What else can you do with electronics besides building joysticks?

I’m an electronics noob, having only gotten into it with the launch of SF4 and the joystick craze. I’ve built two XBox 360-compatible Saturn controllers and recently finished my own custom-built stick (although I still plan to add light-up buttons once my LEDs arrive)

And now, well, I think all my video game controller needs have been satisfied–I really don’t have any reason to start building another stick. What else makes a good project for an electronics beginner? I’m a lot better at soldering now and I understand a lot more about how circuits work, but I don’t know what else I can use this stuff for! I know there are a lot of electronics geniuses that post here–what would you guys recommend?

(Check out the custom I built, btw!)


You could read books about electronic fundamentals (if you aren’t doing so already).
You could also try learning how to program PICs. Being able to program your own microcontroller can let you make a lot of fun projects.

I know you’re trying to do something non-stick project, but for my friend’s son’s first birthday I built him a [hideous looking] arcade stick. I programmed a microcontroller to make a different key note sound for each of the buttons and joystick movements. All of his presents were store bought gifts, but guess which one was his favorite? Guess which of all those toy’s he’s been playing with still? Soon, I will have to take it back and install a ps3 sixaxis into it so he can play with it for reals.

Want to make something not dealing with microcontrollers? For another friend of mine, for her birthday I took a stuffed tiger and upgraded it. I put orange leds in its eyes and a electric motor in its tail. As the switch, I used a reed relay in one paw and a magnet in the other. When the paws touch, the eyes glow and tail spins.

Just keep on reading more and more about electronics, and work on projects. The easiest way to think of a project to work on is to make a gift for a friend/family/significant other. Try to think of some type of project that relates to their likes.

nice stick, how did you mount your jlf? I dont know if its just the pics but that shaft looks like its sticking pretty far out.

edit: ^^^^ I just routed out a JLF-sized hole in the top of the inside of the box–the wood is about an inch thick. The JLF is about 22-23mm up, last time I did measurements.

That stuffed tiger sounds really neat and creative, actually!

I’ve looked at a couple beginner’s electronics books, but most of them include instructions like “Fabricate this weird metal piece somehow,” or require a lot of investment buying specific parts for each project. Are those Arduino sets worth looking into? I like the idea of building actual, usable stuff, not prototypes hooked up to my computer.

I’ve always wanted to buy one of the tripath amp kits from 41hz. Then order some speakers and build some crossovers and boxes for them. I don’t know if DIY audio is your thing though. Here is a basic example.

electronics built the world around you…
so the more exhaustive question is, what CAN’T you do with electronics.

pick something that interests you and try to learn on it. i’m currently working on a DIY electronic drum set. i already made one drum from a remo practice. works every bit as good as a $100+ store bought pad and it only cost me $15+ 20 minutes. i’ve been researching building a 200watt basshead for my 4 string.

afterwords i’ll be working on figuring out how to build a universal remote control. just for fun.

so…pick something you like and research it. you’ll learn as you go along :).

joy sticks are really just the tip of anything since it’s really just a soldering (the basic) and on occasion figuring out the resistance of trigger (moderate).

electronics really does get addicting :slight_smile:

have fun.

I don’t know much about the Arduino sets, but I know there are others on this forum that have experience using them.

I started out with this book for learning about PICs, 123 PIC Microcontroller Experiments for the Evil Genius and using the PICkit 1 Flash Starter Kit. IMO, I think its a great kit+book for beginners.

Hah, I was actually talking about an Evil Genius book above–I was looking at one that had plans to build a ray gun, but it kept asking me to build these oddly shaped metal pieces for it. Unfortunately, my tools tend more towards the woodworking end of the spectrum, and I can’t afford to buy myself a metal shop. I’ll keep an eye out for that microcontroller book when I head to the bookstore later, though. Thanks for the advice!

lol I know what you mean about the Evil Genius series. I’ve only seen 3 or 4 different ones from the series, and I have to say the microcontroller one has a lot of projects that you’ll easily be able to do.