Published by OneSwitch.org.uk Monday, 23 March 2015 9:28 pm.
SpecialEffect were approached a little while back by a guy called Dan who wanted to race RC cars again. He found traditional controllers tricky so was looking for an alternative solution.
I wanted to find an off the shelf-solution for him and others and wondered about a Futaba One Handed Flight Stick. It worked great, but unfortunately it could only transmit on an illegal frequency for cars. Using the car would run the risk of accidentally taking control of an RC plane and crashing it into the ground. Not good.
So, unable to find an off the shelf method, I went back to the Mark Heath method, of hard-wiring a game controller thumb-stick to the pots on a standard hand-set. I used a Cirrus 3CSX 40MHz 3-channel hand-set from eBay and an Xbox standard 10k Ohm thumb-stick from SparkFun with mounting break-out PCB board.
Mark used Wii nunchuk thumb-sticks, but I'm guessing the principle is the same for all 10k joysticks. I needed to cut the traces on the board and draw off independent wires to ensure that each of the six connections was unique and not shared. Then it's a matter of deciding how to run a lead out from the hand-set to your mini-joystick, and also how to house that.... Dan's swiftly moved on from this to an even more impressive car. Looking forward to seeing this working too.
Update: 10k sticks work great for Playstation and Xbox, at least on the hand-sets I've adapted so far. I'm using VGA connectors with pins 1, 3 and 4 for steering and 11, 12 and 13 for throttle. N.B. Do not use 27MHz/40MHz transmitter/receiver sets with powerful 2.4GHz cars as there is no safety cut out should you turn the hand-set off before the car or the batteries fade. Adapt 2.4GHz kit for improved safety (power off / power fades and the car goes into stand-by mode, doing nothing).