Robot control board/joysticks tips

So, my team is probably going to go with an arcade drive, but we were wondering which options micht be best for reliability, ease of control and maneuverability for robot controls.
We were thinking about making a controller like the one team 254 used this year, we would do the case and extend the joysticks of an xbox controller ( like kontrol freeks but way larger ).
We will also use a ton of mechanisms, and were wondering if it is a good idea to do a button panel.
And also, we were thinking about using an xbox controller as is, but we have seen it doesn’t provide as much maneuverability as a competitive robot might need.
Insight would be extremly appreciated, thank you!

Don’t know if this is helpful but my team has always just used an Xbox controller as is. What do you mean exactly by it doesn’t provide as much maneuverability? We also usually use two controllers, one for the driver and one for the operator, so the driver can focus on just driving and it also helps with mapping all the functions to buttons even for complicated robot designs.

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For both drivers, we use xbox controllers. I used to be a driver myself and the drive practice routines we do involve me doing a fair bit of driving, whether it’s showing a newer driver a concept/maneuver I’m having them practice or defense. Through it all, and especially at competition, we’ve found no issues with an xbox controller for maneuverability.

Once thing we do that helps immensely is cube the joystick outputs before passing them to our drivetrain. Gives us a bit nicer control at low speeds, but when the driver needs to punch it, they can just go.

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If you have the funds, I highly recommend anything from the Apem HF Series. We bought a pair this year for the driver and haven’t looked back. Obviously if you can afford it go for the built-in USB option, but if money is a little tight you can very easily configure a Arduino Leonardo to do the job for you.

254 uses these joysticks, but they make their own joystick topper. You can do that by unscrewing the stock topper and resoldering your new topper on, but that adds a fair amount of complexity and failure points (an Arduino does too, albeit), to the system. The stock toppers are just fine for 99% of use cases imo, and we plan to stick with them.

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