Working on my senior design project and looking for some advice. Please be patient as my background is mechanical engineering and I don't have a strong foundation of electronics/hardware and some prior experience with Arduino, but mostly on smaller project with an Uno.
To keep it simple, I am planning to use an Arduino Mega to control 2 DC motors and 2 solenoids with a motor shield. I was hoping to be able to used a USB wired Xbox 360 (off brand) controller to control the motors. My understanding is I would either need a USB Host shield to do this? (When the Arduino is running, it will not be connected to a PC so using the Serial port isn't really an option, but please correct me if I am wrong) Or I could take apart the USB connector and wire the pins individually?
My questions are, a.) do I need the USB host shield? b.) Can I use both the USB host shield and the motor shield at the same time? c.) Would all of this be easier/avoidable by using a different controller than can communicate another way (Bluetooth?) Any help is really appreciated. Please be patient with me! Eager to learn and hoping I am asking the right questions.