Padawan system

Got all the pieces and parts for the Padawan system and worked on getting it hooked up.   Took the dome and the control panel over to Izzy’s so he could upload the dome sketch.  He customized the sketch so that ‘Luke Jedi’ scrolls across the top front logic display – how awesome is that!  Here is a picture of his dining room table as we work on R2.


Everything seemed to work fine, but R2 ‘jumps’ every so often, both the drive motors and the dome motor will move smoothly then all the sudden there is a ‘jump’.

To troubleshoot, I re-checked all the wires, made sure they were secure and connected to the correct location.  I reprogrammed the Uno and re-checked the settings on the Sabertooth and Siren motor controllers.  Finally, I hooked the Arduino Uno up to my laptop and used the PS2 library and serial monitor to see what commands were coming from the GameStop PS2 controller.

Bingo!  The controller was actually sending bad information sporadically.  I wouldn’t be touching it and it would be fine for a few seconds and then bam it would send a one line command indicating movement.  I bought the controller used through eBay since my local game exchange store didn’t have one.

I ended up buying another controller, this one was a Pelican brand.  That one didn’t work at all.  It would not communicate from the wireless receiver to the Uno.

During my troubleshooting, I messaged Dan F on the astromech forums and he was very quick and helpful in providing advice on getting the system working.

I saw that the DroidWiki Padawan page recommended the LynxMotion remote so I ordered one.  It arrived, I connected it to my unit and nothing.

I then ordered a new but generic PS2 wireless controller on ebay (  for $11.  While that one was in the mail, I stopped by another local GameStop and they had a new Gamestop brand controller for $20 so I bought that one too.

Izzy offered to check the controllers on his working droid, I can’t thank him enough for all his help.  He even lent me his controller so that my droid was operational for my kids birthday party.

Turns out both the GameStop brand and the generic one from eBay worked perfectly with the Padawan system in his unit so I installed them in mine and IT WORKS!!!!.  So now I have a backup controller.  He wasn’t able to get the LynxMotion controller working either so something must have changed hardware-wise since the wiki link was posted.

Connecting the pins from the wireless receiver to the Uno can be problematic in that they might not always maintain a connection.  If you have a local game exchange store, check to see if they have a PS2 extension cable.  I stopped by mine and the person gave me the extension cable for free as he had a whole box full.

I cut the extension cable about six inches from the connector, stripped the outer jack to expose the wires, and then soldered on dupont pins.  This allows me to connect the extension cable directly to the Uno and then simply plug in the wireless receiver.  No more forcing connectors over the receiver pins.

Controller: $11
Backup controller $20