Thursday, June 19, 2008

How To: Make your own NES USB controller w/ games

Video of finished USB controller


UPDATE: 25/MAY/2009

Hi all. Well ive been very busy for the past year and have neglected this blog (and my NES controllers!). Looks like people are still posting here and im getting inundated with emails asking for help with their controllers etc.... Because of this, ive decided to make an online forum so we can all help eachother build these things.


I really like the idea of DIY and so far this blog has brought about plenty of ideas that enhance the USB NES Controller or make it easier/cheaper to build. So please, lets all share these ideas on the forum!!!
For those of you who have emails me and I havent replied. I apologise. Please post your questions in the new forum and hopefully either myself or someone else will answer your question(s).

UPDATE: 6/AUG/2008

Hello again!! I was able to get my hands on 10 NES controllers and have ordered in the parts to fit inside them. I should hopefully have 10 of these to sell on ebay in about 1 - 2 weeks. Ill keep everyone posted.

UPDATE (23/7/2008): Ok guys... ive been getting bombarded with requests to make and sell these little suckers. Ill be looking into making a small batch of these soon and selling them on eBay. Ill keep you all informed. If youre interested in purchasing one email me at jaykaye2k9 (at] gmail [dot) com

Ok guys, ive gotten waaaaaaaaay too many requests to make a tutorial on this to ignore. Sorry it took so long. I recently made 3 more controller, each a little different from the other. I may make tutorials on those later. Next NES controller I make will need to be wireless, if someone does this before I do please email me at jaykaye2k9 (at] gmail [dot) com

No video tutorial. Sorry, im not too good with video editing just yet. If any of this tutotial is unclear comment on this and ill try and fix it up.

If you find this Howto useful please leave some feedback! Thanks!

Ok, lets start:::::

EDIT: Ive added this dodgy diagram. Hope it helps. There are 3 USB devices inside the controller. The USB HUB (which is the only device with a USB plug on it), a USB thumb drive (2GB in this case) and a USB keyboard controller (which controls the button presses on the controller).


The board between the clamps is a keyboard controller. This one I took out of an older model SNES controller I had made many years ago, so its been cut down from its original size. Further cutting down is needed now to fit it into the NES controller cavity.
The long rectangular contacts on the board are the keypress contacts (for when you press a button on the keyboard). A keypress shorts the circuit between one of the contracts on the left of the hole in the middle and another contact on the right of the hole. So if you want to emulate a keypress you need the correct combination of a contact from the left (if you have a look at the sheet of paper, you can see these are labelled A to M) and right (labelled 1 - 13 on the paper).
I made a grid (the sheet at the top) with the X axis A to M and the Y axis 1 - 13. This way I could easily identify which two contacts would give me what output keypress.

The wire coming off the bottom of the board is just a standard USB cable. +5V (usually red), ground (usually black), Data+ and Data- (green and white). Some USB cables have an additional 5th wire for ground or shield, you can safely ignore this if your controller has one.

I tested the keyboard controller out by plugging it into my computer and manually shorting the board contacts to see what output it would give me on notepad.exe and writing it down. It takes long doing it this way but I had no choice as I didnt have the actual keyboard with me to trace the tracks I needed. If you are opening up a keyboard from scratch, then it may be easier for you to just identify the keys you want to use and trace the tracks and test using a multimeter.


The untouched NES controller board. We will be cutting this down later on to make it as small as possible.


Using soldering wick, you will need to remove the IC, 2 resisters and the cable to make working on the board easier.


Board with removed IC, cable and resisters.


Each button on the board has two contacts. Thats a total of 8 buttons and 16 contacts. The NES board is made in such a way that each button has one contact to earth and the 2nd contact is for signal. So thats 8 signal tracks for 8 signal contacts and 1 earth track for 8 earth contacts.

The keyboard you mapped up earlier will have a few common contacts also (the same contact on one side to different contacts on the other side, bringing different results). You need to write down and map out these contacts on the new layout. Make sure you include the common contacts too as this will reduce the amount of wires needed later on.


Ok its getting a little harder now.
The paper underneath the board shows the tracks I need. You will need to cut existing tracks here, bridge tracks together or make new ones. Every keyboard controller is different so its up to you how you do this. Just keep in mind that you need to be 100% on your layout before you go cutting or making new tracks. Also when making new contact points on the board make sure they are out of the way of the buttons that will sit on top of the board. The buttons take up a considerable amount of the surface of the board. If you are bridging tracks use a pair of pliers to squash the solder down to make it as flat as possible. For any extended bridges run your wires behind the board.


You can see in this pic that ive cut up a few existing tracks and bridged other ones. I have also run a couple of wires behind the board. Using a hack saw I cut down the board as much as I could (make sure you dont cut away the hole for the guide, top left to the right of the 'up' button). At this point if you havent made any mistakes with your board modification youre doing well. Using a multimeter test your work and check for shorts.


Final result is 10 wires for my keyboard controller. The ribbon cable I got from an old computer (the IDE cable inside). They are perfect for this sort of work and very easy to find one of these cables).


Soldering the cables to the keyboard controller for a quick test. This is only for testing. Once everything tests fine I pull off the keyboard controller. The final solder required the wires between the two board to be much shorter.


Soldered on a new USB cable. This new cable will be soldered directly onto the USB hub which will be housed inside the controller.


Fitting it together and testing again. Wires much shorter this time and the keyboard controller is glued down to the NES board. The bottom, middle screw that holds the NES case together will go through the hole in the keyboard controller also, making it nice and solid. In this pic you can see the USB wires ive soldered on and also the existing USB cable that ive left in its place for testing, eventually they will be cut off.


These are both USB hubs. The one above is still in one piece. The one below is the one I used many years ago in the SNES controller. Ill be re-using this one. I had butchered the board many years ago but still managed to somehow make 2 of the 4 ports work for this project. The capacitor on the board stands too tall so it has been put on the end of a couple of wires. Depending on the USB hub you buy, you may need to cut it back to make it fit in the controller case. The bottom USB hub in this pic was modified to fit (it looked like the top USB hub before modification). The board is split almost symetrically with the one IC controlling both sides of the board. Each side has 2 ports to it. You only need two ports for this project so the top half of the board has been cut down (and the capacitor removed) and those two ports wont be useable.

You need to cut away parts of the controller case to make the hub fit. Do what you need to do here.


Removed the keyboard controller USB cable and soldered the new wires to the USB hub and test.


Retro-fitting to make sure all sits well.


2GB USB drive. You need to take the USB connector off. BE CAREFUL!!! Ive broken a few of these damn things. Its very difficult to remove all solder without the proper tools, so in this case I just used my knife to cut across the 4 USB contacts and then used pliers to break of the end pins holding it down. This made it easy to remove by simply bending up the connector.


2GB drive soldered onto the HUB and test.


The silver USB hub cable removed and replaced with a black one for more of a classic NES controller look. Everything screwed together and tested.


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richms said...

Very nice indeed.

would a single USB socket not have fitted to allow the flash stick to be left un-modified? Thats the part that would give me the most concern with this mod.

Michael said...

Have you tried using a usb numeric keypad instead of a full-fledged keyboard for this mod? The price is significantly cheaper, and the board is much smaller to boot. I'll try this out with my broken SNES Advantage controller.

dylnwit said...

I have a feeling that a numeric keypad would have a solid pcb instead of the two-layer matrix like a full keyboard does, so you would have to cut it down a lot, not to mention that it may have it's components spread over the board, but with they price they are it might be worth a shot.

rundownoldbus said...

I have a quick question about this. How does it work that both flash drive and keyboard controller are on the same physical wires? Wouldn't it make sense to connect each device to each of the two input ports?

elliot42 said...

Very nice hack, I like how the software is all integrated so that it has an autorun option when plugged in; and that you can control it all (except ESC) with the pad when plugged in.

Looks like it's a 4 port hub with stacked ports. There are 4 sets of 4 USB pins there.

rundownoldbus said...

Ah, very cool elliot42.

William said...

I only got exactly how this worked after watching the video :P Excellent work, I might try this some day with a Nintendo 64 controller (I don't have a SNES or NES), though I may have to make it joystick/gamepad instead of a keyboard, for the analog controls. Or I could buy the neighbours SNES and hack it instead :P

Walter said...

Hey, i like this mod a lot :)
Just a few questions,

-Is the keyboard controller just the PCB from a keyboard?
-If so, which keyboard is it from, i would hate to buy a keyboard only to find the PCB is way too big.
-Could you post a dump of the emulator (or the whole thumb drive) somewhere please :)

Thanks a lot love the mod :)

Will be interesting to see the wireless version :)

phreakincool said...

@walter: Google is your friend.
"nes emulator"
"nes roms"

It would probably be illegal for him to post the contents of the drive in one place. That being the emulator and the game roms.

Eric said...

Wonder what it would take to map up one of those turbo-fire controllers...

Question: Since the stick is attached to the hub, you can add, remove, and otherwise read and write to the stick as well, correct? So this isn't just an NES-in-a-controller, it's also a portable storage device... :) (did someone say expansion to Gameboy Emulator as well?) I'll have to embark on this and if all goes well, totally attempt to make one for SNES(/GBA) and Genesis.

If the ESC thing really bothers you, find a way to improve upon his experience and add a button for it, and I'm sure through the emulator you could map it to perform the ESC function.

Eddy said...

richms: The controller casing is too small to fix the entire USB socket. You could try though.

Michael: I tried a numeric keyboard with one of the first designs but the drawback was that you can hold down 3 keys at the same time on those keyboards. (eg. in Super Mario you press right arrow while holding 'run' then press 'jump'. Thats 3 keys at once).
You may be able to find a keypad controller that does 3 keys at the same time but make sure you test it before pulling it apart.

rundownoldbus: The two USB devices are connected to seperate inputs on the USB hub. They arent run on the same input.

walter: Yes, its just a cut down USB keyboard controller. The one I used is from the 'petite usb keyboard' I found on eBay. You can pick them up for around $10USD or so plus shipping.
Ill upload a dump of the emulator + games soon. But you can find that emulator using torrents. Its called RockNES.

eric: Gameboy is a good idea :) I may add that into my NES one.
And yes, the controller works as a portable storage device. I have plenty of other files on it, the emulator + games only takes up 200MB or so.

Force081 said...

I'm very new to this kind of stuff so if this is a stupid question.... Would it be very hard to make this work with a micro SD card? Or even a regular SD card?

MasterYoda said...

Would that work with the Logitech Dual-Action gamepad? The gamepad was originally designed for computers. I already have the emulators installed on my computer that I want on my gamepad, and the gamepad is not modified at all.

Jonathan said...

after your done with the mod use the website for your roms and emulators. have fun hacking guys/gals.

Jay said...

force81: You would need an SD card reader to read the card. Why would you want to use an SD card instead of a USB thumb drive? You can directly solder an SD card to the USB hub, you need a card reader to read the SD.

MasterYoda: Sorry mate. Havent heard of those gamepads so id have no idea.

Alexander said...

The easiest way to desolder something is with high-quality solder braid.

I never used this stuff up until about a year ago--I desoldered everything by hand using a dental pick and a iron--but I 100% for this stuff now.

I have no doubt that it would work wonders for your USB connector removal.

Cheap and it works wonders.

Michael H said...

Which keys did you match to each of the controller buttons?

MasterYoda said...

Does anyone know of any super Nintendo and regular Nintendo emulators that work with USB game pads without having to modify game pads?

Robert said...

OK i looked up 'petite usb keyboard' and i found the BLAZE that the one to get?

Bradley said...

I want to buy one from you! metaphorkingpen{at}gmail[dot]com

gorillaxbiscuit said...

Where did you get the USB hub and what type did you use?

Jay Kaye said...

alexander: thanks for the tip. I must be using dodgy wick as the one i have isnt too good. Ill pick up a better brand soon.

michael h: Arrow keys on k/b mapped to arrow keys on gamepad. A and B on keyboard mapped to A and B on gamepad. Enter and \ on keyboard mapped to Start and Select on gamepad.

Masteryoda: No idea mate, sorry. I use RockNES as my emulator on these controllers. Google is your friend :)

robert: Thats the one. I used the same keyboard but it was branded with another name. But the 'blaze' one looks the same. Good luck!

bradley: Check out the 'update' ive posted at the top of this tutorial.

gorillaxbiscuit: I got it off ebay. Just a small 4 port hub. Check out the pics in my tutorial to see the sort I used. Good luck!

Jack said...

Great Mod! I may have more quaetions later, but just one now. What would i have to do to have 2 people able to play?

Formori said...

Hmmm, definatly thinking of building myself one of these now, but one thing. I'm guessing you are getting all of these parts from generic sources, like a regular usb keyboard and usb 4-port hub. But is there anything to watch out for when buying cheap parts? Like certain controller boards' problems or such?

And would you be able to control almost all functions if you used ESC key as the SELECT instead of \. Then you wouldn't have to hit the keyboard at all on your laptop (like in the video), just a thought.

And before I begin this project, any building tips?

soup_27 said...

I'm very new to modding.. especially circuits... and I'm having trouble understanding how the common connections (from the NES controller) are related in your diagram....
From what I can see, the far left, bottom IC connection is the 'earth' connection your talking about, because it seems to touch every button. But I don't see how up and down are common... or up and select....
I am currently trying to map this out... if anyone could explain it, or point me to literature that does (for the nes controller...) it would be a big help.

Thanks a lot, and great job on the mod.

Kaps said...

Tried this great mod out today - got everything working perfectly but when it came to trying to squeeze everything in, I snapped the NES controller board!! AARG!

Have ordered a new controller of ebay and will try again tomorrow night.

How did you manage to fit everything in? I have cut down everything as much as it will go and am struggling. My components don't seem to be any bigger than yours either??!

Did you cut the nes case at all?

Any help would greatly be appreciated!

Jay Kaye said...

jack: Make 2 controllers and map the keys of each controller to different keyboard button presses. That way when both are plugged in they dont conflict. Set one of them up as player 1 and the other as player 2. Ive done this with my last 2 controllers and player 1 has the 2GB usb drive built in while player 2 doesnt. But player 2 has 2 additional buttons for save and load game.

formori: generic parts seem to work fine. Just test out the usb keyboard you buy before pulling it apart. Make sure it can handle having 3 buttons pressed at the same time as you need this to play some games (eg. Mario Brothers. Arrow button, Run button and Jump button at same time).
Mapping the select button to ESC wont work. Think about it :P

soup_27: Dont go by the mapping drawings ive got in the pics. Some of those drawings are of whats on the existing NES board and others are of what I need to create (or re-map tracks). Your USB keyboard controller is probably different to the one I used, so your tracks will end up different. Just use a multimeter and map them out for yourself and go from there. Its not easy but its very doable, im by no means a pro at any of this.

kaps: First mod I did I broke my board too (they are very brittle!!!) but I glued it back and reinforced it with pieces of metal. No biggie mate. Its only a 1 layered PCB so you can re-attach tracks that are broken.

As for NES controller modification. YES! You will need to cut away pieces of it. The main piece you should get rid of is the piece of plastic that holds the screw in for the top/middle screw. Getting rid of this gives you room for something big, like the USB hub.

Mana said...

Are you planning to do this with a SNES controller? If so, I would DEFINITELY want to buy one xD

Pedro said...

Hi guys, i've been keeping up on all the comments here and I think i'll throw in my 2 cents. after seeing this wonderful hack on hackaday, i decided to make my own. I didn't have an extra keyboard around so i went to walmart and bought a targus usb number pad. it was only around $13us and as an added bonus, it has two extra usb ports so no usb hub is needed! the pcb inside is small enough to fit inside the nes controller once you remove the led and female usb ports. i spent some time mapping out the 11 pin connector that plugs into the board. It works wonderfully now after rearranging some pins. I just played contra for about an hour and not one problem.
if anyone is interested, I can give out the key map.

DrakenS9 said...

Pedro: Could you post the map and the model number of the USB pad?


Pedro said...

Sure, no problem. I'm at work right now, so i can't post it yet (posting from my phone). I'll be stopping at walmart on my way home tonight so I'll get the model number cuz i through out all the packaging. I'll also post the keymap and pinout for the board.

Moloch said...

Is it this one?

Ill pick up one at wall-mart and start making one myself :)


Pedro said...
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Pedro said...
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Pedro said...

ok, I just got home from work. I didn't get a chance to stop at walmart but here is a picture of the one I have:
Targus PAKP004E USB Numeric Keypad.

I took my controller apart and took some close-ups

here ya go:

Pedro said...

I still have to add a usb thumb drive
but i don't have one i want to hack.

Jay Kaye said...

wow, good work pedro :) very neat and so much easier with that keyboard controller. have you tested to see if 3 keypresses at the same time works? (ie. in super mario when you sprint and jump at the same time)

Jay Kaye said...

reason why I ask is because the 1st time (and last) I used a keypad instead of a keyboard it wouldnt register more than 2 keypresses at the same time.

Pedro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pedro said...

Yes it does ! I was mad at first when i was playing mario and couldn't run and jump at the same time so i spent some time rewiring it and now it works with 3 buttons at a time. I've also updated the keymap to show how i arranged the nes buttons. As soon as i get a flash drive available, it'll be going in too.

OmegaWarrior said...

Hey, I saw this article yesterday, and I've been tinkering with it a bit; You know that you can map any key on the NES controller to any key on the keyboard, right? and you know that the ground wire on the NES controller connects to every button on the NES controller too. So if you just pick 8 keys on the keyboard that share a common thread, and short that to the ground thread on the controller board; You won't be able to navigate through the menus with the d-pad, but it significantly reduces the number of cuts and solder points for the project.

It's really no big loss either, since you can always just navigate through the emulator with the mouse and actual keyboard.

BTW: I'd recommend, I got a USB keyboard from them today for $5, a mini hub for $7, and a tiny 1GB flash drive for $15.

EverybodyLuvsJ00 said... has a 4GB Sandisk USB thumb drive for $14.77 with free shipping.

EverybodyLuvsJ00 said...

I got the other Targus model PAUK10U at my local Walmart for $13.88. It uses the exact same pins to make the keystrokes as their other model (PAKP004E). I took it apart and removed the USB ports (was pretty hard to do!) and soldered the wires to the pins and verified that it works the same. I also tested it before I took it apart and can verify that you can hold three keys at the same time (so you can run and jump at the same time on Mario). The only part left for me to do now is solder the wires to the NES control pad. Thats where I have a problem. I shaved the board down to the copper but the solder isnt sticking to it no matter how long I heat it! Do you need flux to get it to stick? Please let me know. Thanks!

Pedro said...

Good to hear that it's working out for you. As for the nes board, yes i think flux should do the trick. Well i didn't have a hard time getting my solder to stick and i used flux so yeah, i think you need it. Mine is getting some good use, i have it connected to my eee pc (701) running an nes emulator and it was on all day today non stop. My kids love it!

EverybodyLuvsJ00 said...

Which parts of the casing did you have to cut? Only the one mentioned in the picture? I can't seem to get the board to fit inside.

Pedro said...

In one of my pictures that I posted, you can see what I trimmed. I just cut off the top middle post with a dremel. Have another look:

EverybodyLuvsJ00 said...

Mine wouldn't fit with only cutting down that part, I also had to cut down the 2 posts that secure the PCB for the controller until they were almost plush with the board. Then it fit in perfectly and everything works fine. Thanks for the pictures and help Pedro! On a side note, I lifted up the grounding pad when I was desoldering the USB ports so I didn't ground the bigger black wire. It still works fine. Is this going to be required to be grounded when I solder in a USB flash drive? Will it fry it if I don't?

EverybodyLuvsJ00 said...

I just noticed that when I'm pressing down and B, A doesn't work. Also in Contra I cannot shoot down diagonally but I can shoot up diagonally. Do you have this same problem Pedro?

Joey said...

Read through much of but not all of the comments so I'm sorry if I'm repeating a question here...
What about 2 player games? Dude seriously have you ever tried to get the happy ending of Bubble Bobble by yourself? Not gonna happen! ;P
So how would you go about this? I'd think just another usb'd nes controller would work fine...
But I did see that someone had made one with a 2nd controller port on the unit itself, but because it plugged into the TV. Interestingly enough, it also had a slot in the back to plug in a cartridge. What use there was for that, I do not know. But it was cool.
So, second usb controller would be fine?
And big question.... light gun? How'm I gonna play duck hunt? And Power Pad? Cause you know I'm addicted to Eggsplode. So an NES controller input on the unit would be saa-weeet!

Jay Kaye said...

UPDATE: 6/AUG/2008

Hello again!! I was able to get my hands on 10 NES controllers and have ordered in the parts to fit inside them. I should hopefully have 10 of these to sell on ebay in about 1 - 2 weeks. Ill keep everyone posted.

- Eddy

Deozaan said...

EverybodyLuvsJ00 & Pedro:

I haven't built mine yet but I have the Targus Numpad and it seems that if you use 4 on the Numpad instead of 2 for Down, it should be able to work with the other buttons.

EverybodyLuvsJ00 said...

Deozaan: after you try it could you please verify if everything works properly? Also, I don't know how to change it to make it work like that. I would need to solder a wire to 10 on the Keypad board, and then I don't know where that wire should go on the NES controller. Could you please post updated pictures after you get it working? Thank you.

Deozaan said...


According to Pedro's diagram ( #4 is pins 10 & 7.

I'm not sure I'm going to use the Numpad because I want to use the NES controller to select ROMs from the list and the USB ports are not 2.0 so it locks up the emulator because it takes so long to load the entire list of ROMs.

EverybodyLuvsJ00 said...

Where would 10 and 7 go on the NES board? Thats what I'm confused about. Hmm.

Jay Kaye said...

Hey guys, I found another numpad with USB ports built in on ebay. Dont have the item number with me right now but I ordered one of them to test it out. It should be here in a week. Ill post up my results.

If the numpad has USB 2.0 ports, can use 3 butons at same time and I can map up, down, left, right and enter to the right keys then I am happy. Otherwise its back to using a normal USB keyboard and USB hub :)

EverybodyLuvsJ00 said...

Nevermind, I figured it out. You must map the number 4 to the d-pad down or else you will have problems! I changed it to 4 and I can now shoot diagonal and everything works fine! Thanks for the suggestion!

jpk236 said...


James said...

If it helps any of you with this design, the USB hub is actually unnecessary.

Since there's only two ports needed for the keyboard and pendrive, you can actually just split the line to one sole USB port. The USB standard calls this a Passive USB hub, and it will work so long as your pendrive isn't a super high-drain device (LEDs etc). I have sucessfully done this in an Xbox pad, when adding a USB port to it because I didn't want to dremel the Xbox tiself.

Jay Kaye said...

James, how is this passive hub wired up? I did a google search and couldnt find anything. Thnx

ruben said...

cool, now you can play NES online. Just found this site. very cool. has all NES Games Ready to play online!!

theROCK said...

so a couple of quick questions. can you save games still with the usb on the emulator?

is the targa number pad working??

Does the usb speed matter?

also, whats the smallest USB drive you can use for this. emulator+ roms + and saved games???

thanks, you can email me to cut the wait time.

unknown_email4u (at) yahoo (dot) com.


Deozaan said...


The Targus NumPad seems to work if you make the changes I mentioned earlier. That is, for Down, use NumPad 4 instead of NumPad 2.

Re: USB Speed, Targas NumPad USB Hub is USB 1.1 only. But I didn't notice any problems with that.

USB memory size: You can fit every NTSC (USA) NES rom in under 70MB. 128MB ought to be enough if you use the device only for NES emulation.

Yes you can save your games onto the USB drive. You just need to configure the emulator to use the correct directories.

theROCK said...

The Targus NumPad seems to work if you make the changes I mentioned earlier. That is, for Down, use NumPad 4 instead of NumPad 2.

Re: USB Speed, Targas NumPad USB Hub is USB 1.1 only. But I didn't notice any problems with that.

USB memory size: You can fit every NTSC (USA) NES rom in under 70MB. 128MB ought to be enough if you use the device only for NES emulation.

Yes you can save your games onto the USB drive. You just need to configure the emulator to use the correct directories.

Thanks for the response. Have you made your controller yet? I would like to see your diagram on where and which wires to solder. I saw the discussion above, just want to make sure I do this right the first time.
I have a 512 thumb drive I will use and pick up the number pad next weekend.

Feel free to email me. thx

Deozaan said...


Yes I made my controller, but somehow in the process I damaged the metal contacts from the actual buttons, so they don't complete the circuit. I need to find another NES controller to swap out the buttons so I can finalize it all, but if I push really hard I can get it to work.

Like I said before, just follow Pedro's diagrams except change Down to 4 on the NumPad.

I'd just take a photo of the circuit board and show you but I just moved this past weekend so everything is packed up.

BennitoJuarez said...

I'm attempting to create this very thing, but I'm also adding a SD card slot... I have a bunch of these cheap USB SD card readers floating in all corners of my house, when taken apart are only a little bit thicker than the super thin flash drive circuit board. so far, everything fits very nicely into the controller with minimal trimming. It's almost like it's meant to be!

BennitoJuarez said...

SUCESS, well sorta... I have completed the controller, and decided not to include an SD Card since I too agree that that's too much stuff if you use a flash drive. I used the Targus keypad and failed to follow Pedro's Diagram, so I suffer from not being able to press more than two buttons at a time. Back to the drawing board... On a good note, I did not need to trim any boards down, instead, I 'relocated' the parts on the keypad controller to empty unused space within the NES controller. I was also able to keep all screw posts, but I did end up removing one of the button posts to make room for the controller. I'll take pictures and post my re-wiring diagram for the actual NES board for those wanting a very clear representation on how to mod the board.

Mike said...

I just finished one of these the other day. Not a difficult job, but very tedious. I used a Targus USB keypad, but not the model with a usb hub built in. I picked up the PAUK10C @ Future Shop in Canada:

I attempted several wiring setups to use the USB cable as a passive hub as james mentioned above, but it didn't work well. Either the devices would not be detected by the computer, or it would be an unrecognized USB device. Finally, after 4 or 5 tries, I gave in and used a USB hub inside of the controller. It did work and I think it's merely because of the power coming off of the hub. If it is not spliced in well, the thumb drive will draw too much power from the bus and it will not work well for either. The one configuration that did work allowed the thumb drive to work, but not the keypad.

This style seemed to work well for an earlier post and I found it quite easy to deal with. After getting all of the ports off of it, it fit nicely in the space left in the controller without having to be cut down. Once I actually used the hub, the work required was minimal to get the whole thing working. I've been enjoying lots of River City Ransom and showing off the setup to my friends. I even have a guy at the local computer shop paying me to make one for his wife so he can surprise her for her birthday (apparently, she's a huge Mario3 fan and will love playing on the computer)

On the note of the 'multiple buttons pressed simultaneously' issue, I found it to be quite simple to fix. Looking at the wiring setup diagrams that Pedro has on his website you can make sense of it. Whether or not you use the '2' key as down isn't the point. It comes down to shared channels used when sending signals through the control board from the usb keyboard/pad.
The directional pad has five channels used. One for each of the directions, and a shared. As you hold down two directions, (let's say 'right' and 'up') only three channels are being used as they are both sending one signal through the same channel on the board. While all of the directional keys have one shared channel, the 'start', 'select', 'A', & 'B' buttons share one as well. The key to having multiple simultaneous buttons pressed is ensuring that none of the buttons that will be used in combos will share their 'individual' (that is, unshared channel) with the other set of keys.

Look @ Pedro's photos:
Pic #7 shows how the keypad he used mapped out: The first digit represents one channel (the common or shared one with those he picked), while the second digit represents each individual channel used by the different keys. Looking at his diagram, you can see that pressing 'down' and 'B' together won't work b/c the second (individual) channel is the same. Being pressed already, the additional key stroke won't register.

BennitoJuarez said...

Attempt #2 fixed the problems I had with the button problem. I too realize the 'secret' to mapping out the buttons to ensure that no two sets of channels were being shared simultaneously... or what you could call a "trifecta" effect. A example rundown of this is... if:
'A' uses channels 2 and 4,
'B' uses channels 2 and 5, and the left button uses 5 and 4,
this combo would not work because, when all three are pressed causes 2 channels to be shared causing conflicts. but if you map it right... you can have up to 4 simultaneous buttons pressed, up-left, and A + B for instance. You can use the trifecta pattern for any button in conjunction with those that would never be pressed simultaneously, such as select + start, or left + right.

I noticed that some models of NES controllers have very different circuit boards inside. The one I used had only a PBC, and had no resistors. There was other weird spots on the board that I separated from the rest of the board just in case with a Dremel tool.

If you use Pedro's diagram with the model of keypad he suggests, I suggest using an old CAT5 cable for the individual wiring. It has eight colored wires, and you can assign a color to a used channel. I used a slightly different model keypad and I used 10 of 11 channels available so I added wires from a premium phone line, which had 3 additional colors to add. To bridge contacts together, I used single strands of copper from excess CAT5 to solder to bare spots I made on the board. It made these solder points very low profile which was important to not interfere with the rubber button contact sheets. I used tape to hold them in place after soldering and to keep crossing bridges from contacting each other.

I mapped out the buttons using my computer and AutoCAD since I like the ability to correct my mistakes on the fly. It also makes for a very organized layout that is color coded according to how I assigned my channels with the CAT5 wires. I first copied exactly how the board was laid out, then I made another with the modifications I needed to make to the board. Of course I tested everything with a multi-meter to ensure proper buttons went to correct points on the board. and that nothing had shorts, etc.

Overall this was definitely worth the time to make... the only regret I have is that I wish I had used a SNES controller instead. the SNES is one of my all-time favs and you could play both NES and SNES with one controller. I guess I'll have to make one of those now. SWEET!

theROCK said...

bennito, would you be willing to send me your diagram. i have a few friends and myself that are about to tackle this project. we were thinking the same thing about using a SNES controller instead of just the NES controller. I have several NES controllers laying around, but zero SNES controllers. So can you either email your NES info and maybe we can work at the same time on the SNES controller once I acquire one. please contact me at unknown_email4u (at) yahoo (dot) com. thanks!

BennitoJuarez said...

I have just posted my NES USB Controller.

BennitoJuarez said...

I have just posted my NES USB Controller.

Jeremiah said...

I picked up a Targus keypad (model PAUK10U) and am having trouble plugging a flash drive into the hub. I get a warning of "USB hub power exceeded" with the drive plugged in, and the drive is not usable. At this point the hub is unmodified, and I'm curious if anyone had experienced this and if there was a work around.

Deozaan said...

@Jeremiah: Yes I had that problem too with a really old 128MB USB drive. I just used a different one and it worked fine.

BennitoJuarez said...

I've experienced this problem too, but only after I closed the controller up completely. I take it that I was shorting something out, becasue it worked fine if I loosened up the screws. I took the whole thing apart about 10 times, got frustrated, then just added the hard plastic from the keypad packaging between PCBs and everything worked fine since.

BennitoJuarez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BennitoJuarez said...

sorry for the double comments...

hero said...

hi i though i will give you a link to a produkt that might help you do this little esier
i dont know if you have seen this before but thats how i did my snes-to-usb controller and it is so simpel, yust solder 4 wiers..

Mike said...

I've looked @ those before (on RetroZone), but they were out of stock...a nice option to make it easier...but as I'm trying to make it cheap...and I have the parts lying around, it'd be an extra cost.
That being said, I've completed the NES controller w/control board, hub and thumb drive inside, and it'd be wonderful to have a smaller chip in one of these to conserve space in a tight spot.

Paul said...

I'm working on one of these of my own as we speak!

I think I may be able to squeeze in two USB plugs for a player two and external memory.

*crosses fingers*

I'm documenting it rigeriously so I can post a supplimentory guide, hopefully.

nj_jcarter said...

Wouldn't it make it easier to just draw a board that has all of the different components on it. then you just add the different components to the board.

The only thing you would need to have is one usb port for the jump drive.

Michael said... will need at least 2 USB ports if you are connecting a flash drive, if your keypad or keyboard controller doesn's have any built-in hubs. For those keypad controllers used that have a built-in hub, you will only use 1 of 2 available, leaving you with an unused usb port... or a spot to plug in a second controller... hmmm.

NESScotland said...

Hi, couple of questions Eddy -

What is the advantage of using the keypad as opposed to one of the small retrokits from retrousb? (I am planning on using the retrokit as it looks smaller)

Also what frontend did you use in the demo video so that all the roms were listed? I use nestopia for emulation but it doesnt have a list you can scroll.

Any help appreciated


Paul said...

How do I get solder to stick to the tracks in the breadboard? Mine keeps balling up and sliding off, like water on a hydrophobic substance. -_-


Paul said...

Mine is almost finished but I ran into a bit of a snag. I desoldered a capaciter and attached it with wires to make the pcb on my keyboard controller flatter. Now it won't recognize as a keyboard when I plug in into my computer.

I'm going to try and fix it, but I'm afraid I may have bricked it. -_-

Jeremiah said...

@NESScotland: The advantage of a keyboard should be having the controller mapped as arrow keys and enter for navigating menus. As I understand it, the retrousb adapters turn the controller into a gamepad/joystick device, so you might lose the navigation benefits depending on the emulator you're using. And the front end is supposed to be RockNES, though I don't know much about it myself.

@Paul: For soldering to the board, flux should help if you're not using it. And if that doesn't help, maybe try roughing up the trace, like with sandpaper, but be very careful and very gentle.

BennitoJuarez said...

When soldering capacitors, be sure to solder them back using the correct polarity since they are omni-directional. They are usually marked + and -, or less than one half of the capacitor is a different color than the main body or marked with a stripe on one side, usually in the same color as the printed text... (this is the positive side). The PCB should be marked as to where the capacitor goes as well, with a circle symbol, half of which is filled in, (positive as well).
Getting them too hot with a soldering iron can render them useless, too. Perhaps not using flux may have caused someone to hold the iron a little too long on a lead trying to get solder to stick, and it may have melted the innards. Any type of soldering requires flux. (I find it useful to dip the end of my iron in a petroleum-based flux, which aids in melting pre-soldered joints as well).

Jeremiah said...

These might be interesting items for anyone doing this. They're flash drives with a two port hub built in. I don't have one, so I don't know what the board is like or what the real size is, but seems an interesting possibility.

Codecs said...

I've also posted my USB Controller at one of the silicon IP trading portal don't know but it could be good platform to promote my usb controller.

Francisco said...

How did you make that autorun run so smooth?, I'm making an USB autorun presentation and it automatically launches the folder but not the pdf or cd menu aplication. I do get the label and icon in the autorun menu popup. Can you give me any pointers as to how to make the program run automatically? Im running on Windows XP SP3

Caleb Barr said...

Sorry to sound ignorant, but no one has elaborated on the 'hub' yet. Do you mean a USB hub, as in the device that allows for multiple USB devices to share a single port? Can you please expand on the role of the hub?


NESScotland said...

"Caleb Barr said...
Sorry to sound ignorant, but no one has elaborated on the 'hub' yet. Do you mean a USB hub, as in the device that allows for multiple USB devices to share a single port? Can you please expand on the role of the hub?"

Yes its a usb hub. You require a hub in the controller as you are connecting a flash drive and a keyboard controller to one USB port. The hub handles the 2 devices.

I have recently made two USB nes controllers with flash drives inside and installed the rocknesX front end. I can now plug it into any PC and the frontend auto loads and i can play all my nes games. I thought there would be a good demand for these so i made two, 1 to keep and 1 to sell. When i put it on ebay it didnt have much interest at all (although it did sell).

I am now in the process of making 2 snes versions which again will have all the games on them. If all goes to plan i will have 1 for sale on ebay next week.

Once that sells i will be making 2 sega genesis / megadrive ones and again selling 1 on ebay.

Jeremiah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremiah said...

It's been a while, but I think you just create an autorun file like this


And then save it as a plain text file called "autorun.inf" and place it on the drive. Just switch the file name to whatever you want to open, including programs, so long as that file is on the drive as well (and not in a folder or anything).

If that doesn't work, just google for "usb autorun" or such and you'll find tutorials.

Dave said...

Can anybody post more detailed instructions on how to do this? I'm having trouble wiring the controller contacts to the usb keypad.

Michael said...

What keypad are you using?

BennitoJuarez said...

Here's the address to a recently added PBC Modification Diagram. This clearly shows where to bridge and break connections. (I don't know how to create links for blog comments...) a href... doesn't work here.

Anyway, this is only one of many ways to re-wire the PCB to match the desired keypad controller mapping. This setup does not allow 'navigation' via arrow keys, (left, up, down, and right.) Instead, the D-pad was assigned numbers, to not interfere with multiple button presses, (A and B together) according to what I mapped out. This way three buttons, possibly more, can be pressed at the same time. ENTER, was however mapped to the start button.
I hope this helps, and as a side note, this will for sure work with the Targus, 2-port hub keypad as found at

Dave said...

Thank you so much BennitoJuarez! This may sound like a noob question, but how did you break the connections? I think you should gather all of your posts/pictures and make a how to of your own.

BennitoJuarez said...

I used a dremel tool, with a tiny smooth 1/16" diameter carbide ball cutter tip, (not the burr type). Depending on the amount of pressure, you can just remove the enamel to expose the copper, or completely break lines. It's small enough to get into tight spaces without damaging the surrounding area.

Dave said...

Is a dremmel vital to this project? Or could I just use a drill?

Pat said...

Is anyone still selling these? matamualomia a t msn dot com

Caleb Barr said...

Hi guys,

I am having some trouble making this all work with this keyboard:

My other option at the moment is an older keyboard (not USB.) Can I make this work with the numeric keypad somehow or do I need to grab a USB keyboard somewhere to use the controller?


BennitoJuarez said...

A Dremel is definitely not vital, but I feel that a drill may take a bit longer, and be just a little bit harder to control.

As far as using the Numeric Keypad, Caleb, I'm not familiar with those, but nonetheless, they should still have a controller. You’ll need to map the channel pin-outs. (there should be 11 or so that are mapped directly to the keys – maybe indicated by a ribbon cable and connector to the PCB). You’ll need to remove the connector to expose the 11 or so connections. Each of these are different channels. You’ll need to solder a new wire to each one making sure the wires are stripped on the other end as well. Plug the controller into your computer, open Word Pad, start touching wires together, then record the results, i.e channels 1 + 2 = 0, channels 1 + 3= 4, and so on. Some, including myself made a numeric table to show each combination. This allows you to pick keys specifically based on channels. You have to be careful not to get all keys that share the same channel, since you will run into not being able to press A + B together while pressing left on your NES Controller. As far as a recommendation, I recommend this model, since its already mapped by several people on this blog, and it works with multiple key presses.

BennitoJuarez said...

I'll need to mention, that you'll then need to map out how you will need to modify the NES PCB... according to your keypad controller mapping. This will not match the NES PCB Modification diagram I posted here since you'll most likely use different keystroke assignments, and due to it being a different manufacturer.

NESScotland said...

Why does everyone seem to want to go through all this hassle with a $28 USB keyboard when you can just use a pre-programmed retrochip for $17 which only requires 5 points to be soldered?

BennitoJuarez said...

What's the fun in that? Besides, adding a USB drive is then impossible using the $17.00 retro-chip. The Whole point of this Blog is: NES USB contoller w/ GAMES...

NESScotland said...

impossible? How?

I have just used a retrochip and installed a 2gb usb drive also. It holds all the games, the frontend, the emulator and still leaves 1.75gb to use as a flash drive. I made 2 and sold one on ebay.

Im confused as to why you think its impossible

BennitoJuarez said...

in that case... maybe it's different than the one I was thinking of. I looked at them a while back and the one I seen only used 5 solder points. Where does the flash drive connect?
Do you have a link to the one you used?

NESScotland said...

Sorry, I prob wasnt clear enough.

It has 5 solder points to connect the 5 nes wires. It comes pre soldered with a length of usb cable attached.

All i done was cut the usb cable exposing the 4 usb wires and soldered them to a usb hub. I then soldered a flash drive to the usb hub. Then all that was left was to attach a new length of usb cable to the hub which comes out the controller the same place as the original.

Now when i plug the controller in it recognises the flash drive, recognises the retrochip and the game front end auto loads.

The only thing it does not do is allow you to press up and down on the controller and make it act as the up and down arrows on a keyboard i.e. you have to select the game using the pc keyboard and then hit the controller button to select.

This could be avoided using the usb keyboard route by mapping the keyboard up and down arrows to up and down on the controller.

BennitoJuarez said...

makes sense... what hub did you use and how much did it cost?

Caleb Barr said...


Thanks for the pointers. I will start scraping back the enamel overtop what I believe are the channel pin-outs, soldering wires on, and testing the combinations. I am brand new at this so I really appreciate the assistance.

I already modified the NES board to match the schematic in your photo gallery (the very last picture.) Given that information, is there anything you can tell me to make connecting the keyboard controller to the NES board a little easier, when it comes to that?

Thanks again!

Caleb Barr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NESScotland said...

Bennito -

The hub was £1.50 (around $2) and the flash drive was £3.50 (Around $5). The flash drive was a samsung microdrive so was only a couple of mm thick and was about the same size as my thumbnail. The hub was just a cheap one i found on ebay. It was a 4 port and i just removed the wires of the 2 unused ports. The internals of the hub were very small so they all fitted inside nicely.

I will post some pics of it all wired up tommorow. They are on my other PC.


BennitoJuarez said...

You are correct as far as picking out the channel pin-outs. You may want to trim down the board down to fit into the NES controller in case you weren't already planning on doing so... But WAIT until you get it working with the NES PCB.

Be sure to dry fit everything before final assembly. Those screw posts in the NES case are a pain to get around sometimes.

As stated earlier, my NES PCB mod diagram was specifically for use with the Targus keypad - PAUK10U.
The reason for using this specific brand, was becasue the entire PCB fit into the NES Case with just a very small amount of trimming.
That diagram could be used be used for other brands. You'll just have to experiment. Try to wire as similar as possible and see what happens.

If that doesn't work, post a complete keypad shot, with the USB connector out of the way, and I'll help map it to the diagram I have posted here.

Caleb Barr said...


I have mapped the keyboard controller and will attempt to scour the various posts to connect it all after I get off work tonight. If unsuccessful, I will post pictures and await your assistance, which is much appreciated.

Thanks again!

Caleb Barr said...

Ok, I took some photos of the keyboard circuit board.

The last picture is my modified NES board which was intended to mimic the schematic on photo 12 of your album.

The only output I have been able to get from the keyboard is as follows:

3,5 - '/'
3,7 - '8'
3,8 - '5'
3,9 - '2'
3,10 - '0'
4,7 - '7'
4,8 - '4'
4,10 - SPACE
1,7 - '+'
1,9 - ENTER
1,10 - UP
4,9 - '1'

Once again, I really appreciate your help.

Caleb Barr said...

I noticed I made a mistake in one of the bridges... I'll re-solder that and see if I can make any progress.

Dave said...

SO when I drill to expose the connections, I don't want to go all the way through right? And on the 'x' on your diagram I do want to go all the way through. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Caleb Barr said...

I am obviously no expert, but I am fairly sure the 'X' means you sever the connection and the circle means you just expose the track. You should never be going all the way through the circuit board.

I know which track combinations on my keyboard controller do what, I just don't know how to effectually connect them to the NES PCB. The best I can get is keyboard output when I connect certain tracks on the two boards, but I can't make it so pressing buttons has any effect. Any elucidation of BenitoJaurez's scheme would be really helpful.

Caleb Barr said...

I still need to take the IC off so hopefully it will yield better results....

Dave said...

When I am exposing the connections, I just need to go barely into it correct? It should just be right under the surface?

Caleb Barr said...

Yeah... I use a tool that is dull enough that it can't cut the metal tracks underneath the enamel. It's not too hard to do, but if I were you I would err on the dull side rather than sever tracks you need.

On my end, removing the IC did wonders. The mapping of the track combinations of the keyboard controller seemed to change once I cut off all of the board that wasn't necessary, but things are moving. Hopefully more progress to report soon...

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BennitoJuarez said...

Sorry for the delayed response... I do not have internet at home. Yes... just to reiterate the diagram. "X" meas complete connection break, or "severed". You technically could drill all the way through to break connections, but it's unnecessary.

Caleb, are you still needing help?... seems like you have things under control.

The NES controller IC needs to be removed since you are replacing it with the IC on the keypad controller. If not, it would cause unpredictable results.

as far as exposing tracks for bridging, exposing the metal is all you're trying to do. If you happened to scratch the metal under the enamel, it's will only make the solder stick better. it takes a bit more pressure to completely sever these, but care should still be taken.

BennitoJuarez said...

...also, the beauty of this project is that there's a lot of room for error. I first wired the controller wrong, and made bridges and breaks in the wrong places. I replaced breaks with bridges, and just simply removed "bad" bridges.

Trav said...


Any pictures posted yet?


Caleb Barr said...

Hi all,

Sorry it has been so long since I've posted, I have been really busy and hope to continue (finish) this project soon.

I have a question regarding BenitoJuarez's schematic (picture 12 on his album, I believe.) Was this the PCB in which you made errors, or was this the corrected one? It seems to me that this one will have issues when A and B are pressed simultaneously, because they share a track. Won't pressing both simultaneously result in a third track combination and keyboard output?


BennitoJuarez said...

The diagram I have shown is correct. It actually allows A + B + [any direction]... to be pressed simultaneously.

The keyboard controller can differentiate between 2 or more signals, or frequencies if you will. Different channel combinations create different frequencies... so even though two buttons may share 1 channel, it takes two channels to produce a signal, therefore as long as the second channels are not the same, it will work fine.

however, if a third button is pressed, and it happens to share it's channels with one each of the other buttons pressed, will result will be nothing at all, since its creating a tri-fecta.

for example,
A = CH 1 + CH 2
B = CH 1 + CH 3
Right = CH 2 + CH 3

Adam said...

Could you not knock up some simple logic gates for the buttons you don't want to be able to press together?

You could probably do the same for the Esc key - only have it trigger when A, B, Start & Select are pressed together.

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

I just finished this project, and I handled the escape key problem by adding another button to the back, using the useless screw hole as the location. I found a button that fits well, and cannot be accidentally pressed, as it sits slightly recessed.

Inside ControllerBack of Controller, new ESC buttonClose-up of new ESC button, safe from accidental pressingNow I can select games with up,down,left,right, press start (Enter) to start the game, and then press my new esc button to quit, which then I select another game. I don't have to touch the mouse or keyboard, which makes the lazy guy in me happy.

Caleb Barr said...

I just started up this project again. Life happens. Dave, your escape button idea is pretty cool.

This question is directed at BenitoJuarez, but if anyone else can answer it please do:

On the diagram above, there are those 16 contacts on the NES PCB that lead out to the keyboard controller, two rows of 8.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

So far, under that scheme, I have deteremined that 7+15 = B.

I have tried every likely combination to get the 'A' button, but no luck so far. Would someone please help me by writing out the combinations to reach each button?

A = ....
UP = ....


BennitoJuarez said...

Are you having trouble tracing out the diagram, or are you saying the diagram is incorrect?...

I can take apart my controller tonight and write down exactly what what I had done, if needed.

BennitoJuarez said...

up 9 + 13
down 11 + 12
left 9 + 11
right 9 + 10

select 14 + 6
start 7 + 5

A 7 + 14
B 7 + 15

Caleb Barr said...

Hi Benito,

Thanks for the response. I believe I am having trouble tracing out the diagram. From what I can trace 7+15 is the correct wiring for the 'B' button. I believe 15+14 ought to produce 'A', but I can't make it do so.

If things work the way I think they do, one shouldn't have to take apart the controller to confirm which contacts ought to be linked to which buttons. If I can get a definitive answer to that question, then I can determine whether there is a physical problem in my PCB (a track is cut somewhere, or not bridged.)



Caleb Barr said...

By the way, I really appreciate your help.

Caleb Barr said...

There was a faulty bridge on the track leading to the button; everything works now. I'll post if I run into any problems as things progress!

Jay Kaye said...

Hi all! Ed here (Jay Kaye). The author of this blog. Please see update at the top of the page (dated: 25/MAY/2009).

Ive created a USB NES forum so we can all help eachother build, develop and come up with more DIY ideas for our controllers :) Please sign up and post up your DIY jobs! Im very happy to see so many people take a liking to my little project. Hopefully we can all help eachother build bigger and better DIY projects!

Boy, I love the internets! :D


Dave said...

Using the Targus keypad, if the little metal rings around where the usb wires go come detached, does this ruin the whole board?

BennitoJuarez said...

Well, depends on whether or not you can solder a wire back to the PCB or not. You will need to expose the copper line behind the "little ring". I would try and salvage as much of the ring as possible. and try to solder across the esposed copper, and the metal ring to re-attach to the board. I would further reinforce the wire by using epoxy on the opposite side, otherwise it may come loose again.

Which one came loose from the board? If it just so happened to be the Ground pin-out, (an end wire - black), then you really just need to solder to a common ground on the board. Usually these are areas that have larger amounts of copper located on the PCB around the edges of the board. if these areas are connected to the USB Ground, then just pick a spot on the board, and expose an easy-to solder point on the board at one of these locations.

Dave said...

The one that came loose is the one from the only chip on the pcb that isn't a resistor. Sorry I don't know what it's called. But truth be told I've had this problem with the usb connections as well. Did you not have any of these problems? Am I doing something drastically wrong?

P.S. The 'Dave' above me who finished this project was not me. Just to clarify.

BennitoJuarez said...

maybe post a picture of the problem that you are having..., The only removable pieces on the keypad controller that I know of that's not a resistor, are capacitors (cylindrical), and the "oval shaped", oscillator. is this what you are talking about?

j337 said...

That is a nice video and article. Thanks for the effort. My Blog : earn money chao!

acme said...

someone build one for me, i got monies. thanks

Connect: said...

Does anyone know where to buy one of these? I broke my keyboard controller in the last stages of building mine, and I don't have the time to start again. I still really want one that includes the flash drive, and I'm not sure if the USB NES controllers on eBay do.


ScotlandNES said...

I made 2 of these - 1 to keep and 1 to sell on ebay. They both had a flash drive in them and it auto loaded when you connected it to a PC.

I struggled to sell the one on ebay - there was just no interest. I keep seeing people on here however asking for them so cant understand it.

I never used a keyboard controller as I could get the same results with alot less hassle using a retroUSB chip.

The USB ones on ebay you see now are not original NES controllers but copies converted to operate in USB.

If someone can tell me how to post pics on here I will - I tried using HTML and it said "Target" is not allowed.


acme said...

Give me your ebay name i'll look you up.

ScotlandNES said...

Sorry I never made that clear there - I sold the one I was selling but struggled. I had to relist it as it never sold the first time.

I was just surprised at how hard it was to sell as there seems to always be interest here.

ScotlandNES said...

sorry first links did not work

Connect: said...

Is anyone going to relist one? Do you plan to put a 'buy it now' option on it - if so, what price? It sounds like at least 2 could be sold here. The most important part of this for me is the flash drive, and I have never seen a modded controller with a flash drive for sale.

Please link the auction here if anyone decides to post one.


ScotlandNES said...

If I manage to get a couple more made I will post on here. I am just trying to find the time to do it. The costs of the parts for the ones I made was as follows -

Retro-usb chips - £15.00
Original Nes Controller - £2.00
USB Hub - £3.47
2GB USB Flash - £4.47

Total - 24.94 (Around $40 US)

i.e. I had to list it at least £25 just to break even. Maybe it was the price that was putting people off. The one I sold went for £35. I made a snes one too and it sold for £40 although the components were more expensive.


Connect: said...

I already have all the parts (minus the retro chip), I just don't want to tackle the project until I am sure I know what I'm doing and that it will take me very little time. Would you mind posting some pictures or a diagram to help out people who might want to attempt this? I wouldn't be ready to pay $40 + international shipping for this. I love my NIntendo, but not that much.

ScotlandNES said...

This was my first time EVER soldering and I managed it ok so its pretty straight forward. The hardest part is finding a USB hub and a USB flash drive thin enough to be contained in the controller.

Once you do that its just a case of hard wiring the retrochip and the flash drive to the hub. Then the hub is connected to the wire coming out of the controller to connect to the PC.

I bought a 4 port hub which had each port on the end of a wire. I found this easier to work with as all I had to do was cut the connector off and bare the wire to solder.

If you want to be really clever you could cut a small hole on the side of the controller and fix the 3rd USB connector from the hub on the inside, that way you could link up 2 USB nes controllers to each other for 2 player games.....drool.....

Cheers - Eddie

Fredrik Bakkevig said...

Just one thing. I know a lot of NES emulators, but none of them starts the "open game" menu exactly like yours in the video. I can get fceux to do it but in that window you can't use the arrow keys to select a ROM. You said you used RockNES. Which version? I don't think you'll get in trouble for sharing that. If i'm not mistaken it's the ROMs that are illegal to distribute.

ScotlandNES said...


I used rocknesx and an autorun.ini file and it loads up to game menu.

It does not look like the same menu the author used but does the job all the same

Fredrik Bakkevig said...

Aha. Thanks, works like a charm:)

Kest.C said...

Good Job!

What's happening with the forum?

Could you give me the archives?


Alex said...

I don't have the skill or the understanding to be able to do this myself, so I would definitely pay someone to do this or, preferably, the one posted at

If you would do this, please contact me at fuzzman54(at)yahoo(dot)com


rigs said...

well, my thoughts would be, once it's built and plugged in (as a gamepad, not a keyboard) you could still map the keys in the emulator, and they should still function for menu navigation (if only inside the emulator).

Connect: said...

Yeah, but if you mapped the right keys from the onset, you could use it as an input device for everything, and that would just be awesome :-D.

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BShocked said...

Thank you for this guide. I successfully made my own! For people having issues with multiple key inputs at once I recommend downloading keyboardtest from passmark: It really helps you see visually which keys will give you issues. Thanks again for this.

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wislson said...

thats rokcing i will try at my home if i can make one...thank u ..

Sk8er7981 said...

Where can I get the USB Keyboard Controller?

Also, does anyone have the wiring diagrams for the pins?

I would really like to make one of these for my son, to show him what it's like to be a real gamer.

Connect: said...

You might want to check out Paul over at . It's a little pricey, but it will save you many hours! As to your question, I used links on this thread to figure it out.

BShocked said...

For about $10 in parts you can make this it requires an microcontroller programmer, though you can buy preprogramed ones from him. With the same exact parts you can make which supports 4 nes or snes controllers. I made one and it works great! -Billy Homes In Stockton, CA

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EvanW said...

I used a usb keypad and it uses much less space, however, there are a lot less contacts so youll have to find good placement of the buttons to make sure that you can press certain buttons at the same time (ie jump and right)

de janne said...

I get the idea of using a keybord print and connect it with the player buttons but why do you need an extra usb hub inside?
(i want to make my own pinball usb buttons, so has anyone tips for that?)

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Chain said...

Thanks for sharing, its very nice :D.

I have written a small manager programm for starting the roms via gui.
now all thats left is to build this controller ;).

Is it possible to get only the keyboard controller instead of taking one from a usb keyboard?

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