The Guitar Hero 3 Bot [Obsolete!]

What You Need

Part 1 - Getting Started

What I used and why

A Guitar Hero 2 Controller

Why?
You need some way of interfacing with the Xbox 360.

Does it have to be a GH2 one?
No, I read online a couple of weeks ago that someone had developed a system which could be built, but I wanted something I could easily do here and now. Having opened up a Guitar Hero 2 controller before I knew its layout and though it would be the easiest option. It would not be impossible to modify either a Guitar Hero 3 controller or a standard controller. I assume the Guitar Hero 3 controllers work in a similar way with differences (which I hope will be clear later on). However, when using a standard controller to play with you must use the LT and RT buttons which can sense graduations of pressure, and these may prove more difficult to automate/control.



7 SPST Relays (Check the note on voltages!)

What is a relay?
A relay is a switch (like a reed switch) which is actuated by a built in electromagnet, which means that unlike transistors, the input as output are completely isolated. This means any voltage (suitable for the electromangnet) can switch another voltage without affecting or interfereing with the switched circuit. For a coherent and more understandable description see here.

Why use relays?
As mentioned above, the switching ciruit does not directly contact the switched circuit. As I have no desire to reverse engineer a guitar hero 2 controller I decided that relays provide the simplest answer as all I had to do was connect one to each switch. I found out later on that due to the wiring of the 5 coloured buttons, relays were an excellent choice.

Why 7?
One for each button, one to strum and one to activate star power. The latter can be ommitted if you desire (as it can be bit more tricky to wire up).

A side note:
I actually used reed relays because they were the only type I could get in a decent quantity, my local supplier only had 2 normal relays, and they turned out to be almost silent, whereas other relays I've used make a nice desctinctive, loud, click. Details on reed relays here.

Note on voltages:
In the past, for another project where I tried to use a Guitar Hero 2 controller, I used 12 volt relays and for some reason (probably due to hurried, sloppy soldering) I managed to blow the GH2 Controller board. These reed relays I bought came in a 5 or 12 volt version, so I thought as the GH2 controller is USB and must run on 5 Volts (or so) it would be sensible to use 5 Volt ones, just incase I made a mistake I would then stand less of a chance of killing the controller board. (Whats a controller board? Scroll down - theres pictures).

Unused generic PCB (About 15cmx4cm ish)

What is it?
In basic (when bought from a store): its a board with evenly spaced holes in to suit most components. On one side are copper strips so the components can be soldered to them, making for good connections and neat circuitry. See more about PCBs here.

Is it needed?
No - it's not, but it helps keep things tidy and means your less likely to have wire breakages!

USB Interface Board

What does it do?
A USB Interface board could mean many things, but I am refering to a board that allows a computer to control digital outputs. (The one I used could do inputs and analog too, but for this projects its not nessecary.) This project requires one with 6 or 7 outputs (one for each relay)!

Why do I need it?
A key part of this system is that it is computer controlled. It could be done using programmable micro controllers, but the song data is a few hundred Kbytes usually so you would usually need more memory etc. The cost mounts, to store more songs you need more memory, they're costly to effective debug etc. etc. and ofcourse you need the programmer which also costs (in my experience as much as the board cost me). So I settled for the USB board.

What did you use?
I used a velleman project (K8055) which I bought and built a while back. It only requires building by following the simple instructions. You do need a soldering iron but you ideally need one for this project anyway. See details on the Velleman site, click here.

Alternatives
If you are experienced with micro controllers (such as PIC Micro chips) it is possible to program one as a USB interface device. As far as I am aware, the board I used does utilise a PIC Micro chip as the main interface, but again, you need the knowledge, the right sort of chip and the appropriate hardware to program it. Oh yes, then you also need to know how to control it via USB once you've made it. The board I used comes with a DLL which works with .Net, VB 5/6 and I think also C and Delphi...

8 Pin Plug and Socket

Why?
If you don't plan on destroying the GH2 controller then it means you can easily disconnect it from the USB contorller and use it as a normal controller. However if you plan to strip out the guts and ditch the controller then you don't really need these.

What did you use?
I used a 8 Pin DIN Surface mount plug and matching socket (which had screw on locks, meaning you can't accidentally pull it out).

Wire!

How much?
I bought a bundle of 3 meters and it just about did it.

A Suitable Power Supply

You need a power supply to match the relay voltage. As my relays were 5 volts I used a spare nokia charger I had lying around.

Tools

Screwdrivers for opening the controller.
A soldering iron.
Solder.
Wirecutters.
A knife (for breaking the copper strips on PCBs...not necessary depending on the PCB you get).
A drill for making the hole for the DIN connector.

Everything I had before I started

What I had

Copyright © Paul Ridgway 2009 | Pictures by Amanda Taylor | HTML Layout & Base code by James Ridgway