No Nonsense Guide For Patching Into A Gaming Controller


Here a straight-forward guide for tapping into the buttons on most gaming controllers. Why do something like this? Well there’s always the goal of conquering Mario through machine learning. But we hope this will further motivate hackers to donate their time and expertise developing specialized controllers for the disabled.

In this example a generic NES knock-off controller gets a breakout header for all of the controls. Upon close inspection of the PCB inside it’s clear that the buttons simply short out a trace to ground. By soldering a jumper between the active trace for each button and a female header the controller can still be used as normal, or can have button presses injected by a microcontroller.

The Arduino seen above simulates button presses by driving a pin low. From here you can develop larger buttons, foot pedals, or maybe even some software commands based on head movement or another adaptive technology.

10 thoughts on “No Nonsense Guide For Patching Into A Gaming Controller

  1. Thanks for this post, I have been looking for a way to interface a PS3 controller to my BeagleBone Black. This will give me the courage to tear into one of them and finally get to work.

  2. I’d imagine with a little know-how and the proper equipment, it would be fairly straight forward to interface the controller with a low-cost EEG setup. FUTURE NOW

    1. well, responding to myself, i didnt read well. yes you could do head movements or other gestures. but why not make the arduino act as a joystick itself and ditch the controller?

      1. Watch the video, it’s to add macros so you can play a game, with a normal controller designed for playing, and adds a button or buttons for a series of commands, or if you have some disability and say, can’t press 2 buttons at once, tie a 2 button command to a single button or footpedal to be able to still play it.

        But in reality it just shows how to interface such things and leaves the rest of the ideas what to do next to the viewer. And youtube is in general handy for such things, if you have an issue or need a fix for something you can quickly find instructions.

      1. Actually it seems to be a knock-off NES controller shaped like a SNES controller, only the X and Y buttons are instead turbo buttons, and there aren’t any shoulder buttons.

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.