Need A Quadcopter Transmitter? Use A PS2 Controller!

After [Pyrofer] built a quadcopter, he purchased a cheap 6-channel transmitter made in China. Unfortunately, that transmitter was terrible so he took an old PS2 controller and built his own.

For his build, [Pyrofer] broke out the analog sticks and wired them to an AVR housed in the handle of the controller. The AVR sent commands to a 2.4 GHz radio transmitter powered by a small LiPo battery. With the addition of a few tact switches behind the shoulder buttons of the controller, [Pyrofer] has four axes of control with a few buttons for changing modes on his quadcopter.

This build really doesn’t hold a candle to some of the awesome DIY RC transmitters we’ve seen, but we’ve got to give [Pyrofer] credit for coming up with a very simple and easy build. Just about everyone has a PS2 or XBox controller lying around, and with a few extra hardware bits it’s easy to bodge up a decent remote control.

[Pyrofer] used a project called Funkenschlag to generate PPM signals, so if you feel the need to replicate this project send it in when you’re done.

22 thoughts on “Need A Quadcopter Transmitter? Use A PS2 Controller!

    1. Several 3rd-party PS2 pads would probably work. Many of them have normal digital buttons. Or while they implement the pressure-sensitive functionality, they ramp up to full-on very easily, making them basically useless for games that use the pressure-sensitivity.

      But they’d work quite well in a case like this, where the resistance varying with pressure is an undesirable trait.

      You could also take the Sony pad and coat the contacts with conductive ink, thereby reducing the resistance greatly.

      Though replacing the flex circuit and silicone dots with real microswitches probably feels better.

    1. Mostly because it’s quite cheap to source the receivers and txs these days so it doesn’t seem make a whole lot of sense to re-engineer them + range is a lot higher too. I like this project and may well build one as it’s so compact compared to your normal hobby tx.

  1. Yes, it WOULD be easier hardware wise to use the SPI bus to the PS Pad directly.
    I did try this but had problems (no data returned) and Don’t have a scope to debug what was going on.
    I wanted to use the TX and it was quicker to hack the hardware than debug the software for once.
    It also meant I could use the Funkenschlag code unmodified.
    It was quick and dirty.
    If I did it again? Yes, I would work on getting the SPI interface working.

  2. The first link to pyrofer’s project is dead (text reads “built his own”). I’m trying to replicate this project and was hoping to use his explanation to help. What now?

  3. could somebody who did a rebuild of [Pyrofer] Controller post a detailed building plan for that ? cause its reeealy awesome and i realy would like to build one of those. I dont know enough about electric circuit to find it out my self… thanks

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