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Dual Joystick Controller
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Dual Joystick Controller
Hey guys,
I thought I might start a thread on my progress making the joystick controller.

After figuring it out exactly how the voltage and wiring would work last weekend I started on wiring up the joysticks like subassemblies (basically just attaching short wires to all the necessary places). I remember now why I dislike soldering so much...lots of times it's easy but there's always some part that I can't get to stick.

Case in point, all the wires from the A/B/C pot contacts went on fine. I burned my finger in the beginning, but everything was smooth as silk. Then it came time to solder a ground wire between the ground contact and the actual pot itself (like on a guitar's volume pot). I could not get it to stick to the pot. All I succeeded in doing is burn rosin all over the top of the pot. I have no idea why it won't work; but for now I give up. I'll take them to work tomorrow where they've got nice Weller irons, 3rd Hands, and people who can solder.

For now, I'm just satisfied that I made some real progress.

What I still haven't been able to decide on is the placement of the joysticks. I can't decide between having them both on the left, with one above the other, or have them on either side, with the trigger buttons in the middle. Having one hand for joysticks and one for the triggers (right hand) feels very natural, but it also feels a little weird with both joysticks so close together. I guess they don't have to be stacked vertically; I haven't made a case yet, so there's nothing preventing me from setting them next to each other horizontally.

Anyones thoughts/suggestions are welcome.
Muff Wiggler
i bet that your iron got too hot.

i have a cheap iron, and after it warms up, it's easy to solder with. but after about 10 minutes, it's too hot. the solder becomes difficult to work, and like you say, it just won't stick. i have to unplug my iron and let it cool off, then start again. very annoying, and you do always make a mess.

i really need a better iron
Oh really? That would make perfect sense; I've also got a crap iron.

The regular pot contacts went on fine while the iron had been on for a while though...

Maybe I'll give it a shot tomorrow before work, or just do it at work. The irons there can be set by temp rather than watts like mine (20 or 40).
Hmmm... That sounds like the best possibility (my soldering iron has a handy-dandy temperature control on it)-- but you should also check to make sure the components are nice and clean-- I ran into something kinda like this the other week when I'd handled the lead on an LED too much.

It must've been greasy (I swear-- my hands were clean!!!), and the solder wouldn't stick. I cleaned it off and everything went fine.
oh yeah! I wouldn't be surprised if that was it, or at least part of the cause. I've been handling those pots a bunch all week so they are bound to be a bit greasy from my hands.

I was gonna try scoring the surface of the pot too, I figure that can't hurt to try.
Well, it's all for nothing it turns out...I'm an idiot and must have had some kind of short circuit in my prototype because the ground wire to the top of the pot is not necessary at all.

I took the joystick sub-assemblies to work and when talking to one of the guys there, he couldn't understand why the extra ground line was necessary...I didn't know either so we decided to test it out again. It worked just fine without it!

So, I'm stoked. I hooked up one of the joysticks to the Dalek Modulator so each axis was controlling the frequency of each osc, listening to the ring mod!

Up next is a little more prototyping; I want to to be able to set the min/max range of each axis of each joystick and I haven't quite decided how to do it yet, but I'm leaning towards two independent knobs, one for min and one for max. That might cramp panel layout (or I guess just make the thing bigger) but I think it will make the joysticks easier to use on lots of different modules (especially those with no input attenuators for everything.
Can you map out a schematic for this? I'd like to make a couple and don't know where to start..
yeah sure thing...I haven't gotten much further than my last post, but I'd be happy to draw it up.

Actually, it might be best if I just mocked it up...I might screw up a schematic. And it might make it seem more complicated than it actually is.
the easier the better. I just figured I'd order a couple of the deviever joysticks to mess with.

Ok, hopefully this will be clear and make sense.

First off check the pot diagram...that's as if you are looking at the bottom (not knob/post side) of the pot, with the lugs numbered. I'll refer to those numbers in the example...I'll also refer to lug 2 as the "wiper".

If you look at the goofy mockup of the joystick, you'll see the two pots on the joystick chassis.

For pot/axis #1 you want to hookup a "from power" or "+voltage" lead to contact 1 and hookup a lead to ground on lug 3. Lug 2 (the wiper) will have a lead going to the tip lug of your output jack. You'll also want to have the sleeve lug of your output jack go to ground.

For pot/axis #2 we are essentially going to do the opposite. You'll connect the +voltage lead to lug 3 and connect the lead to ground to lug 1. Lug 2 will once again go to the tip lug of your output jack (and again, the sleeve lug of the output jack should go to ground).

The reason these are wired backwards to one another is so that the joystick operates in a "normal" fashion where the lower-left corner is 0v for both axis and the top-right corner is +5v for both axis.

For the power source, I simply used a 9v battery with a 5v voltage regulator to give me +5v (the voltage regulator simply allows only 5v through it). AFAIK, the voltage regulator is not polarized, so it does not matter which way you have it, so long as you have the power lead from the battery coming in on one of the outside pins and have the outgoing (regulated) power lead on the other outside pin. The middle pin goes to ground. Also, the negative ( - ) terminal on the 9v should also go to ground.

Adding additional pots to control min/max voltages of each axis of the joystick is not something I have done yet, but it should be simple in theory.

For the minimum value, simply wire a pot in parallel to the +voltage leads of each pot (the red lines in the diagram). So for example, with pot 1, wire another pot's 2 and 3 lugs to pot 1's 1 and 2 lugs. If you want this new pot to increase the minimum by turning the opposite direction, just wire up it's 1 and 2 lugs rather than 2 and 3. Wiring a jack like this means there is a parallel path for current to if you have the pot set at a value that would allow 2v to pass through, no matter how low you set the joystick below 2v, it will always allow 2v since the path through the parallel pot allows for less resistance. smile

For the maximum value, simply wire a pot's in series (in-line) of the lead going out to the tip of the output jack. Use either lugs 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 depending on which direction you want the knob to work. The way this works is this pot in series will increase resistance to the voltage going to the if you have this pot set to only allow 4v through, no matter how high you adjust the joystick, only 4v will go through.

Does that all make sense? I'd be happy to clarify if necessary.
Makes sense to me. Thanks a lot.
Just built my joystick. Your how-to was incredibly easy to pull off. I'll probably build a couple more. Thanks a lot.
ok, im thinking about going down this path, building a couple joysticks.
i see the deviever joystick and im wondering how it mounts to a front panel?
id really be interested in some pictures. thanks!
Muff Wiggler
felix, your how-to and your graphic ROCK!!!

really well explained, comprehensive and just perfectly illustrated. Thanks for going to this effort, do you mind if I make a blog post about this? I know tons of people will dig this info and it may give a bunch of people a puch into DIY. I'm really digging this.

Thanks! grin

No I don't mind at all. FYI, graphics were done in Omnigraffle Pro, a mockup/graph making app for the mac.
consumed wrote:
ok, im thinking about going down this path, building a couple joysticks.
i see the deviever joystick and im wondering how it mounts to a front panel?
id really be interested in some pictures. thanks!

No idea. I'm going to use some fishing line and a needle. But then I just put mine into a small cardboard shipping box, so... it's not so pretty.

Also, the one I received is NOT the same as the one in the picture. Mine is exactly the same other than the fact that it does not have holes in the side of it, which is how you'd presumably mount it.
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