Need Help Building PS3 Controller For Disabled Friend


I work in an assisted living home taking care of those with developmental disabilities. One of the clients is a good friend of mine and he love video games. The problem is, he doesn’t have the physical ability to play most games. One hand and arm is pretty useless, the other can grip and move well enough to use joy sticks and buttons, but he lacks the find motor skills to play one-handed with a normal controller.

What I have been looking for is a controller he can use, but all of the large controllers I have found are either very expensive ($150+, outside of his budget,) or wouldn’t fit his needs.

What I have found is a cool DIY project that I could easily do myself, but I want to change it a bit and I have no idea if it is possible.

This is the project that I found. It takes a Super Nintendo Super Advantage controller and makes it into a USB controller for the PS3. Someone suggested that use a Madcatz fightstick controller instead, and I am looking into that possibility as well.

I want to know how I can attach or connect a second controller that would be recognized as the same controller. For example, if my friends controller is controller 1, so would be the attached one I am using. This would allow me to play with him and cover anything he is able to do.

The idea is to have a controller that he can do a few things with, like move, aim, shoot, and jump, while I cover everything else and make up for anything he can’t do.

Also, he likes games like the James Bond games, Borderlands, and Metal Gear Solid. The controller will need to be able to play those.

Can anyone help me find out if what he needs is possible? Your help would be greatly appreciated.


It is possible, it take time, skill and some out-of-the-box-thinking

Instead of using the Tensey you can take a look here.
it save you on the effort of programing the board

Mad Catz TE would not be bad as it has a selector switch for Left analog, D-pad and right analog.

You might want to put a weaker spring or a heaver ball top on the Sanwa JLF if you go the Mad Catz route.
Not that long ago we had a forum member who was disabled designed his own mods for his stick

Maybe a Flight Stick would help as it has buttons mounted to it

That is also possible, several things come in mind like using a Toodles FG Converter Widget and a SNES or Sega Saturn game pad.


My friend donated a Mad Catz Fightstick. I haven’t seen it yet, but it sounds pretty perfect. If it works out, all I would need to do is figure out how attach a second controller.


The wiring inside those things is pretty straightforward, if you want to just break out/mirror the signals to a secondary control pad or something. The problem is that you won’t be able to have simultaneous Right/Left analog stick and D-Pad motion, because you have to switch between one of the three. Replacing the “smarts” of a stick with a custom board, or even breaking out the signals from another controller and then wiring those up to the fightstick buttons, would probably end up being your best bet, but most of the games you listed require simultaneous R/L stick input for moving and aiming, which won’t really be possible with the default control board in a fightstick.

Good luck!


Were also talking about this being a one-handed game controller for a individual who has use of only one arm.

Tricky part is CalebTGordan here is doing this all on a Budget. Being given a Mad Catz stick frees up the budget a bit.

Once you get the stick, try to see if you can use it 1 handed before seeing what works with your friend.


I don’t want to stifle your idea right off the bat but I don’t think you can wire a normal controller with thumb sticks to work with a fight stick. You will have control over the d-pad, left stick, or right stick but I’m not sure if you can do 2 at a time. I also doubt wiring a regular controller into a fight stick will be that straight forward unless it is also common ground (some one correct me if I am wrong please), and I don’t know if they make controllers like that. Another thought is that he wants to play shooters not fighters, so what about this idea. I did an experiment a while ago with an afterglow controller. It uses ribbon cable to attach the thumb sticks to the pcb. I used a desoldering iron and took it off of the pcb and took the ribbon out of the sticks pcb piece. I then soldered in about 16" of wire i got from an old net cable. I pluged it into my laptop(it is super old and almost useless so I wouldn’t say use your pc) and went to the control panel. The stick worked fine and would return to a neutral position. So if you are willing to pay for the afterglow controller one like this, it was an older model then you could put the pcb from the afterglow controller into the Mad Catz stick case. Then wire up the buttons from the stick to the controller. Wire the Mad Catz’s fight stick to the d-pad of the controller pcb. Then remount the two thumbsticks wherever he wants them. This way he has all the control sticks and d-pad where he/she wants them? The afterglow only has 3 grounds between all the buttons and the two thumb sticks pcb’s have holes on them which you could use to mount them with small screws. Just an idea to mess with, Gl.


There are plenty of controllers that are common-ground (plenty of Mad Catz and Hori controllers are).


Google didn’t find any results for controllers (hor/madcatz) with 2 thumb sticks (like a ds3) that were also common ground. Can you list a couple, unless you just meant fight pads. Those wont really work for a shooter.


Whoops, I’m sorry, I missed the part where it say “for PS3”. I was thinking for 360, since that’s pretty much the platform that everyone’s really concerned about common ground stuff and all.

On that line of though, considering all of Hori’s other controller and stick PCBs, I’d be very surprised if their FPS Assault Pad ( is not common ground.

Though at this point, it would depend what the OP wants to do: essentially, if he wanted to rig up a “2-controller-setup”, there’s basically two choices since he’s been given a Mad Catz stick:

  • have the joystick as the “main” unit, and have an extension controller to mirror the stick’s inputs
  • have the controller as the “main” unit, and have the stick mirror the controller’s inputs
    Both setups have their drawbacks, though.


If he has the skill, and enough money to order 2 of those afterglow’s I put above (the red is only $17). He could wire one controller to the other pretty easy since they both have the same grounds. I also suggest this because it is kinda hard to use the stick and hit buttons on a fight stick (I don’t own an “official” stick of any kind but from pics it looks like it would be tough unless you have big hands). This way he could mount both sticks from the controller in the palm area of the mad catz. Or make a mount point where either stick could be mounted and switched out, for stick control and button access. He could even lay the controller wired into the fight stick on the ground and use his foot for the left stick, have the right stick in his palm and all 8 buttons right there at his fingers(d-pad on the fight stick). Really this doesn’t sound like a bad idea. When I was messing with my afterglows, I used one thimbstick detached from a controller and soldered it into the pcb of the other thumbstick on another afterglow. So i had one thumbstick going through another then to the main controller pcb and everything worked fine. Just some more ideas to shoot around.


Wait so he has just one arm or two arms and one hand? What about if you rigged a joystick in a way that he could use the arm without a hand to move it around? Some sorta attachment/handle? If I’m misunderstanding the situation, ignore me :3


You know what I am thinking, we need a multi button flight stick, most if the buttons are in reach of the joystick and have this set on a sturdy base (like the Mad Catz TE) with additional Push Buttons.

The 2nd controller could have its encoder chip gutted out and wired to the same inputs as the Stick. You have to use a 25 pin printer cable and a Panel mount DB 25 connector.


The Cerberus pcb is capable of handling two analog sticks and dpad. Food for thought if you need a pcb for ps3 that can have those three inputs all at the same time unlike the fight stick pcbs where its only one at a time.


Wow, I missed most of this conversation.<br><br>I am getting the donated controller on Monday. I was waiting to get my hands on it and test it before I came back here and sought help for the next step.<br><br>I had an idea though that I want to get some feedback on. <br><br>Is there any way to trick the PS3 into thinking two controllers are both controller 1 and still have both controllers work?<br><br>What about a device that two USB controllers plug into that then plugs into the PS3 and tells the PS3 that they are both the same? For example, I plug controller A and controller B in to this device and it tells the PS3 that both of them are controller 1.<br><br>Would that be doable? If so, wouldn’t that be better?<br>


sound like you want to do this<br><br><br><br>or this<br><br><br><br>both will help you archive your goal. I love making a custom solution for disabled children so the can have fun with others and not feel isolated. Puting a smile on a child’s face is heart-warming. That is why I do what I do.<br>