Instructables

How to Convert a NES Game Cartridge into an External Hard Drive

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Picture of How to Convert a NES Game Cartridge into an External Hard Drive
Have you ever wanted to turn that old boring looking hard drive into something unique and stylish? This instructable is just the thing you're looking for! This tutorial will show you how to turn an old Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game into a portable hard drive.

Completing this project will cost roughly $50 and will consume about 2 hours of your time.
 
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Step 1: Gather Supplies

Picture of Gather Supplies
To complete this project you will need (from left to right in picture):

1. Coarse Sand Paper - $1-$2 found at Home Depot
2. NES Game Cartridge - $5 on EBay
3. External Hard drive (WD HD320 GB) - $40-$100 depending on capacity (must be thinner than 0.5")
4. Small Flathead Screwdriver - $1-$3 found at Home Depot
5. X-Acto Knife - $1-$2 found at Hobby Lobby
6. Box Cutter - $2-$3 found at Home Depot
7. Super Glue - $2-$3 found at Hobby Lobby
8. Needle Nose Pliers - $5-$20 found at Home Depot

Step 2: Cartridge Disassembly

Picture of Cartridge Disassembly
Steps 2 -4 will guide you through the disassembly of the game cartridge.

Using flathead screwdriver, remove screws from the backside of the cartridge

***Tip - Some games have different types (security or flathead) or numbers of screws (anywhere from 3-5). For this game we had only 3 screws which were all flathead.***

Step 3: Cartridge Disassembly

Picture of Cartridge Disassembly
Pop both fastening tabs apart

***Tip - Some games will have 5 screws instead of the two top tabs***

Step 4: Cartridge Disassembly

Picture of Cartridge Disassembly
Once all screws have been removed, split the two pieces of the cartridge has shown in the picture, also remove the internal circuit board (outlined in picture) from the left half of the cartridge.

****Tip – Be careful with the circuit board, if the game was not damaged the circuit board can still be used.***

Step 5: Hard Drive Disassembly

Picture of Hard Drive Disassembly
Steps 5-9 will vary from user to user depending on the hard drive purchased. The device used in this tutorial was a Western Digital 320 GB hard drive and costs around $40 new.
nice work,...
thanks for the instructable!!! I didn't go out the side like you did, but still, an awesome idea!
Brayden11222 years ago
That is so awesome!
Please don't do that to working games. And with working games i mean proper games. Pirate games like Action 52 and Cheetahmen II can die since they don't work.
agis682 years ago
omg somewhere i have a banch of NES catridges....Also liked very much the blue frame of the images.......
well, only do this to ones that dont work
roytop20002 years ago
The harddisk drive is creating heat. That container are not reducing the heat. But it still a nice idea. Keep creating
I have this Hard Drive and it produces almost no heat. Also, the stock case is just a piece of plastic to protect the HD. I love this instructable, I have been looking for ways to mod my HD. Thanks.
Sydneysyd2 years ago
Great idea, and very simple to create it ! Thx
mr.origami2 years ago
Try to get a smaler drie and find a way to makeit soyou can still play the game and keep it an external drive
sorry bro, but as of right now, unless you get a flash disk drive, there are no smaller drives on the market. the 2.5" internal laptop drive (as pictured) is the smallest hard drive commercially available. but i really like your idea. maybe sometime in the near future we may see something smaller come to pass. then i would definitely jump on the dual use that you'd suggested!
bubbaclaw2 years ago
Wouldn't using a dremmel have been easier?
galadriei2 years ago
i almost wonder if a SNES or N64 might be a better size. I have a FFIII case!
I did it with a SNES cartridge and it was a perfect fit! A little tight at the edges but it was a snug fit that required no additional hardware to secure.
yay! thanks!
mikeasaurus2 years ago
Fun idea, and some great documentation!
(I used to hate love Wizards & Warriors when I was a kid!)
I noticed the Wizards & Warriors game, too! That game was sweet but the sequels were also pretty sweet.
dfc8492 years ago
Great instructable, photos were awesome. I agree, it's very a unique and stylish way to store data, but I'd like to add that it's also an easy way to hide data in plain sight! One could even go as far as to say it might help prevent theft! As long as it's unplugged, it doesn't appear too valuable to the average person.

+1 for implementing fun, style, economy, and safety. Given the materials required, this project is easy, clever, cheap, and provides multiple functions. I think the cartridge might even be of a heavier grade plastic, giving the hard drive a little more durability when traveling!
platham12 years ago
No!!!
Not the NEs Game!

Kidding, get a broken game and go for it, this is pretty neat