learn to rock on dreamcast

Dreamcast Amp

let me ask you something. haven’t you ever wanted to build your very own guitar amp out of an old video game system? of course you have. well now you can start out with the dreamcast guitar amp. basically, it’s pretty easy, doesn’t require any soldering, and takes a lot of patience.

if you dare attempt this rockin project, read on.

ok, so you’re brave enough. you will need the following to do this project:

what you’ll need to begin

  • a broken dreamcast

  • a smokey amplifier ($30 or so from this place)

  • basic toolset with screwdrivers to take apart the dreamcast

  • duct tape and super glue

  • a guitar and amp cable to test it out

  • time and patience

  • 9V battery

allright cowboy, so the reason why I did this? well my poor dreamcast stopped reading discs and i wanted to play my games so we had a falling out. it’s really a shame. so i decided i’d turn it into a portable guitar amp. it’s pretty simple to do this, so just follow along.

removing the guts


begin by unscrewing the shell of the dreamcast to seperate the lid from the bottom. then swat your cat away. you’ll now be able to unplug some stuff like your cd-rom drive and modem (by the way, try starting up your dreamcast with no cd-rom one last time


  1. Casual Observer says:

    Of all the things to simply duct tape an amp inside of, why a Dreamcast?

    And why not build a speaker into the CD part so that you can open the top and it will act as a sound reflector? That way you get cooler integration for the trouble you’re going through to mod something.

    Cool idea, so-so thing to put it in, incomplete implementation.
    6 stars out of 10.

  2. p0wn says:

    I bet that smokey amp is just a chip amp as found http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=4d49c32dbb46f71446ca5a1cc01f481e&forumid=40 here, there should be a hackaday about making a chip amp..

  3. skab says:

    ~Why not build it, but leave the Dreamcast guts in? I’m pretty sure It’ll all fit with a little work. Who uses the third and fourth controller ports anyways?……oops did I just make my lack of friends disgustingly aparnt?

  4. Elik says:

    How about cramming a tube amp into a dreamcast? Now that would be hackaday worthy.

  5. giarc Slohcin says:

    It was a good idea but it is kinda lame because the dreamcast doesn’t work. You may as well just use the amp alone. If you wanted to make something stylish you could take a converse allstar, pull out the metal holes in the side, and wire it all up in a shoe… sure you can’t wear it but that way you can still play dreamcast.
    I think your project is a 6 out of 10.

  6. Jason says:

    This is pretty lame, since putting a circuit together for this is child’s play and would cost about $5 in parts.

  7. thomas says:

    “Of all the things to simply duct tape an amp inside of, why a Dreamcast?”

    Yeah I agree it is pointless.. get a proper plastic encloser for this kinda stuff.

    To #3: the DC is really cramped inside if I remember correctly, not much space, youd have to make it a really flat amp.

  8. Tom says:

    who decided to put this on hacakday… are you guys getting desperate? Any fool can use duct tape and a screwdriver

  9. nate mc says:

    I was pretty excited about this until I read the instructions. any asshat can tape an amp inside a case. I wanna see you make the amp out of the dreamcast innards.

  10. Josh says:

    If that dreamcast worked your going to hell.(a way to do this that would rock would be in software but hey thats not going to happen)(oh shit now i have a idea)(guitar->small preamp->analog stick in->homebrew software->rca out)now if only i had a guitar to make this worth my while.

  11. Matrox says:

    You people are too rough on him… Geez! Sure it’s simple, but not all hacks have to be complex and tedious to do. He simply had a dead dreamcast, and instead of chucking it into the trash, he now has a neat conversation piece. I mean look at it, it’s pretty cool seeing a guitar hooked up to a dreamcast where the controler normally plugs in.

    He shouldn’t stop there though. Why run it off 9V battery when it isn’t that portable to begin with? He should install a 9V power supply, or use a wall wort and make a jack on the back. I would really play around and add a lot of stuff since you really have a lot of internal space. Distortion effects, lights, headphone jack, ect….

  12. providencia says:

    Has anyone ever attempted to fix a Dreamcast?
    Replace the CD drive or it’s components?

    This didn’t make me want to build a Dreamcast amp.
    It makes me want to fix a Dreamcast and build my own amp separate.

    I do like the idea someone mentioned of using the CD cover as a sound reflector. I may use that one.

  13. Don says:

    Okay integration and idea. If it stopped reading discs, just replace the mechanism. There’s too much trouble having bored people with x amount of duct tape gutting out of good things, use screws and a Dremel tool.

    7/10 for idea
    3/10 for (current) results

    Like #11, there should be loads of effects and some sort of covert switch; otherwise, try to integrate a tube amp and some of the former Dreamcast’s parts (fan to cool, power supply, etc.) If needed, the battery should be located where the modem/broadband slot is located, just gut that out or find a cover for it, all for convenience.

  14. jerd says:

    This makes me sad :(
    But perhaps it has inadvertantly spawned several intriguing alternatives; sound production devices/instruments based and built entirely from a device’s original components – I think it’s called.. hardware hacking? :)
    Creativity aside, a dreamcast-amp is still a neat idea. This has just been poorly implemented.

  15. photopirate says:

    hey man it is a neat hack and all. you saw an opportunity to do something cool out of something less cool and you did it. thats what hacking as all about, but i don’t think this is worth a day at hackaday. if i posted every case mod i did this site would be boring. i think of this site as a place to come and check out the high end hacks, and simple case mods don’t cut it sorry.

  16. ac says:

    Good idea, poorly done.
    Fine for just being a hack.
    Not really worthy for feature on hackaday.

  17. Somebody here with way more skill than me should try to make an amp using a Dreamcast’s (or other system’s)innards–maybe like that other Josh said way back in post 10–instead of just complaining about the level of this particular hack. Then, they should have THAT hack ran on hack a day! Yes… that would be waay sweet.

  18. Josh says:

    If I had a guitar I would be all over it but I don’t. If someone who does have one wants to take a crack at it i could write the software, etc.

  19. acidrain says:

    There are a billion case mods sites out there. Lets not make Hackaday one of them. The Altoids series of hacks are interesting because there is usually some building involved. This is just taking one thing and putting it in the case of another. Boring. He didn’t even put the plugs from the controller around the guitar plug, then it would at least LOOK like a legitimate Dreamcast controller. I thought this was some kind of bemani thing when I looked at it.

  20. ev1lg00dguy says:

    No way in hell my DC is croaking for that. Although my Xbox stopped reading discs after I removed the DVD drive [Who woulda thought?] So now the whole left side is empty. But an amp wouldn’t be a good addition to a nicely hacked xbox. I think if anything I’d add a router so that instead of the DVD tray I can hook up for some multiplayer. :)

  21. ator1 says:

    That’s a little disappointing. Why not forget about the dc case and go for making it as small as possible?

    Altoid amp?

  22. chris putnam says:

    Has anyone ever attempted to fix a Dreamcast?

    No, nobody has ever attempted to fix a Dreamcast.

  23. Doctechnical says:

    I’m forced to join the chorus: this is one bloody lame “hack”. You’re dropping an amp into an empty video game case for, err, wbat reason again? It certainly doesn’t make it any more portable.

    Smokey amps are cool enough as is, without gutting them. And I can’t imagine dropping one in an empty DC box will make it sound better (quite the reverse given resonance issues).

    Tomorroy on HackaDay: Making a bong out of your old Atari 800. Woot!

  24. mike says:

    DONT buy that smokey amp, it’s a rip off. It only an LM386 IC that you can buy anywhere for $1.

  25. commenters,

    i appreciate all your comments and feedback. i like some of the ideas you’re having. especially the one with having the speaker in the CD-ROM drive. Also, maybe some lights and other cool things would be cool. I’d love to hear what you’d like and then I can bust out a version 2 that will please you all.

    Thanks again, – Vince

  26. strider_mt2k says:

    I’d be interested in seeing updates as this project evolves, best of luck!

  27. SpuD says:

    My dreamcast stopped reading discks aat one point, and kept resetting rather frquently. I ripped it apart, and apparently there were 6 power pins that needed poking. I poked them, put it back together, and proceeded to play PSO for 6 hours straight. Without a hitch!

    Though if the GD reader unit’s bust properly, you could always just get on eBay for a working one… I’d have three DC’s by now. But I don”t have uses for them tbh… :(

    • Wildfire says:

      Do you still have those Dreamcast systems. My Dremacast system somehow fried the controller ports & now I can not correct time & date, never mind play a game/listen to a music cd.

      Yes there are people who can fix dreamcast systems & I am one of them. Plus anyway a DC game system is too easy to “crack” open. Same with the original bulky PS2 systems.

  28. I_can_be_on_hackaday says:

    Good idea! It inspired me to cram my amp into the hollow space of a chocolate bunny I got for Easter. I am taking the photos of my “BunnyAmp” now and will submit to Hackaday soon.

  29. Turkeydinner says:

    How about making a small box that’s stuck to the guitar somewhere. Plug in, pick up your guitar and rock your way to the school bus, longhair. That’s portable.

  30. michael.a says:

    nice hack but could have put more effort into it with making it look nice and there is no volume or tone controls whats with that ??
    on more thing why not try and add built in FX that are activated by pressing on the power button to change FX and holding in with foot to use or something along that line !
    and one more thing why not strip the controllers rubber tubing and put over your lead for your guitar !
    and maybe you could add a bigger battery cause there was heeps of room left in that DC !
    overall it was a good hack i would give it a
    7/10 for the concept and a 5/10 for the actual prsentation as you could make it look better !
    i also recently mad esomething similar with a old CD case (the ones that hold like 50 CD’s)

  31. Dcslp says:


  32. Dcslp says:


  33. joey durkin says:

    Those smokey amps are realy small and you have alot of unused space why not put a real amp in there.

  34. summy_4545@hotmail.com says:

    hola amigos mi correo se perdio hace un mes no se nada de mi correo …no se si me pueden ayudar por favor si gracias …espero los resultados

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