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.


24 thoughts on “Wireless Controllers For All Your Retro Systems

  1. Very nice! Is there any noticeable input lag? Also, it looks like the receivers take up some room in the controller slots. If I do this, I want to be able to have two players for my N64(SNES has plenty of room between). Is it possible to leave some of the original wire attached to the receiver (haven’t looked at the instructions yet to see)? Go go Goldeneye tournaments!

    1. It’s a rechargeable battery, and I highly doubt the range of the transceiver goes beyond their living arrangements.

      I mean really, that’s what you decided to bring to the comments?

      I personally love any post about wireless tech, as it can be applied to other things and makes for great reference.

  2. This has inspired me to do something similar for a MAME setup. I can have all the original controllers connect wirelessly to the “cabinet”. Then have it detect which controllers have been removed from the charging station, and put the receivers on the appropriate channels. I’d probably try and mod the controllers to have charge via contact like a portable phone.

  3. like what you have done have a few simple changes starting with the charger circuit
    1)replace the MAX1811 with a MAX1551 or MAX1555 it does the same job and its self contained nothing else needed and 1/2 the price $1.65 at Futurlec

  4. Dear Hack-man.

    COuld you do those controllers to me? I very very liked those controllers and I would like order some to my game collections…

    If you agree, please come back this post to follow with the business..

    Thanks in advance


  5. I hate that this video doesnt share with us where to purchase these materials. Especially the plastic casings to the plug ins. I wanna try this with gamecube controllers, but i dont know if theres enough room inside the controller for the parts… someone please reply if you know a store or site i can purchase these parts

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