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Author Topic: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?  (Read 7249 times)

Duane Degn

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Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« on: October 19, 2015, 12:30:20 AM »
I really like the PlayStation 2 controller as a robot controller. I have one PS2 controller but it's a wired version and I'd like to get a wireless controller. I see on Ebay there are a lot of options for wireless PS2 controllers but I'm wary about purchasing the $10 controllers after my experience with a $15 clone I purchased from SparkFun. The SparkFun controller only had 5-bits of resolution on their joysticks (the original Sony controller has 8-bit resolution on their joysticks). I'm concerned the $10 ebay wireless PS2 will be of similar quality.

The $10 controller linked above looks pretty good.



I also like this red controller.



I see some used Logitech and Nyko controllers. I assume these are better quality but they cost more.

Do any of you have suggestions on a good controller?

I'll probably try the two I linked above unless someone offers other suggestions.

Duane Degn

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2015, 01:38:48 AM »
I was chatting with OddBot about controllers and I thought I'd repeat here what I mentioned in the SB.

As I mentioned in my first post, I previously purchased a PS2 controller clone from SparkFun. I was very disappointed to find the controller only provided 32 values for each joystick axis instead of the normal 256 values.

If I didn't hate Canadian plumbers so much, I'd be tempted to try the controller Lynxmotion sells. I found a $10 version on the plumber's site. They charge another $9 to ship it so I'm not tempted to break my boycott of the evil doers.

BTW, did you guys know the PS2 controller has pressure sensitive buttons? The two D-pads and the four shoulder buttons all have analog output. I've often thought it would be cool to use these buttons as proportional input.

SixSixSevenSeven

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2015, 05:15:35 AM »
Hehe, have fun with the pressure sensitivity. I found it worked poorly back in the day and on the Sony official controllers would all too easily gum up preventing 100%, incredibly useful in driving games...

Duane Degn

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2015, 11:44:12 AM »
Hehe, have fun with the pressure sensitivity. I found it worked poorly back in the day and on the Sony official controllers would all too easily gum up preventing 100%, incredibly useful in driving games...

I borrowed a game controller once which had really nice analog shoulder buttons. I think it might have been a XBox controller. Nope, after looking on Wikipedia, I think it was a GameCube controller.



I remember really liking the feel of the analog buttons on the GameCube controller. I just purchased one try.

Apparently the original XBox controller also had analog trigger buttons but the XBox used some sort of proprietary USB connection. I don't think interfacing a XBox controller to a microcontroller would be as easy as connecting a GameCube controller or a PlayStation 2 controller.

SixSixSevenSeven

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2015, 04:30:44 PM »
The xbox controllers were USB devices yes. Just with a proprietary plug on the end. The xbox 360 switched to wireless controllers but they did also offer a wired version, these are bog standard USB and extremely well supported on windows. Xbox one is again wireless but with option of a microUSB cable. Wireless standards are proprietary and not shared between 360 and xbox one.

The 360 controller is by far the best gamepad I have ever used. But yeah, interfacing it to anything we use would be difficult. There are ways of connecting it to an android device and there are drivers for the raspberry pi. Otherwise I think we're out of luck unless anyone wants to battle one of the USB host shields and write their own code to interface with it (it is an HID device so might not be *so* bad)...

Gamecube I've seen done to an arduino. I like them but the build quality wasnt great. The shoulder buttons arent true analog if I recall and the thumbsticks have both huge deadzone and little resolution. But they are nice to use.

lukeyes

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2015, 06:34:05 PM »
Duane, this doesn't answer your question, but I was very easily able to interface a wireless XBox360 pc dongle with an Arduino Mega 2560 using a UsbHost shield.  No luck getting it to work with an Uno, but may be something work looking into.  I really like the 360 controller, and it's been pretty reliable.  I mean, I ran it over 3 miles straight and never did it lose signal/go haywire.

deshipu

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2015, 03:18:27 AM »
I also have bad experiences with clones. It turns out that the linux drivers for this controller only work with the single oryginal Sony model, and not with any of the clones -- something about the USB ids.

Have you considered building your own controller from scratch? The game controllers may be problematic, as they usually have quite a bit of "dead" space near the middle of their levels. If you make your own using industrial parts, you can get much better results. You can still make it look like a game controller to the PC by using a Pro Micro with the HID library.

Duane Degn

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2015, 11:36:20 AM »
The 360 controller is by far the best gamepad I have ever used.

I really like the 360 controller, and it's been pretty reliable.

Can you guys clarify what you like about the 360 Controller? Is it the reliability? The build quality?

I'm not a gamer myself. I've played a friends Wii a couple of times but other than that, I haven't played a computer game since Decent 2 in the '90s. I was a huge fan of arcade games and I could see myself playing some of these new games all day every day if I had a console. I continue to avoid video games since I don't trust myself to use moderation when playing them.

My present interest in game controllers is to use for robot control.

I suppose I might want to try one of these other controllers with a Raspberry Pi or an Android sometime but for now, I want to stick with the Propeller. Someone (Scan Lime) wrote some USB host code for the Propeller but I don't feel brave enough to try it myself.

Gamecube I've seen done to an arduino. I like them but the build quality wasnt great. The shoulder buttons arent true analog if I recall and the thumbsticks have both huge deadzone and little resolution. But they are nice to use.

I've used code other people wrote to try out the GameCube controller I borrowed. I'm pretty sure at least two shoulder buttons were analog with 0 to 255 range of values. I remember being very impressed by this. I've used controllers with huge dead zones. Those are a real pain. Hopefully the one I ordered won't be too bad.

The only controller protocol I took the time to understand was the PlayStation 2 controller. After hearing the buttons on the PS2 were pressure sensitive, I wanted to try them out but there wasn't any Propeller code which made use of the analog buttons. I waded through the PS2 protocol and adapted someone else's previous code to read the analog buttons. I haven't added the feedback from the dualshock motors yet but I don't think this will be very hard after getting the analog buttons working.

Have you considered building your own controller from scratch? The game controllers may be problematic, as they usually have quite a bit of "dead" space near the middle of their levels. If you make your own using industrial parts, you can get much better results. You can still make it look like a game controller to the PC by using a Pro Micro with the HID library.

Yes, I've thought to this. Probably several times a week for the last few years.

A friend of mine, Paul Krasinski ran a successful KickStarter to produce some really cool robot remotes.

One of these remotes (the Q4) has four joysticks.



Paul asked for some feedback on his controller and I told him I could potentially be a competitor someday. He still sent me one of his Q4 controllers to try. I've used the Q4 in the past to control a hexapod and I'll likely do so again in the future. Paul made the Q4 for his own purposes. I think it's a really cool controller but if I were to make one myself, I'd do a few things differently.

My current interest in PlayStation 2 controllers is part of my attempt to understand some Spin code Paul posted to control a hexapod. The code uses a PlayStation 2 controller so I want to make sure I can get Paul's code to work with a PS2 controller before trying to adapt code to use the Q4 or some other controller.

Here's a video Paul made.


I think the Q4 is super cool but it's actually not very comfortable to hold. For this and other reasons, I'd like to try making my own custom remote. I'm pretty sure I'll want to use Hall effect sensors rather than pots since pots wear out.

SixSixSevenSeven

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2015, 03:43:17 PM »
If the gamecubes are truly analog triggers, no game I know made use of it :/ The trigger press had a click half way, you could pull it to about 50%, then you had a click and extra resistance to overcome, very much like mechanical keyswitches in keyboards but far more distinct. Games only ever read the difference between half and full press. Maybe it was indeed analogue and just had that odd mechanical property though. Hmm, maybe next time I'm back home I'll have to dig the gamecube out of the attic.





Xbox 360 controllers from a gamers perspective. Very nice feel in hand, rock solid build quality on the official ones too. I like the button layouts and find them very usable. Triggers are analogue and have a nice linear feel to them. The shoulder buttons, thumbstick click, ABXY buttons are simple digital buttons. The DPad is treated as a hat switch though, it actually returns a single integer depending on which way its pressed, I forget the values off top of my head but its not hard to suss out, think it was actually just the powers of 2. Then bonus for me, windows driver support is excellent, microsoft do provide drivers for it, there are 3rd party solutions for OSX and Linux.

Downside is the thumbsticks. They dont centre as reliably as sonys (far more reliably than the gamecubes ones though which have plenty of play in them - experience gleaned from growing up on a gamecube)so alot of games have a deadzone programmed at 20% in software (controller firmware already imposes a 10% deadzone I think). Very usable still, just something microsoft could have done better. Improved on the xbox one controllers but you'll have a harder time interfacing those. Xbox one also adds haptic vibration on the triggers which is kinda cool as well as the main dual rumble feature of a 360 or PS2 gamepad.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 03:47:34 PM by SixSixSevenSeven »

SixSixSevenSeven

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2015, 03:48:42 PM »
Just because of my ergonomic preferences. My own custom controller, I'd probably be housing in a 360 gamepads shell, although possibly using sony thumbsticks on PCB.

Duane Degn

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2015, 08:27:46 PM »
Xbox 360 controllers from a gamers perspective. Very nice feel in hand, . . . Triggers are analogue and have a nice linear feel to them.

Interesting. I'll probably purchase a Xbox 360 controller so I can compare it to the others.

I just received the black PS2 controller. It's not complete garbage but it's not very good either.

The joysticks have a huge deadzone in the center and at the extremes of travel. The output remains at 128 for over a lot of movement and then the intermediate values quickly flash by and the reading jumps to zero 255 depending on the direction the joystick is moved.

I'd rank this controller below the clone I purchased from SparkFun. This controller appears to output a full 8-bits of values for each axis of the joystick compared with the SparkFun controller's 5-bit range but the 5-bits the SparkFun controller was capable of sensing were pretty well spaced across the full range of motion of the controller. The 8-bits available on this wireless controller are all crammed into two very small areas of possible movement.

The analog buttons of this controller aren't very good either. The buttons do produce values from zero to 255 but it's very hard to make small changes in the value being output. It jumps pretty fast from 0 to 255. The original Sony controller has very good control by comparison.

It might be possible to use this controller for proportional control but it's going to be hard to do so. It's practically a 3-bit controller like those OddBot talked about in the SB a few days back.

I hope the red controller is better than this one.

Duane Degn

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Re: Wireless PlayStation 2 Controller Recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2015, 06:04:59 PM »
I received the red controller in the mail a few days ago and it's just as bad as the black controller.

I'm still hoping to find a good wireless PlayStation 2 controller but I don't think I'll keep playing ebay roulette.

I added comments about the red controller to my review on the topic.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 01:10:23 PM by Duane Degn »

 

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