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BlueCubeMod: Bluetooth GameCube Controller Mod Kit

Convert your GameCube controller to Bluetooth for playing on the Switch, emulators and more

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THE PROBLEM I'M TRYING TO SOLVE:
I love Smash Ultimate on the Switch and also love the feel of an Original Nintendo Gamecube Controller, but there wasn’t a great wireless option I was happy about. Nintendo still somewhat supports the GameCube port but I think Bluetooth is the best way to future proof what many believe is one of the best controllers ever made. This is a great mod even for beginners, there’s just a little bit of soldering required to hack your own. And if you’re hardcore, the board files and firmware are available. My plan here with the Hackaday Prize is to gather the resources to develop and ship a great mod kit at a reasonable cost. I have a few early versions I’ve been putting to the test and I am satisfied with the results, its currently my go to controller for playing Smash Ultimate online. My goal is to have a few kits to sell on Tindie in June.

How it works:

BlueCubeMod uses an ESP32PicoD4 on a custom board that fits perfectly inside your controller, allowing for USB charging and power to replace where the cable once was. Rumble is not supported in the mod, and a LiPo battery can replace the motor, or for larger batteries, placed in a handle. After soldering in the battery and data lines from the controller, the ESP32 communicates with the GameCube controller, requesting button reports. The device runs as an Bluetooth Joystick, which can connect to and control a variety of devices. All code and board files have been posted.

Heres some demos of Switch as well as Mac/PC support.

Like this project for a chance to win a modded controller!

BCMCap.stl

3D printable piece to secure mod in place

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 309.85 kB - 05/25/2019 at 05:47

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BoardFiles.zip

Gerbers + Eagle files

Zip Archive - 164.21 kB - 05/02/2019 at 20:05

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Adobe Portable Document Format - 31.99 kB - 05/02/2019 at 20:04

Preview
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Zip Archive - 14.10 kB - 04/29/2019 at 10:46

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BlueCubeMod Wiring.png

Controller wiring diagram

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 990.09 kB - 04/18/2019 at 22:34

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  • 1 × ESP32-PICO-D4 RF SoC
  • 1 × STBC08 Power Management ICs / Power Supply Support
  • 1 × 10K Resistor 0402
  • 1 × 8bitdo Wireless Adapter
  • 2 × 4.7k Resistor 0402

View all 21 components

  • Securing BlueCubeMod in place

    NathanReeves05/25/2019 at 05:45 0 comments

    If you’re reading this, thanks for supporting my hack! 

    To secure the BlueCube mod in place, I’ve designed a 3d printable piece that uses a 3/8" #2 screw to tap into the post that the cable used to wrap around. Works great. 3d model is available in files.

    What I'm working on next:

    • Step by step instructions
    • Taking pictures and setup Tindie store
    • Assembling 10 beta kits for Tindie

    Don't forget to like the page for a chance to win a controller. You have 1 week left!

  • Make your own BlueCubeMod, added firmware & PCB files, battery design

    NathanReeves05/02/2019 at 19:48 0 comments

    BlueCubeMod firmware is now on GitHub: https://github.com/NathanReeves/BlueCubeMod

    If you have your own esp32 dev board and a gamecube controller you can try this out right now:

    I’ve added the PCB files which contain a few updates from the previous board:

    -Onboard USB to UART programmer w/ auto program 

    -Blue LED tied to GPIO34

    -Slimmed USB port

    -New vertical switch


    Battery Design:

    The 700 mah batteries I could find didn’t fit well in vibration motor slot. For this to work, the battery needs to be smaller than 15x30x20mm. 

    Another idea I’ve been working with is putting the battery in the controller handle. This would allow a larger battery, at the cost of making the controller off balance.  

    Pros/Cons:

    500 mah battery(9x30x20mm):

    -4 hour battery life

    -removes vibration motor

    -balanced

    1000 mah battery(10x35x30mm):

    -8 hour battery life

    -keep vibration motor

    -off balance

    I can offer both options for kits, let me know what you think.

    What I’m working on next:

    I need to create a mount that will help secure the mod in place. My idea is to 3d print a cap that screws onto the post that goes through the board:

    Now that I have a final board design, I’ll be getting things ready for a small run of kits to sell on tindie.

    If you like this project, don’t forget to hit the like button for a chance to win a modded controller. Winner chosen June 1st.

    I would love your feedback, if you have something to say let me know!

  • Added Schematics, Wiring Diagram, Components

    NathanReeves04/18/2019 at 23:08 1 comment

    I added the current working version of the schematics. I've been testing these designs with no issues. I also added a parts list, here's a link to the project on the Mouser website where I get my parts: 

    https://www.mouser.com/ProjectManager/ProjectDetail.aspx?AccessID=a8b03ec8d2

    Parts come in at $15.52 not including the battery

    Here's a rough wiring diagram to give you an idea of how the mod works

    The final battery is actually 700mah. With the current hardware I estimate a 6 hour playtime but haven't timed it irl. I currently can play a couple hours/day for 3-4 days before needing a charge.

    Coming soon:

    I'm making some final adjustments to the board shape so expect to see the PCB files soon. I get my boards from OSHPark, the design has been no problem to manufacture.

    Stay tuned for when I release my code and my plans for manufacturing and distribution...

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Discussions

d wrote 6 hours ago point

This is all awesome work! I’d love to have the option of haptics, even most people decide to put the battery where the vibrator is for simplicity. Personally I’d do a battery in each handle (although the complexity of two batteries is admittedly annoying) and use the extra juice to get the vibrator running with a small boost circuit from pololu that does 3.7 to 5v if that’s even needed.  Does the software stack support vibration, and the limitation was simply the motor vs battery question? Or is there a more fundamental issue with the communication stack?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Fares Delvalle wrote 06/05/2019 at 11:40 point

placing two batteries one on each handle will help the controller become more balanced and you can still keep the vibration with longer battery life.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Clara Hobbs wrote 05/25/2019 at 12:32 point

Neat idea, but if you drop that controller, won't the USB connector tab break clean off?

  Are you sure? yes | no

NathanReeves wrote 05/25/2019 at 16:31 point

Yeah it definitely could happen, with the right angle and drop height. I’ve dropped mine straight on the connector twice without issues 

  Are you sure? yes | no

ashwin.venkat wrote 05/11/2019 at 05:06 point

For the antenna I noticed that there is no tuning circuit, I want to do something like this but stopped after I realised that I don't know how to tune it. Your project gives me hope

  Are you sure? yes | no

NathanReeves wrote 05/11/2019 at 20:21 point

Thanks! This antenna doesn’t require an external matching network which is nice

  Are you sure? yes | no

ashwin.venkat wrote 05/13/2019 at 18:08 point

Awesome! Thanks for sharing this information

  Are you sure? yes | no

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