Hardware: RJ45 to GPIO adapter

So since the wire coming out of my controller is a Cat5 cable with an RJ45 connector, I made an RJ45 – GPIO adapter. It was easier than I had expected. When I went looking for a female-female RJ45 connector (could barely believe I didn’t have one sitting around the house), I first went to the local dollar store and was disappointed that they were out of stock (go figure).  So I went to Home Depot and picked one up for $3 (the one at the dollar store is $1).  I’ve looked around for more since then (just for curiousity’s sake) and they go for $8 at Radio Shack. I’m pretty sure they’re not all made the same though. I lucked out on the one I got as it was super simple to modify. I just twisted it open and the two sides are connected nicely by 8 wires.

IMG-20130720-00301

These wires are connected to thin pins which feed through the case and touch the Cat5 wires. I just unbent the pins and pulled them out so that the wires were easier to work with. I then soldered the Cat5 wires to the RJ45 connector wires.

IMG-20130720-00302

After that it was just as simple as pushing the thin pins back into the connector and bending them into place. WAY easier than I had expected.

IMG-20130720-00303

There it is. A very clean and neat connector that makes hooking up the controller and disconnecting it for storage VERY easy…not done though. At this point, I had to figure out which wires went where on the controller so I got out a volt meter and just tested each one. I then used the chart on this page to hook the connectors into their respective spots on the RPi and gave it a whirl. My main problem at this point was that I had installed the joystick vertically instead of horizontally and my joystick controls were 90 degrees off. I just moved the GPIO wires around until I got it correct.

At this point everything works fine with the exception of the 3rd button I installed. The software from Adafruit’s tutorial called for a 2-button controller so I have to manually map that 3rd button in order to be able to use it.

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