SNES Portable Leverages Flash Cart For More Games

Handheld consoles have to make a lot of design choices that their TV connected brethren don’t have to worry about. Battery life is important, as is screen visibility, and the games can’t be too bulky or unwieldy if you’re going to be carrying them around all day. [Chris] is no stranger to building handheld versions of home consoles, and took a few of these lessons on board in his latest portable SNES build.

The motherboard was provided by a SNES Jr., a lightweight, compact model released towards the end of the console’s reign. This was small enough that it required no trimming, however [Chris] elected to replace the inefficient 7805 with a more modern switching regulator. The case was 3D printed on a typical FDM setup, while the buttons were produced on a Form 2 for better dimensional accuracy and surface finish.

The flash cart PCB is permanently wired to the motherboard.

The real party piece, however, is the use of an SD2SNES flash cart. This allows a huge variety of ROMs to be loaded onto a single SD card, and played on the original console hardware. This is particularly useful in a portable build, as it becomes possible to carry all the games you could want, rather than having to juggle several full-sized SNES cartridges. The SD2SNES is wired in place permanently inside the console, with an impressive number of patch wires between the motherboard and the cartridge PCB. Despite the long lead length, [Chris] reports no issues with the connection.

There are some limitations – the flash cart doesn’t work properly for games using extra chips on the cartridge, like the SuperFX in Star Fox, for example. Despite this, it’s an excellent, high quality build that we’re sure is a lot of fun to play out and about.

We’ve seen [Chris]’s work before – this portable N64 is a particularly nice example. Video after the break.



12 thoughts on “SNES Portable Leverages Flash Cart For More Games

  1. “… There are some limitations – the flash cart doesn’t work properly for games using extra chips on the cartridge …”
    In the last months extensive firmware updates have been brought to the SD2SNES!
    With the help of RedGuy SuperFX works pretty well also for StarFox2, Yoshi’s Island etc.
    Since firmware version 1.9.0 there is also SA-1 available on the SD2SNES.

    Official project website:
    Forum concerning all kind of FAQ to the module:

    1. OH SNAP! I stopped paying attention to the development on SD2SNES months ago. SA-1 support was the main thing preventing me from getting my hands on one. I can imagine the price going up though.

    2. Yes, I was about to post a correction, but this does run SA-1 games, Mario RPG included, though there are still some glitches that they need work out with freezing and so on, but for the most part this is 99% compatible with all SNES games.

  2. As someone putting the finishing touches on his RasPi portable, this looks very clean.

    Can anyone point me to the power circuit he used? I just hacked a LiPo battery pack, and used it’s charger circuit, but it doesn’t allow for both plugged and use at the same time.

    1. click on the first link for the write up, he says its a completely custom solution: “The power circuits are another bright feature as they are fully custom, utilizing both RDCs regulator breakout board for the TI PTH08080WAH as well as his battery charger board which was designed for the flat cell Li-Po batteries used to power the system. The cool thing about that charger board is it allows for the use of any standard 12v 3A power supply instead of the smart changer. Not to mention it’s Play & Charge ability allowing for the whole system to play off wall power as and charge the battery at the same time.”

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