Creating a Custom Controller/Button Box

My team built a custom button box to operate functions on our robot such as our elevator and intake, but we don’t know what the best board is to link it to driver station. We already tried the Arduino Uno and Leonardo to no avail. We need 19 inputs for wires, everything is a switch or button so boolean inputs only. Does anyone have experience with creating a custom controller like this?

We use controllers for MAME cabinets. They are made to run long term and are more reliable than the cheap ones sold on amazon and ebay that come with buttons.

This is what we are using this year and it works as a joystick emulator:

They have other versions that have more inputs.

Arduino mega??

We have tried to use the generic usb boards off amazon and we have played with arduino’s but we have found the best and most reliable for us is taking apart Xbox 360 controllers and sodering onto them. It’s a little jank but has worked well for us.

Seconding the Ultimarc products; they are working well for us.

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ima agree with the ultimarc board
we are using it this year with great success, super easy to use

The Arduino Leonardo has worked really well for us this year. (minimal time to setup, plethora of online examples, works without fail every time I plug it in)

When you say you have tried using a Leonardo to no avail, what specifically are the problems you are experiencing?

If your problem is solely due to I/O availability, there are ways to mitigate this. Depending on the circumstance the following fixes may help you:

  • i2c I/O expansion board for Arduino

  • wiring your buttons in a matrix similar to how keyboards work

  • (less ideal) buy a second Leonardo and use both to drive a single custom controller (can be renamed in regedit to make it less confusing)

  • (also non trivial) find ways to use less buttons

If your problems exist elsewhere, I’d be happy to help by providing our Arduino sketches, wiring diagrams, and controller pictures.

Let me know!

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