Drop-in board for NES ROM chip makes cartridge reprogrammable

Here’s the guts from [Dext0rb's] Super Nintendo cartridge. It’s easy to pick out the dark-colored board which lets him reflash SNES ROMs via USB. We’ve seen this done a number of times, but this is a much cleaner option than hacks that just add a dead-bug-style memory chip.

The board he designed has a double-row of pin headers sized to fit the footprint vacated by the original ROM chip. The board has a mini-USB connector which can be accessed through a hole he cut in the side of the cartridge enclosure. This is in the right place so that you cannot plug it in when it’s being used in the SNES (which would cause damage). The ATmega32u4 chip handles USB connectivity and programs the 32 megabit flash chip which stores the ROM. He’s posted a few articles on the blog portion of his site which you’ll find interesting. We suggest starting with this hardware teaser.

NES controllers for any Bluetooth application

[Dustin Evans] wanted to used his original NES controllers to play emulated games. The problem is he didn’t want to alter the classic hardware. His solution was to use the connectors and enclosure from a dead NES to build a Bluetooth translator that works with any NES controller.

Here he’s showing the gutted half of an original NES. Although the motherboard is missing, the connectors for the controllers are still there. They’ve been rewired to an Arduino board which has a BlueSMiRF modem. The controller commands are harvested by the Arduino and sent to whatever is listening on the other end of the Bluetooth connection. He also has plans to add a couple of SNES ports to the enclosure so that those unaltered controllers may also be used.

In the video after the break [Dustin] walks us through the hardware setup. He then demonstrates pairing the device with an Android phone and playing some emulators with the pictured controllers.

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Making Laser adjustments with an SNES gamepad

Gaming has infiltrated everything around us. It seems that any time a control interface is needed, the first thought to many current hacker’s minds are the familiar controls from the video games we grew up with. In this example, [eljaywasi] needed a way to control the wavelength of light coming out of a laser. We don’t know exactly how he’s actually changing the wavelength, but we do know he’s using an SNES gamepad as his interface. You can see a red and a blue LED located on the front of the pad, so it may be that two buttons would have sufficed. We don’t care, we like the SNES pad better.

Hackaday Links: April 29, 2012

More old computers on FPGAs!

[Andy] loves his Memotech MTX computer. It’s an oldie with a Z80 running at 4MHz; the perfect target for an FPGA port. The ReMemotech has everything the old one has – cassette interface and all – and can run up to six times faster than the original.

Also found in 10-forward

If you’re going to build a jukebox, why not go all out? Here’s a touch screen jukeboxwith an LCARS skin. Yep, the same interface found on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

New desktop wallpaper for you

[McMonster] found a great pair of blog posts (1, 2) showing what ancient ICs look like without their casing. Since these were CERDIP packages (two ceramic plates glued together) they were exceptionally easy to take apart leaving the entire chip intact. Pages are in Polish, but there’s a Google Translate button on the sidebar

Cheap and easy Arduino wi-fi

Quick quiz: what’s the easiest way to get data onto an Arduino wirelessly? XBees? GSM modules? Nope, just get a wireless router and an Ethernet shield. The Ethernet module only cost [Doss] $20, and we’re sure Hackaday readers have a spare wireless router around somewhere.

Chiptunes! Chiptunes I say!

[mdmoose29] has been working on making a custom SNES cartridge for a dubstep artist (tell us more, [moose]…). In his search for programming tools, he found theSNES Game Maker. We tried it out for a bit and it’s still a very unrefined beta. Still, making SNES programming easier is awesome.

You people are awesome. Here’s six things for a links post.

[Valentin] made a night vision monocular from an old VHS camcorder, a small spy camera, and a handful of infrared LEDs. Here’s a video of [Valentin]‘s build in action.

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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FPGA Snake game uses no VHDL at all

We’re really not supposed to start a feature like this; but this hack is awesome. It’s a game of Snake implemented by an FPGA dev board. It uses a 16×16 LED matrix as the display and an SNES controller for input. So far it sounds like a very normal version of the game. But as you start to hear how it works in the presentation after the break you fall in love with what’s going on here.

First of all, it’s not written in VHDL — the predominant programming language for FPGAs. Instead, [Darrell] used the schematic-only approach to build the logic. Okay, that’s starting to get more interesting. As he continues to explain the circuit we get to see how the control input works (pretty simple since the SNES controller uses a parallel-to-serial shift register) and how the display is multiplexed. But the actual game logic is where things really take off. Each pixel in the display has its own individual logic circuit. Basically every cell is its own processor which reacts both to what is passed into it, as well as to a random seed. That seed system is called the ‘bucket brigade’ and passes a chance to spawn a piece of food from one cell to the next. All of this together makes for one simple game that is eloquently executed. [Read more...]

Nintenduo stuffs an NES and SNES in the same case

[lovablechevy] loves her Retro Duo console, especially since it takes up less space than the NES and SNES it has replaced. There’s a small problem though: the Retro Duo isn’t 100% compatible with her old Nintendo cartridges. Battletoads is a deal breaker for her, so she built Nintenduo, an NES/SNES console that uses all original Nintendo hardware.

The Queen of Bondo began her project with a top-loading NES and the smaller revision of the SNES. There’s a Photobucket gallery showing the innards lovingly placed in their new plastic home.

Not only can [lovablechevy] play classics like Paperboy, Donkey Kong Country, and the Super Mario RPG that are incompatable with the Retro Duo, all the accessories like the Zapper and Power Pad now work.

The finished build is very small; not much bigger than an SNES 2, and is nearly dwarfed by the gigantic NES cartridges. She posted a video of herself trying not to shoot the stupid Duck Hunt dog with her Nintenduo. Check it out after the break.

[Read more...]

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