Step by step guides on how to adapt low voltage electronic gadgets and computer controllers for use with external switches. The inexpensive way to get powerful 'assistive technology'.
SAFETY: Adapting equipment voids the manufacturer's guarantee, and the attempt may cause irreparable damage. Always use adapted equipment under supervision, and disconnect any batteries when not in use. These adaptations are at your own risk. Good luck!
I highly recommend using insulated 3.5mm switch sockets (code 126-7396) from Farnell Electronics if there is room for them in your adaptation. Custom boxes (aka enclosures) can be found at Farnell, eBay, Maplin and beyond. For one-off custom shapes see SUGRU and Polymorph Plastic. See this Instructables Basic Electronics guide for more help.
OneSwitch.org.uk switch equipment guides
Switch adaptations for games machines
Other gaming D.I.Y. guides
Other D.I.Y. switch guides
You can purchase most of the electronic components used in these guides from Maplin Electronics (UK) and RSWWW (International). For an interesting array of joysticks and push buttons try Gremlin Solutions (UK), Happ Controls (US), Arcade Shop (Germany) and Akihabara Shop (Japan). Very nice arcade stick shells from B15SDMDesigns (UK).
See the Accessible Gaming Shop for help finding off the shelf switches and mounts if you don't want to make your own.
For further D.I.Y. help, please e-mail. If you would like me to try to adapt something for you, please see my adaptation page.
ROMPA booklet of ideas
Using Switches and Switching systems - Practical ideas for the uses of switches, and a very simple method of adapting basic battery devices.
- Science Share Ware - Brad Whaley's great project ideas and assistance, including switch adapted sit-in electrical vehicles for small kids.
- Suck and Puff Games machines - Mark Bosanquet-Bryant's inspirational page for adapting Nintendo 64, Playstation and XBOX controllers, Radio Control car adaptions, and much more.
- Sugru - self-setting rubber for fixing, modifying and improving "stuff". Really useful for a huge range of projects.
- The Controller Project - A project designed to shared Game Accessibility solutions, started by Caleb Kraft of Hack-a-day. Archived site.
- Tindie - Market place for small scale electronics.
- Universal Remote using a PC - Pointers to the USBIRT and Endurance RC PCTx. Between them these boxes allow for PC control over a wide range of infrared and radio-wave remote control vehicles.
- Web-Rings - Other people making their own video game controllers for Arcade Games.
- Fixperts - International fixing movement.
- Makers Making Change - community of DIY guides and help.
- Tikkun Olam Makers - maker communities starting from Israel and spread globally.
Electronics for Beginners