Thumb Joystick Hookup Guide

Contributors: followr, MikeGrusin, bboyho
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Heads up! This tutorial is for the thumb joystick breakout board and shield. For those that want to quickly connect to the thumb joystick without needing to solder, check out the Qwiic Joystick [COM-15168] to connect via I2C.

Whether you're blasting aliens, driving a robot, or write your awesome classic Arcade Game for your Arduino, you'll find the analog thumb joystick a very useful addition to your projects. This tutorial will go over the analog thumb joystick breakout board with some Arduino examples.

SparkFun Thumb Joystick Breakout

SparkFun Thumb Joystick Breakout

Thumb Joystick

Thumb Joystick


Later, we'll also go over the thumb joystick shield for Arduino and Processing examples. You can follow along with the examples using the breakout board if you have some additional hardware!

SparkFun Joystick Shield Kit

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Suggested Viewing

For a simple demo of the thumb joystick, check out the video below!

Required Materials

To follow along with this tutorial, you will need the following materials. You may not need everything though depending on what you have. Add it to your cart, read through the guide, and adjust the cart as necessary. If you decide to use the breakout board, you'll need the parts from this wish list.

If you decide to use the shield, you'll need the parts from this wish list.


You will need a soldering iron, solder, and general soldering accessories.

Soldering Iron - 60W (Adjustable Temperature)

Soldering Iron - 60W (Adjustable Temperature)

Third Hand

Third Hand

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose Pliers

Solder Lead Free - 15-gram Tube

Solder Lead Free - 15-gram Tube


Panavise Jr. - Vacuum Base

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Suggested Reading

If you aren’t familiar with the following concepts, we recommend checking out these tutorials before continuing.

Pull-up Resistors

A quick introduction to pull-up resistors - whey they're important, and how/when to use them.

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Analog to Digital Conversion

The world is analog. Use analog to digital conversion to help digital devices interpret the world.

Voltage Dividers

Turn a large voltage into a smaller one with voltage dividers. This tutorial covers: what a voltage divider circuit looks like and how it is used in the real world.

What is an Arduino?

What is this 'Arduino' thing anyway? This tutorials dives into what an Arduino is and along with Arduino projects and widgets.

Installing Arduino IDE

A step-by-step guide to installing and testing the Arduino software on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Connecting Arduino to Processing

Send serial data from Arduino to Processing and back - even at the same time!

Button and Switch Basics

A tutorial on electronics' most overlooked and underappreciated component: the switch! Here we explain the difference between momentary and maintained switches and what all those acronyms (NO, NC, SPDT, SPST, ...) stand for.