Sunday, September 9, 2012

Guitar Hero 2 Controller Mod (and Kinesis Advantage Pedal) (2007)

In 2007, one of my roommates got Guitar Hero 2 and I was blown away.  We spent endless hours playing solo and co-op, as thousands of others have doubtlessly done.

However, one thing annoyed me.  Though I preferred to use the tilt sensor (instead of the select button) to launch star power, I found that it was not sensitive enough when sitting down, and too sensitive when standing up.  I wanted to fix that.  I also thought it would be cool to be able to launch star power with a foot pedal.  Around the same time I was also thinking of making a DIY pedal for my keyboards, which are Kinesis Advantage keyboards, so I sought to combine both endeavours and solve both issues at once.

Though pictures of this build are scarce, and I look back in shame upon the pedal's craftsmanship, I cut myself some slack since this was my first post-graduation electronics project.  I scrounged up what few materials I had around, leftovers from some condo destruction, and made shift, as they say.

My ergonomics-testing station, to see if the selected switch does the job.
About to test with a variety of footwear.
Up next, sneakers.
Sneakers: pass.
The classical IKEA makeshift sawhorse.  The downstairs neighbours were good about the sawing noise.
I have no pictures of the completed pedal by itself, so I will skip a head and show a completed picture with the controller:

Finished product.  The far button on the pedal launches star power, and the closer pair allows you to strum with your feet.
I wired up the electronics with a phone jack in such a way as to be able to use the pedal with both my Kinesis keyboards and the Guitar Hero controller.

The usual place for a workshop - on top of the dishwasher, between the fruit and the cacti.
Male phone jack connects to the pedal.
While I had the controller open, I unsoldered the tilt sensor from the circuit board, connected it with soft wiring back to the traces on the circuit board, and glued the tilt sensor to the back of a potentiometer I added to the controller face:

Tilt sensor adjustment.
In order for the range of potentiometer adjustments to make sense, I modified the pot casing to restrict the available range of motion.  This was done by slotting the casing with a cutoff wheel and pushing the notched material inwards, to create a new "stop" for the wiper assembly.

Notched casing.
Another view angle.  This notch will be pushed inwards to block the wiper assembly from turning too far.
Normal pot, by its disassembled cousin.
The notch has been pushed inwards.
The new stop.
Reassembled potentiometer, now with a bit less than 180 degrees of motion.
Final glamour shot.

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