Picture of How to Make a Portable Game System
Ever thought about being able to play your favorite game system anywhere? I'm sure you have. Following this guide, you can learn how to 'portablize' the Nintendo Entertainment System.

In this Instructable I will teach you everything you need to know to put together a portable. There will be several different sections:

- What batteries to choose
- How to make a case
- How to wire everything
- What screen to get

These are just the basics. All these and much more will be discussed in this Instructable.

The console highlighted in this tutorial is the Nintendo Entertainment System. I chose it because it has tons of awesome games and it is easy to make handheld. The total cost of this project - for me at least - was $200. Now don't freak out - your price will be much lower. It was so high for me because I broke the first screen and NES. That set me back about 70$. :P You won't make the same mistakes, because you are going to learn from mine.

Now, this project is not for the lazy. It is not easy. It is not cheap. But the reward is worth so much more than what you spent, that you won't even care. :) My portable NES took me about 4 months to build, so lots of dedication is needed.

This Instructable will play with a new format; because the parts list is so huge, it would be ridiculous to post it all in one step. So, for each individual step, I will write the parts and tools needed for that one step. I will tell you one thing: get some IDE cable. That's the stuff that is used to connect hard drives inside of computers. IDE cable is invaluable to any portable. It's amazing stuff, and you will use it many times in this project. Get some in advance.

This project requires that you already have the basic knowledge to solder, use tools, simple stuff like that. This guide assumes, however, that you would have no clue where to start when building a portable. This tutorial is for you.

I urge you to read the following steps on picking and ordering a console, screen, and batteries. They contain very useful information and will help you greatly. It may seem like a lot to read, but please look at it all.

Now, let's finally get to the Instructable. :)
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I'm sorry if you have already mentioned this but can you tell me what device your battery is from?

dj505Gaming10 days ago

If you're looking for a slightly cheaper screen, I'd recommend this:


It was meant for the Raspberry Pi, but it would work great for this project!

dj505Gaming10 days ago

If you're looking for a slightly cheaper screen, I'd recommend this:


It was meant for the Raspberry Pi, but it would work great for this project!

ZacharyK35 months ago

Do you have any idea if this would work with a gamecube controller?

TomasZ15 months ago

I have a question...

Online I've seen many portables (mainly from GManModz on YouTube) and I've been wondering. This instructable covers making the circuit board flatter okay however what if you want to make it smaller? Because that portable is Huge! and I've seen other portable that are way smallers. (Darth64, GC-Lynx to name a few) so could you please help me?

lbello24 years ago
That gameboy is cool !
you wont sell it??
MicahF1 lbello25 months ago

You mean NES, right?

chet54261 year ago
pazafraz chet54265 months ago

Yes it would. I used a very similar screen on mine and it worked just fine.

josh.abdill6 months ago

Hey, i am trying to make one, but i can't figure out how i would connect an AA bettery pack up to the n64, could i solder it to the AC wire???, do i take out the AC connecter and just solder the leads to the AA straight to where the AC connecter?

ryderm110 months ago
float_bridges10 months ago

If I just wanted to attach the PSOne screen to my NES, is the wiring pretty much the same? To use the PSOne screen's audio and video I mean? And would the NES's original RCA jacks still be usable? Thanks in advance!

Ian helms1 year ago
I think u should enter the gaming contest 1up
Awesome! Thanks for the help!
hi, I'm preparing to make a portable system but my knowledge of electronics isn't very comprehensive. I have a question about batteries. if the system I want to make portable has a hiher voltage than my batteries will it work? or do my batteries have to have a voltage equal to or greater than what it is trying to power as long as I build a corresponding regulator?
darkevil471 year ago
I love this instructable, it is going to be very helpful when i make my own. I was wondering, would there be an easy way to add a battery life indicator so i know when the battery is about to die?
PREDiTorT61 year ago
Where can i buy a case for creating such a device and also a screen?
Jaako1 year ago
I tried to do this to my nes and the whole 4th pin popped out and my nes doesnt turn on anymore! Can you help please? Ps. Sorry for my bad english.
kishore1361 year ago
it worked for me
Lucas61612 years ago
I understand everything having to do with Av cables and other things like that but I have trouble understanding batteries. I would like to use conventional batteries and I only care about performance. The thing is whenever I look up tutorials people bring up regulators and stuff I don't understand. I don't even know how to power the console with batteries. You said nothing about where to plug the batteries in pr where the cables would go. I took apart my game cube and now it doesn't work and I didn't even change anything inside it. I am worried to take apart my new and overheat it like my game cube. Please reply and thanks for this thread thing because I understand little more about batteries now.
nradant2 years ago
define what you mean by "remove the wires" pull them out of their thing or what?
JakeCon2 years ago
wow! nice job! awesome!
I can't really tell from the pictures, so I wanted to ask - how can you make sure that the new cartridge port is installed the correct way? Does the cartridge only go one way into the port, and that's how you know which way to solder it on?

Thanks for the great instructable! I'm not planning on making a portable soon, but I just happened upon a couple of NES boards without cases, and was thinking about making cases for them, and putting a standard cartridge port out the back instead of messing with the finicky ZIF socket.. Your information on where to get the ports is very helpful.

Also, could you let me know where the wires from the power and reset buttons on the case go to the blue connector on the NES motherboard? I don't have a case to check, and I'll be needing to add my own power and reset buttons.
my nes died. cpu gets hot fast and blue screen when powered on. i have replaced the connector. anything else i can do?
also i reverse engineered a portable dvd player lcd to work without the dvd player control circutry and it now takes composite. 7 inch diagonal screen
bhen092 years ago
This step seems a bit vague, what piece of equipment will I need to use these batteries with the system?
wes21032 years ago
Would a orig. ds screen work
Definately not, it needs av in, ruling out most screens like that.
wolfina22 years ago
So if I was using a DVD player.. How would I achieve the connection.. Doesn't the NES take AV Input? At least mine worked when i used a Red yellow white cable...
perhaps you could use right angle brackets to hold a piece of acrylic perpendicular to the shell to support the came cartridge?
another fantastic idea! ive made a few xbox 360 laptops but ive over looked making them completely handheld. i might actually try it but without a doubt it would take a lot of time. great how to!
Analton2 years ago
This is the most AWESOME instructable that i've ever seen.
The detailed explanation is a great bonus.
Excelent work!
how do you do that with an original xbox?
From what I have read on forums, a handheld would be EXTREMELY hard because it i big and there isn't much that can be removed. However, an xbox laptop wouldn't be out of the question, but still challenging.
or an xbox 360?
or an xbox 360?
sonicdude102 years ago
I see you have overscan issues with the screen just like me. My PSOne screen is hooked to my model 2 Sega Genesis through direct RGB. No resistors or capacitors. I get a clean signal surprisingly but the screen is shifted a bit off center and has borders all the way round. Any ideas on how to fix it or am I SOL?

It also has some garbage showing up in bottom border area but that is from a factory glitch in the Genesis hardware and thus unsolvable unless I start replacing chips.
will this work http://www.onlybatteries.com/showitem.asp?ItemID=11559.47&cat1=20&uid=1096&utm_source=shopzilla&utm_medium=versafeed&utm_term=11559&utm_content=hitech&utm_campaign=rechargeable+replacement+batteries+11+510+200&sid=shopzilla-com
does the voltage matter?
Krayzi992 years ago
I will be making a portable gamecube. i was trying to find some Li-Ion Batteries for my portable, and, this being my first portable, i had no idea what to get. could you give me some things ( if there are any :P ) to look for in a battery?
also, if it helps, both the 'cube and the 4.3 inch widescreen takes 12 volts.
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