This tutorial combines an original NES controller, USB keyboard, wire and tact switches into a USB NES controller suitable for use with NES and arcade emulators. The basic idea is that the keyboards controller unit is installed in the NES controller housing. The original buttons activate tact switches that are wired to the keyboard controller. When the NES controllers buttons are activated, they're registered by your computer as a key press. If you're comfortable with a soldering iron and don't mind working in small spaces, you should be able to make a USB NES controller with cheap and readily available parts. I would recommend reading the whole tutorial before starting as understanding the whole process will be of great benefit for completing each step.
I found a janky old NES controller that had seen better days in my cupboard. Considering its poor condition, I wanted to sacrifice it for a retro gaming project. I ended up combining it with an old PS2 keyboard as a frankenstein style prototype for this instructable. I was then confident enough to pick up a cheap usb keyboard and sacrifice a controller in decent condition. The benefit of using a keyboard as the brains of the controller is that it wont require drivers and will be compatible with most operating systems. Plus, it's a cheap way to convert an old piece of gaming kit into something you'll get some use out of.
Step 1: Things You Need
- 1x Nintendo NES controller
- 1x USB Keyboard*
- 8x Tact switches
- Hookup wire. preferably coloured to make life easier when soldering.
* Keyboard controller contained within needs to be small in size. Older keyboards tend to use controllers too large for this project. If unsure what this means, see next step.
- Soldering equipment
- Dremel (rotary tool) with cutting bit
- Small files
- Hot glue gun