Gaming Footpedals

Years ago I used to play half-life, day of defeat, and counterstrike and one of the nifty things I had made with a set of footpedals. I used them to fire, reload, and scope/unscope the sniper rifle. While that sounds odd and a bit counterintuitive, it enabled me to operate the mouse with my left hand and control movement with my right hand, and not have to move either hand off the controls in order to operate the weapon. My original version was nothing more than a bunch of momentary pushbuttons underneath a hinged, wooden "pedal" with a little spring, wired to the PC's joystick port. These days PC's dont have a joystick port and instead, require a USB gamepad or joystick.

So, here's a simple project to create footpedals out of a gamepad, a behringer FS114 footswitch, and a little soldering.

First, the game controller - a dirt-cheap item off ebay, about $5-6 with shipping from China.

After opening it up, you can see the three boards - the two smaller boards present "Aux 5", "Aux 6", "Aux 7" and "Aux 8" to the steam-based game, and the contacts on the main board numbered 1 -4 present "Joy 1" through "Joy 4". "Aux 9" is the switchpad just below "turbo", and "Aux 10" is just below the "Slow" switchpad. All one has to do is solder wires to the pads and solder the other end to momentary pushbuttons and you're good to go.

And to provide those footpedals, I bought a Behringer FS114 footpedal controller for a guitar amp off ebay for a mere $40 shipped. The plan is to rip the guts of that out, install the joypad controller board and wire it up, then make settings in the steam/half-life game.

AFter taking the bottom off the FS114, I found a long, skinny circuit board that runs across the four footswitches. The switches themselves are PCB mounted keyboard switches, and the foot pedals have a soft rubber bumper between them and the keyboard switches, probably to soften the blow and not break the switches or the board.

The important part of the assembly is the wiring:

Since I'm removing the cable from the footswitch unit and replacing it with the USB cable from the game controller, knowing the order of the USB connection is key - for I have to unsolder it to pass it through the cable hole.

USB cable unsoldered off the gamepad and fed through the hole with the cable stop inserted.

Now I'm hooking things up using wire I had laying around. If I wired it correctly, each button will tell the computer "Aux5" through "Aux 8" inclusive.

And this is what it looks like reassembled. Guitar footswitches with a USB cable hanging out. The FS114 came with what looked like a mini-din plug on it and if I bothered to dig out the mating female for that plug, I could have housed the game controller board in a separate box and simply plug this guitar pedal board into it, but since I don't own the Behringer amplifier this pedal board goes to, I decided to shove it all inside for a neater appearance and less "junk" on the floor.

Using "Control Panel" in Windows Vista, here are the assignments. Clearly I didn't wire the footpedals in the same order as the controller, but that doesn't really matter because most games allow you to specify what button does what, so in the game they'll be out of order.

So, to use this in steam games I had to edit the config.cfg file and add the following:

joystick "1"
bind "AUX5" "+speed"
bind "AUX6" "+reload"
bind "AUX7" "+attack2"
bind "AUX8" "+attack"
So, Pedal1 = hit player with rifle butt (or stab), Pedal2 = run faster, Pedal3 = Reload, Pedal4 = fire.