USB dongle for unmodified NES controllers

This USB dongle will let you use your unmodified NES controllers on a computer. That’s because it includes the same socket you’d find on the classic console.

The image above shows the prototype. Instead of etching the copper clad board, each trace was milled by hand (presumably with a rotary tool). To the left the black square is made of several layers of electrical tape that builds the substrate up enough to fit snugly in a USB port.

An ATtiny45 running the V-USB stack has no problem reading the controller data and formatting it for use as a USB device. This is actually the second iteration of the project. The first attempt used an ATtiny44 and a free-formed circuit housed inside the controller. It worked quite well, but required alterations to the circuit board, and you needed to replace the stock connector with a USB plug. This dongle allows the controller to go unaltered so it can be used with an NES console again in the future.


  1. willow says:

    I never get tired of seeing that remote. Really awesome build, perfect for the Wii!

  2. willow says:

    And by Wii I meant emulator software!

  3. jason says:

    I would love to use this with an emulator and an NES Advantage!

  4. jamen lang says:

    And by NES Advantage he means Turbo Touch 360!

  5. Gdogg says:

    Perfect. It makes me sad when I see a NES controller go under the knife.

  6. cde says:

    Now he needs a genesis controller version. d9 plugs are cheap.

  7. Kaz says:

    Not as cute perhaps, but this one lets you use 4 NES/SNES controllers:

    (And then I took it and modified it to allow use of up to 5 of either type…)

    I do like the idea of using a cheap little ATTiny though. Probably can program the Little Wire to do this too.

  8. Andrew says:

    Oh man, I love this!

  9. Hirudinea says:

    He should sell this thing (or maybe go into an arrangement with AdaFruit.)

  10. Galane says:

    How about an adapter for the original Microsoft Sidewinder force feedback joystick? Of course with FF drivers for Windows XP and newer.

    It’s a really nice stick except for MS not supporting it past Win 98.

  11. Squidge says:

    Nice, except electrical tape has a habit of turning to goop just like duct tape.

  12. ftorama says:

    I’m on a similar project but working with as much pads as possible on a single micro.

    For now, it works with Genesis, NES and SNES pads. Gamecube pad is on the way, just have to fix a timing problem.

    Old DB15 PC joysticks and pads should be added as well as Dreamcast pad and others as I can get them at low prices (it would just be too expensive to buy all brand new controllers).

    I try to do it as simple as possible to be replicable by nearly anyone. You can see the article dedicated to Genesis pad here (in french):

    Article about NES and SNES pads should follow next week

  13. bwmetz says:

    Same concept as the NES to Serial port adapters in the mid-90’s, but one that’ll actually work on a modern PC. Still wouldn’t make Doom played with a powerglove any more enjoyable though I’m afraid.

  14. Slightly off topic but i converted a broken NES i found into a working NES emulator system using a Raspberry Pi. The controller ports work with the original controllers. I have uploaded a youtube video here.

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