Introduction: NES Controller Night Light V2
Runner Up in the
Make It Glow! Contest
A couple of years ago a made a NES Controller Night Light in Resin. Although I was happy with the final build, it wasn't an easy one to do. I decided to revisit this build recently after a friend wanted me to make them one. I really didn't want to have to go through all of that resin polishing again so I decided to make a slightly different version of the night night.
This time I wanted to be able to still feel the controller and also make it more of a show piece. I decided to have it in a frame that I could hang on the wall. The NES controller is also removable from the frame which enables it to be portable!
I wan't going too make an 'ible for this build, but it's a lot easier than my original idea so I thought why not! All you'll need to make this build is some basic soldering skills. a little patience and some simple wood working skills. You don't even have to put it in a frame if you can't be bothered.
Check out the video in the first step to see the light in action.
Step 1: Watch the Video...
Step 2: Things to Gather
1. Rear Bike Light - eBay
2. NES Controller. Don't use an original one, just get a clone from eBay
3. 3mm LED Lights - eBay
4. Tactile switch - eBay
6. 3 x AAA batteries
7. Rare earth magnets - eBay
7. Ply wood
8. Hard wood plank
1. Soldering Iron
3. Wire cutters
4. Hot Glue
7. Phillips head
8. Double sided tape
9. Super glue
Step 3: Pulling Apart the NES Controller
1. Un-screw the back of the controller and carefully pry off the cowling
2. Inside you'll find a circuit board held into place by 1 screw. remove this and keep in a safe place with the other screws.
3. remove the buttons so all your left with is the 2 empty outside shells.
Step 4: Drilling Holes for the LED's
Next step is to decide where to make the holes in the controller for the LED's. As my bike light had 5 LED's I went with 3 on the top and 1 on either side.
1. On the top edge of the controller, find the middle and mark. The other 2 holes on the top I just measured 20mm from the edge and marked.
2. Find the middle on each side and mark.
3. Using a 3mm drill piece, drill the holes where marked
Step 5: Hot Gluing the LED's
When all the holes have been drilled, it's time to then glue the LED's into place. The important thing to do at this stage is to make sure you install the LED's with their polarities all the same way. This will stop any mistakes when you are wiring them up too the circuit later. All I did was to make sure the short leg (negative or cathode) side was always on the left.
1. Push an LED through the hole and add some hot glue. Hold in place until the glue dries.
2. Do the same for the other 6 LED's and if necessary, go over each with a little more glue to ensure they won't move. Don't worry about cutting the legs yet, this comes later.
Step 6: Pull Apart the Bike Light
1. Pry the top off the bike light.
2. Un-screw the circuit board. This should just come off. You can see from the images that the board isn't the best made or cleanest that you are going to come across, but for $1, I'm complaining.
NOTE: Make sure you mark on the board which side is negative and which is positive.. As LED's come with a handy flat edge on the LED to tell you the polarity, this is easily done by just looking at the LED. Mark on the board so you don't forget.
3. Next thing to do is to remove the LED's. Initially I soldered them off but I think the heat from the soldering iron damaged the IC and one of the lights didn't work. I didn't find this out until after I had wired everything up! The other thing you can do (and I did this on the 2nd circuit board I used) is to just use a pair of wire snips and cut off the LED's! This worked fine and didn't damage the board
Step 7: Wiring and Gluing
The first thing to do is to add some wires to the power section and switch. The wires I used were recycled from the cord that comes with the controller. Inside there are 5 wires including a red and black one which I used to wire up the circuit board.
1. Add a red wire to the positive terminal and a black to the negative. If you are unsure which one is positive and negative, then just have a look at the battery section on the bike light and match-up the terminals to the battery tabs in the light.
2. Next add a very small amount of solder to the switch section. This is probably the trickiest bit so take your time and go slow. If you take a good look at the switch section, you can see that it is made up of 2 sets of metal tracers that are laid down in the circuit board. When both of them are touched, the circuit completes and the lights turn on. What you need to do is to attach a wire to each of the tracers so we can bring the switch off the circuit board and onto a tactile one which will be wired up later.
Add a couple of wires to the solder pads.
3. Trim the LED legs and start to solder wires to each one. remember to use red for the positive and black for the negative legs.
4. Solder the wires from the LED's to the solder mounts on the bike light circuit board. Again making sure that the polarities are correct.
5. Once all of the wires are soldered, it's time to test. Add some batteries and touch the 2 wires together from the switch. The LED's should come one. If any don't then you might find that it has been wired incorrectly. Un-solder and try again.
6. Lastly, as you can see,, I glued into place the D pad and the start/select buttons. I didn't have to do this in the end as I replaced the circuit board from the controller.
Step 8: Faulty Board!!!
So my first board that I used had something wrong with it and as you can see from the images, one of the lights didn't work. I tried swapping the wires and also replacing the LED but in the end it was the board so I had to re-wire another one. This really isn't as bad as it seems as the boards are easy to pull out of the bike lights and the LEDs also are simple to remove. Plus the lights cost $1 so I brought 5 just in case this happened.
Once I re-wired a new circuit board into place everything worked fine.
Step 9: Adding the Switch.
The cool thing about being able to touch the NES controller (unlike my first version) is I could utilize the buttons. after some trial and error, I came up with the below solution.
1. Work out which button you want to use to activate the LED's. I went with button A.
2. Make a hole in the original circuit board so the tactile switch fits into it. I used a dremel to make the opening. Be careful with the dust from the board as it is not good for you.
3. Glue the switch into place with some hot glue
4. Put all of the buttons back into place and screw down the circuit board. I added another small screw and a little washer to help support the board.
5. Test and make sure it works.
Step 10: Adding the Battery Case
In my original NES Night Light I incorporated the batteries inside the controller. As I wanted to make this one a more simpler version, I decided to have the batteries on the outside. You could paint the black battery holder grey and also have one which is enclosed so you can't see the batteries. As I was displaying mine though in a frame I wasn't so worried about what the back looked like. Hoewever, you can remove the controller from the frame and have it side by your bed for example so making the back blend in would probably be a good step.
1. Mark on the back of the controller where you will be positioning the battery holder. I marked mine about 4mm from the bottom. This way, when the controller is resting it is on a slight angle and presents better.
2. Drill a small hole into the back of the controller for the wires to go through
3. Next I decided to paint the holder grey. It isn’t a necessary step but I wanted it to match a little better to the colour of the controller. The grey I used is darker then the colour of the controller but it’s all I had on hand.
4. Once the paint is dry, push the wires through the hole and solder onto the wires to the battery terminals on the circuit board. DON’T attach the battery holder until you have done this otherwise you won’t be able to get to one of the screws.
5. Attach the battery holder using some good, double sided tape
Step 11: Adding the Magnets
To ensure that the controller is held in place on the frame, I decided to add a couple of magnets to the inside of the controller.
1. Scuff the area’s that you want to stick the magnets to. This will make sure that the superglue has something to grab hold of. Do the same to the back of the magnet.
2. Superglue them into place
3. Screw on the back of the controller
4. Next, add a couple of magnets to the back of the frame. Make sure that they are correctly orientated. I just stuck them on with some masking tape
Step 12: Adding to a Frame
This isn’t a step that you have to do this step but I wanted to have some way to display the controller. Plus, you can also have it as a wall light if you want to.
1. Buy a frame (or make one) that has some depth to it. The deeper the better
2. Remove the glass, cardboard frame and anything else until you are only left with the back of the frame
3. Next, glue some good quality paper to the inside of the frame. I used some fibre paper but you could use anything really.
4. Once dried, mark out where the controller will sit. I just used the battery holder on the back of the controller as a guide and marked out the section to cut on the paper
5. Grab a thin bladed saw and cut out the marked section
6. You want the battery holder to fit snuggly into the hole. Sand if necessary
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