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Nes Controller Adapter


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#1 Redsand189

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 02:32 AM

Note: this is a duplicate post from hardware forums, moderators, you can close the other one as i wasn't getting any responses.

I love the xboxes ability to emulate older systems. It's like having my own personal library of gaming history. The only thing that would make the experience even better would be to use the original controllers. I have seen this guide:

http://www.althack.c...box-mod-part-i/

on how to wire an NES controller using the PCB of an xbox controller. However, it seems kind of crazy, and huge.

Anyway, the guide got me thinking of other ways to hook up a NES controller to the xbox. Wouldn't it be great if there was some kind of adapter that had a NES controller plugin on one side, and a xbox breakaway cable plug on the other. Kind of like the keyboard and mouse adapters that were made?

http://hardware.team...oter-Review/p1/

Inside the adapter would be a PIC microcontroller (or arduino, or basic stamp) that accepts NES controller signals and translates them into xbox controller signals. Essentially matching up the Start button on the NES controller with the start button of the xbox controller.

It seems like you could have a whole line of these adapters for NES, SNES, N64, Genesis, Atari, etc...

I am a programmer and haven't played much with hardware, but it doesn't seem like is should be hard to record signals and match them up. Does anyone more knowledgeable than I think this possible?

I would be willing to give it a shot, just want to know if anyone has any thoughts about it first.

#2 sl0ppy

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 08:57 AM

Sounds like a great idea. It would be awesome to use the original controllers for the games. A while ago I purchased a NES and SNES controller from retrozone, currently at http://www.retrousb....p?productID=115 . I also purchased up a USB plug for the XBOX, but had no luck getting anything working. I'm not sure what happened, but retrozone used to sell other USB interfaces as well, including Genesis, SMS, Amiga, Atari. I ordered all of them, but so far I've only had luck getting them working in Windows. If the games incorporates some sort of USB support (maybe through the keyboard support?) it would probably be possible to get these working.

#3 Redsand189

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 12:39 AM

Thanks, the USB NES/SNES/N64 controllers out there send out a signal, just not in the right format.

The trick is converting that signal so the xbox can read it. I am thinking we need some kind of microcontroller that can record the pulses (1 and 0's) when you push the A button on the xbox controller. Then do the same thing with an NES controller. That way we will be able to read in the signal from an NES controller, identify it as the "A button", and translate it to the xbox "A button" output.

I have never played with microcontrollers, I was thinking of getting an arduino:

http://www.makershed...oductCode=MKSP4

I just wanted to see if anyone here was familiar with microcontrollers, and can confirm that this is possible, or what roadblocks I might run into.

#4 justgoonies

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 07:02 AM

If you could ever make one of these I would be so down to buy one!!!! Good luck and maybe you could try other controllers as well like the genesis or snes biggrin.gif

#5 DarthMingus

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 11:00 PM

I think using a microcontroller for something like this is too complex.

Your best bet is to learn to solder and follow this tutorial posted a few years ago. Its really not that hard if you are competent at soldering. You do have to use a DB-16 cable, not a VGA. Also, if you want to gain access to the analog thumbsticks, you need a DB-25 cable for the additional wires. This would only be for either a N64 or 5200 controller.

http://forums.xbox-s...howtopic=510168

http://www.xerxes3rd...ontrollerOnXbox

I followed that guide, along with the other directly below it (many thanks go to Scott over at Xerxes3rd) and so far I have successfully modded the following controllers.

- NES
- SNES
- SNES Advantage (w/o slow and turbo functions)
- SMS
- SMS Joystick
- TG-16
- Atari 2600
- Atari 7800
- Atari 5200*
- Genesis (3-Button)
- Genesis (6-Button)

* The Atari 5200 was a big pain to be honest, but with some patience, you can get it to work, even though it uses a flex matrix keypad. I'm going to be posting how I did that one soon, possibly this week.

Next up is a N64 controller. It will have to be 3rd party because Nintendo didn't use standard potentiometers in its thumbstick, so it would be impossible to use (I think). Luckily, the 3rd party controllers did use pots. I'm not entirely sure this will work, but I'm guessing the pots are standard 100k linear ones and if they are, they'll match up to the Xbox perfectly.

I'm going to eventually be working on an Intellivision, Colecovision and Odyssey 2 controllers as well.

I just got an Intellivision controller and it looks to be a big job, similar to the 5200, but entirely doable. However, I think I'm going to have to ditch the 16-direction control. If anyone knows much about this controller let me know. Its definitely an odd one. Like, what games even used that 16-direction movement?

Anyway, if you want to do just a NES or even SNES, its pretty easy and fun. My advice it to be patient take your time, practice and leave plenty of wire so nothing it too tight and causes a trace to be pulled up. (When I tried this for the first time, I dicked up this way. Live and learn.) biggrin.gif

Also, I've found that glue guns (the cheap $5 kind) are very usefully for securing wires after your done. I usually hit it with an upside-down compressed air gun to freeze it instantly in place. However, keep that compressed air can away from the soldering and glue guns or kaboom! wink.gif

By the way, I just looked at that Althack tutorial and its similar in concept, but man that is a ghetto looking rig! I mean, who wants to have a shoebox sitting next to an Xbox?

Good luck!

Edited by DarthMingus, 19 January 2009 - 11:01 PM.


#6 Redsand189

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:09 AM

Wow, thanks for the info Darth. That's awesome that you have made all those controllers.

I know the way I proposed would be difficult, but my thought was, once I create the code for one controller, it would be very easy to modify the code for all others. And once I figured out the bare minimum controller required to do this, I could buy a load of them for cheap, program them, and sell them to anyone who wants one.

Anyway, I will review your post and the previous posts you mentioned, and see if I can get any hints.

Thanks again, good stuff.

#7 DarthMingus

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:34 PM

I see what you mean. The only problem is that most of these controllers have chipsets that, I'm guessing, are very different from one another. For instance, I had to remove the embedded chips to get them to work without error from both the NES and SNES. Maybe the TG-16 as well, but I can't remember...

I'm not an expert or anything and if you could pull this off, it would be fantastic, so don't let me dissuade you. I just wanted to make sure you knew. smile.gif

Check out the site below. The guy who runs it did something like what your proposing, but for the Intellivision controller to work on a PC. You may want to email him. He may have some good suggestions for you.

http://www.raphnet.n...sb/index_en.php

Good luck.



#8 Redsand189

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 06:43 PM

QUOTE(DarthMingus @ Jan 20 2009, 08:10 AM) View Post

The only problem is that most of these controllers have chipsets that, I'm guessing, are very different from one another.


I agree and that will definitely be the tough part. I figure it would be impossible to understand all the different chipsets, and how the consoles translate those signals. That is why I am thinking that I need to be able to record the signal at the very lowest level (1's and 0's).

Thanks for the link, it looks like this guy had the same idea that I did.


#9 Redsand189

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 07:29 PM

I think I may find some Arduino forums and post the question there, see if they have any insight.

#10 Redsand189

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 05:15 AM

I purchased an Arduino microcontroller and starter kit and books online today. The arduino may be overkill, but it will just be a proof of concept for right now. If I get it working, I will figure out the minimal configuration needed.

I will keep you updated if I make any progress.

#11 Redsand189

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 06:59 PM

Just an update for anyone that may be following this. I did some research, and not only does this seem possible, but it may actually be easy.

The digital chip on a gamepad controller converts a button press into a bit. The nintendo controller has 8 bits, so pressing the A button would trigger the 1 bit. A full bit mapping can be found here:

http://pinouts.ru/Ga...er_pinout.shtml

So how would I read in such values with a microcontroller? Well, this guy has already done it. He mapped every button press on an NES controller to light up a different LED, and he included his code on the website:

http://yikescode.blo...er-arduino.html

So basically I would just need to take this guys code, modify it so instead of outputting to light up an LED, it would output another bit register that would go to the xbox. The xbox bit registers can be found here:

http://euc.jp/periph...troller.ja.html

#12 DarthMingus

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 08:06 PM

Cool, keep us updated! smile.gif



#13 grantshoarma

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:56 AM

QUOTE(DarthMingus @ Jan 19 2009, 11:00 PM) View Post

You do have to use a DB-16 cable, not a VGA.


Hi Darth, could you please explain why? For instance a SNES controller requires 13 wires including ground, illustrated here. Wouldn't a VGA (DB-15) cable work, or am I confused about something? Thanks



#14 Garrett.19

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:40 AM

QUOTE(grantshoarma @ Apr 2 2012, 01:56 AM) View Post

Hi Darth, could you please explain why? For instance a SNES controller requires 13 wires including ground, illustrated here. Wouldn't a VGA (DB-15) cable work, or am I confused about something? Thanks


VGA is basically a DB cord but doesn't have as many wires running through it. So when you go to buy a cord just make sure it has DB-15 or DB-25 in the description or it won't have enough wires running through it for the mod.

#15 grantshoarma

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:05 PM

Ah, thanks. I think there's some confusion between HD15 and DB15/DE15 VGA cables. I believe there are true DB15 VGA cables with 15 wires that are being phased out but some are also being sold as DB15 have the 12 cables (3RGB +9) instead. I think. Anyway I found 10ft DB25 cables for a buck each, so no worries smile.gif




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