What controllers does your team use?

Title says it all, what controllers has your team been liking for your driver/operators? Why do you like them? There are so many options out there it would be great to get a list going of popular options :slight_smile:


We have used these since 2017. The driver would use 2 to drive the robot. They work, but I personally think the two joystick setup is a little excessive (1 for each side of the tank drive). We are thinking about switching to a single xbox controller for the 2022 season.

We generally used 1 xbox controller for the non-driving functions of the robot.

My team has always used one of two setups:
A pair of Thrustmaster Joysticks and one Logitech dual shock
Two Logitech dual shocks

We typically like to use the first setup when a drivetrain offers omnidirectional movement.

As a driver snd operator, I can say that I really like both. I will say the Thrustmasters are by far the best joystick I’ve ever used. The Logitech dual shocks are comfortable (PS like) but they can break somewhat easily (bumpers get stuck, triggers get stuck).

Logitech Dual Shock
Thrustmaster Joysticks

The last teams I’ve been on have all used Xbox controllers. My biggest complaint with them is the tiny USB cable connection that inevitably gets destroyed over a year or two’s worth of use. Buying wired knockoffs doesn’t seem to be any better, eventually they die too just due to the poor quality of the controller.

Will be following this thread to see if there’s a better alternative. Students seem to like the Xbox form factor, I just wish they’d last longer. We’ve had them die in the middle of a match which is always fun :frowning:


Before the list gets too long with the same responses. I believe these are the two most common items (Logitech especially since it gets included in rookie kits)

Regular go to items
  • Logitech Dual Shock
  • Thrustmaster Joysticks
  • Pretty even between the two
  • Other (add details below please. I’m always interested in new ways)

0 voters

INB4 thrifty magsafe Xbox controller for teams /j

We use Xbox controllers and actually were eliminated from playoffs once with a set of wired ones due to poor cable wrap killing them. Was entertaining the idea of a TPU cable-guard to protect it from being wrapped incorrectly too.

I don’t think there are good solutions here, only less bad ones with mitigable failure modes.

We use this brace (I think we modified it slightly) to take the strain off the connector and put it on the actual cable instead. Keeps the connector safe and the actual cable is replaceable as it starts to wear, plus it has the added benefit of locking the cable to the controller:


We use PowerA Fusion Pro controllers ( https://www.bestbuy.com/site/powera-fusion-pro-wired-controller-for-xbox-one-black/6398042.p?skuId=6398042 ) as they have a built in locking USB cable, and have paddles so we can re-map the D pad and/or face buttons to paddles that can be activated while actively driving the robot with the joysticks.

We use one of each color as to not get the mappings confused, but the Robonauts should really look into getting a few of the white and gold controllers.

We use a pair of Logitech Attack 3 joysticks for driving and a custom button board for other controls. We change the button board layout for the season and robot by cutting another cover for the new layout. The whole thing is part of our driver station, with the joysticks at the left end (with a separate 10" driver’s camera monitor on an extendible arm), the laptop in the middle and the button board at the right end. The whole thing is a bit large for smaller team members to pick up and move, but it’s very stable and makes sure that everything stays connected and working during the match. We’ve had great success with the Logitech Attack 3s, since they have good response for the drivers and they have lots of trigger and button functions we can use to give the driver direct control of various aspects of the robot commands, things like gear shifting, turning on and off the intake rollers, etc. that are better controlled by the driver rather than the operator.

During the Texas Cup we used Xbox 1 Scuff controllers with the buttons on the back. The Xbox controllers allowed easy training of new drivers/co-drivers because of the familiarity a lot of people had with these controllers, myself included. While the scuff controllers back paddles/buttons allowed you to be constantly moving the joysticks and pressing buttons at the same time while being comfortable. I would say that the back paddles are the most important part so you do not have to choose between having a claw finger over the buttons or letting go of a joystick to press a button

For the driving, its primarily Wired XBox Controllers. Most recently the wired ones from PowerA.

For our secondary controller, I’ve been trying to get the students into designing/building custom controllers as a way to get Programming/Controls into just a bit of fabrication. Here is what the one I designed for Infinite Recharge as a proof of concept to get them thinking about it ended up looking like.


we’ve been using wired PowerA Xbox controllers. I end up buying replacements fairly often. But it’s been a couple years…I don’t know if they even sell them any more at Walmart…

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I know they stopped selling the XBox One ones. I know PowerA released the Series X/S models, and if Walmart doesn’t carry them, then there is always Amazon or Gamestop.

This for driving a swerve.


Xbox for operator


We switched from the Logitech to the Xbox One back in 2019. The main reason for the switch was that we wanted the rumble feature that is not available on the logitech controllers so that we could use the rumble for driver feedback for our driver assist functions using the vision system.

We also liked the fact that the Xbox controller has a smaller deadband on the joysticks which allowed the drivers more precise (less jerky) control for small movements on the field.

We got both a black and a white controller to avoid confusion between the driver’s controller and the operator’s controller (we had one match in 2018 where the driver and operator picked up the wrong controllers).

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years ago we got our robots simple enough that one controller does everything…we don’t have to deal with driver/operator coordination any longer. That has advantages and disadvantages, of course.

Sure. Our favorite alliance partner, the Flying Platypi (2655) generally ends up with only one controller. I agree that if you can get to the point where the robot can be controlled with a single controller, you can see some efficiencies that lead to improved cycle times.

As a swerve team that generally builds a robot that can do every task on the field we have never gotten to the point where we can put all the controls onto one controller. But, we have had some success in giving the driver control over the functions that require alignment so that when the driver feels he has adequately aligned the robot, he can initiate that function. As we hand off more and more of the tasks to the vision system, we may be able to have everything on one controller. But we would probably keep the operator controller available as a backup in case the vision system gets confused.


We do much the same thing, handing those functions off to the driver that make most sense for them to control, especially ones associated with alignment.

We’re experimenting with a new swerve drive robot (test bed, really) right now and there has been some discussion between the drive team and the programmers on which controls to use and the possibility of changing over to an Xbox controller for the driver. Most of what the programmers are finding of example code seems to be based on using joysticks, though, so they’re somewhat reluctant to change over. Some of the drivers like the idea of the Xbox units, since they’re gamers and are very familiar with them. Do y’all have code examples that use the Xbox controllers that I can show our programmers? It might make for a better discussion if we had more than one possibility.

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Our driver controller - Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076ZC7KQM?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Our current operator controller - PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F44BR8H?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Can you elaborate on the preferred differences (besides cost)?

i.e. joysticks are higher quality etc…