This is a collection of all the microcontrollers, components, tools, and software I use for my controller projects. If you are just starting out, I would suggest reading my Beginner’s Guide for gear and tutorial recommendations.
Arduino Leonardo: My favorite microcontroller for prototyping controller designs. The advantage of the Leonardo over the Arduino Uno is that it can emulate USB devices such as a keyboard or mouse through built in libraries.
Arduino Micro: A significantly smaller version of the Leonardo. I often switch to this controller in the final design after prototyping.
Teensy: An even smaller alternative to the Arduino boards that still has mouse and keyboard functionality.
Raspberry Pi: Unlike the other boards listed, the Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer that is capable of significantly more complicated tasks such as retro videogame emulation.
Push Button: Used to initiate actions such as key presses.
Rocker Switch: Used for toggleable actions such as on/off switches.
Joystick: Used for multi-directional controls and movement.
MPU-6050: Combination accelerometer and gyroscope used for motion controls.
Wii Nunchuk: The Nunchuk provides a joystick, two buttons, and an accelerator in a sleek package.
WiiChuk Adapter: An adapter for the Wii Nunchuk that allows you to easily connect it to your Arduino without permanent modification.
Ultrasonic Sensor: Used to measure distance of objects.
Titan Two Console Adapter: This adapter allows for the use of any console controller, mouse, keyboard, or Arduino microcontroller project to work with any console. It has a entire software package full of advanced settings to create intricate controller designs. I highly recommend this adapter for any console gamer.
Micro USB Cable: Used to power and for data transfer for most controllers.
Power Adapter: Used to power controllers without needing to connect to a computer.
Micro SD Card: Used for storing files and operating systems for Raspberry Pi.
Low-Profile USB Flash Drive: Used for storing files for Raspberry Pi. The low profile makes it easier to fit within small project spaces.
Retropie Gamepad: A high quality recreation of the original SNES controller that can connect to your Raspberry Pi or PC via USB.
Soldering Iron: An essential electronics tool used to create electrically conductive connections between components.
Helping Hands: An adjustable jig used to hold components while soldering.
Wire Stripper: Used for removing the electrical insulation from insulated wires.
Diagonal Cutting Pliers: Used for trimming excess wire.
Breadboard: A prototyping development board that enables temporary electrical connections without the use of solder.
Digital Caliper: An accurate tool for measuring lengths and diameters of components.
Multimeter: An electronic meter for measuring voltage, current, and resistance of a circuit.
Utility Knife: An expendable blade for making cuts and cleaning up material edges.
Screw Driver: Multi-head driver for assembling and disassembling components.
Screw Driver Set: A set of small Phillips, Flat, and Torx screwdrivers.
Tape Measure: Compact measuring tool for linear distances.
Super Glue: Quick setting glue.
Hot Glue Gun: My favorite way to attach components to objects. The glue can also be used to increase structural rigidity of solder connections.
Wire: Bulk 22 gauge wire of varying color.
Cable Ties: A quick and sturdy way to secure wires and components.
LED Kit: Bulk 3mm and 5mm LEDs of varying color.
Resistor Kit: Bulk resistors from 10Ω to 1MΩ.
Capacitor Kit: Bulk capacitors from 0.47µF to 1000µF.
Tactile Push Button Kit: Bulk tac switches without button caps.
Arduino IDE: Programming software that supports all Arduino products and is required for compiling code.
GIMP: Open source raster graphics editor that is a great free alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
Inkscape: Open source vector graphics editor that is a great free alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
Fritzing: Open source software for creating schematics.
Rasbpian: Debian-based operating system for Raspberry Pi that is great for beginners looking for a more traditional desktop experience.
RetroPie: Raspberry Pi emulation software for use in MAME arcade cabinets or retro consoles.
Amazon: Used for general parts including non-electrical components. Often more difficult to find exact parts, but has fast, low-cost shipping.
SparkFun: Great for specific components and PCBs.
Adafruit: Great for unique components and kits. Can be a bit overpriced, so look around before making a purchase.