Ever want you could delve into a video game and see what that world is like? Well, we’ll do something even much better, we’ll get into a computer game controller and see what’s within! We’re taking down the original Xbox controller and the more recent Xbox One controller, to see how the device has evolved.
The Original Xbox Controller
The very first Xbox debuted in 2001, and for reference, that’s the very same year Wikipedia launched (thank goodness!). Starting with impressions of the Initial Xbox controller, it’s a lot bulkier than the latest generation. It was nicknamed “Fatty” and later “Duke” when it came out, you could see why it was given those nicknames, and get this, it had a cable. Back to the days when things were plugged in! Getting in the controller was extremely simple, Phillips self-threading screws secured the housing, and it took little effort to pull apart. The top cover is an injection-moulded ABS shell. How nice of Microsoft to recognize the material for us (under the recycling mark)!
Considering that the ABXY button tops are partly clear and partly opaque, they were produced by insert mold or two-shot mold. In multi-material molding, plastics require to be compatible for adhesion; these are very likely PC and ABS. The D-pad (Directional Pad) button is a self consisted of the subassembly. The top cover of the D-pad snaps into a bracket plate (via cantilever hooks), and the two parts sandwich an elastomer keymat. The cone-shaped domes offer spring back force, while the black carbon conductive pills trigger button pushes. When any among the conductive pills is depressed and makes contact with the PCB, it shorts the exposed traces, hence registering a button push. We proceeded to get rid of the PCBA from the bottom shell and saw that there are screw icons silk-screened beside all the screw holes– an excellent design for assembly factor to consider!
We find it fascinating that there is a carbon sticker label covering in between the PCBA and the keymat. The keymat for the white, black, and ABXY buttons does not have conductive tablets on the back. Thus, when these buttons are depressed, they lower on the carbon sticker, which then shorts the underlying traces. The joystick is the same off-the-shelf component that we found in the Nintendo controller. Taking a look at the base of the bottom enclosure, we have two ERM (Eccentric Rotating Mass) vibration motors. These offer haptic feedback to the player and link to the PCBA through PH-style adapters. The offset masses are various sizes so that the player can distinguish in between feedback coming from the right and the left. For the trigger, we have a compression spring as the spring-back system and a tough stop. A potentiometer is utilized to register the trigger actuation. Much like the D-pad, the trigger is likewise a self-contained assembly, which’s the Original– simple to take apart and plainly set out.
The Xbox One Controller
Now, let’s skip ahead approximately a decade from the original Xbox controller to the Xbox One controller. Contrary to its name, it’s generation 3; the One is deceptive! While this controller is more structured, it’s much more intricate in regards to assembly and elements. We have leading and bottom shells, as well as an internal skeleton. Compared to the Original, more parts make up the mechanical assembly. We have not only screws, however, also snap-fits for assembly features. The fantastic effort went into concealing the screws to make the controller more smooth. In truth, one of the screws was concealed under the sticker of the battery compartment; can’t trick us, though!
Rather of the conventional Phillips head screws, we have Torx head screws. For those three primary elements, the top and bottom shells are PC/ABS, while the internal skeleton is ABS. The addition of the PC makes the shells more impact-resistant. The tensile strength of PC/ABS is 20% greater than that of pure ABS. The left and right bumpers are part of the very same part. As a result, only one mold cavity is required to create this part, rather of 2. Spring-back is supplied by the cantilever linking the two-button tops. These bumpers trigger tact changes that are through-hole soldered to the PCB. The switches have their own bracket to offer extra support.
Unlike in the Original Xbox controller, the triggers use a torsion spring for spring back. For trigger actuation, there is a magnet under the trigger that engages with the hall effect sensing unit on the PCB. When the magnet is brought into the proximity of the trigger, the sensor finds the change in the electromagnetic field and outputs various voltages. The triggers in the Xbox One controller are likewise far more advanced. They have embedded ERM vibration motors inside for even greater fidelity haptic feedback. Going back to the joystick, the system is more or less the same as in the original (and in other video game controllers). It works well– no revision needed.
The button mechanics are also similar to the Original. Under the button tops, an elastomer keymat with conductive tablets on the back facilitates the switch triggering. All the push buttons share the same keymat (gone are the white and black buttons of the Initial). One of the button tops and a part of the exact same keymat hangs off the side, given that there are 2 PCBAs stacked on top of each other, that keymat interfaces with the exposed traces of both PCBs.
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The Menu and View button are two-shot molded, while the ABXY button tops are now three-shot molded. Fancy! The Xbox button top is pretty neat. Instead of being two-shot molded, it is a two-part assembly. The base component is a light diffuser, with the top surfaces painted for a metallic look. Underneath the button top is an LED, positioned so that the light illuminates the button top. To register a button press, the conductive tablet is, in fact, a carbon ring that goes around the LED.
The D-pad controls have variations between the Original and the One. Rather of an assembly including keymaps, the D-pad button leading triggers metal dome changes that brief the carbon traces underneath. The button top is injection molded plastic linked to a stamped sheet metal spring. The haptic feedback likewise remains in the manages with similar vibration motors, housed in the middle enclosure. Like in the Original, the offset masses are various sizes likewise to distinguish the feedback.
The most substantial differences in between the Original and the One controllers involve their internal features. The Original utilized numerous self-contained subassemblies, which are entered the One. Instead, the parts are integrated into the remainder of the remote. The self-contained subassembly approach makes it easier to fix and remodel; however, they did use up more area. To make the controller more streamlined, sacrifices need to be made.
While there are fewer buttons on the latest generation, the most recent One likewise has a higher variation of switches. For the triggers, torsion springs are used, which feel softer and are more compact. The D-pad utilizes various button press mechanisms, leading to a different tactile feel.
In general, while lots of mechanisms and parts evolved, the general architecture stayed the same. It’s definiately a progressed design, not a complete re-design.