Wireless SNES Controller for Logitech Receiver

SNES

A while back, Logitech introduced their version of a wireless interface for keyboards, mice, and other human-oriented peripherals. Yes, they could have used Bluetooth, but that’s neither here nor there. What we do know, though, is that it’s now possible to stuff one of these Logitech transmitters into a Super Nintendo controller, allowing it to operate with your fancy-schmancy wireless keyboards and mice.

[Warrior_Rocker] wanted to retain as much of the stock appearance of the original controller as possible. To do this, he salvaged the Logitech transmitter from an old handheld Logitech keyboard/touchpad combo. The membrane of the keyboard connected directly to the transmitter, meaning tracing out the connections of the membrane to each pin was required to get a button mapping that made sense.

Once the lines of the SNES controller were wired up to the transmitter, [Warrior] needed a way to power his new wireless controller. The old keyboard used a pair of AA cells wired in parallel. With two AA cells, the keyboard had about a year of battery life, so with a single AAA cell, [Warrior]‘s SNES controller should last a few months or more.

Except for a switch and a missing cable, [Warrior]‘s wireless controller looks exactly like a stock controller. Pretty impressive, given this build is the product of stuff he just had lying around.

Comments

  1. CSS Error? says:

    This article has some implied judgement of Logitech’s decision not to use Bluetooth. I have found that in 3+ years of owning various Logitech devices that use their own 2.4GHz receivers that they have always paired and operated flawlessly, whereas I’ve had issues with bluetooth devices. I favour this reliability over needing to plug in a receiver. It appears that Logitech may be using the nRF24LU1P.

    • icanhazadd says:

      I was also very excited to see a nRF24 in there. I’m typing this message with one now! WheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEeeee!

    • Nova says:

      Agree, The coolest thing about the logitech receivers is that once you pair them with their software you’ll never have to again as far as I’ve found(or need the software anymore for that mater unless you really want to stare at the battery meter). It’s great because they function at bios level and regardless of OS.

  2. silviu says:

    there is a good reason not to use bluetooth for wireless keyboards. I discovered that when I needed to change some bios settings on my media center to get it to boot :) Bluetooth keyboards only start working after the operating system has booted.

  3. potatoman412 says:

    Very cool! Keep on rockin, Rocker. I have enjoyed my logitech wireless keyboards and mice over the years and each iteration seems to get better as the other users have commented. This is definitely a neat use for the unity receiver, which often show up in thrift shops. Kudos, Rocker :)

  4. wherestheanykey says:

    Would’ve loved to see an inductive charger (or any easy means of charging, really) crammed in, but definitely a solid build otherwise.

    Although… with charging capability, you might be able to stuff quite a few of those Li-Ion batteries from cheap Bluetooth headsets inside, which would bring the weight closer to stock.

  5. icanhazadd says:

    One thing, I think the LED will bring down the battery life much faster than they seem to expect. Compared to the radio the LED looks pretty power hungry.

  6. imjosh says:

    I believe the problem with Bluetooth is the higher power consumption. Bluetooth-LE may now be a viable option though.

  7. Randy says:

    The finished guts look quite a bit like what I recently did to one of their newer unity trackballs. I wound up clownsuiting the entire logic board inside one of their much older trackballs because the shape is much more comfortable to my hand. One thing I’d reccomend if you have a project like this is to use multicolored ribbon cable instead of individual wires and only separate the ribbon cable where neccesary to make the connections. It keeps the inside of the thing looking a lot less nesty. The downside to that is you don’t always get the colors you’d want on the switch you want but I personally don’t mind that when dealing with this sort of hack.

    http://chouri.co/gallery/picture.php?/63/category/5

  8. DragonPhyre says:

    For those wondering, the cheapest keyboard on ebay that has these types of receivers is the K360 keyboard, which you can get on FleaBay for under $20. And the receiver is even SMALLER than what is used in this hack here. Unfortunately, the keyboard presses the membrane matrix right onto a black-substance (I think some kind of carbon ink) that completes the connection. To solder to this connection, you have to scrape/rub it off… and I was in a bit of a hurry to do so, and I may have broke some of the connections. Also the receiver uses 2 batteries, which is going to have to result in the battery pack going on the outside of the controller, much like an 360 controller. But if you were putting this into a bigger controller, such as a SNES advantage… It would be very easy to use some C batteries to keep it powered up for weeks. Heck, I might make one that would use actual arcade buttons.

    I am not giving up though. This is too cool of a hack, and I had all the parts (minus a $2.50 snes controller) so I am still working on it.

  9. pcuser says:

    omg instructions for making a usb mouse wireless please!!!!

  10. Randy says:

    pcuser, pretty much just find a wireless donor mouse that’s quite a bit smaller than the one you have, and shoving the guts into the one you want to make wireless. I’d recommend something like the m325 from Logitech because it’s tiny, and uses their unity system, which is similar to low power Bluetoof, and also because it’s a tiny little board inside there. It’s also around 13$ last I checked. You simply remove all the physical switches, buttons, scroll wheel assembly with the IR sensors and diodes from the donor, and reroute them to a new piece of perfboard shaped like what was in the original mouse you want to keep. I say simply but that’s going to be where things want to get hairy. Expect stuff not to work right the first few times you try it. My trackball project from Nov 23rd up there is like the 3rd or 4th try at it and the 1rst where I’m happy enough to use it. There will be some things to improve the first time something goes bad on it which I’m giving a year to happen before I tear it back down anyway. If you have a particular love of this mouse order 2-3 of them off ebay/amazon used and work on those first. Save every part you take off of every one, and try to keep them organized.

  11. I’ve seen many posts (including this one here at hackaday) where one takes a console controller and hack it to play in a pc with a usb port. Thing is, I’m looking to do the other way around : Take a comfy logitech precision gamepad, and hack it so it can be plugged in my old snes. I find this gamepad way more efficient and less pain-to-the-thumbs to play with, so i’d like to allow anybody to play SNES using his favorite gamepad. Any help would be appreciated, since I’m only a beginner in electronics. I’m more into the software things…

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