Zero Delay USB Encoder True Analog Joystick Modification.

Introduction: Zero Delay USB Encoder True Analog Joystick Modification.

When I discovered these cheap CY-822A / USB Joystick X1 - Game Control Board USB Joystick Encoders on Ebay and Amazon I was puzzled by their description and construction.

A lot of people like to make their own input devices and controllers and these are a cheap way to get started - but just switches are not always what you want.

Despite the Analogue description its a very Digital device.

The Good News is that the Analogue feature is buried inside - you just need to let it out. I tried asking the manufacturers.... but as expected the reply is still yet to arrive.

I bought a couple of these as cheaply as possible to play with just to experiment with, and I was surprised at the results.

This instructable is a description of what worked for me on this specific model of encoder.

(IMPORTANT: Since publishing this Instructable I have also experimented with other similar modules from different manufacturers. One in particular, the ARC-968 controller whilst very similar has the sneaky difference that all 12 of the switch connector sockets are oriented the opposite way round. If you decide to experiment with other modules pay close attenton to the connectors as you may need to rethink some connections if interfacing with other electronics. Also out of 3 of these I bought one of them even had the USB socket fitted the wrong way round which luckily I spotted and fixed before I connected it up. Always double check !)


CY-822A / USB Joystick X1 - Game Control Board USB Joystick Encoder

Linear Potentiometers of your choice to suit the controller project you are working on. 20K - 200K ohms

Suitable wires to complete your project

Patience and ingenuity

Soldering tools and the ability to use them in a tidy fashion.

Basic understanding of electronic components.

Step 1: Why Are They Advertised As Analogue / Digital Devices?

As far as I could see all of the switch kits they came with were On/Off switches - and that to me is 'Digital' only. If you toggle the MODE option between Analog / Digital you only switch between Up / Down / Right / Left action on the X-Y axes or turn on the Top Hat view movement.

You can see that activity in Windows Game Controller Setup Calibration.

So wheres the Analogue action in that?

True Analog Joysticks contain potentiometers - the type of joysticks you would use for Flight and Driving simulators.

Why are some components missing from the PCB?

Two of four possible LEDs are missing, and some 5 volt output sockets, but they are not so important.

Of more interest are the empty locations for 4 twin banks of resistors - but only 1 bank has a pair of resistors fitted. Typically from pictures you see of these boards only R1+R2 are present - but R3 to R8 are missing.

Some photos have R7+R8 fitted instead of R1+R2. They are both the same value resistors - usually 10K ohms each.

Step 2: Windows Game Controller Gives the Game Away !

Is the number 4 a coincidence - considering most flight joysticks have 4 variable inputs?

If you plug this encoder into a Windows PC and run the Game Controller calibration program you will see 12 Red buttons 'lights' matching the 12 sockets on the edge of the pcb.

It doesn't however tell you anything about the status of the Auto / Mode / Clear / Turbo inputs - mostly internal functions I think.

If you make the contact on any combination of the 12 switch inputs you will see the corresponding number light on the Windows test program - even if you switch between Analog and Digital modes with the Mode option on the encoder.

However you also see the 4 variable X+Y axes cross hairs in a box and 2 coloured Z Axis and Z Rotation just as you would with a real analogue joystick.

Note that all of these are in their centered positions - so they are all balanced and stuck there.

As supplied the X and Y axis and Hat View settings can only ever go to maximums and minimums using the Sanwa socket and/or AU, AD, AR, AL two pole switches when operated.

These are all the same input - just different connectors - examine the tracks - you'll see.

Step 3: Resistors and Tracks

So from experimentation I have discovered that this "balance" is achieved by the presence of the 2 x 10K ohm resistors.

The Balance resistors are in effect a fixed 20K potentiometer (10K + 10K) - in its central position. They are wired in series between the +5V and Zero volts pin of the USB connection from the PC. At the junction of the 2 resistors the voltage will be 2.5 Volts.

The manufacturers save money on the resistors by linking them all together. - all of the junctions of R1+R2, R3+R4, R5+R6, R7+R8 are all linked together on the rear of the PCB by very fine tracks.

Now, the quick and dirty point of this Instructable is that to make the "Analogue" part of this encoder do its stuff, you need to unsolder and remove these Balance resistors and replace with linear potentiometers and carefully cut the appropriate tracks between the pairs with a fine blade.

There are 3 links in total.
If you don't you won't have independent controls.

ONLY CUT THE TRACKS BETWEEN THE CENTRAL SOLDER PAD PAIRS WHERE THE RESISTORS WOULD HAVE BEEN ! Any other tracks go to the chip hidden under the Black Blob - and you DO NOT want to cut those.

With experimentation I have successfully added 4 linear potentiometers (in my testing 2 x 100K for X+Y axes, a 20K for Rudder control and a 300K slider for Throttle) to fly in FSX.

The values don't appear to be critical but linear potentiometers will always work best for this type of activity.

I just tested with what I had to hand - an old Maplin joystick in a plastic box with 2 push switches, a simple potentiometer and a slider control on a pcb which used to be the temperature selector out of an old kettle base unit. No such thing as scrap - just parts waiting for a new project !

Don't just cut the tracks, fit potentiometers and expect it to work in Windows - its unlikely to work correctly UNLESS you run the calibration program. Windows has to understand what you fitted and the ranges these components provide at their full ranges.

Step 4: Setting Up

Once all controls are connected its essential to
1 - Use the MODE option to select analogue mode - which turns on the Green LED (left) on the encoder pcb.

2 - Use Game Controller calibration so that windows can establish the midpoints of all the controls you used.

If you only want to you some but not all 4 channels then you need to make sure the unused ones still have balance resistors fitted otherwise if your game or other software is looking at the values it could have a negative effect on the desired effect. Without any resistors you will see the values dither about in the calibration program.

If you seperated all the channels by cutting the tracks you can just fit new pairs of 10K resistors.

If you happen to wire the ends of the poentiometers the wrong way round you may be able to invert the control function in the game you are playing to save rewiring if the game allows it.

The wiper (centre) of the potentiometer must always go to what was the junction of the balance resistors.

Then either end of the potentiometer are wired to +5 v and 0 v respectively.

Mostly I just soldered the wires to the rear of the PCB. You need to be carefull and tidy here - but its your design so careful planning is time well spent !

One VERY important thing to note is that with the encoders, the Common track running around the edge of PCB is NOT zero (0) Volts - its the +5 volts USB supply from your computer - so you don't want to be connecting it to Ground in any contructions you might be dreaming up !!

Step 5: Overall View of Potentiometer Connections

As shown these connections all worked for me once calibrated.

Don't forget you can still connect switches to the Up/ Down/ Left/ Right/ sockets as they work POV Hat functions when you select Analog mode (if your program supports it.)


You must plug USB lead into the PC and wait for the RED LED to light up - this confirms USB recognised and its set to DIGITAL mode.

You must switch it to Analog mode FIRST before calibrating.

You must have a switch (normally open) connected to at least ONE of the TWELVE input connections (shown on the first picture - but NOT shown on my illustration above) because the Calibration program asks you to press a button on the controller at certain steps and it MUST be one of those 12.

Also when calibrating, don't switch between Analog and Digital part way through because the calibration program will stop looking at your controls.

If you accidentally do it - just start the calibration again after selecting Analog Mode again (Green LED will be ON).

Once calibrated Windows should remember your new device. If you replace the components connected for different resistive values, recalibration is needed.

And lastly everytime you connect your device it reverts back to Digital mode (Red LED ON) so you need to set Analog with the mode switch before Flight or driving !!

UPDATE::: Feb 2021 ******

Modification to Start in Analogue Mode:

I have been advised by other users (they deserve the credit! ) that if you change the position of the Resistor at position J1 to the upper location instead of how it was supplied (digital mode) the module will automatically start in Analogue mode - so you dont need to construct my fancy solution (link below). You probably wont ever need a mode switch either - the choice is yours.

I have done that modification myself and it works - so thanks to all who reported it!

If however you insist that you want to make something which will mimic you pressing the Mode button once after a short delay then the link is below.

This is the link:

This modifcation pcb could have uses for other projects or functions on this pcb for the adventurous amongst you. Please note that not all of these switch options - Auto / Turbo / Mode etc function the same. From memory I think some switch high and some switch low. Always check with a voltmeter to understand its actions.

Have Fun !!

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    19 days ago

    More info about J2: I found an Aliexpress seller that sells CY-822A in two versions. First one (see photos) is the same as allways, with J1 connected to the side nex to the keys' connectors. The second one has the third LED with its resistor, and doesn't have J1 installed but J2 instead, between the two mot distant holes. Supposing it's the same PCB, this is very strange, as those holes are Vcc and GND, so a dead short...
    According to the advertisement, the first version is compatible with PC, Raspberry pi and TV box, and the second one with PC, Raspberry pi and PS3, so maybe J2 and LED3 are related to PS3 (obviating the short circuit thing...)
    The third photo is the second model with more detail. The Aliexpress ad is here


    20 days ago

    Hello! Very interesting information here, and very difficult to find more about it on the web!!
    Regarding model ARC-968 you speak about in an insert at the beginning of the instructable, after analyzing the photos in Aliexpress ads, I think it's based on the same chip, as the tracks connecting the different ports to the "blob" seem to be in the same order. BUT regarding the possibility to exploit the analog channels, I see it's going to be much harder in this one, as the tracks that (supposedly) correspond to these signals are shorted together near the blob and then connected to a single resistor divider (no place in the PCB for the 6 extra resistors).
    I'm attaching the photos I analyzed, marking in red the related zones.
    So, if you have one of these and want to try the mod, be prepared for some fine surgery!
    EDIT: There's yet another ARC controller (ARC-888 third photo). In this one, there's a group of tracks in the same place as the analog port going to AU, AD, AR and AL in the joystick connector at the left, and a different group of three tracks going to AU, AD and AR in the connectors at the top, BUT the AL signal is the same as in the left connector... Strange but, defenitevelly, I wouldnt buy this one for analog mod


    Tip 7 weeks ago

    Thanks for this guide! making a DIY throttle and buttonbox for Mechwarrior/elit dangerous/other sim stuff. Its been really helpfull.

    Just wanted to chime in and mention you can also use Hall Effect Sensors in place of the potentiomers and they work perfectly, I'm using 95a sensors which seem to run on 3v - 5v nicley so are well suited to the 5v provided on these boards.


    7 weeks ago

    D4 (R13) seems to be a USB connectivity status LED. Plugged into PC USB it's solid on. Plugged into a USB power bank it blinks.

    D3 (R11) indicates another state (@neontime has a comment earlier) depending how MODE is connected.

    MODE with a single wire (left-pin) connected to the analogue switch (so it's effectively using +ve from the analogue section near R1/R2) and it toggles between digital and analogue mode. D1+D2 toggle. D3 does not change state.

    MODE with a switch (both pins forming a circuit) toggles D3 on off. D1/D2 do not change state. Digital/analogue mode stays the same.

    I've not worked out what state D3 represents yet. Maybe J2/J3 can influence this in some way.

    The OFF header toggles the two 5v headers if you cut the trace on the back, you could use that to turn off any bling LEDs you added to your controller despite your better judgement ;-)

    I've added some pictures because pictures are easier to understand. First two show D3 toggling while D1/D2 remain the same. Second two show D1/D2 toggling while D3 remains constant.

    The .1" headers I added are great for messing about, but not very secure, I'll be hot gluing those.

    Finally... thanks very much for creating this page, it was invaluable.


    Reply 7 weeks ago

    As others ( maxlopezperez, img_01 ) have said J1 selects mode on startup. The board comes with a zero ohm resister to Gnd at J1, unsolder it and refit to the top position (+5V) for analog mode.


    Question 3 months ago

    Please tell me, if I want add only joystick X - Y, but I dont want Z axis and Z rotation. What to do with R5 - R8?


    Reply 3 months ago

    Hi there.

    If you have another read of Step 4 - Setting up i covered it in there from the 3rd paragraph onwards.

    I think (from memory) that if you take the 2 resistors you took out from R1 + R2 and fit them in position of R5 + R6 - then only cut the tracks you need to for X + Y axis inputs to work with pots. that should leave the Z and ZR stable.

    If you already cut all the 4 tracks its probably easiest to fit all of R5 R6 R7 R8 with 10K resistors to make it behave correctly.

    Hope this helps



    Reply 3 months ago

    Ok thanks! :D


    4 months ago

    Hello, i hope you are well.

    i am so new to all this but really interested in making my first ever component a Sim racing button box but i really need a rotary knob of some sort, the name brand steering wheels have rotary encoders, is it possible to add an encoder or 2 to this board? If so are you willing or able to make a detailed account of how that is done? For me adding the buttons is simple and going to be great but the encoder is what will bring it all together, it would be brake bias, so it needs to just press a button over and over again to the right and a different button to the left. Brake bias moved to the front or rear of the car.

    I got super excited when i saw your article online as it had the knob but seeing it is a potentiometer, my spirits sank a little and no one seems to be putting rotary encoders on this board, so i feel it may not be possible.

    I hope you can help. Thanks


    6 months ago

    I've bought one of these and I wonder if anyone has any tips for using it with a C# program in Visual Studio 2022, WinForms. My project is a slotcar racing timer and my first build used the chip from a USB keyboard which in appearance is very similar (the black blob on the bottom is the CPU) and I use the Shift and Control keys to time and count laps and the input was easy to read using the key_down and key_up events. The problem with using a USB keyboard chip is that it's a pig to connect wires to the rubberised contacts, and it's limited to 2 lanes because Shift and Control are the only two keys that can be detected simultaneously (the ALT key proved to be a toggle and ignored every second press). I want to generalise it to 4 or 8 lanes, and this Zero Delay USB encoder shows promise. I can use the Windows Game Controller Setup Calibration and it detects simultaneous key presses, but when I look for C# examples of scanning the connected joysticks all I find are C++ and endless Microsoft pages of API's that make it look impossibly hard. Can anyone suggest a C# example for PC, Windows 11, Visual Studio 2022, WinForms that's going to make it obvious how to detect key presses, without being complex? Many thanks.


    Reply 5 months ago

    Ok, I've progressed with an understanding of how to add the Windows.Gaming.Input namespace (an API from UWP) into a C# Winforms program and can now see the RawGameController and verify that it has the name and buttons expected from the Zero Delay USB Encoder. I'm not ready to provide a tutorial on this, next I want to get the polling working to see what the state of each button is. I think all of the features should be useable. If anyone is interested leave me a reply and it will hurry me up.

    Roberto Andiarad
    Roberto Andiarad

    9 months ago

    Hello! I bought one of these boards to build a sim racing handbrake, and followed your instructions to activate true analog mode. However, when I move the potentiometer, all four axes move at the same time, even though I connected the pot to the x axis only.
    As you can see, my soldering skills may not be the brightest, but they get the job done. Do I need to add the other potentiometers to get full axis independence? Thanks in advance!

    Zero Delay Modded 20220209_101202.jpg
    Roberto Andiarad
    Roberto Andiarad

    Reply 9 months ago

    I found the problem: I added another potentiometer to z-rotation axis and they worked independently. With this in mind, I might be getting closer to a functional sim racing handbrake.


    Reply 9 months ago

    OK great.


    Reply 9 months ago

    Hi Sorry for the delay. I need to see a photo of the other side of the board to workout what you have done on that side please. Thanks


    Question 11 months ago

    Nice guide. I'm more interested to know it that possible to wire the CY-822A to the 5pin port. supposedly that 5pin port already provide analog up down left right, but most of the joystick i found from the market for this board is from sanwa (or some chinese knockoff brand) and the joystick already have 5 pin connector out of the box. I dont really like the huge arcade joy stick as the size is not nice to create compact button box for Race sim/flight sim cockpit. what i want to do is just use the 5 pin port as 8 direction input with the small CY-822A joystick, or just use it as 4 direction so i can easily navigation cockpit menu.


    Answer 10 months ago

    Hi there. Form what you describe it sound like you want to use digital mode to do the same as a "top hat" switch that you find on higher featured joysticks. The 5 pin connector should work for that but you would need to use switch type joysticks - not potentiometers. Potentiometer types will need 6 wires because you need +5 v on one end of the resistive track of the pot and 0v on the other end. The kind of joystick you suggest is more like the old Atari types - see link

    should be plenty of ideas there.



    Question 11 months ago on Step 5

    I've take a different route here, I am trying to wire in an old joystick socket so I can simply plug in an old joystick without needing to butcher it..(I'll probably make a terminator cable that simulates the old 10k resistor wiring when no joystick is plugged in too) However this is a problem, /you/ wire all 3 pins on a pot, and typical joysticks only wire middle and one side on the pots (on an old joy plug pin 1=+5 pin 3=X axis, pin 6=Y axis, 11 is joy 2 X axis, 13 is joy 2 Y axis) I've wired pin 3,6,11 and 13 to your suggested X, Y, Z, ZR and pin 1 to your suggested +5 VDD pin, but checking in the joystick control panel I get no action in analog mode. I also tried wiring the GND pin of the joy socket (pin 4) to your suggested GND location which obviously didn't work since that's meant for the joystick buttons normally. What do I need to do here? run a 10k resistor to GND for each axis or something?