Guitar Hero Controller Teardown

The Guitar Hero Wireless controller for the Xbox.

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Taking apart a Guitar Hero controller starts with the removal of the neck via a release latch on the back. (#2)

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Leaving two separate pieces. The Neck and the Body (#3)

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THE NECK

The neck opens up via 11 Torx screws on the back of the piece and easily separates to reveal the components inside. (#4)

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The electronic components and connector are then easily lifted out of the housing (#5+6) and contain circuit boards for the fret buttons, the fret slide, and the neck connector.  More on these specific components later.

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THE BODY

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Access to the Body’s components necessitated prying up the printed fretboard panel (#8) to reveal the front of the injection molded piece. 16 Torx screws were removed (#9) to open the case and gain access to in innards (#10)

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The interior electronics in the body consist of 7 separate circuit boards as well as the whammy bar components and a battery box. (#11)

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ELECTRIC COMPONENTS

Nearly all of the electronic components inside the guitar hero are small simple circuit boards that are connected via ribbon cables. Each board is focused on a specific task and method of interaction.

Starting from the top of the neck, the first board is the Fret Button Board (#12). It is a simple circuit closing board where the backs of the fret buttons touch down on the board to close a circuit.

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The next board down the neck is the Fret Slider. (#13) and contains the not only the touch pad element but an IC chip as well (#14).

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The Neck and body connect with two boards, one on the Neck (#15) and one in the Body (#16). The physical connection is done with a roughly USB sized plug (#17+18)

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The Strumming Plate (#19+20) is next traveling down the guitar and is comprised of a circuit board containing just two spring loaded buttons which are pressed with strumming up or down on the guitars interface (#21+22).

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The Start/Select controller, much like the Fret Buttons is an assembly of a circuit boar and contact buttons (#23+24)

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A direct connection with the XBox is facilitated by the Controller Connector (#25+26+27)

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A button to activate the wireless connection and an expansion port are contained on the Power Switch board (#28+29+30) The expansion port uses the R45 connector – similar to a standard telephone terminator.

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The Whammy Bar mechanism is a dual-direction spring-loaded assembly that drives a potentiometer (#31+32+33)

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The D-Pad controller, much like the fret buttons, is another simple circuit board (#34+35) with contact points which has a silicone contact pad and the physical d-pad interface laid on top of it (#36+37).

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The Main Board contains the meat of the processing components (#38+39) and is the hub connecting all of the other boards within the entire controller (#40+41).

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The Majority of the Integrated Circuits on this board appear to be microsoft / xbox custom chips (#42+43+44) but also includes a 7318 KRAAC (#45)

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Thank You.

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