Arduino to Nintendo DS interface

[Hounjini] was poking around at the Game Boy Advanced bus of his Nintendo DS lite and figured out how to use it to connect an Arduino to the DS. For testing he’s soldered an IDC plug to the cartridge cover pin interface but this only requires four connections. The Arduino can both send and receive data from the DS lite as shown in the example videos after the break. The data access is made possible by making the Arduino look like a controller that the DS is happy to talk to.

[Thanks Christian]


  1. Rfx says:

    It’s not messy enough !

    I do prefer mine :p

    It’s in french but pics and vids vill show you what i mean :

    Arduino free !

  2. ecurtz says:

    Why not just use the ARM chip in the DS, which is way more powerful than the Arduino?

  3. osgeld says:

    who knows

    There seems to be a small fad happening (and not just with arduino) to send serial data to a serial equipped computer like DS or celphones etc

    I fail to see most of the point, but I am not going to stop anyone either

  4. xyz says:

    There is also the ds brut

    Basically a Atmega168 in a slot-1 cartridge.

  5. deathventure says:

    might be nifty for the homebrew crowd.

  6. Nemo says:

    Really awesome. Now it will be easy to interface the DS with hardware like GPS units and accelerometers and other sensors as well as robots and other machines using all the open source simplicity of the Arduino.

  7. Phil Burgess says:

    Nifty. By an odd coincidence, I’d been dabbling in something very similar lately, though using Microchip PIC rather than Arduino.

    For the slightly baffled, the value here is that a cheap external microcontroller adds a lot of I/O capabilities: A/D converters, SPI and I2C buses, etc., while the DS has some decent compute power and A/V capabilities that are almost comically simple to program. Pairing the two together can, in some cases, be easier (and sometimes actually cheaper) than building up the same features atop various 32-bit microcontroller kits.

  8. funky gibbon says:

    @Nemo, it’s always been easy to interface to DS, i’ve been using a GPS connected to my gameboy SP for years, everything you want is there, Backlit lcd, buttons for control and a multi protocol serial bus on the back

  9. funky gibbon says:

    The NDSL has spi lines in Slot 1, wouldn’t that be easier?

  10. Phil Burgess says:

    @gibbon: Some cases, yeah. I happened to be using an R4 cart (filling Slot 1) for homebrew code, though of course the situation would be reversed with a Slot 2 homebrew solution. I rather like keeping Slot 2 open though…many more data lines that are easily corrupted to other uses.

  11. walt says:

    oh. this is bad ass, as I love the DS and arduino
    but, I still gotta’ say it… instructables BOOOOO!!!

  12. luke says:

    hi, my name is luke and i want to make a remote control car with a pan/tilt camera on it, i can make it fine but i would like to be able to controll it from my ds/iphone/laptop but have absoulutely no coding experiance. i was thinking maby using an arduino and a wifi chip but dont no how i would program my ds/iphone/laptop. if anybody knows any good websites or videos that would help i would be very greatful. thanks luke (13) :) e-mail:

  13. sam says:

    do not i repeat do not hook up the vcc wire (the optional one) and the ground it will shot and fri your ds i learned the hard way

  14. Strange this post is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, but it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing something right if Google likes you enough to put you on the first page of a non related search. :)

  15. Jojo says:

    I’m a bit late to the party here, but…

    Looking into NDS hardware interface via Slot-2 myself. Can someone point me to some documentation? Specifically how to read/write from the bus from libnds. Presumably I just need to find the correct address, yes?

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