Turning A Classic NES Controller Into a Bluetooth Controller

[Pietronet] is like many of us in that he enjoys playing some classic console video games from time to time. He usually plays them on his PC using a Wiimote as a controller. The Wiimote has most of the classic buttons in a comfortable configuration. Plus, it’s got Bluetooth built-in, which makes it easy to pair up to your PC. [Pietronet] decided to take it a step further, though. He managed to cram all of the guts from a Wiimote inside of the original NES controller for a more authentic feel.

The first step was to crack open the Wiimote and locate pads for each button. Once they were located, [Pietronet] used a Dremel to cut the board into a smaller size. He cut off part of the circuit board that contained the directional pad as well as the connector for the nunchuck. Next he had to solder very thin wires to each of the button pads he located earlier.

The original NES controller has a very limited number of buttons, and [Pietronet] wanted to modify the original controller as little as possible. Therefore, he attached a magnetic reed switch to the Wiimote’s sync button. This way if he ever needs to sync the Wiimote to a new console, he can do it by holding a magnet in the right place. This is a function that isn’t often used, so the inconvenience should be negligible.

The next step was to connect the buttons from the original NES controller up to the wires that were added to the Wiimote. [Pietronet] left the original circuit board mostly intact. He did have to cut a small chunk of it away in order to make room for two AAA batteries, but this didn’t affect the functionality of the controller.

The inside of the NES controller had to be cleaned out of various standoffs and plastic bits to make room for all of the extra components. The Wiimote has an LED to indicate that the controller is connected properly. [Pietronet] soldered a red SMD LED in its place on the end of two thin wires. This LED was then placed on the bottom left side of the directional pad. It’s visible through a translucent filter. This allows [Pietronet] to see when the NES controller is synced up properly.

The case fits back together and everything is held in place. The result is what looks and feels like a classic NES controller, only this one has Bluetooth connectivity and a vibration motor. Check out the video demonstration below to get an idea of what it looks like in use. Continue reading “Turning A Classic NES Controller Into a Bluetooth Controller”

Wiimote Controlled Extermination: Dalek-Style

Dalek Build

Convention-goers have likely strolled past a number of Daleks: the aliens drive around the event space, spouting threats of extermination and occasionally slapping folks with a rotating eyestalk. [James Bruton] has been hard at work building this Wii-remote-controlled Dalek with his fellow hackers at the SoMakeIt Hackerspace (you may remember our write-up from earlier this year).

Most Dalek builds seat a driver inside the body at the helm of a salvaged electric wheelchair, where they plunk around using a joystick control and simmer in an increasingly potent aroma. This version started like most, with a wooden structure from plans sourced at Project Dalek. Inside, however, [James] and his crew have tapped into the wheelchair’s motor controller to feed it a PWM signal from an Arduino Shrimp, which is linked to a Raspi. The Pi receives a Bluetooth signal from a Wiimote, and, through their custom Python script, directs the Dalek with ease.

They’re still working on finishing the Dalek’s body, but they’re using some clever tactics to push onward: using a 3D-printer to solve some of the nuanced styling choices. They’ve uploaded a gallery with additional photos on Facebook, and you can watch them goofing around with their creation (losing their balance and nearly exterminating themselves) in a video after the break.

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Wiimote Controlled RPi Robot

Wiimote RPi Robot

[Brian] has brought together a powerful collection of hardware to build a robot. The end goal is to have a robot that’s controlled by a Wiimote.

The Wiimote communicates over Bluetooth with a Raspberry Pi, which is running a Python script. This script uses the CWiid Python module to communicate with the controller, and [Brian] has detailed instructions on getting the Wiimote working with a RPi. The RPi controls an ATmega based development board over SPI, which drives an h-bridge to control the two DC motors that move the robot.

[Brian]’s code for this could be helpful for anyone looking to control their RPi with a Wiimote. Since Wiimotes and Bluetooth dongles are fairly cheap nowadays, this is a great way to drop in wireless control to any RPi project, or even to control your media center from the couch.

After the break, check out a video of the build in action

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Raspi-controlled RGB LED strip display


[4RM4] over at the Stuttgart hackerspace Shackspace ran into a guy selling individually addressable RGB LED strips when he attended the 29th Chaos Communication Congress last December. He had a Raspberry Pi with him, and after a little bit of work he rigged up an LED display that wrapped around a trash can. A respectable hack, but not quite ready for prime time.

After getting back to the Shackspace, [4RM4] decided to go in a more classic direction by building an RGB Snake clone. A few neat features were implemented like a high score list, a free play bot, and a clock.

To control his pixel-munching snake, [4RM4] used a Wii Nunchuck controller hooked up to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins. It looks like a whole lot of fun, and given the absurdly high scores shown in the video after the break, it looks like this build is getting a lot of use at the Shackspace.

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Turning a Game Boy into an Android gamepad


[Chad] has been messing around with emulators on his phone, but as anyone with a smart phone knows, even the most advanced touchscreen controls are terrible. Wanting something that pays tribute to the classic systems he was emulating, he decided to turn a classic old school brick Game Boy into an Android gamepad.

After gutting an old DMG-01, [Chad] set to work turning the D-pad and buttons in the Game Boy into something his Galaxy Nexus could understand. He chose a Bluetooth connection to provide input for his emulators, with the hardware generously donated from a Nintendo Wiimote.

The Game Boy PCB was cut up and a few leads attached to the Wiimote PCB. After modifying the case to include space for the Wiimote and a cell phone mount, [Chad] had a functional game pad, perfect for his adventures in emulation.

You can see [Chad]’s demo of his game pad after the break,

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Making sure a baby is still breathing with lasers and a wiimote

[Gjoci] just became a father, and to make up for not having to carry a baby to term he decided to make himself useful in another way. He developed a sensor to detect a baby’s breathing, allaying the fears of nervous parents who are wondering why their child is so quiet.

Unlike similar builds and products that rely on microphones or capacitive sensors, [Gjoci]’s build uses the camera from a wiimote to triangulate points of light and detect motion.

The build started off with infrared LEDs, but the batteries were big and there is always the possibility of the baby swallowing electrical components. [Gjoci] finally hit upon the idea of using small 1mW laser diodes to project points of light. This worked beautifully, and since newborns don’t move much there’s no danger of shining a laser into a baby’s eye.

The rest of the build is just querying the camera every few milliseconds and seeing if the position of the reflections captured by the wiimote camera have changed. In two weeks of operation, [Gjoci] only had to respond to a few false alarms, and the hardware hasn’t crashed at all.

After the break are three videos [Gjoci] put up for us that show a test of the breathing detection system, a demo of the alarm, and an example of the build in full operation. A very awesome build, and we look forward to this post being used as evidence of prior art in a patent dispute a few years down the line.

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For the Trade Show Booth That Has Everything, a Blimp!

Trade shows are all about attracting attention and getting people to learn about your product, so what could be better than a custom-built RC blimp? Sure, you could just buy one, but what’s the fun in that? After several design iterations, [Tretton37] came up with a blimp known as the [LeetZeppelin] controlled by an Arduino, an XBee module, as well as a Wiimote controller connected to a computer.

The hack itself is a great example of repurposing off-the-shelf materials into something more interesting and unique. In addition to the components listed above, hobby servos were modded to allow for thrust motor control in conjunction with Legos for the gearing and “pillow-block bearings.” A list of the “important” parts used in this hack is furnished on their site as well as a video of it in action, which is also after the break.

As for the results of this hack as a trade-show attention grabber, Fredrik Leijon had this to say: “We think that all the gazing at the sky and half opened mouths proves that it was a huge success!”