DIY: X-Box Controller Mod

Ever been annoyed at how expensive PC/Mac controllers are, just to find that when compared to console controllers they come up as cheap and inferior? To get around this, simply modify your Classic X-Box controller to work with your PC/Mac.

This guide provides simple, step-by-step instructions to rewiring your controller that even a beginner can follow. There are two primary aims of this particular tutorial:

  1. Mod your controller to work with your PC or Mac
  2. Ensure you aren’t throwing money away and the controller will still work with your X-Box

Note: Please make sure you follow each step closely. It is important because in some areas there are warnings which if overlooked could completely ruin your day.

  • Step 1 - Requirements

    Heatshrink, USB Extension cable, X-Box controller, USB Extension cable, Cutting tools, Electrical tape.

  • Step 2 - Cut

    Cut both ends of the USB extension cable off about 4″ / 10cm from each end.

  • Step 3 - Remove cable casing

    Remove the outer rubber casing from the cable by cutting it with your smaller blade. Expose approximately 1/2″ – 1″ (1-2cm approx) from the end.

  • Step 4 - Remove cable shielding

    Inside the cable will be some highly annoying shielding to protect the cable, some is silver foil and the other is silver wire. Simply discard of all of this.

  • Step 5 - Remove wire casing

    Now expose a short piece of wire from the end of each of wire. Be careful, some of the wires are quite fine and will break easily.

  • Step 6 - Discard yellow wire

    Discard the yellow wire from the X-Box Controller, it’s only necessary for some of the X-Box light guns.

  • Step 7 - Pair your cables

    Pair your cables up. The FEMALE USB matches up with the X-Box end of the cable and the MALE USB matches up with the controller end.

  • Step 8 - Pair femable USB to X-Box adapter end

    This is reasonably obvious. The female end of the USB extension cable goes with the X-Box end of the cable. The reason for this is that we want the male end attached to the controller in order to plug it into your PC/Mac.

  • Step 9 - Cut your heat shrink to length

    Cut off approximately 3″ / 7.5cm of heat shrink, enough to cover all of the exposed wire.

  • Step 10 - Place your heat shrink

    Put the heat shrink over the cable BEFORE joining the wires or else you won’t be able to get it on. I made this mistake once and it was highly annoying.

  • Step 11 - Twist

    Twist the wires together at the end. Black to black, red to red, green to green and, amazingly enough, white to white.

  • Step 12 - Cover twisted pairs with tape

    Place a tiny amount of tape over each of the twisted pairs to ensure that none of the wires can touch each other.

  • Step 13 - Cover exposed parts with heat shrink

    Push your heatshrink down so that it is covering the exposed wire. DO NOT bond the heatshrink until you’ve tested the cables are working.

  • Step 14 - Pair male USB with controller end and repeat

    The male end gets attached to the controller in order to be able to be plugged into the PC/Mac. Repeat steps 9 – 13.

  • Step 15 - Almost-final product for testing

    Test your cables. Use the controller with your X-Box/PC/Mac in order to confirm everything is right. On OSX use Xbox HID Driver for Mac OS X and for Windows XP use XBCD.

  • Step 16 - Final product

    Finally, blast the heatshrink with a hairdryer or use a cigarette lighter to bond the heatshrink with the exposed pieces. Suddenly you have the final product ready to go.

What you should be left with now is a controller that can work with any and all of your devices. This will save you money on shelling out for expensive PC/Mac controllers, giving you a much better quality gaming experience.

I have tried this controller extensively with several Mac games, several emulators on Mac and various other cool stuff and have had no issues at all.

Disclaimer If you break anything along the way, it is so totally not my fault. I am really sorry if the instructions weren’t simple enough, but I am pretty confident they are and no one should run into any issues.