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I purchased the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) but it doesn't work for me. What else do I need to make it work?

Great question! The Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) is a powerful controller, and with that comes great responsibility. The XAC acts as a central hub where you can plug in any adaptive switches that use a 3.5mm jack. Each switch can easily be mapped to a single button on an Xbox controller.

                        The Xbox Adaptive Controller

To make the XAC work, we first have to take a look at what console you want to use with your new controller. 

Currently, the XAC works with these different platforms: 

  • Xbox One (or newer)

  • PlayStation 4 (or newer)

  • PC (Windows 10)

  • Nintendo Switch

If you are wanting to use your XAC with an Xbox One (or newer) or PC with Windows 10, you are in luck! You will not need any extra hardware to make your XAC work; just plug in the XAC to any USB port on either your Xbox or PC. That’s it! If you do not have an Xbox One, that is okay! You can purchase a converter that will still allow you to use your XAC to its fullest potential.

For PC, you must first identify what operating system you have. The XAC will only work with Windows 10. If you do not have Windows 10, you can download the updated version here.

After you have Windows 10, you can follow the instructions below to setup your XAC and start playing!

  1. Download the Xbox App
  2. Once the download is completed, launch your new Xbox App
  3. Plug in your XAC into a USB 2.0 port on your PC. These ports have a blue line on them.
  4. The Xbox App will recognize your XAC. You can make any remapping or other changes in the Settings
  5. For additional support, take a look at Xbox’s XAC FAQ

If you have a PlayStation or Nintendo Switch, you will need to use a converter. This will allow the XAC to talk with your PlayStation or Nintendo Switch. The best converter to use for the PlayStation is the Cronus Zen and the MayFlash for Nintendo Switch. See purchasing information and setup instructions on these sites: CronusMAX website MayFlash website

After you have your XAC properly setup with your system, your next step is to purchase switches! These are instrumental in using your new controller. There are a variety of switches on the market, so you’ll want to do some research to ensure you are buying ones that will work best for you. We have a few recommendations below to get you started.

1. Logitech recently released their Adaptive Gaming Kit at an economical price. We highly recommend checking out Logitech first.

Light Touch Buttons:

  • Sensitive, light-pressure buttons with a 12 mm height that can be activated with low force.

Light Touch Button

Variable Buttons:

  • Pressure-sensitive triggers can function like gas pedals, ideal for racing games or other applications. Force tune them for optimum control and comfort.

Variable Trigger Button

Small Buttons:

  • Approximately 1.4” buttons, built with mechanical switches, offer durable and consistent actuation. Low height allows for easy and quick presses. 

A Small Button

Large Buttons:

  • Approximately 2.5” buttons built with mechanical switches are reinforced with stabilizer bars for consistent actuation across the full surface.

A Large Button

2. EnableMart has a variety of switches that range in size, touch requirements, and how they’re used. Make sure that for any switches you purchase, that they use a 3.5mm jack.

3. Xbox also has a forum on what external devices work with the XAC

Lastly, you will need external joysticks. Your joystick must use a USB 2.0, as the joystick is used for the left and right thumbsticks of a standard controller. Please note that only a few USB joysticks work with the XAC. Below are a few options:

  1. PDP One-Handed Joystick for Xbox Adaptive Controller

  2. Extreme 3D Pro Joystick for Windows

You can also check out a larger list of joysticks and general adaptive gaming hardware to use with your XAC on the Xbox website. Go to their Accessories page, and scroll down to the Assistive Technologies heading.

Tech Notes: Here

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