Pad Hacking: Why Wired Controller over Wireless on the 360?

As my title suggest, why would I hack a wired controller instead of a wireless one to make my joystick for the 360?

The vast majority of articles suggest the wired controller and I’m not sure why.

By the way, new member to the forum and first post. I have been lurking around for a while though. :wink:

You don’t want your controller to die in the middle of a fight because your batteries ran out of juice.

A valid reason indeed, but are there any technical reasons?

  1. Common ground wireless controllers are uh less common, and common ground hacks are alot easier.
  2. Madcatz pads are much easier to mod, there are no wireless Madcatz 360 pads.
  3. You have to do some sort of battery mangement, like a play n charge plug in or external way to access the battery holder.

You can do it, but wired controllers are easy mode.

I switched from a Wireless (early) 360 controller to a Wired (Late) 360 controller.


  1. A lot easier to solder the TP points on the back.
  2. I don’t feel like dealing with the batteries and having them die on me.
  3. Easier to test the buttons as you go with a computer.

Check out RDC’s replies here

Testing wireless 360 pads is easy on the PC with the USB wireless controller dongle. Lets you use 360 wireless headsets on your PC as well.

So the problem of common ground isn’t solved with the 360 wired controller either. Thus it bottles down to easier testing and no battery management?

edit: there appears to be multiple versions of the 360 wired controller. is there a list or some way to identify them in the store?

There are wired common ground controllers. I suspect that’s the main reason alongside the battery problem and fears of lag (which have been mostly debunked on modern consoles). Some people add a port to their stick for the Play and Charge kit. That’s the most graceful way I’ve seen the battery situation handled.

There are also wireless common ground controllers, but its harder to know which is which in the store. I’ve heard the Black/White pads from Walmart+Sams are all common ground though, so if you want to score one thats your best bet.

Yeah, I don’t use wireless controllers, but (the pad-hacker guy) broke it down over in this post:

Pretty much. A dedicated wireless 360 or PS3 stick is actually pretty easy. The problem is when you want to do additional mods, like dual pcb mods or LED mods. With those, you have the same problem of difficulty finding a common ground version, AND the pain in the ass of dealing with power in a way that doesn’t drain the battery when not in use. It’s not an easy task, so the rule of thumb is:
If you want a wireless stick, it will be for only one system, with no additional mods.
If you want multi-system or LED mods, go wired.
Don’t even think about mixing and matching unless you’re already very accomplished at electronics.

also you can’t use wireless controllers at tournaments.

Thanks guys. This forum is really active and responses are so fast. Anyhow, looking at Nareg’s service it makes almost sense to just pay him to do it.

However, when you add up the cost it seems buying a MadCatz SE stick cost about the same. I’m in no way implying that Nareg’s service is expensive, in fact it seem a little cheaper than I expected.

edit: I didn’t know you could use them at tournaments and even worse, what is this battery drain when not in use? Is the power drain any worse than just an unmodified 360 wireless controller?

If all you are doing is wiring the buttons and directions to microswitches, then the power drain when in use and when not in use is identical to an unmodified pad.

All these halo 3 ones are common ground. They are all over ebay just type in “halo xbox 360 controller” or whatever.

Question: I forgot to order the 5 pin connector cable for my Sanwa JLF. Can I just use quick disconnects?

wired controllers are cheaper. Not only do you save on batteries but the pad costs less. Easier to hack on a common ground. And no need to dremel out the charge pack. It’s better imo but each to their own.

Probably, but if I was going to do that, I would apply a piece of heat shrink around each QD to prevent any chance of it touching the one next to it.

Just a tip.

Are the Black wireless pads common ground or do they vary?

Aside from battery issues and tournament restrictions it’s also easier to use the stick on a PC as you can just plug it in to the USB rather than getting a wireless receiver for it.