SNES emulator has it’s slot sealed shut

If you look closely you’ll notice there’s nowhere to put the game cartridge on this Super Nintendo system. That’s because this is a Rasberry Pi based SNES emulator that plays ROMs, not cartridges. Since the RPi board is used the only limit to what you can play is the board’s RAM and which ROMs you have on the SD card.

The case has basically been gutted and the unused cartridge slot was sealed with some Bondo before painting. In addition to the Rasberry Pi you’ll find a 7-port powered USB hub and a Teensy microcontroller board. The hub allows for the controllers to be connected via USB. The Teensy is recognized as a USB HID device and is used to connect the reset button to a functions on the emulator program. The power switch still works too. To make this happen [MIDItheKID] spliced a USB connector and a microB USB connector to the power switch. We think this draws power from the hub but we’re not 100% sure.

[MIDItheKID] mentions in the Reddit comments that he’s thinking of grabbing that new RPi that has more memory and doing some similar work on his dead PSX.

Interfacing SNES controllers with your Raspberry Pi

This lovely set of wires lets [Florian] connect stock Super Nintendo controllers to his Raspberry Pi. The IDC connector in the upper left plugs into the GPIO header on the RPi rather than going the route of using an intermediary USB converter.

The setup lets you connect two controllers at once, so you’ll have no trouble going head-to-head on Mario Kart as seen in the clip after the break. The ports themselves were pulled from a pair of SNES extension cables. Since button signals are pushed to the console via a shift register there’s just five wires needed for each (voltage, ground, data, clock, and latch). As far was we know the Raspberry Pi pins are not 5V tolerant so you probably want to add some level conversion to this circuit if you build it yourself.

[Florian] wrote a C program which shifts in data from the controllers and converts it to HID keyboard inputs. This should make it extremely flexible when it comes to emulator setup, and using the technique for different styles of controllers should also be pretty easy.

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SNES-001 Advance puts displays in the controllers

Twenty years ago, [Downing] would fight with his siblings over who got to watch TV. Obviously, this gave him the idea of putting a television inside his Super Nintendo controller, but at he tender age of 12, [Downing] had neither the experience nor skills to make that happen. Now that he’s older, and much less impressed by the Sega Nomad, [Downing] made his dream a reality.

Reading over [Downing]’s madebybacteria forum thread, he began the build by adding two controller ports and painting the system a classic Famicom red and white. The prominent feature of [Downing]’s design – a display in each controller – are connected to the console through a second pair of SNES controller ports. Internally, the video signal generated by the SNES is broken out to each controller; the controller displays are just a small mirrored version of whats sent to the TV.

Like [Downing]’s previous Genesis portable, the SNES-001 is a master work of Bondo and vacuum forming. After the break you can see a few demos of what this console mod can do.

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Multi-system Nintendo emulator uses stock controllers

The first month of [WoolyDawg5’s] summer break went into building one Nintendo emulator to rule them all. He thinks there’s nothing like playing the games on the original controllers, and we agree with him 100%. Here you can see that the cartridge door on this NES enclosure hides the extra connectors he needs.

With that door closed this looks like a stock console, but only from the front. If you take a look at the back of it you’ll see how he pulled this off. There’s a Zotac motherboard whose I/O panel has been fitted into the back. It’s responsible for emulating games for the NES, SNES, and GameCube consoles — we’re sure it can do more but that covers the controller ports seen here. Each port is wired to a USB controller module. The cables for these modules exit the back of the case and plug into the motherboard’s I/O panel. There is WiFi for the board, and that’s what [WoolyDawg] uses for configuration, tunneling into the OS instead of connecting a keyboard or mouse.

Of course you could just shoehorn all-original console hardware into one package to accomplish something like this.

[Thanks KoldFuzion]

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.