NES controller gets a rumble pak

Add some feedback to an original NES controller by making it vibrate. This feature is often known as Rumble Pak, a controller add-on for the Nintendo 64 which vibrated as a game feature. This version adds a small DC motor (in the upper right) with a screw soldered off-center to the motor shaft.

[Andy Goetz] and his friend built this as a robot controller, taking advantage of the latch and clock pins. Normally, nothing happens while both pins are held high, a signal that they easily patched into using an AND gate. This is actually a neat find, as the addition of an internal microcontroller could add bi-directional communication when the latch is high and the clock is strobed.


  1. Craig says:

    You KNOW it belongs on Hack-a-day when you see a quad-AND chip with its pins splayed flat, at an angle, and lead wires soldered straight to the pins!

    I assume they’re using the LED as a traditional diode in this case?

    Forrest M. Mims would be proud!

  2. ssh says:

    @Craig i see nothing wrong with this statement

  3. strider_mt2k says:

    Heck, I’m impressed with the screw soldered to the motor!
    The whole thing rocks.
    (Yeah I noticed the splayed legs on that IC too.)

    ‘sall good

  4. zool says:

    can’t read values from the controller when it’s rumbling,…fail

    how does it know when to rumble anyway

  5. Lib says:

    I agree with zool. What signals from the software does the controller read as a request to “rumble”?

  6. xyz says:

    Is it really that hard to follow the link and see if it provides further explanation?

  7. Andy goetz says:

    This project was originally for a simple bump bot. The control SW would toggle back and forth between poll button positions and vibration the motor.

  8. Amos says:

    Just replace the cable to get an extra wire and use it to feed a serial->parallel shift register (or the aforementioned uC) hooked to the same latch/clock/Vcc lines. Ta-da! full-duplex serial comms.

    It’s how the “link” port in a Game Boy works.

    But this rumble thing is simple and effective, like all great hacks :D

  9. zool says:

    @xyz at first i skimmed the page on how it works, there’s no mention of how they get it to rumble from what’s happening in the game

    i read the page again and realized it’s not for playing a game at all but for controlling their robot

    it’s a deceptive thing to make a NES controller rumblepack hack and not even have it rumble when you’re playing an NES game

    maybe should have added ‘robot controller’ in the title

  10. Scott says:

    I think the confusion is about what this is for – it appears this has little to do with NES games. This is a hack *only* for the controller. It will never “rumble” while playing a game. (correct me if I’m wrong.) It will only rumble when plugged into a DIY device which tells it to rumble. The hack was the fact that they got a rumbler to fit in the NES controller. To be honest, I don’t think there’s any game-related functionality to this yet. It’s totally hacker spirit though – dirty, haphazard, yet functional. Very cool.

  11. bilbao bob says:

    @Craig –
    Forrest Mims! Dude has a smoking hot daughter! Well, maybe not smoking hot, but she has done real science ON the topic of hot smoke…

    He’s the guy who launched a hundred thousand careers over 40 years. He’s big on Intelligent Design, btw.

  12. cde says:

    @ Zool, it does say it in the article blurb.

    //[Andy Goetz] and his friend built this as a robot controller//

  13. roshamboe says:

    What if they just customize a game to make it sense the necessary times to rumble?

  14. Fallen says:

    Agreed, the title should mention robots.

  15. HackJack says:

    Why not just use a controller that rumbles. Like a PS2 joypad?

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