How To Build A Button box for PS3 and PC

****Update shifter and handbrake connection to the Cthulu PCB to be used in PS3****

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Preparation bench πŸ˜‰

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M6 Screws for mounting, (Left Handbrake connected to “O” button on the Cthulhu, and Right (purple) connected to L1+L2 buttons for shifting up and down

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Connection view with 2 PCB (BBI-32 and Cthulhu)

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***********QUICK UPDATE on the button box Side: (03 March 2012)****************

I’ve changed the button box’s face all together, not enough rotaries and buttons at the moment, so with the new face plate, I’ve added 11 more buttons (coming from SLI-PRO) and soon 3 push rotary Encoders into the box. picture below shows the plan and measurements. it is always good to use the rig from the buttons to place it where the buttons will go first before proceeding to drill the holes, as you can easily see whether or not you will like the layout.

Wiring it is a big challenge as now I’ve added around 26 wires that I have to terminate each end and when the 3 rotary encoders arrived.

I have 9 more wire to terminate which I have ready in the box. by then I will post tutorial of how to wire the rotary encoders and a little bit of assigning it on the SLI-PRO.

Full starting guide is below

Marcus

**************************************************************************************************************

Today I’m going to share with you how I make my button box that works both on PC as well as PS3.

For those that are not familiar with button box’s concept. it is a box/panel with buttons for quick access to your most important controls/ switches in-car during your sim racing.
for example: Changing Brake Bias to Forward or Back, setting fuel level during pit , tire, check lap time. position and Delta Time, Mute, Start Engine, Ignition, speed limiter , pit request etc.

Normally during gameplay you could assign this to your steering wheel, however to give it a bit more depth in realism, just like real race car, that use button box, well… like most race cars except open wheeler, I decided to built one this time.

If you own(ed) DFGT wheel, you know that you can change car settings live during gameplay in Gran Turismo 5 with the RA dial, but using a GT3 RS v2, gave no assignable buttons on the wheel in game except, Start, Select, Circle, and L1, this has been my main reason in PS3, and in PC, I built this for iRacing and rFactor.

On PC, it is pretty easy to assign these buttons to those request/ parameter, it is in game control settings, however in PS3, the only racing game I know of that allows secondary controller to act like controller 1 is Gran Turismo 5. ( if you don’t know: press PS button on that controller and assign it to controller 1 / the controller number of you steering wheel) and this needs only done once after PS3 starts.

The main board I used for this is a Toodles Cthulhu Boards that I purchased a while ago to make a Fight sticks for Street fighter(s) that works with PS3 and PC, now if you have old Fightstick that you are not using any more and they works with both systems feel free to use them as well, make sure you know which solder points are to which button.

The Cthulhu board is very straight forward, there are no solder points, as picture above. it uses a quick release points for all your wire, the boards are not labelled however they come with a very detailed instruction with picture explaining which socket does what.

an old creations, my proud and joy before I discovered Sim Racing.

I have more than enough of this PCB at my disposal, and because all my fight sticks works with PS3 and PC natively, so will this box.

To build this I use

  1. An ABS Project box with a dimension of 178 x 122 x 55mm, it is a very very thick and smooth looking box.
  2. 10 x Momentary buttons (apparently)weather proof. (Select, PS, L1, L2, R1, R2, Triangle, Square, Circle and X)
  3. 1 x Sanwa Button for Start Button
  4. a Missile switch to disconnect and power everything in the box (Just for added Look and Security)
  5. about 2 -3 m of Wire ( feel free to use wire from your CAT 5 Network cable , they work just fine, just make sure they are multi thread core as single core are hard to bend)
  6. 2 x Momentary 2 way toggle switch ( for directional Pad connection “Left”, Down” Up” right”)
  7. 1 x A4 sheet of 3M Di-Noc Carbon layer
  8. Quick disconnects, for connecting cable to those buttons

Once all the material above arrived , I drilled 11 x 13mm holes for the black buttons and missile switch on the faceplate according to the layout that I want, and another 30mm holes for the sanwa button., Cover the box with the 3M Di-Noc carbon layer and cut the drilled holes for buttons fitting and fit the buttons.

For the connection point, I made a square hole on the side so the PCB’s USB port stick out flushed on the side of the box for easy disconnection.
I crimped the quick disconnects to the wire as picture above for every single wire. leaving the end bit open for screwing it into the PCB Terminals.
connect your USB cable to your PS3 , pressed the home button and assigned it to controller 1 and THAT’S IT.

At the moment I am still waiting for 2 of the toggle switches to arrive before i complete this project, however during testing, every button works , and works really well.
I have been using this for 2 races in iRacing Last night and I must say they are so much better than finding that key on keyboard.
Here are some more pictures of the end result, I will post more picture in action and videos once the Toggle switch arrived. If you enjoy driving games and in to racing sims, a button box is going to be your help from time to time.

enjoy,

Marcus

2 Empty spots on top for toggle switches once they’ve arrived.

I’ve made Mounting Point for HumanRacing GT Chassis ...will post more pictures once finished, Β As Promised, the toggle switch are not here yet is now at the bottom picture, however the mount is finished, this is built from a piece of aluminium plate, M6 holes and screw nuts to the bottom of the box. turns out very solid.

As always if you’d like to thank me for creating these tutorials, guides and tips. please click on donate button on the right column to help keep this running, Thank you.

Overall time taken for this project is about 2 hours spread over 3 days. It has been a fun process Hope this helps you somehow πŸ™‚

Marcus

As promised , here is the video in action

+++++++++NEW UPDATE Β 30th JAN 2012+++++++++

Since I have went ahead and ordered an SLI-PRO from Leo Bodnar, I’ve managed to re-vamped this box to include an extra 2 holes for the rotary switch Β to adjust the SLI-PRO screen. I will keep this updated.

Here’s a bit more integration with the SLI PRO and Bodnar’s 12 pos Switch implemented.

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55 comments on “How To Build A Button box for PS3 and PC

  1. bram says:

    this is very nice. I have some questions though:

    – can I press the home button of my ps3 controller to assign this box, or does the box have a home button?
    – is there a possibility that the box isn’t connected right and that my PS3 can crash?
    – where can I get those Toodles Cthulhu Boards?

    Thanks,

    Bram (holland)

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Bram,
      The Cthulhu board have a PS button and D-padwhich you can use to assign controller number.
      The only way it will crash your ps3 is if you did not read the instruction and wire the ground button to the vcc port(you dont connect that port unless you are using led)

      The rest is very easy and straight forward. No solder and no mess.

      The cthulhu board should be still available from a forum member Of shoryuken.com called toodles.

      Regards,
      Marcus

      • bram says:

        thanks,
        I think I will give it a try.
        IΒ΄m not going to use leds, so that wont be a problem.

        Thanks again,
        Bram

  2. Steven says:

    Marcus, Love it! so much so I built one for my rig T500RS +Shifter built the button box for use with GT5.

    I have set it to controller one and when in b spec it all works fine and when navigating the menus in GT5 but!!! when I get in the driving seat the only button that works on the button box is the start button which then will not work on the button on my wheel!!!!

    I mainly wanted it for lights and wipers. So did you experience any issues when mapping the buttons in GT5? did you have an issue after the update maybe?

    I have checked all connection in the button box, every button is working and recgonised by the PS3 and GT5 just can’t use them when driving!

    Cheers

    Steve

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Steve,

      Glad to see you made a button box for GT5 as well, if they work in b spec then it should with a spec.
      I haven’t notice any changes with mine, spec II works fine.

      One thing that could cause this is maybe in setting did you configure the button box to be ds3 , you should go to controller (ds3) and assign your button from there ,not the wheel.

      Maybe if you post a youtube video i can see where the glitch are.let me know further if you can.

      Regards,

      Marcus

  3. Dear Marcus,

    I really like your Button Box. I currently own and operate a Logitech DFGT, I’m planning on purchasing a Thrustmaster T500 RS and from the looks of things, I’m most likely am going to need a Box.

    Have you heard of a Web Site called: The Way I Play? It would be a good way to get your Box out there along with InsideSimRacing. Here’s the Link: http://www.thewayiplay.com/

    Hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Don Simpson

  4. Dear Marcus,
    I’m currently using a Logitech DFGT and I’m very interested in building a box for myself because I’m planing on buying a Thustmaster T500RS and I won’t have the same button as on the DFGT as you well know. However, I’m not sure if I can build a box. I love electronics, just not Electronic Savvy. Is Building the Box Really that Easy to do?

    Thank you,
    Don “Carlton” Simpson

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Don,
      Im really glad you wanted to built one as well,
      The button box is not hard to do if you have the right PCB.

      If you manage to get the Cthulu pcb as mentioned in here, it is very easy as no solder or shorting anything out is needed, the board comes with quick screw terminal for connecting wires to the board.

      If you want to do pc racing only, then leobodnar.com sell pc for similar purpose as well.
      Electronically iy should be very straight forward.

      Good luck and keep us posted of how you went, im eager to see custom button boxes

      Sincerely,
      Marcus

      • Hi Marcus,

        I just purchased a PC/PS3 Cthulhu Board. I’m going to be asking you a bunch questions through out all this. So, I’m apologizing ahead of time for asking too many Questions.

        Thanks Again,
        Don

  5. r0gu3 says:

    Hi Don,

    Congratulations on acquiring the Cthulhu board I heard there are waiting list, No need to apologize, ask away and I will try my best to answer you.

    Your welcome,
    Marcus

  6. Marcus,

    I used the Godlike Controls Order Form, It didn’t show anything about any Back Orders. Well I’ll find out in about Two Weeks.

    Don

  7. Hi Marcus,
    I just received an E-Mail stating that the Board it’s on it’s way. I’ll let you know when I get all the Parts together. Oh!, The Yellow Button that you have in the Box? How do I find that?

    Don

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Donald,

      The yellow button I use was from the Fightsticks I used made, it is sanwa brand button you can acquire this from ebay, 30mm holes needs to be drilled on to the box to fit that hole. the button is meant to be “Engine Start” button, but I have plenty of spare sanwa button so I used that. I believe an “engin start” button would look very nice as well.

  8. Marcus,
    Ok, Thank you for that Info on the Sanwa button.

    Don

    • r0gu3 says:

      Your Welcome, hope your project run successfully, can’t wait to see it in video action. I’ve added couple of more rotary switch from Leo Bodnar’s SLI-PRO in the bottom picture, just waiting for my rotary cap to arrive then it will be complete.

  9. Scott says:

    Hi Marcus,

    I’ve been trying to figure this out on my own, but with no luck. I’m tech savvy, but not when it comes to wiring stuff. I’d like to try to build my own button box. I don’t think i need all the rotary switches as I’m only really going to try to play rFactor (both), GT5, Race 07, and if i buy another wheel Forza 4. So, my question is, there a way you could possible show how you wired your previous box using the Toodle Cthulhu PCB. I know i could just buy this box, but i have 90% of the parts already from projects I wanted to do, but never got to it.

    Hope this isn’t too confusing.

    Thanks

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Scott, toodles cthulu board are a screw in type therefore no soldering required, the Pcb have a terminal for wiring and 4 commin grounds, use any of the grounds for every button that you wire should easily do the trick , so 1 wire for ie. X button and 1 wire goes to the common ground , i would daisy chained it to save you from wiring 13 cables into geound screw in terminal,.
      I will post more when i get back home, replyIng frOm my phone right now
      Marcus

  10. Dennis says:

    hi, i really like your button box, however i’m a total noob with electronics.
    The question therefor is, will or could you make them to send out to interested buyers?

    I’m interested in the simple one, without LEDs and with the yellow button for pc
    Also how much would you charge + shipping
    I live in Ghent, Belgium

    many thanks!
    Dennis

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Dennis,
      Id like to build you one, but at the moment, my schedule is quite tight and ordering each part of the button box might take up to a month.
      shipping from Australia is very high with tracking, and I think if cost is what you want, it will cost me $50 just for shipping, that’s just what Australia post charge me, with the box , it will cost $100 on material alone(PCB box and buttons). Hence I do tutorial here so you can follow it.
      for PC If you are interested , RMK or Layne sim product, does custom box and they can quote you a better price as that’s what they do.

      Regards,
      Marcus

      • Dennis says:

        Thanks you for your swift reply. I’m sorry to hear it’s almost impossible to get one from you, but thanks for your time and the tips on the other providers!
        Cheers from Belgium

  11. Dennis says:

    Having read your instructions here, it gives me so much inspiration and drive to try this out myself πŸ˜€
    But before i do, i’d like to ask you this:
    – it has 20 terminals for wiring buttons to. Can you wire any kind of button to them? for example, switches and rotaries too or do they only support pushbuttons.
    – can i wire illuminated buttons to those terminals or does that need extra cabling or so? example, when i push the button, it lights up, when the button is inactive it’s dark
    – i read on the net the pcb has 4 ground terminals, do i NEED to ground anything at all or won’t the pcb work withouht grounding

    Thanks alot for your help, much appreciated!

  12. r0gu3 says:

    Hi Dennis,
    the 20 Terminals from Cthulu boards are for buttons only – I haven’t try connecting rotary encoders to it. the encoders I use are from the SLI-PRO , the SLI have rotary points for Switches and encoders. even so the number assignments are allocated ,see page 3 from the SLI PRO manual. (http://www.leobodnar.com/products/SLI-PRO/SLI-PRO%20User%20Manual.pdf) <- Manual.

    you may wire up illuminated buttons on the PCB however it require to use another terminal (already there) for extra Voltage, and in the Cthulu instruciton you are advised not to short them with the 4 grounds .

    the grounds are not for electrical, it is for each button, for each button there are 2 pins , one pin goes to the Data (ie cirlcle button or triangle or PS or START like in the PS3 controller) and another pin is to be wired to the Ground (the ground is common) so you may use 1 ground for all the buttons or you can use all of them, It will not make any difference.

    so when you press the button, inside the button the wires and ground is connected , that equal to button being pushed in the PS3 or PC.
    like so (http://www.google.com.au/imgres?q=diagram+of+button+SPST+switch&start=131&hl=en&client=safari&sa=X&rls=en&biw=1701&bih=1237&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=mz58-srtpLCImM:&imgrefurl=http://cnx.org/content/m40643/latest/&docid=LC3n7PJgziH2gM&imgurl=http://cnx.org/content/m40643/latest/Switch.png&w=2779&h=645&ei=4OEoUInaCY6eiQenvIFA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=74&vpy=1023&dur=670&hovh=108&hovw=467&tx=268&ty=69&sig=105104884571621479794&page=3&tbnh=41&tbnw=175&ndsp=66&ved=1t:429,r:41,s:131,i:248)

  13. Dennis says:

    Right, so Cthulu pcb supports 20 terminals with 4 of them grounds, but let’s say i wanted all of them eluminated, i could only install 8 eluminated buttons, because they use 2 terminals each and i couldn’t touch the 4 grounds. That’d be 8 eluminated ones and 4 normal buttons. I think i got that correct?

    Now i’m not following on your “grounds” explanation, as i’m a total and utter noob at eletronics πŸ˜€
    Each button has two pins: one goes to a terminal, the other to the grounds.
    For example 10 normal push buttons, that’s 10 pins each going to a terminal and the other 10 pins HAVE TO go to grounds? As there’re only 4 grounds, can i twist the 10 wires together and connect to 1 ground?

    Thanks again for your explanation!!
    I’m sure i will get there πŸ˜€

  14. Dennis says:

    Oh i forgot to ask about the rocketswitch! I saw it on the above pics.
    So can i presume that pcb for that button box wasn’t a Cthulu because you say it’s only for pushbuttons and the SLI Pro only supports them?

    • r0gu3 says:

      so basically, if you check the picture I just posted, how it have daisy chained ground cable all the way to one ground point, before you connect it to the point, you terminate one end to the missile switch and another cable coming from the other end of the missile switch to the ground point of the cthulu, therefor all the buttons wont engage/work without first turning on the safety toggle.

  15. Dennis says:

    The wire used should be multicore threaded. Anything particular i should look for in resistance, doube poled or anything like that?

    • r0gu3 says:

      I’ve only used multicore thread so far, however solid core (like from the network cable) works fine too. what I did to extend the length was , I use a CAT5e Cable for the network (the blue one usually) and inside there should be 8 wires, some times it have solid core depends on where you bought them , Ive used it before and they work fine too. good luck and let me know how you go. it should be a straight forward wiring once you got the cthulu board. lol all this talk makes me want to built another fightstick, not that I play anymore , thinking of buying a vewlix cabinet here in australia , and build my self a SFIV machine πŸ˜€

  16. Dennis says:

    It’s getting clearer by the minute! now all i need to do is order the parts πŸ™‚
    Going back to the missle switch. You’ve installed it so the whole button box will power up, but can we wire a missle switch to a Cthulu pcb so it works in game? like say traction control on and off or will those functions only work with pro sli’s?

    • r0gu3 says:

      the missile switch I had before is only for cthulu, as I can use one ground for 2 PCB (Cthulu and SLI-PRO) my current box don’t have that switch anymore.
      Missile/Safety switch is not momentary, ie they are like your light switch on the wall. when you flick it up , it stays up. while for in game use, you need to use momentary toggle switch and use the same missile cover, ie look for momentary toggle and look for missile cover and use them together.
      if you wire it(the momentary toggle switch) to one of the point in Cthulu ,i.e.: the circle button, then if you assign that in say rFactor to Traction control then it will function as you assigned them..

  17. Dennis says:

    Off course, that makes so much sense! I didn’t know there were momentary toggle switches πŸ™‚
    What i’m wondering now is, when the button is not touched, it’s in off mode, so when i lift it up or down, it’s in on mode. But as it’s a momentary switch it will return to off when you let go, right?

    So how does the button box stay active the whole time while racing (if the “powerswitch” is constantly returning to off mode when you let go)?

  18. r0gu3 says:

    ok , say you assign the momentary toggle to “ignition’ when you flip the toggle up it will ignite the vehicle, and when you flip it again it will turn off ignition. or if you use it for Traction control. 1 flip to turn on and flip again to turn off. (Just like a keyboard key. if you press it continuously, like a non-momentary, it will act like the same key are repeating all the time)

  19. Dennis says:

    I waited till all of this was cristal clear, because in the list of things you used for the button box it’s not clear what kind of missle switch it is. In any case, thanks alot for your help and patience!

    I will order all the parts and get to work, shortly…

  20. Dennis says:

    Awesome, i’m orderering as we speak…
    Thanks again and i will keep you updated on the progress of completion of the box πŸ˜€

  21. Dennis says:

    Right, another thing popped in my mind πŸ™‚
    The four ground terminals, can i also connect a button to those or are the solely for grounding?

  22. Dennis says:

    Well, it’s finally finished. I got all the parts in this week but had to wait for a friend of mine to drill the holes.
    It’s not without it’s beauty flaws, but pretty decent for a first timer.
    The ten black pushbuttons had to be soldered because the pins are very small.
    I followed your instructions to the letter. I also have a ground loup to my missile switch, so that it turns the whole box on.

    I’m not sure i’ll pimp it with carbon fibre because the thread used wat single core and i’m afraid if i open the box too much some of them will break off.
    I’ll get carbon fibre on the second one i build…

    Here are some pics:
    foto2

    I want to thank you again for all your help and patience with me! πŸ˜‰
    It’s very much appreciated!

    • r0gu3 says:

      Oh Wow that is awesome. Looks really good with the t500 mate. Well done. Now all it needs maybe black lable for each button.
      Congratulations, it must felt good creating this. Love it. I m guessing works perfectly with ps3 and pc right. Congratulations again. πŸ˜€

  23. Dennis says:

    Right, it’s finished! Here’s the final pictures
    foto

  24. r0gu3 says:

    Reblogged this on Marcushwang's web log and commented:

    Additional connections for Frex Shift + and Frex HB+, to work with GT5 in PS3

  25. Helder Miranda says:

    Hi Marcus,
    This button box looks amazing!!!
    Just one question: Will the sli pro you installed work on PS3?

    Thanks
    Helder

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Helder,
      Thanks for the compliment, unfortunately SLI-PRO is for PC only.
      if you are making one for PC though , SLI- PRO and the BBI-32 (from bodnar website) is one of the best and easiest one to use.
      Regards,
      Marcus

  26. Pedro says:

    This Sounds maybe a Little Bit egoistic, but can you make such a ps3 buttonbox? With the Maximum of Buttons on a ps3-gamepad?
    Nice project πŸ˜‰

    • r0gu3 says:

      Hi Pedro,
      I dont’ understand your question. sorry what do you mean by” with a maximum of buttons on a ps3 gamepad”? these controllers are PS3 specific and have all the buttons a PS3 have except the dual analogue stick.

  27. Jon says:

    Hello Marcus,

    Great job! a IΒ΄m right now how you were at the start, waiting components to coming home! I only need to buy Adapter board for Discovery.

    One question, in component list, you say that you need an Adapter board for Discovery… and I wish to know, if this component is really necessary.

    Thank you for your.

    Regards.

    • r0gu3 says:

      no it’s not necessary, they area available for easy mounting, but without it works too, I did mine without, but bought one just in case.

  28. Don Simpson says:

    Hi Marcus, Been a Longtime. I have a problem that I hope you can help me with. If you remember the Button Box that I Built that is similar to yours? Well I’m having a problem with the 2 Toggle Switches. I’m using them as Directional Controls. My problem is, every time I use the Toggle Switches by 2 increments instead if 1 increment.

    Here are my Questions:
    1 Have you ever had this Problem? If so, how did you fix it?
    2 What kind of Toggle Switches do you use as Directional Controls and where would I be able to buy them?

    Thank you in Advance.
    Don

  29. Jake says:

    Hey Marcus, I was wondering if you could help me. I have a David Clark C10-15 PTT button and was wondering how exactly you have yours hooked up to act like a button.

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