Finally! A tutorial on how to add LEDs to your controller with PICTURES showing you how! I hope this tutorial helps you have the sickest controller among your friends!

What this tutorial will be showing is how to install “always-on” LEDs, once you get the idea of it, you can tweak this to install “flashing” LEDs which will flash when your controller rumbles. Any experience in circuits/physics as well as soldering/wiring would be helpful, if not, hopefully the pictures will be enough. Before we beginning, we’re going to need a few materials.

  1. LEDs –I used 4 slow color changing LEDs that I purchased from Ebay ( You can use any type of LED as long as it uses less than 5V (supply source is only 5V).
  2. Resistors – This is important because without them your LEDs might explode. The strength of the resistors depends on how many LEDs are used, the strength/color of LEDs and whether you plan to do them in series or in parallel. For my LEDs, I used 100 ohms resistors, ( and I used one resistor per LED (I circuited my LEDs in parallel). Use this website to determine what strength resistors to use: .
  3. Soldering materials – the soldering iron (low power 15-25W), 60/40 resin core solder, 22 gauge hook up wire + wire strippers. Ask around, sometimes a parent or a friend may have these materials, otherwise its about ~$20-35 for everything on amazon. (Here is a youtube video on basic soldering:
  4. Controller stuff – you’re going to want a clear controller otherwise the LEDs won’t be seen (duh) and triwings to open your controller up.

I included specific details about the materials, if it doesn’t make sense now, hopefully it will by the end of this post.

When you first open up your controller, the part we will be connecting our LEDs to is the header. There should be 6 different colored wires connected to this header. We will be focusing on two of those wires, the yellow (supply source) and the black (ground) wires.

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Here is a brief summary of how LEDs work. A LED will have a short and long lead, the long lead is going to connect to the supply source while the short lead will connect to the “ground” which is going to stop the current. LEDs will work only one way, after soldering your LEDs in, plug your controller in to see if they light up, if they don’t you may have the order/leads flipped.


Here is a simple circuit. The supply (which is the yellow wire) MUST connect to a resistor first or else the current will cause the LED to explode.
supply and groundFor multiple LEDs a parallel circuit looks like something like the picture below. Before recreating something exactly it, remember to plan ahead and figure out how you will fit this circuit into your controller, there is very limited space in there. The arms of the controller will be your best bet, it might be easy to just do two LEDs; one LED+resistor in each arm.

Now that we have a plan of action, take out the motherboard from the controller shell. There are TWO ways to connect your LEDs to the header. One way is to strip the yellow wire (I did not do it this way, but it is explained on the smashboards thread:, the other way is to connect it to the opposite side of the header. When you flip the motherboard over, where the header is there should have 6 pins/posts which is where the wires are connected to. We will connect our LEDs to those posts by soldering our high gauge wire to the posts and connect our LEDs. (If you do not know how to solder, watch the youtube video linked in the materials list, and please avoid breathing in the fumes of the solder). The wires should look like this:


When soldering your wire to these posts, make sure that you do NOT solder the posts together. KEEP THEM SEPARATED, otherwise your controller will not work. If you get messy with the solder and accidentally connect these posts, using your soldering tool and a needle to remove the solder and try again.

After you’ve connected your LEDs, place the motherboard back and it should look something like this. All you have to do is arrange your LED circuit so it doesn’t affect the functionality of your controller and close it up!

finished part2

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You will be moving your wires around A LOT until you find the optimal placement, so start out with more wire than less. It’s easier to cut and resolder, than adding on more wire with solder resulting in a chunky wire mess. Also take LOTS of picture at the beginning when you open your controller so you can reference back to make sure nothing is out of place when you put your controller back together.

If you’re interested in doing the “flashing” mode, in the first picture I pointed out the rumbler, follow the wires connected to the rumbler to the contact points connected behind the D-pad. You can connect LEDs to either the wire from the rumbler or the contact points. They will be clearly labeled +/- and using the same rules about LEDs, you can connect them there.

If none of my explanations make sense, try reading the smashboards thread on it here: and hopefully my pictures will be more helpful than my post itself.


Special thanks to @SDfloob and @SDAshkon for the tips and @bryan_womack for doing all the soldering for me.

About the Author

Leah is a pre-vet student following the competitive scene of Super Smash Bros. Melee since 2012 however only started competing in tournaments the summer of 2015. She is involved in her local scene as Public Relations officer for UWsmash, the smash club at the University of Washington, as well as the creator of @GREsmash. You can follow her on twitter @UW_leahboo and her college scene @UWsmash.