The Arduboy is a wonderful little open-source, Arduino-based, pocket-sized game machine -- but what if you want to use a full-sized joystick and buttons with it? You can, and it's surprisingly easy!! 

I wanted to do this for fun, and to play the great Space Invaders-like game Picovaders. But you can also use these techniques in assistive technology to make the Arduboy accessible to people who have limited/impaired use of their thumbs for fine motor control. All sorts of buttons and switches can be substituted for the on-board controls.

Parts & Materials

Here's what you'll need to add a joystick and two buttons to the Arduboy:

1 x Arduboy
Pocket-sized, open source game system
1 x Arcade Joystick
Snappy eight-way joystick with microswitches
1 x Arcade Button - red
30mm Translucent

You'll also want a box of some kind for your enclosure/stand. This can be a cigar box, as shown here, a cardboard box, or maybe you'll make your own design for 3D printing, laser cutting, or CNC milling!

Tools

  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Small Philips screwdriver
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Drill with three bits sized:
    • 1-1/4" Forstner bit for buttons
    • 3/8" drill bit for joystick shaft
    • 5/32" drill bit for joystick screw mounts
  • Two M4 screws and nuts to secure joystick
  • Utility knife
  • Chisel (optional for making wiring stand hole)
  • Scrap wood and wood glue (optional for making Arduboy dock/stand)

This guide was first published on Nov 15, 2017. It was last updated on Nov 15, 2017.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Jun 16, 2021.

Text editor powered by tinymce.