N64 controller mod means playing games akimbo

Star Wars Episode 1 Racer for the Nintendo 64 has a rather interesting feature: by entering the code RRDUAL on the cheats menu, it’s possible to plug two controllers into the console and control each engine independently. This gives the game an awesome arcade feel, but dual-wielding N64 controllers is a bit of a burden. [Clarky] thought it would be a good idea to combine two controllers into one, and the Star Wars Racer controller is the result.

Like most console mods, the build began by tearing apart two N64 controllers and gluing them together. With a ton of bondo, sanding, and fiberglass, [Clarky] had a mutated N64 controller perfect for the Episode 1 game.

[Clarky] will be updating the build with a built-in rumble pak, but for now he’s doing his best to learn how to fly a pod racer with both hands. You can check out the demo of his build after the break where he plays the Star Wars game as well as a round of Goldeneye using his akimbo controller.

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N64 in an N64 controller

We’ve seen portable N64s before, but none were at the level of [Bungle]‘s oversized N64 controller casemod.

Instead of the usual ‘sanding Bondo and gluing styrene’ method we’ve seen in other casemods, [Bungle] decided to make a silicone mold with a positive master. Not only did [Bungle] end up with a case indistinguishable from something produced in a factory, but the molding process left him with more internal room and the ability to make identical duplicates of his over sized controller.

The electronics are the standard fare – a slightly modified N64 with a PSone LCD screen. Because the rumble and memory packs are built in to the body of the gigantic controller, [Bungle] added a multifunction pak to provide ports for power, brightness controls, a/v, and a second controller.

This is an amazing build that really steps up the game for console modders. You can check out [Bungle]‘s demo video after the break.

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Tiny N64 controller comes with hand-cramp guarantee

Just looking at this little thing makes our hands ache. But [Kirren] did do a great job of building an N64 controller inside a tiny project box. It’s not a mod, but a ground-up build based on a PIC 16F628 microcontroller.

It has most of the buttons found on a standard controller, and he assures us that you can play most games without missing the ones that didn’t make it into the design. You can just make out the analog stick to the left, but that silver ring on the right is actually a 4-direction tactile switch which stands in for the C buttons. He’s also included Start, A, B, R, and Z.

The link above goes to his Wiki, and there are more than enough details if you’re interested in doing this yourself or just understanding how everything works. Check out his writeup on the protocol, and  you can even get a copy of his code. There’s also a video demo after the break which shows [Kirren] playing some Bond with the controller. [Read more...]

Miniaturized N64 controller fits the tiniest of hands

n64-controller-mod

The controllers that came with the Nintendo 64 don’t exactly measure up to the “Duke” of Xbox fame, but they’re not the smallest in the world either. Made by Bacteria forum member [Bungle] says that his girlfriend has incredibly tiny hands, so he thought he might try trimming some of the fat from an N64 controller by cramming its components into an N64 cartridge.

He tore down a 3rd-party N64 controller, tossing out the D-Pad, plug, and rumble motor, retaining all of the other buttons. After gutting the game cartridge, he heated the back side under a lamp and stretched the plastic over a roll of electrical tape to make room for the N64’s trademark “Z” button. Having only removed the rumble motor due to size constraints, he found a suitable replacement at Radio Shack, which fills in for the original nicely.

After a good amount of careful trimming, wiring, and mounting, he came up with the little gem you see above. We’re sure [Bungle’s] girlfriend is pleased with his work, and he seems happy with how it came out as well.

Continue reading to see a short video showing off [Bungle’s] latest creation.

[Thanks, Chris Downing]

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Wireless controllers for all your retro systems

Remember those old wireless controllers made for the consoles of our youth like the NES and Super Nintendo? They didn’t work well, mostly owing to the fact they were built using the same infrared technology that is found in a remote control. Now that all the modern consoles are wireless, [micro] over at the nftgames forum decided to update his classic systems for wireless control.

The transmitters and receivers are built around an nRF24L01+ radio module that operates in the 2.4 GHz band. [micro] has the process of converting his controllers down to a science. He cuts the cord and wires the controller up to an AVR running at 16 MHz. The AVR sends this to the receiver where the button presses are sent through the original controller port. Basically, [micro] recreated a WaveBird controller for his NES, SNES, Saturn and N64.

The controllers are powered by internal lithium batteries, but the charging ICs are too expensive to put in each controller. To solve this problem, [micro] crafted a small external charging circuit that plugs into a 3.5mm jack on each controller. Check out [micro]‘s controller demo after the break.

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Funtendo connects all your Nintendo controllers to a PC

For those of us who can’t be bothered to dig out or N64 whenever we want to play Ocarina of Time or our NES whenever we get the urge to play Battletoads, emulators are a godsend. There is a problem, though. A keyboard doesn’t provide the right experience as a the classic NES ‘brick’ or the N64 tritopus controllers. Enter the Funtendo, a breakout box that converts all your well-loved controllers to USB.

The Funtendo uses the Gadget Gangster Propeller Platform with a terminal block module. Putting together the electronics is fairly easy; just strip the ends of the controllers and screw them down to the terminal blocks. N64, NES and Wii Classic Controllers are supported by the Funtendo. Going for the Classic Controller over a Super Nintendo controller reduces the complexity of the build. The Classic Controller can play SNES games and uses an I2C bus, making it easier to wire.

For interfacing the controllers to the computer, the Parallax Propeller Tool, Parallax serial terminal, and PPJoy convert button mashing into readable buttons for the emulator. The build may take more time than pulling an NES out of the attic, but even with a large project box it takes up much less space.

Check out the demo of the Funtendo after the break.

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N64 controller input using an ATtiny85

[Larsim] worked out the timing necessary to read button and joystick data from an N64 controller using an ATtiny85 microcontroller. The project was spawned when he found this pair of controllers in the dumpster. We often intercept great stuff bound for the landfill, especially on Hippie Christmas when all the student switch apartments at the same time.

Instead of cracking the controllers open and patching directly to the buttons, [Larsim] looked up the pinout of the connector and patched into the serial data wire. In true hacker fashion, he used two 5V linear regulators and a diode in series to step his voltage source down to close to 3.6V, as he didn’t have a variable regulator on hand. It does sound like this causes noise which can result if false readings, but that can be fixed with the next parts order.

The controller waits for a polling signal before echoing back a response in which button data is embedded. This process is extremely quick, and without a crystal on hand, the chip needs to be configured to use its internal PLL to ramp the R/C oscillator up to 16Mhz. With the chip now running fast enough, an external interrupt reads the serial response from the controller, and the code reacts based on that input.

It seems the biggest reason these N64 controllers hit the trash can is because the analog joystick wears out. If you’ve got mad skills you can replace it with a different type.

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