NES controller cannibalized for MP3 player enclosure

We know some folks are very upset by the scrapping on vintage hardware, so let’s all observe a moment of silence for this NES controller.

Now that that’s behind us we can live vicariously through [Burger King Diamond's] project. He polished up the NES controller and repurposed it as an enclosure for a portable MP3 player.

His first step was to remove some of the yellowing of the plastic using Retr0brite. He admits it wasn’t bad to start with but now it’s sparkling like new. Next, he started planning how everything would fit in the case. Luckily the MP3 player operates with one AAA battery which leaves plenty of room.

Just above the A and B buttons you can make out an opening that he cut in the case for the MP3 player’s LCD screen. The bezel from the original case works well for cleaning the rough cut opening. The buttons on the controller have been patched into the controls on the MP3 board, and the opening for the controller’s cable now holds the headphone jack. There’s also a USB port mounted next to it for easy file transfers.

The one thing we would like to see is a rechargeable battery so you don’t need to open the case to top off the power. But all in all this is a fantastic build!

Comments

  1. tehnoo says:

    Very cool. I still a few brand new NES controllers in their box laying around for whatever reason.

    I had aspirations of gutting one, putting a 1st gen iPod nano guts in, putting the screen right in the middle above the select/start buttons and loading a NES emulator. I hadn’t figured out the button mapping in my head, but I thought it’d be a sweet project that never got off the ground… it’d be a sweet travel companion…

  2. LeaveOldHardwareAlone says:

    Great, yet more hardware that should be preserved being destroyed for common unnecessary projects.

    • capt. obvious says:

      Come on, quit being a douche. The NES was the best selling console of it’s age, selling over 60 million units according to Wikipedia. So probably well over 120 million controllers were made. These things are so cheap and common, and the percentage of people that hack them is so miniscule, that it’s not even worth mentioning.

    • jan says:

      scarcity^, price^ = natural stop to scrapping.
      Problem solved. thanks free market!

  3. Yosh says:

    Why oh, why didn’t he use an mp3 player with a usb chargeable battery? Poor screws… :<

  4. HackJack says:

    Blah.

  5. Doc says:

    done deal, easy build!, gonna do one for me, but with with a usb chargeable battery! easycake!!
    great job!

    Best Regards
    Doc

  6. chango says:

    Charging and eliminating the USB jack would be a piece of cake by basing this on any one of thousands of players that use a 4-pole TRRS jack to share USB and audio.

  7. kt says:

    Seriously? This isn’t a new “hack”, people! I’ve seen numerous versions of this same idea on HAD as well as several other websites/blogs. Hackaday, you really disappoint me with this one.

  8. Troll_Dragon says:

    AWG 30 Wire (Wire Wrap) would take up a lot less space than that old ribbon cable.

    Great build by the way.
    I need me one of these!

  9. anyone says:

    what a waste. hope it looks cool so people like him more or whatever

  10. A_do_Z says:

    In my book, repurposing != scrapping.

    I don’t like throwing away anything “vintage”, but I’ve sacrificed two NES controllers to make a Vectrex controller and never lost a minute of sleep over it.

  11. ecchin says:

    I wonder how are there still any NES controllers around :( Poor guys.

  12. Aaron says:

    Oh, for God’s sake, y’all, it’s a Nintendo controller, not a Faberge egg.

    Me, I’d like to see a USB-chargeable MP3-playing Nintendo controller belt buckle…on somebody else.

  13. Pete says:

    Yeah, some old hardware is rare but NES controllers aren’t. Millions were made, and they keep turning up in the local charity shops.

  14. jharton says:

    Assuming that this is runnable on say AA batteries you could design in a usb based Ni-mh charge circuit and a software switch that turns it on or off. I’d suggest making that something that is cleared when the battery. Sure you have to re-set it to charging enabled whenever you remove the battery, but at least that way if you choose to use alkalines along the way it won’t be trying to charge them unless one is stupid.

    I am assuming here that there isn’t a way to detect batteries that aren’t rechargeable, but if their were that would be better idea.

    Our society relies an awful lot on their being a place to plug-in their rechargeable battery powered devices and easily obtained replacement batteries or devices. Not that anyone has much that would run on 2-3 AA batteries anymore, but for things that can it’d be nice if the battery compartment was designed with that possible use in mind.

    • cutandpaste says:

      My first MP3 player (a CD-based Rio Volt) included rechargeable batteries. (I forget if they were nicad or nimh, but it doesn’t matter.)

      They were just like any other AA battery, except some of the plastic label covering the battery was removed (1/2″ or so from one end) to allow a second contact point for the negative terminal.

      That secondary negative terminal connected to the charging circuit.

      Thus, when regular alkaline AA batteries were installed, it would not (rather, could not) charge them. But it would gleefully charge the battery after the label was peeled back.

      It worked well, and would be an easy way to hack a moderately-foolproof charging circuit into any random device that uses alkaline batteries.

  15. Paul Potter says:

    Note rare at all, and great cool hack.

  16. DavidF says:

    Can someone make on of these for me? I will buy from you! kinda need it fast for a museum installation.

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