Long Distance PS3 Controller


Sony’s DualShock 3 controller can be seen in a number of projects here on Hackaday. There’s a reason for this: it’s easy to sniff the Bluetooth signals coming out of this controller and make any electronics project do your remote control bidding. Bluetooth has a fairly limited range, though, so what happens if you’d like to use this very comfortable and very functional controller over a mile or so? Just replace the mainboard of the controller with a new design using an Xbee radio. It’s a great project from the workbench of [Marcel] and looks to be just the solution for an awesome Xbee remote control.

The Sony DualShock 3 controller is designed around a single main board for the bulk of the electronics and analog sticks with three daughterboards used for every other button on the controller. [Marcel] took the main board out of his controller and stated to reverse engineer the thing, keeping the USB charging, PC communication, force feedback and LED indicators. Instead of Bluetooth as in the original circuit, [Marcel] used a 60mW XBee radio, allowing him to control just anything connected to another XBee radio with a range of up to a mile.

[Marcel]’s new main board is a direct drop in replacement for the original DualShock 3 mainboard, and the only modification to the controller is drilling a small hole for the new antenna. It’s a great piece of kit for RC vehicles of any kind, and it’s fully programmable for whatever robotics project you might have in mind.

Thanks {Roel] for sending this one in.

15 thoughts on “Long Distance PS3 Controller

    1. For the custom controller I will use the original “button board”, so this means developing only a new “main board”. As you can see in the picture above from the “button board” I drilled out a area for the antenna. Luckily there were no traces here.

      I would say yes, since the original button boards were re-used.

      1. Using the original button board has no bearing on if the new hardware supports the Analog outputs of the buttons, if it’s using shift registers then no it isn’t pressure sensitive. You would need an ADC on each button or threshold triggers. The shift register can only store a digital value so the Analog values of the buttons are lost.

  1. That’s no OEM ps3 controller. I opened mine up and replaced the battery with a AA holder for a 14500 li-ion. It looked nothing like that inside. There was a standard dual sided pcb along with a clear flexible plastic pcb with carbon traces. Also it looks like the bottom triggers on that controller are just buttons, not pressure sensitive like they should be.

    Either he bought a knock off controller online to mod or Sony has gotten very cheap lately.

    1. It’s definitely a knock off.
      “So I ordered a used PS3 controller on Ebay, the guy told me it was an original Sony controller……not! After some googling on the model number: CECHZC2H I found out that this is a fake one.”
      It doesn’t look like the L2 buttons are analog triggers either, because it’s just a simple button underneath.

  2. It’s a knock off from China. I have bought a few of them for $8 each. The shell is identical to a oem controller, but the guts are totally different. You can buy these controllers from “each game”.

  3. I doubt he could get 1 mile out of an xbee.

    I’ve been doing some research, and it seems like if you don’t have line of sight, you’re not going to get more than 30 yards.

  4. No, bluetooth is not “easy to sniff”. It is however easy to pair with the controller; just run a tool like sixpair to set the address it connects to via USB, and it functions as a normal HID device. Which has absolutely nothing to do with this mod that completely discards the communication board.

  5. Hi! Just discovered that I made this site with the PS3 controller project :)

    Some answers: The buttons are not pressure sensitive, I didn’t even know they were Original :s maybe because I don’t own a PS3 console :p

    It is indeed a fake PS3 controller, but perfect for this project! It’s also cheaper than the original one.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.