Most reliable controllers

What do your teams use as a controller for the robot, i would like recommendations for a reliable controller, that preferably lasts about 5 years, but a few less is good

We used the Logitech corded playstation controller for years, had one develop drift after a couple seasons so we threw it out so now we are going to try out the Xbox fusion 2 corded controller. Head coach doesn’t want to use a wireless controller. Main reason we are trying out the Xbox controller is the sticks are in better position for swerve


Whether a controller lasts is far more about how it is treated than the actual controller.

  • Do not wrap the cable around the controller body. This stresses the cable at the point where it connects to the controller, leading to premature failure.
  • Make sure it travels in some sort of foam-lined case, not loose in a bag.
  • If possible, use permanently connected cable. Connects+disconnects+inevitable abuse can harm the port, so ideally you don’t have one.

Outside of that, we’ve been using wired xbox controllers, at the preference of our drivers, for years.

My FTC team uses the above to make even our cheap logitech controllers last for many years.

Corded controllers also make it easy to make sure a controller gets thrown out when it is bad— cut the controller cord, then throw it. If you’re like us, someone well meaning will see what looks like a perfectly fine controller in the trash and pull it out, dust it off, and put it back with the others otherwise.


I’ve always found PID to be a pretty reliable controller. It’s definitely robust once you get it tuned.


You might know this, but in case others don’t: You can use controllers with wireless capabilities, but you have to use them in wired mode.

Having just swapped to official PS5 controllers last year (and really liking the high quality of official controllers), this is an issue that we’re going to have to reckon with eventually.

I might preemptively take one apart and look at making a couple of mods to disable the wireless permanently and also swap the USB C port for a hardwired cable and a rubber strain relief boot. If I do, and it goes well, I’ll post on chief (and maybe start selling modded controllers? That’d be fun if the process isn’t too painful).

What do you mean by PID?

We have used Xbox controllers for years. Some failures but probably from not having a drivers station and damaging them. Now that we are getting into swerve I have begun to think about the ergonomics more. Mainly an idea that you want to limit how much the driver removes their thumbs from the joysticks to press other buttons. With that in mind I have been looking at the 8BitDo Ultimate controller which comes in wired and wireless options and have two programable back buttons. I am aware there are other options with back buttons. The Xbox elite controller has 4 back buttons but it is too expensive, I don’t know if it works in wired mode, and I don’t want the driver pressing the wrong buttons.


Think programming not a physical controller.

For swerve we are thinking about using a flight controller that has twist so you can control all the movement with one hand and the other hand can be on a few buttons. I currently have this one that should be able to work (albeit I haven’t tested it with drivers station yet)

Otherwise we use Xbox controllers. We are thinking about getting new ones because these have a bunch of drift. Apparently the magnetic joysticks are way better for deducting drift.

I’m so excited I get to introduce you to this!


If you want the magnetic sticks the 8BitDo ultimate controller Bluetooth model has the GuliKit sticks you are thinking of. It works in wired mode but it’s a little expensive. The drift can be solved by setting deadbands in the programming if that is enough. Depends if it is more cost effective to replace the controller every so often or keep a more expensive one for along time.

Our drivers have always preferred the dualshock 4 controllers and we’ve had great success using hot glue to hold the micro-USB connector in.

You CAN do this, but lower the stress on the cable by giving it some room before wrapping it around the body. The method I’ve used is to put my finger 3 inches above the body, wrap it around that once, then begin wrapping around the body. That leaves a bunch of slack next to the cable connection and reduces stress significantly.

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I recommend not using a joystick / flight controller. Drivers often have to move their bodies in order to get the best view of game pieces and field elements. If you use a joystick, you have to tether them to a single fixed spot on the console.


A great point, one which was very prominent in RR. Depending on which driver station I was in this year, I would reposition myself at the start of a match and sometimes have to move around to see past certain obstacles or along our own driver station wall. Using an xbox controller made it much easier to do these movements while still driving the robot.

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It does seem like a flight stick with twist could be more intuitive (especially for more inexperienced drivers) for driving swerve. Actually, if the driver is driving only (separate mechanism controller), it seems like the most intuitive swerve control might be a flight stick for one hand and a knob for the other. Anyone using that kind of setup?

We’re probably going to go xbox or PS-style… whichever our new driver prefers. Following this thread.

We have had this happen because the cord didn’t get cut off.

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The Xbox fusion controller i mentioned earlier has back buttons but they are removable if your driver doesn’t like them. The nice thing is its only $65

I would give this one a try. It should not suffer from stick drift.

Person Interface Device