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.

[Read more...]

Overclocking a Starfox game cartridge

Some of our younger readers will never have experienced this before, but back in the day your video games would slow way down if there were too many moving objects on the screen. The original Castlevania comes to mind, but many will remember the problem while playing the fantastically three-dimensional Super Nintendo game Starfox. [Drakon] isn’t putting up with that hardware shortfall any longer, he hacked this cartridge to run at 42 MHz, twice as fast as the design spec.

We only occasionally look in on the cart hacking scene so it was news to us that three different versions of a pin compatible chip were used in this hardware. The first two suffer from the slowdown problem, but the final revision (SuperFX GSU 2) doesn’t. It can also be overclocked as high as 48 MHz but because of the video frame rate you won’t see added improvement with the extra 6 MHz.

[Drakon] used a Doom cartridge as a guinea pig because it offers the most RAM, and set to work rerouting the traces for the ROM chip to an EEPROM so that the hardware can be used with different games. He also took this opportunity to patch in the faster clock signal.

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.

[Read more...]

Upgrading an old Super Scope

rechargeable_super_scope

[Brian Knoll] still uses his Super Nintendo with relative frequency, and he just can’t get enough Super Scope action. If you never owned one, the Super Scope can be a ton of fun, but it’s also an incredible battery hog. It eats through AA batteries by the caseful, so [Brian] wanted to make the switch to rechargeable cells. Since NIMH AA batteries just don’t cut it in the Super Scope, he put together a rechargeable solution of his own.

He started off by calculating what sort of battery he would need for 8 hours of game play, then he started work on designing his circuit. The board he built contains both a DC/DC converter to provide the 9V required by the Super Scope, as well as built-in LiPo charger. He had his board made by BatchPCB, and after working through a small production error, he put everything together and gave his revamped scope a shot.

Things worked great, and while he says that he really should have built a low-voltage shutoff into his circuit, he is very happy with the results.

SNES to PC

The Nintendo Entertainment System is by far the most popular 8 bit post crash video game system. Therefore, the NES gets all sorts of mods and hacks done with it, but there is not a whole bunch of noise for its bigger badder 16 bit brother the Super Nintendo. Have no fear though [Vigo the Carpathian] (I did not know it was the season of evil!) helps to correct that in his first Instructable, turning a SNES into an all in one classic video game player.

Using the shell of a Super Nintendo the bottom half includes ZOTAC IONITX-C-U mini ITX motherboard, and a dual SNES controller port to USB that fits in the original openings to use the real deal controllers. A USB port is also mounted for some wireless dual shock action.

On the top half, the eject button, and cartridge slot flaps have been removed and speaker grill cloth was added to provide venting. Near the back of the unit, SD-card to SATA adapter provides storage, which we think is a good idea for cheap SSD storage. Micro switches are also rigged up so that the original power and reset buttons control the same computer functions.

Clean looks, small form factor, join us after the break for a quick video.

[Read more...]

4-player SNES and more

[Mr.X] added support for four controllers to his Super Nintendo (Google translated) by internalizing the multi-player adapter. In the video after the break you’ll notice that he also added some bling to the case by positioning the power LED beneath the logo and adding a two-digit display. There is a switch on the back that allows him to choose PAL or NTSC standards with the current setting shown on that display. While most people are going with emulators, [Mr.X] ended up with a custom piece of hardware with a clean finish.

[Read more...]

Make your own SNES games with developer cartridge

snes-developer-cartridge

Have you always wished that you could develop games for the Super Nintendo but couldn’t because you were only 4 years old when it was released in 1990? Here’s a second chance. [Max] and his team have created a SNES developer’s cartridge that allows you to load your own code, run it on the SNES, and debug as needed. At its core is an Atmel AVR ATmega644 that is running a boot loader, allowing for firmware updates via USB. Once the system is powered on, ROM code is sent over USB to the 16 megabits of onboard SRAM. A debug terminal can be connected with an RS232 converter, providing status information and allowing some register manipulation.

We can believe there are a few hardcore SNES fans out there who will take the time to write custom code. We could also see this being used for the purposes of SNES sythesized music. But is there a wide demand for this type of hardware? If you’ve ever looked into developing for the SNES, let us know in the comments.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94,593 other followers