In addition to playing games, joysticks have several usages in hardware projects. This includes controlling actuators and output devices, such as motors and speakers, or controlling pixels on a screen. In this article, I will introduce you to the best 5 Arduino joystick shields.
Arduino joystick shields usually have at least one analog joystick with some digital buttons. But they differ in specifications and additional features, like size, number of buttons, and supported protocols. So let’s start discovering the top Arduino joystick shields in the market.
1) ITEAD 4-Button Arduino Joystick Shield
The first Arduino joystick shield I will talk about is the smallest one and similar to Nintendo joystick. It has the size of Arduino Uno board and consists of a two-axis joystick with 7 push buttons, 4 large round buttons and 2 small buttons plus the joystick select button.
It is compatible with a wide range of Arduino boards, including Uno and MEGA, Iteaduino boards, Seeeduino, and others. While it reserves only 7 digital pins and 2 analog ones, you will not be able to use other pins because the shield is not stackable. However, But you can keep other pins free and accessible by using the jumper header.
The next shield we have is by Sparkfun, which provides it as a kit that you have to assemble by yourself before using it. It has a larger size and sits on top of your Arduino. However, it allows you to access all Arduino pins with its pin headers.
Similar to the previous Arduino joystick shield, the digital momentary buttons connect with the digitals pins. They utilize the internal pull-ups of Arduino by pulling the pin low when pressed. And also an analog pin will receive each of joystick’s horizontal and vertical movement.
For about $13, the kit includes all the parts of the shield and there is no need for any additional materials. Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with soldering, just follow this tutorial and go on.
The PCB has extra free drills, so you can add your own elements if you need. Sparkfun has also open sourced this Arduino joystick shield, and you can find design files with libraries and samples.
3) DFRobot Arduino Joystick Input Shield
DFRobot shield is also larger than Sparkfun’s shield, but it brings wireless support to increase the range of possible applications. It comes with an interface that supports XBee and APC220 Radio Data modules to achieve wireless functionality.
The package costs about $15 and contains only the Arduino joystick shield, without XBee and APC220 modules. It reserves 3 three analog pins for joystick movement plus the down button, and 3 analog pins for other buttons. Its design facilitates stacking it on the top of Arduino board and keep the accessibility to all Arduino pins.
The Arduino joystick shield is also compatible with OLED2864 and OLED9664 display modules, and there are two special headers for them. You will see the open source hardware logo on the top of its PCB, so you can get all the sources through the website.
4) Funduino Arduino Joystick Shield V1.A
Back to a smaller size, version 1A of Funduino Arduino joystick shield has the same size of the Sparkfun shield but with more features. It includes Bluetooth and nRF2401 RF interfaces and supports RS232 and I2C. The most important thing is Nokia 5110 LCD interface, which allows you add a screen easily to your project.
The only problem with the Nokia LCD is that the Arduino provides only 50mA current on 3.3V supply, while the LCD need more current to work. To solve this you may need to use an external power source for the LCD or use another Arduino board.
It costs about $7 through Funduino store. And you can find a helpful tutorial about using this Arduino joystick shield here.
In this video, we have a review of Funduino Arduino joystick shield:
5) Arduino Bluetooth Joystick Shield
Finally, we have our powerful Arduino joystick shield, known as Gamepad shield. In simple words, 1Sheeld is a board that combines more than 45 Arduino shields in one shield, with a mobile app. It will connect your Arduino to your smartphone, then you can use your phone as a joystick and control whatever you want.
Setup 1Sheeld with Arduino is very simple and easy. Once your code is ready, mount 1Sheeld on Arduino and upload the code. You are now ready to run your project!
Arduino Bluetooth Joystick shield is a part of the I/O family, which allows using the smartphone as an Arduino I/O device. You can find more about I/O shields and how to use them in this tutorial. Also, you can learn more about gamepad shield and the main differences with other shields at this comparison. And finally, the video below will show you how to control an Arduino-based robot with this Arduino joystick shield in less than 3 minutes.
Get your 1Sheeld for $54.94 now from Amazon, and enjoy the +45 in 1 shield.
Let us know which Arduino joystick shield do you prefer and why in the comments. And if you know other Arduino joystick shields, tell us about them and their features.
Disclaimer| 1Sheeld’s Joystick Shield is one of 1Sheeld’s +45 virtual shields.
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