Nokia N900 control pad is perfect for gaming on the go


[Andrzej] loves his Nokia N900, noting that it makes a great portable gaming device. Since it supports a wide array of emulators, it’s perfect for indulging his gaming nostalgia on the go. He says that the one downside to the N900 is that its keyboard doesn’t make gaming easy, nor comfortable.

To make gaming a big more fun, he built himself an add-on gamepad that fits perfectly over the phone’s keyboard. Connected via the phone’s USB port, it features 8 push buttons along with a PSP joystick. He used an ATmega8A as the brains of the controller, communicating with the phone as a USB keyboard. He says that this sort of configuration makes it extremely easy to do all sorts of custom button mapping on a per-game basis.

As you can see in the picture above the controller is currently lacking a case, but we think that with a bit of clever packaging, it could look as nice as a retail add-on.

Check out the short video below to see his gamepad in action.


  1. vic says:

    i would fill the pcb with silicon, and carefully make a case of hot retractable black plastic for it.

  2. Henré says:

    I love Tyrian! Hahaha

  3. Cobalt says:

    Nice controller + Tyrian = epic :)

  4. charliex says:

    thats cool, i’m gonna make one for my n900 too

  5. M4CGYV3R says:

    It already has a slide-out keyboard just FULL of buttons. What exactly is the point of bolting a huge wire-strewn circuit board over the more-useful keyboard?

  6. 0c says:

    Seeing Tyrian on the screen made me hear the shop music in my head, haha

  7. Darkknight512 says:

    Very nice, I’ve seen a few commercial versions of these pop up in the last little while.

    My favorite version being the one from the people that made the Pandora, the iControlPad

    I really do like the concept of strapping a control pad to a phone, it makes the device just that much more of a multitool.

  8. AbsoluteZero says:

    Does this mean they got USB host working for the n900 now?

    I thought this was the biggest flaw with the phone as I wanted to be able to connect things like USB thumb-drives without needing a separate machine to transfer files.

    I broke the ribbon cable that connects the face to the brains. Ordered a replacement only to have it be damaged as well, waiting on a cable to fix mine still.

  9. zokier says:

    Tactile switches for a game pad, does that really work? I wonder if rubber dome buttons from actual game controllers could be used instead without too much trouble. Some exposed PCB traces and a case to hold them in place, should work fine, right?

    But damn, I love N900… I probably should grab couple of those before they end up in landfills..

  10. Ben says:

    Tyrian is my favourite game ever.

  11. Sonny_Jim says:

    Always like to see N900 hacks :-)

    And in typical hackaday style, I’m going to complain and point out that you can use a bluetooth PS3 controller:

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