After a couple of initial snags, I’ve had to put my recent home electronics project on hold. I started with the MadCatz wired controller, which turned out to be horribly manufactured internally and really not suitable for the project I had in mind. I then started to work with an official Microsoft controller but found that the soldering iron I was using for the project wasn’t right for the job. The little contacts on the PCB in the controller are about 1mm x 1mm in size. They are extremely thin gold contacts and my 45 watt, medium tip iron was not right for the job. I managed to get the first 10 or so soldered on well and was able to manipulate the A, B, X, Y buttons and the left, right, down directions working by tapping wires together. However, when soldering the up direction I ran into a little trouble. The solder joint didn’t take first time and as I tried to correct it the gold contact basically melted off in under a second. I traced the route on the PCB and tried to scrape off a little more plastic to expose the pathway but after a few more tries found that the up direction contact and pathway were basically fried. I’m pretty certain that with a 15 watt, fine-tip iron I would have been fine, but given that these controllers are $40 a piece and I’d just junked one, I’m going to wait a little while before trying again. I’ll get in a little research and see if I can find some similar (cheap) PCBs to practice on first.
C’est la vie!