NES controller is a slick way to carry around your portable OS

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[Oliver] had an old NES controller laying around, and without any other use for it, he decided to repurpose it as a portable storage device.

He gutted most of the controller, removing the plastic standoffs, leaving the D-pad and remaining buttons intact. He crammed a 32 GB flash drive inside, along with the guts from an SD card reader. Using a Dremel he cut several openings into the controller, one for the flash drive and SD card reader’s USB ports, as well as for the SD card itself. When the physical modifications were finished, he installed a small Linux distro on the flash drive, which can be run by any PC that supports booting from USB.

While some might argue, we think it’s a neat way to reuse an old gaming peripheral that he might have otherwise thrown out. The portable OS is something that would certainly come in handy, though we can’t wait until the Raspberry Pi is finished – it would be awesome to have a complete computer packed in there too.

Speaker-mounted WAV player for street performances

This naked speaker is the basis for [MaoMakMaa’s] newest project called the Wavedrone. He plans on using the autonomous and cable-less device during street performances. You can hear the effect of some stretched jazz cords being played on it in the video clip after the break. The sound is kind of an ethereal background noise that observers might not immediately realize is there.

You can see the 9V battery which serves as the power source clinging to the frame of the speaker. A 7805 linear regulator tames that battery and feeds the two IC’s on the circuit board seen to the right. The ATtiny85 is reading music from an SD card and playing it back in mono (obviously) with the help of an LM386 audio amplifier chip. The trimpots that go into the high pass and low pass filters in between the microcontroller and amplifier allow for a bit of sound manipulation, but we’re more impressed with the quality of the sound this is getting when properly trimmed.

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Sleek, disc-less GameCube handheld

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Console hacker [techknott] has a skill set that is quite possibly second to none. We do love [Ben Heck] and think that his portable consoles are beyond awesome, but you’ve got to check out this portable GameCube [techknott] put together.

While the construction details are pretty sparse, the video below shows off the bulk of the portable ‘Cube’s best features. Far smaller than his Flip-Top GameCube or Dreamcast portables we’ve featured in the past, his new handheld sports a wider screen and is completely disc-less. While the legality of booting backup copies of games from an SD card is something we won’t delve into, we do like the concept.

The console itself is probably only about one and a half times the width of a standard GameCube controller, and while it doesn’t sport an internal battery pack, we wouldn’t turn one down. Besides, who wants to play GameCube outside? With one of these in hand, we are more than happy to keep our pasty selves indoors, thank you very much.

The only complaint we have here is the lack of build details. [techknott’s] handheld consoles are pretty amazing – we just wish that we could see how the magic was made!

Be sure to check out the video below to see the console in action.

[Thanks, Dave]

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Game Boy communicates directly with an SD card

[kgsws] just finished his Game Boy upgrade that allows him to load games from an SD card. Loading a game off an SD card has been done before, but [kgsws] decided to not to use a cartridge-based device. In the end, he threw out all the stops and finished his project by having the Game Boy access an SD card directly.

[kgsws] his project trying to figure out how to put some GPIO pins on a game cartridge, but figured that this would take too much hardware. After looking at the specs of the link port, he realized that it was the wrong polarity. Not to be deterred, [kgsws] realized that there was something like a general-purpose I/O on the Game Boy – the joypad input.

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Storage for your hacking needs

Sometimes your project needs a lot of non-volatile ROM, right on cue [Matthew] let us know how to not only connect, interface, read, and write to SD cards with a PIC over serial, but also how to do the above mentioned with an old PATA HDD. For those without a PIC/serial connection don’t fret, [nada] let us know about his Bus Pirate SD card hack, of which our personal favorite part is the creative use of an old 5.25″ floppy connector as the SD card socket.

USB gameboy cart

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[Jose Torres] sent in his latest attempt at creating a custom Gameboy game cartridge. We’ve featured his projects before, and he’s come a lot closer over the last 2 years. He’s aiming to create an easy interface for homebrewers that doesn’t require any other special equipment. In this revision, he’s using a PIC and a memory controller to interface between an SD card and the Gameboy. The cart also has USB support for uploading files to the SD card and reprogramming the PIC. Because it’s just USB mass storage, it will work on almost any modern OS. He’s currently testing the device, but hopes to be selling them soon for $40.

4D Systems micro drive

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4D  Systems micro drive provides both raw and FAT level access to microSD cards. The module contains a dedicated host controller that transforms what may be an otherwise intimidating card spec into a group of simple serial commands. With a wide supply range of 3.6-5.5 and .1″ lead spacing, this should be cake walk to tinker with. The device doesn’t support FAT32 yet. According to the GOLDELOX-DOS command set page 9, “FAT32 is currently not supported, if you mount a FAT32 formatted disk, you will not be able to access it at all, both FAT and RAW commands will fail”. At the moment the device seems limited at 2GB FAT16 partitions. This sure does seem like cheating after implementing SPI and Nibble mode SD card protocols.

[via Electronics-Lab.Com thanks mozzwald]