I play games on my couch in front of 72" projector screen. I love FPS and hate keyboards, so Steam Controller was a good compromise.
Until the right touchpad of my Steam Controller wore off. And, to be honest, as hard as i tried i never learned to aim with touchpad+gyro in shooters. That became obvious when i started to play PUBG. So i switched aiming back to mouse with my right hand.
But using a keyboard again? Over my dead body! I love Steam Controller's thumb-stick for movement. And i can hold the controller quite stable just with the left hand, the other side resting on my lap.
The only problem with games like PUBG is there are so many key bindings, which you need to use quickly or you are dead. There are four pretty buttons ABXY, unfortunately unreachable by left thumb.
Looking at those buttons an idea was conceived: to move them to the left side.
Here is the result.
Two front buttons are XA (my visual memory works better), they are close to each other enough for the thumb to be placed in the middle and push one or another just by a quick twist.
Two bottom buttons are YB, they are far enough to be pushed by separate fingers, which are underused on Steam Controller anyways. Left grip button still works fine and the left battery can be replaced with no problems.
The original ABXY buttons are disabled now, but i believe it's possible to make them work along with the "clones". This will be project's next task.
TORX T6 screwdriver
To take apart the controller.
mini PCB momentary switches
"12*12*4.3MM Quality Mini PCB Momentary Tactile Push Button Switch SPST LW". These were the thinnest tactile buttons i could find on Ebay, 10pcs for $1.19.
old iPhone charging cable
Dissected to get the thin wires.
With a sharp tip to make tiny soldering and holes in plastic.
Thanks god it exists, made tiny soldering so much easier!
To get thin wires, i've cut and dissected an old iPhone charging cable. Unfortunately i found only 4 wires there, so i had to reuse one color for the ground.
I figured out with a multimeter that the outer circle is a ground terminal and the inner star is the "action" terminal. When an original button is pushed down, it's rubber pad connects both and triggers an action.
Luckily, every inner star has one "exit" from the outer circle. This is where i could solder a wire. Soldering paste saved my life: with a regular solder i wouldn't have managed to solder in such a thin area without touching the ground too!
I had to disable the original buttons by insulating the terminals, because they were making the controller crazy. I believe it's possible to make them work along with the "clones". This will be project's next stage.
For the ground, i chose a wider metal edge one the left side of the circuit board.
This is what happens when i use a regular solder... The bump didn't seem to obstruct anything, so i left it there.
Placing the front buttons
I used a soldering iron and a pricker to make the holes.
I chose 12 x 12 x 4.3 mm momentary switches, the thinnest buttons i could find on Ebay.
Pins of the buttons squeezed through the holes tightly, buttons look stable after i bent the pins inwards. If it loosens up later, i'll use a glue.