Toy manufacturers are releasing children's toys which mimic items a child may see in later life. Often in bright colors with smiley faces, they are so cute! But they're usually not functional other than for novelty. Why not make them work as their more functional counterparts?

This guide will show you how to turn a Fisher-Price sensory toy into a fully-functional USB controller compatible with Nintendo Switch, as well as devices supporting XInput and DirectInput USB controllers. You'll only need basic soldering skills and the ability to drag-and-drop a file to program the microcontroller.

The Adafruit KB2040 microcontroller, running a custom build of the open-source GP2040-CE firmware, is used here to bring this controller to life.

Fisher-Price conveniently provided easily solderable test points for every button on the PCB, making it seem as if this pretend controller was destined to become a real one.

Features

  • Selectable USB input modes: XInput, DirectInput, and Nintendo Switch.
  • Standard button mapping: D-pad, plus five buttons (A, B, X, Y, and Start).
  • Simulated analog: Front switch sets the D-pad to be left analog stick.
  • Speaker Muting: A rear switch modification is used to mute the speaker.

Materials & Tools

  • Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Game Controller
  • An Adafruit KB2040 microcontroller
  • 10 x 6in jumper wires (Thin 30 AWG wire wrap recommended)
  • Heat shrink (optional)
  • A soldering iron and solder
  • A hot glue gun with glue stick
  • A drill and 9/64 in drill bit (3.57mm)
  • Flush angled cutter pliers
  • 3D printed cutting jig (optional)
  • A multimeter (optional)
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • USB-C cable

Materials from Adafruit

Angled shot of short black microcontroller.
A wild Kee Boar appears! It’s a shiny KB2040! An Arduino Pro Micro-shaped board for Keebs with RP2040. (#keeblife 4 evah) A lot of folks like using Adafruit...
Large spool of Rainbow Wire Wrap Thin Prototyping & Repair Wire
This stuff is called "wire-wrap wire" because it used to be used for wire-wrapping high-speed digital circuits on a special kind of contact board. It's pretty rare to see...
USB Type A to Type C Cable - approx 1 meter / 3 ft long
As technology changes and adapts, so does Adafruit. This  USB Type A to Type C cable will help you with the transition to USB C, even if you're still...

If needed/desired:

Array of many colorful heatshrink tubes.
Heat shrink is the duct tape of electronics which I guess makes this heat shrink the colorful and exciting duct tape they sell at craft stores.  This heat shrink comes in six...
Red and black diagonal flush cutters
These are the best diagonal cutters, large super-comfortable grip to use and have strong nippers for perfect trimming of wires and leads. I've used my pair every day for years.
Angled shot of a Digital Multimeter - Model 9205B+.
This massive multimeter has everything but the kitchen sink included. It's a great addition to any workbench or toolbox.  It's low cost, simple to use, and has a big clear...

This guide was first published on May 10, 2023. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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