3.5mm audio jacks for no tools button reassignment?


#1

EDIT reworded some thoughts.

Has anyone ever thought to solder some 3.5mm headphone jacks on to their wires to make hardware re assignable buttons?
Seems like a great option for tooless button reassignment (providing you an easy entry like a magnetic back on your joystick).

Currently I’ve got some quickconnects on the buttons but they sure are stubborn to get off. Very stubborn.
The quick connects and the plastic PCB board connects take a LOT of wiggling and pressure to get off.

It would be a really cool feature to have on a custom joystick I think, dynamic reassignment at the hardware level.
Perfect for indie/doujin PC games that don’t allow button reassignment.

This is mostly a question for people who use the Zero Delay encoders maybe it could be applied to a common ground too but you don’t have isolated wiring for those.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/24250185/Selection_002.png

So how does this look?
You can get bundles of 3.5mm extension cords super cheap on eBay and you get both ends this way.
Those usually have 2 wires, one you can use for power, the other for ground.
Sure many games let you reconfigure the buttons, but if you’re making a joystick it might be pretty badass to have this level of customization.
Welcoming other ideas, those quick connects just are a real pain and this seems a lot cleaner once done.


#2

Interesting idea, nice thinking out of the box.
Most would argue that what the Quick Disconnects are for.
I would of used those 2pin mini Molex connectors used for PC fans


#3

Not a bad idea.

Firstly, if you use ready made extension leads to get your jack plugs, the wire inside is normally enamel coated and is a complete pain in the butt to solder. Anyone that’s had to replace the jack on their headphones will tell you this. There are some tricks to removing it, such as using solder pots, heating it up on an aspirin tablet, burning the wire on the stove hob and using nail varnish remover to get rid of the resulting muck, but after trying to do 8 of them you are going to be saltier than a barnacle’s asshole.

You can use the wire you already have and just buy plugs and sockets in bulk from somewhere like Mouser, Farnell or Element 14. You can even use 2.5mm jacks to save space.

If you have common grounds, you don’t need to wire them into plugs. You can just wire the signal wires on their own and daisy chain the grounds. You don’t even need the plugs near the buttons: You could even put a patch panel beside the PCB and have the signal wires soldered to banana plugs that you can just repatch as you wish like an old telephone exchange while leaving the rest of the wiring loom neat and tidy.


#4

Like Darksakul said, good thinking out of the box.

However, I feel that this is rather redundant:
a) Quick Disconnects on one side are meant for somewhat easy removal
b) if you’re using the ZD Encoder, you have removable/swappable plugs on the other end of the wire
c) the 3.5mm headphone plugs/jacks across 6/8 face buttons is going to add a lot of free rattling weight in your case unless you ziptie them down. But then you won’t be able to do button reassignments
d) how often are you needing to reassign buttons? Why not take care of that in the software in-game?

A simpler and more practical design would have you add a distro board, and like Darksakul recommended, a 2pin Molex or JST connector for each button to this distro board. But with a ZD Encoder, the PCB itself is almost like a distro board already…


#5

Great thoughts guys.

I just mostly wanted to get people thinking about dynamic hardware configuration.
Most of my frustration comes from hard to pull out connectors and games that don’t let you remap joystick buttons.
The quick releases on my buttons probably take 5lbs of force plus wiggle to detach and the plastic connectors to the PCB have one way barbs that also take a lot of force and wiggle to detach.

Thanks for the ideas. I think a little patch panel inside could look really industrial and cool if done correctly!
You could simply keep the wires’ slack around the patch panel and use some velcro banding to keep them from swinging freely.

No reason a custom joystick can’t be shown like a fine car with interesting features!
Feel free to flesh out some ideas on that patch panel. I looked for ones that took banana plugs but didn’t seem to find the right thing.


#6

Like you, I’m a big fan of tool-less dynamic hardware swaps (see my ABS modular stick in my sig).

However, banana plug are probably much larger than you need, and needing a patch panel for ~16 banana plug receptacles is going to take up a lot of room.
Smallest and least intrusive would be a panel with a pin header soldered in, like these. Then you’d connect 2-pin connectors like these to each of your buttons. And have all your buttons connect to this modular sub-PCB, which is in turn then connected (however you want) to your main PCB.


#7

I totally forgot about pin headers!
You know, if both ends of connecting wires were female you could just use a clip of 2 prongs from the pin header to join them without soldering anything!

And your modular joystick is exactly the type of innovation there is still room for in the custom world.


#8

Rather than that, you can crimp on male pins into a 2-pin-header-housing, so that you end up with these.


#9

2 Pin headers, some pref board and make a button distribution board similar to what the TE had but with a different style connector.
That sounds like a WIN-WIN senario


#10

I’ll tell you what it sounds like a DARN good idea after playing Philosoma today with a Mayflash joystick that nearly destroyed my hand due to lack of button mapping. Weapon switching on my pinky finger, fire the 3rd button in, and bomb just above to the fire button.

This is hell on a shmup guy…
[unused] [bomb] [unused] [unused]
[unused] [fire] [unused] [weapon switch]

I have the ZD encoder that is for PS2 (wide plug) /PS3/PC (USB) and Xbox for PC (whatever that means I’ve not wired er up yet)
I’ll be using your ideas for sure.

Yeah, as long as I actually have games with garbage controls this will be excellent.

I’m sure most fighting games fans have a lot of games that let you remap buttons but man some of the shmups are rough in their mapping options.


#11

The problem in this specific situation is that the default button layout on the Mayflash is completely wacko. :smiley:
I’m sure if you were using a standard arcade stick button config, I think it might’ve turned out better.


#12

They aren’t as common, but you can get banana plugs in 1mm and 2mm form, much smaller than the regular 4mm ones which would be far too large as you said.

Pin headers are a great idea, and should be much easier to find