Long range Xbee controller Part 1 of 2


Inspired by projects such as: http://www.blairkelly.ca/2012/04/20/arduino-wifly-mini/ I decided to develop a custom PS3 RC controller pcb. 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. This isn't a bad thing because there are a lot of original Sony PS3 revisions, see: http://forums.xbox-scene.com/index.php?showtopic=648322
When using this cheap fake controller for the project there is probably only one version, so when I need spare parts it's easy to get them :)

Features for the custom DUALSHOCK PS3 Xbee RC controller:
- Long range 60mW Xbee Pro transceiver!
- Original 3.7V Lipo battery.
- USB Battery charge.
- All buttons will be functional!
- Force feedback from RC Car!
- USB Communication with PC!
- No adjustments on the original (fake) housing, will fit like the original pcb :)

First some pics from the original parts:

The original button board:

The original main board:

Small 2-button pcb:

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.

Things to copy:
- Main board outline.
- joystick footprints.
- 4 indicator leds.
- flatcable connection footprint to button board.
- force feedback motor connection footprints.
- small 2-button board connection footprints.
- Holes for mounting.
- USB connector position.

First I started drawing the main board outline. It helped a lot printing the pcb several times to see if it fits in the original housing (see picture below).

The custom controller will be equipped with:
- Atmel AVR Atmega 324P processor @ 10MHz.
- Xbee pro series 1 (ufl connector).
- 2.4 GHz antenna.
- MCP73831 Lipo charge management controller.
- 74HC165D shift registers.
- LTC3405A step down switcher.
- open collector output for force feedback.

The first prototype is just ordered (18-05-2013)! See 3D models below:

The first results!!!! <= PERFECT FIT

The old (original) one:

The new one:

The end result:

Communication with PC:
This week I developed a vb.net application for testing purposes, screenshot:

The PC transceiver:

Some theory:
The message size from the controller to the PC is 10 bytes in total, this 10 bytes contains all the button/joystick information. The baudrate is set at 38k4. The printscreen shows 42 messages/second * 10 bytes = 420 byte/sec.
The transmit interval at the controller is set at 25ms, so this is about equal to 1/0.025 = 40 msg/sec.
Faster communication is possible, but this is sufficient at the moment. For half duplex bidirectional communication the speed drops to 33 msg/sec. When i press the "vibrate" button, the controller vibrates for 500ms (timing is done at controller).

Configuration of the XBee module (inside the PS3 controller!)
It's possible to config the Xbee module through the usb connector. While holding the JOYSTICK button for 2,5 seconds, the controller enters "Xbee config mode", this way al RX UART0 is passed to TX UART1 and vice versa. Configuration can be done with X-CTU:

Range test (29-12-2013)!


• Anonymous Wednesday, 19 June 2013

• Anonymous Wednesday, 19 June 2013
schematics ?

• Anonymous Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Sweet! Nice work.

• ThantiK Thursday, 20 June 2013
You plan on selling these boards on tindie by chance? I've got an extra PS3 controller I'd love to mod because I have a robot that will be traversing a large 100 room hotel. I'd like to actually be able to reach the top floor =D

Also, do the analog sticks still work as well? My guess is you desoldered them and used them from the donor board, or do you have a source for the parts that make them?

o Marcel Thursday, 20 June 2013
Maybe I will sell them, I didn't know Tindie, interesting....I will look into that.
All knobs/joysticks are fully functional, you can order them at: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9032

• Anonymous Thursday, 20 June 2013
If you replace the Zigbee board with a PPM RC module it could be programmed to control any RC vehicle.
I did a slightly (very) messier version with a PS2 pad and regretted not going for the PS3 pads, you have completed my work in the most profesional way! I love it.

o Marcel Thursday, 20 June 2013

• Anonymous Thursday, 20 June 2013
All the buttons on original controller are pressure sensitive. Is this true for your board?

o Marcel Thursday, 20 June 2013
No, I can only see if the button is pressed or not. For reading the button state I used two shift registers (74HC165D).

• Anonymous Thursday, 20 June 2013
I finished making something like this with a PS2 control and Xbee, literally last night. I didn't make my own PCB though, dang man, nice work!

o Marcel Thursday, 20 June 2013
Thank you!

• Anonymous Thursday, 20 June 2013
amazing! if you sell the boards i will buy 2 in a whim!

• Marcel Thursday, 20 June 2013
Thanks for all positive comments! Are you interested in only the pcb (without components but included with bill of material) or the complete board?

o ThantiK Thursday, 20 June 2013
Really depends on what it would cost for the complete board. Personally I'd like to do some surface mount stuff, so a board with BOM, and firmware would be great. I figure just some runs of the board wouldn't be too much overhead for you, and you can post firmware, schematic, BOM on github if people want to just have their own boards fabbed through OSHPARK or something.

• Anonymous Thursday, 20 June 2013
Do you have any schematics?

• Marcel Friday, 21 June 2013
Ok, the schematic and software are online, see above.

• Chimeric Dream Friday, 28 June 2013
Could you post a bill of materials along with the schematic? Also, it would be great to be able to order a pre-made board from one of the online DIY shops. I don't know whether there would be licensing issues with you posting a link to somewhere we could order these (so you could get some compensation for all your effort), but I know I'd buy one if I could.

• Anonymous Friday, 28 June 2013
You might be able to get SparkFun.com interested. They do the MakeyMakey and several other small project boards/kits.

• Digibum Tuesday, 03 September 2013
Can i buy this?!

• Kyle Wednesday, 25 September 2013
I am building a very similar product, i chose ps2 b/c it is cheaper but you could easily use either b/c all that will matter is the casing, but i am curious if you could post the eagle files and the .exe application. This would be much simpler if i could just download the .exe rather then desighn my own program and put the code into the program. Thanks, also

I am curious and have a few questions for you, which PCB developing company did you use, how did you shape the board percisely, and how could you put an arduino bootloader on the ATMega 32U4?

• Anonymous Sunday, 29 December 2013
it would be great if you sold them, there is a demand for this idea

o Marcel Sunday, 29 December 2013
Thank you! Please keep an eye on this site ;)

• Anonymous Sunday, 12 January 2014
Why is it taking so long?

• Marcel Sunday, 12 January 2014
Sorry for that, we are trying to find the right suppliers at the moment, if you want to know more please send me an email.

• Treath Tuesday, 14 January 2014
I am chomping at the bit to see the revision and the receiver. You will be taking the headache out of my R/C mower project. Purely awesome work!!!

• Totalslaughter Friday, 21 February 2014
Man! Very kool project. I am trying to do something similar but in no way have the skills to replace the pcb inside the ps3 controller like this though that would be ideal. I would totally buy one or more of the pcbs if it was a drop in for an existing ps3 controller. Way kool.[/color]

• Marcel Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Please visit: www.proofofprinciple.nl/index.php/ps3-rc-2 for the updated version!

• Marcel Thursday, 27 February 2014
The Indiegogo campaign is live now! Please visit: www.indiegogo.com/projects/awesome-ardui...ubleshock-controller

• Anonymous Tuesday, 06 October 2015
I want to buy that control or at least the pcb to mount me

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