Turn Your Xbox Controller Into A Full-Fledged Console Using Raspberry Pi Zero


Someone has carved up an original Xbox controller and stuffed a slice of Raspberry Pi inside it. The result is a controller that can serve as a console for emulators and classic games.

Self-described long-haired geek and hardware hacker Terence Eden got the bright idea to leverage one of the newly launched Raspberry Pi Zeros to make a gamepad into a console.

“Ok, so what can I do with a wafer-thin Linux box,” says Eden on his blog. “I had thought of turning it into a simple door sensor, or perhaps wiring it in to a light switch, or swallowing it to see if I would get super powers. Then it struck me — turn it into a games console!”

Eden notes that Raspberry Pi computers have been used to turn game controllers into game consoles. But his twist was to back the credit card-sized computer right into a gamepad, an idea thought up by his wife.

The project called for a USB on-the-go cable, a 2 amp USB power supply, a mini HDMI adapter, a microSD card, a Raspberry Pi Zero, an original Xbox controller and a standard compliment of repair tools for electronics.

Excluding the cost of the controller, which he had laying around, the project cost less than $30. The Raspberry Pi Zero only cost $5, a fraction of the price of its less powerful predecessors.

The Zero has onboard ports for audio and video, which can be attached to a TV or monitor to display the games, its Broadcom BCM2835, 1 GHz ARM11 core processor and its half gig of RAM. And being one of the world’s best gamepads, despite the bulky size of the original, the Xbox controller handles the player input.

“The Raspberry Pi Zero is, without exaggeration, a marvel,” Eden says. “When I was a kid, computers were unreasonably expensive.”

 For those looking to try this out or to start their own project with the Raspberry Pi Zero, the first batch of the programmable pocket computer has sold out. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is cooking up a second batch, but that $5 price tag has apparently pushed up the demand for the tiny computers.

Check out Terence Eden’s blog linked above for more details on Pi-powered gamepad.