Tldr: I picked up a broken controller for $5 and got it working over wireless only, and it now charges using USB C.
I found a broken controller off my local classifieds and grabbed it for $5. The seller said that they broke it while trying to disassemble it for painting and that the ribbon cable connecting to the charging board was broken (if it was just the ribbon cable it would be an easy enough fix, lol).
After taking it apart I saw that the connector for the ribbon cable on the main board side was ripped off, and the remaining pins were bent left and right (picture 1 and picture 2). But the guy said it was working otherwise, so I removed the battery and wired in 4V through the battery connector and true enough, it connected wirelessly and all buttons worked.
Staring at the ribbon cable and the broken connector, I thought of an idea, hated the idea, contemplated it, and then I decided to do it – I soldered 12 wires to the ribbon cable to make a sort of breakout out cable. I then soldered the other end to the board directly (picture 3) and…. nada. Battery wouldn’t charge, and no lights on the light bar.
Then I checked my work, was pretty sure it all worked fine, doubted myself, ripped off all 12 pins on the board side, and then redid all 12. Still nothing.
Then I became smart and actually measured the voltage of the internal battery.
Up until now I assumed it would be floating around at 2.8V or so, meaning it would be too low to power on the device. I probe the battery and get 0.3V………. well then, that is one deaddddd bat—I know! Let's rip the battery open and probe on the internal pins!
0.3V………. well then, that is one deaddddd bat—let's take the pouch cell out and measure on its terminals!
3.5V. Ah yes there we go. I knew there would be success somewhere. So there must be a fuse somewhere in here…. And found it. I desolder the fuse and replace it with a super precise, fine-tuned, calibrated length of wire (the closest piece of random wire I had beside me, ~48 gauge?).
Going back to the connector for the ribbon cable… I knew there would be a few pins for charging, and a few other pins to control the RGB LED. I probed the connector with a DMM in diode mode and couldn't figure out which were the led pins. I couldn't even figure out which were the power pins, which is definitely odd…
Then I remembered the fuse. Well something must have happened if the fuse blew up. Oh right, the remains of the connector when I first got it -_-
Some of the pins must have shorted out, blew the fuse, and whatever else was controlling the rgb led and power in circuitry. Poof goes all my hope to wire the RGB LED back together.
Now taking a step back from everything. I know the controller works, so I just need to charge it. And ideally a led to indicate when it's on.
After probing, I found a bunch of pins that turns on with the controller! Although it stays powered for about a second after the controller turns off (close enough). I chose this to be my power led pin.
I got a charging board based on the TC4056A (picture 4), and surprisingly it fits really well after cutting away the mounting holes on the bottom shell of the controller (picture 5).
I also trimmed the hole on the shell and the usb connector fits really well (picture 6 and picture 7 and
The output of the board gets wired to the battery directly, and everything is complete. I just need to move the LEDs off the board and to a place where it would shine nicely through the plastic light bar..and I dropped the red led onto the carpet floor. I couldn’t find it, so blue it is (
(I had a 3mm RGB led I already trimmed down to just R from earlier, and out of my growing frustration, I just left it. Blue for charging, very dim red for ON)
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