Make a game or robotic controller with this Joy-ful FeatherWing.This FeatherWing has a 2-axis joystick and 5 momentary buttons (4 large and 1 small) so you can turn your feather board into a tiny game controller. This wing communicates with your host microcontroller over I2C so it's easy to use and doesn't take up any of your precious analog or digital pins. There is also an optional interrupt pin that can alert your feather when a button has been pressed or released to free up processor time for other tasks.

This FeatherWing features Adafruit Seesaw technology - a custom programmed little helper microcontroller that takes the two analog inputs from the joystick, and 5 button inputs, and converts it into a pretty I2C interface. This I2C interface means you don't 'lose' any GPIO or analog inputs when using this 'Wing, and it works with any and all Feathers! You can easily stack this with any other FeatherWing because I2C is a shared bus. If you have an I2C address conflict, or you want to connect more than one of these to a Feather, there are two address-select jumpers so you have 4 options of I2C addresses

There's an optional IRQ (interrupt) line that you can use if you'd like the Wing to let you know when a button has been pressed. Since its optional (and most Feathers are perfectly happy polling the Wing for data) we left a bunch of solder jumpers so you can select what pin has the IRQ on it. Or just leave it disconnected!

We have an Adafruit Seesaw library for Arduino, Python and CircuitPython so you can get started with the Joy FeatherWing in a jiffy.

Power and Reset Pins

The power to the Joy Featherwing comes from the host Feather's 3.3V regulator, 3.3V and ground are both required and are highlighted above

The Feather's Reset pin ends up coming from the left-most circled pin and connects to the on-board reset button. This is great for resetting when you have the Wing on top

I2C Data Pins

All data and control is done over I2C so it works with any and all Feathers! SDA and SCL are highlighted above. There are 10K pullups to 3.3V on each.

I2C Addressing

Because multiple featherwings of all kinds can be stacked, the I2C address can be changed if necessary. The Joy Featherwing's default I2C address is 0x49, but soldering jumpers A0 and/or A1 can change this:






0x49 (default)










Optional Interrupt Pin

Soldering one of the jumpers for the optional interrupt will connect that pin of your Feather to the interrupt line on the Joy Featherwing. This will allow your Feather to know whether a button has been pressed or released without having to read each button over and over in a loop.

Each Feather has different pin names/numbers so check your mainboard for which pin you want to use then solder that jumper closed

Prepare the header strip:

Cut the strip to length if necessary. It will be easier to solder if you insert it into a breadboard - long pins down

Add the FeatherWing:

Place the featherwing over the pins so that the short pins poke through the two rows of breakout pads

And Solder!

Be sure to solder all pins for reliable electrical contact.

(For tips on soldering, be sure to check out our Guide to Excellent Soldering).


Start by soldering the first row of header

Now flip around and solder the other row completely

You're done with the two header strips.


Check your solder joints visually and continue onto the next steps

OK You're done! You can now plug your FeatherWing into your Feather and get your JOY on! 

Adafruit seesaw Library

To use with the Arduino IDE, you will need to install the Adafruit_seesaw library (here's the Github repository.)

It is available from the Arduino library manager so we recommend using that.

From the IDE open up the library manager...

And type in adafruit seesaw to locate the library. Click Install

Running the Example Code

The library comes with a Joy Featherwing example to get you started fast. Plug the Wing into the Feather and connect the Feather to your computer with the USB cable.

Open the Arudino IDE and load File->Examples->Adafruit_seesaw->joy_featherwing_example

The example assumes the interrupt pin is connected to pin 5 on the Feather via the first solder jumper on the far left. If you have not soldered this jumper the example code will need to be modified.

Click the Upload button and open the Serial Monitor at 115200 baud speed.

When you move the joystick you should see data appear in the format x,y

When you press a button, a notification should appear in the monitor.

FeatherJoyWing library!

If you'd like an all-in-one library that abstracts some of the FeatherWing for you, check out Leonid's FeatherJoyWing library

Download Adafruit_CircuitPython_seesaw Library

To begin reading data from your Joy Featherwing, you will need to download Adafruit_CircuitPython_seesaw from our github repository. You can do that by visiting the github repo and manually downloading or, easier, just click this button to download the zip

Extract the zipped folder. And rename the folder it contains to Adafruit_seesaw.

Plug your CircuitPython device into your computer via the USB cable, and you should see the CIRCUITPY drive appear.

you should have the lib folder already on the drive. If you do not have the lib folder, or you encounter errors due to missing libraries, you can download the latest library package here.

 Drag the Adafruit_seesaw folder you just renamed to the CIRCUITPY/lib folder on your CircuitPython drive. The folder should look like this:

open the file in the root of the CIRCUITPY drive and copy and paste the following code:

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2021 ladyada for Adafruit Industries
# SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT

import time

import board
from micropython import const

from adafruit_seesaw.seesaw import Seesaw

BUTTON_RIGHT = const(6)
BUTTON_DOWN = const(7)
BUTTON_LEFT = const(9)
BUTTON_UP = const(10)
BUTTON_SEL = const(14)
button_mask = const(
    (1 << BUTTON_RIGHT)
    | (1 << BUTTON_DOWN)
    | (1 << BUTTON_LEFT)
    | (1 << BUTTON_UP)
    | (1 << BUTTON_SEL)

i2c_bus = board.I2C()

ss = Seesaw(i2c_bus)

ss.pin_mode_bulk(button_mask, ss.INPUT_PULLUP)

last_x = 0
last_y = 0

while True:
    x = ss.analog_read(2)
    y = ss.analog_read(3)

    if (abs(x - last_x) > 3) or (abs(y - last_y) > 3):
        print(x, y)
        last_x = x
        last_y = y

    buttons = ss.digital_read_bulk(button_mask)
    if not buttons & (1 << BUTTON_RIGHT):
        print("Button A pressed")

    if not buttons & (1 << BUTTON_DOWN):
        print("Button B pressed")

    if not buttons & (1 << BUTTON_LEFT):
        print("Button Y pressed")

    if not buttons & (1 << BUTTON_UP):
        print("Button x pressed")

    if not buttons & (1 << BUTTON_SEL):
        print("Button SEL pressed")


Plug your Joy Featherwing onto the top of your CircuitPython Feather board.

When you open the REPL you should see output when you press buttons or move the joystick.


click to enlarge


in Inches

This guide was first published on Oct 25, 2017. It was last updated on Oct 25, 2017.