may even be able to contribute to the site.

    Good work!

    If HaD decides to do something like addidis’ idea, please make it very visible (like a banner on the main page). I don’t wanna miss out on it!

  12. Best resource for big buttons is arcade supply shops. Not so many remaining in the usa, but try HAPP CONTROLS.
    Also, I will be putting a shop up soon to export stuff from Japan, including arcade controls from Makk.

  13. @Gavin – holy jezzus those are expensive! this is why i’m up for community driven device development. Having a special needs child is expensive enough, so who can afford a 50-100$ switch?? I mean a 35$ arduino and glovepie can do the same thing that the $100 mayer-johnson switch interface can do. this is highway robbery directed at those with physical and mental issues and is my main beef with these companies that produce these devices.

  14. @dukeofmuffins
    in theory great idea, my friend is all up there and not really up for going down that route

    Cheers everyone.@nikescar, safe :)

    when looking around to buy somthing instead of building it i couldnt find anything for under $300 that was ott on what i required. i would think it would be best to piggy on the back of another forum or site along the same lines rather then segrigating more information.

    @ gary, my friend purchased the buttons from a website i still need to ge teh address of but apparently these buttons were intended to be used in the type of device you link to..

    back soon with an update

  15. I have problems doing steady aim in MW-2 (etc.).
    When I press down the joystick my character usually moves in some direction.

    If I could add a button that would prevent this problem it would correct some of my hand problems.

  16. hi everyone,

    you guys doing a great job,i m a disabled person and a great fan of games thats the only hobby i can do to keep myself busy.i need to buy the above set up for my i got short limbs i cant reach to press the back triggers button(LT,LB RT RB).thats a great idea to press these buttons using feet.plz tell where i can buy it.appreciate all the help.

    1. Google ‘large push button’. Sparkfun website sells something similar, also a YouTube video showing how to wire them up. Sorry the original website got trashed. Basically, take the back off the controllers, remove the triggers, drill a while in them, glue them back in. On the PCB , remove the bits that would normally attach the trigger to the sensor, either piggy back the connection or remove the original sensor and resolder. Be aware, this will loose the sensitivity of the triggers and make them purly on or off. As these controllers are cheap you can always just get one of eBay and mkd just for a certain game. Sorry, I haven’t seen somewhere that just sells a push on attachment, suprised no 3rd party company has come out with a plug n play option..
      Good luck

  17. Can you put elite magnetic bases ona a Xbox 360 I could put the long thumbsticks on it…it’s a cg2 controller if that makes a difference..but if you could help it would be nice..I’m a if I gotta modify it a little that’s fine too..but thanks

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