Cheap Controllers

Genuine Xbox and PS4 controllers are expensive, especially when compared to many cheaper alternatives on Amazon. Would there be any major drawbacks to using an cheaper alternative? I would suspect that the joystick deadband would be significantly worse and possible some other quality control issues.

We use logitech f310 and they work great but we have broken a few too by dropping them, so they may be a bit more fragile.


Our team has had good luck with the PowerA xbox one controllers, I believe they are $30 at most places, we have also used the logitech f310 but the ones we have don’t work anymore, I also found the layout takes a bit of getting used to as an xbox person.

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3946 has also been using the PowerA Wired XBox controllers. They are cheaper than first party, and readily available at your local GameStop, but still pretty durable, and while the cable is removable, it has a deep-set keyed connector housing/shroud, and we haven’t had any issue with a cable coming out or losing connection during a match over the last 3-4 seasons.

My team just picked up two genuine Xbox Series X controllers for $35 and $40 (different colors). Add in the cost of two cables ($8) and thats $42 per controller. This is more than double the cost of an F310 ($18 atm) that we used before. The main driving reason for upgrading was the joystick quality.

With swerve, it became very apparent that the joysticks on the F310 wouldn’t work. While using the left stick to move about, it was difficult to drive along a smooth curved line. It was almost like the left stick was snapping at 90° increments. I wrote a quick script to test this and it confirmed my beliefs quickly. While using two axes on the same joystick (like you do with swerve) when one axis is maxed out the other axis gets zeroed. This makes it very difficult to input a (non multiple of 90°) angle compared to the other controller I tested, my Xbox One controller. It still happens with my controller, but it’s far less extreme.

This was never really noticeable while driving tank, since you’re never using more than one axis on a joystick, so my team has never noticed this draw back. And for tank, the F310 is fine imo. The deadbands are large but not too much so. They break if you drop them, but so do Xbox controllers. If you strain the cable it will break, so don’t strain the cable. My team has broken many, many F310s over the years, so buying a nicer controller might actually be cheaper if it means students will be more careful with it.

I am of the opinion that if a team can, buy nice controllers. They’re such a small fraction of the cost of the robot, and can make a big difference in the quality of driving, especially with swerve. For tank, F310s are good enough, though a nicer controller still help.


We haven’t put them through their paces yet but the quality is decent and comes with some interesting features. Just be sure to wrap the cable right.

Can be found here

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Voyee was mentioned on CD Wired Connection for Wireless Xbox Controller, micro USB vs. USB-C - #8 by bovlb so my team got a few. They’ve worked okay for us and I’ve bought more expensive ones that didn’t work so I’m happy with mine. I splurged and paid an extra dollar for white.

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So Ill share one of my most well-guarded secrets…

The days after Christmas and New Years have some of the best eBay deals for controllers, laptops, printers, cricut, power tools. You can get a gently used Xbox elite 2 for less than some of the amazon links.

eBay is also awesome for SMC solenoids. When a plant does a refit, you can get stupid deals on bulk buys.

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Is this the good “expensive” controller for robot driving?

I really know nothing when it comes to controllers or gaming.

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*Others may have other preferences but this is my trams’ preference for competition driving.

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PowerA Enhanced Controller off Amazon for like $30 a piece. We’ve tested all of ours to have inner deadzones less than 6% which is pretty good. They do eventually wear but in a single season they’ve lasted just fine.

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Do you have any experience with how long the xbox elite controller can last?

Atleast 1 district event, then a season an a half in storage then another full season(build, 2 districts, state and champs).

We have started using the GuliKit KingKong 2.
It uses hall effect sensors instead of potentiometers (in FRC terms, it’s equivalent to using a MAG encoder instead of a potentiometer)
They feel great and are not super expensive.

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Not a budget option but we use an RC controller with a cord. I believe we actually soldered the usb directly to the pcb at some point to eliminate a loose connection. This gives us much finer control than the Xbox controllers we were using (Logitech?).

This is probably not the exact model, but close:FrSky 2.4GHz Taranis Q X7 Access Transmitter (Black)


If GuliKit comes out with a matching PS5 style controller (parallel sticks), we’ll swap to these in no time.

I personally have upgraded GuliKit sticks in my Steam Deck

How did you use the Taranis Q X7 in your code? We’re also looking to switch from an Xbox controller to this but I’m not sure if it’s in WPILib. I also don’t really know how to be able to use it (how do I program to receive inputs from this controller?)

Haven’t the foggiest idea how the software works.

That’s fine I got it to work today :smile: