1 joystick or 2?


Currently here at westfielod High we are having some agressive negotiations on whether to use one joystick or two. We would be using the KOP joysticks, albeit modified to make dual handed.

What are the advantages of the two stick vs the one stick and vice versa?

What are all the teams using this year as opposed to previous years?


Last year we used two joysticks, one for driving and one for device manipulation. You are allowed to have two drivers, so it works perfectly. This year we will probably do the same.

The only thing that matters is what your driver feels comfortable with.

Last year we had two joystick(the old FlighSticks), but we had a switch on the OI that would let the driver choose 1, 2, or a special mode I wrote.

What I saw was that experienced drivers preferred two, while inexperienced drivers found the one joystick drive more intuitive.

But, again the biggest factor in your decision should be what your driver likes.

well we use previus years 3 joysticks not only 2 but i think is not that bad to use 2 or 1 joyst:] but i think one joystick it will not be a good plan for my team christ:cool:

Our driver, and myself, prefer using 2 joysticks. Its all about what makes the driver comfortable.

What if we don’t know our drivers yet? We are a rookie team, therefore we have nobody in prefilled driver spots. I have wanted to ask the people interested in driving but one member keeps saying they will opt for the usb so we can use a 360 controller. Thats money we just don’t need to spend.


Xbox 360 controllers and joysticks are just preferences of the drivers, some people may drive better with 1 over the other. For a first year team, I would go with a simple 2 joystick setup and a 1 joystick setup and let your drivers decide which they like better, my team in general prefers the 2 joystick setup for drivers but to each his own

I would say setup your OI for two, but have a switch to change between 1, 2, or xbox.

you could use code like this. You would need to wire a toggle switch to Port3 Top and Port3 Trig, but thats simple.

if (p3_sw_trig)//one joy
  pwm01 = Limit_Mix(2000 + p1_y - p1_x + 255);
  pwm02 = Limit_Mix(2000 + p1_y + p1_x - 255);
else if (p3_sw_top)//xbox
  //xbox control code here.
else //two stick
  pwm01 = p1_y;
  pwm02 = p2_y;

If you have any questions PM or e-mail me.

I was wondering if any of you had any experience programming controls for a crab drive. This is the first year my team is doing it and I was wondering what the best joystick setup for it was.

Sorry, I don’t have any experience driving crabs, but I can say that for me, Tank drive (two joysticks) gives way more control. I like the ability to turn in different sized arcs intuitively… and I just can’t do that with a single joystick.

since you are going to use the KOP joy sticks i would go with the tank(2 joysticks) because last year we tested out the different configurations and we have relized that the KOP joysticks are too sensitive for one stick drive. I would preferr two joystick driving because i feel more in tune with the robots actions because i can control each side.

Agreed. Being a driver, for me, it is more comfortable to use two. I’ve never tried just one, but I don’t think i want to. Tank drive. Pretty easy concept to learn. Right stick controls right, left stick cotrols left. Both forward goes forward, both back wards goes backwards, turn them opposite ways, the robot turns. That’s how we explain it to little kids at our demos. :]
I think the hype about the xbox 360 controllers is way over done. I think a lot of people want to use them, just based on the fact that you can use them, not for the actual function of them. For the operator, yeah, a 360 controller might work, but as for the driver, I don’t think its practical.

Yeah I think the joysticks give you much more control than an xbox or ps2 controller. In FIRST you need more control over your speed than one of those controllers gives you.

For the past 2 years our team has used 3 joysticks, 2 for base and 1 for manipulator. As a driver i prefer 2 joystick tank drive, its simple. Some of the first time drivers have a little trouble getting used to how it works but after a few minutes they got the hang of it. As for the 360 controlers i agree with the others, they are cool and all but they don’t really give you the control aspects like a joystick does. Just have your driver try different configurations (1 stick, 2 sticks, 360) and have them choose what they feel the most comfortable with.

Although this is not one of the options that you specified, but I prefer one joystick for throttle and a steering wheel for turning. You would program it up just like a 1 joystick drive. We got an old Xbox steering wheel and with some soldering, we had it rewired to use the 15 pin connectors and up and running. I find it quite intuitive to use.

I agree that two joysticks is good for a tank drive system. What does everyone use for a crab drive?

Two joysticks for driving, hands down. We also used two joysticks for our developmental mecanum drivebase from a year ago; it worked really well to control it.

In years past we have used one joystick to control arms with a shoulder joint.

All of the joysticks (in the past) have been the old school flight sticks. Compared to the new ones, they are leaps and bounds better.

I like having two joysticks… even if they are both right-handed ones. I control the bot by placing my pointer finger and index finger on top of them and gently moving them with my arms. Kinda like a DJ scratching a disk. Others prefer holding the sticks at their base and moving them with their wrists. Consult your driver for his/her input.

I’d imagine for crab, we’d use tank as well… We’d probably just add a potentiometer to the OI that turned the wheels when we turned it.