Introduction: NES Controller Shuffle (Nintendo Controller MP3, V3.0)

Picture of NES Controller Shuffle (Nintendo Controller MP3, V3.0)

I completely ripped off ryan97128 on his design for Nintendo Controller MP3, Version 2.0 and I hear that he got the idea from the all wise Morte_Moya, so I can't take credit for all of their genius. I just wanted to add the convenience and recharge-ability of an Ipod Shuffle (2nd Gen).

I copied ryan97128 exactly on his set up except there was no need for the battery and I am not experienced enough to put in extra LEDs, so no cool blue hue. For how to break into an Ipod Shuffle, there was this instructable from technochicken which was most helpful.

To avoid redundance, I will assume that you will be able to follow ryan97128 on how to set up the circuit board from the controller and have the Ipod taken apart and ready to go.

Total cost for this project was about $40 for me, the only things I needed to buy were a used Ipod shuffle off eBay and a connector cable for it (you won't be able to use the included stand in my design).

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

A general list of my materials:

Original NES controller
used Ipod Shuffle, must be 2nd or 3rd gen (the more used the cheaper)
Ipod shuffle connector cable, not a stand (see picture)
Dremel tool
hot glue gun
20W soldering iron and solder
solder wick
swiss army knife (any multi-tool will do)
needle nose pliers

Step 2: Prep Ipod

Picture of Prep Ipod

Warning: Be very careful to not touch things(with conductive material) you aren't meant to touch on the Ipod. I fried my first Shuffle.

Deftly remove the buttons by sliding a flat edge (like a small knife) underneath them and prying upwards. You are trying to preserve the two sides of the button which are very small circuit lines on either side of the button (see second picture).

Also, fold out the headphone port like it is in the second pic, it will make it easier to fit in the controller

Do not remove the metal covering around the buttons, this will help you not touch stuff.

Make sure the Ipod is switched to On and Shuffle before you remove the casing

Step 3: Prep Controller

Picture of Prep Controller

You should prepare the circuit board in the controller as per ryan's instructable, see the intro for the link. Important points:
-you will need five buttons, i used the d-pad and A-button, so prepare your circuit breaks appropriately
-I didn't pay much attention to neatness like ryan did, but this project wont be as crowded as his so it is not as important
-save the cord, it conveniently has 5 different colored wires that are useful for the next steps
-prepare the circuit tracks to be soldered to wires by removing their protective covering as described in ryans project

Besides the circuits, you don't need to remove much inside this controller, just a few obstacles on the front piece's inside face. I also prepared the cord hole to fit the headphone jack.

Hot glue the unused buttons down, not necessary, but I found this to be convenient.

Step 4: Lets Solder!

Picture of Lets Solder!

First solder your wires to the NES controller, I used a different color for each button. This is the simple part. For a detailed description, again see ryan's wonderful project as linked in the intro.

To attach them to the Ipod is a little more delicate:
-do not use a really hot soldering iron, I used a 20W and it should be plenty
-do not fry your Ipod by touching things other than the now stripped buttons

I found it easiest if I had a little blob of solder already on my wires, this kept me from getting solder all over a very tiny circuit. Attach one of each color wire to either side of its desired button, I tried to keep continuity with the d-pad for the outer buttons and A being play/pause.

Test each button after soldering.

I found it helpful to work from the bottom up on the Ipod

The second picture is horribly out of focus so I apologize. If you can, try and get the main idea of what I did, its not that different to what ryan did in his.

Step 5: Finish Up and Enjoy!

Picture of Finish Up and Enjoy!
Put it together now! see the picture for how I fit everything in there. I also made a small pinhole right over the LED on the Ipod so that I could see the indicator lights.

Test everything before you screw it together.

I glued the apple logo from the bottom of the Ipod sync and recharge stand purely for aesthetically pleasing reasons.


chris_manes (author)2015-02-20

well I just failed at this project. I got continuity between each side of the Nintendo buttons and the other end of the wires. But in getting the buttons off the shuffle, I lost all but one of the metal runners. I have no idea how you're supposed to get the buttons and the black plastic they're attached to off the board without taking the metal rails off as well.

plus, a small black square came off the shuffle. maybe it hit the case when removing it. anyway, computer doesn't see it anymore so it's a dud.

cindy.hernandez.1088 (author)2014-11-17

Will you sell a nes controller mod mp3? I really want to buy one for my husband. Can you email me at of you are willing to make one and sell it to me. Thanks!

cindy.hernandez.1088 (author)2014-11-17

Are you willing to make a nes mod mp3 and sell one to me? I rather buy from someone who has made one before.

The Sauce boss (author)2011-11-03

awsome work!

Exodiac47 (author)2011-04-23

you probaly could but you would sill need to know where the wires go

Enzomatico (author)2011-04-20

As of right now it's cheaper to buy a 4th gen ipod shuffle 2gb than a 2nd gen 2gb on amazon. Would I be able to use a 4th gen?

Exodiac47 (author)2011-04-18

I need a pic of the finished nes board soldered to the ipod i dunno which cord goes to which!!!

Enzomatico (author)Exodiac472011-04-20

me too

pcprod23 (author)2011-02-27

would a hot glue gun work?????

Mr. Squishy (author)2010-01-01

 How do you wire up the on/off switch.

I don't think it's going to happen... Just leave the switch on and the iPod will automatically go to sleep when it's not being used! I was wondering the same thing...

I dont think the shuffle has an automatic sleep mode like the other iPods. I had a shuffle that was left on and its battery drained

CestrianCollective (author)2011-02-06

Nice nostalgic touch! I tore apart the dock hoping to find something useful... NOTHING useful in there! =-P

CestrianCollective (author)2011-02-06

So I'm very new to soldering and anything pertaining to deconstructing or understanding electronics... What exactly do I solder to what here? I'm assuming that there's NO common ground here, right? (My first inclination was to solder from common ground on the NES Controller straight to the iPod Shuffle metal case around the buttons...) But it seems I need to remove the buttons and solder straight to the circuit board?

jahrastapunk (author)2010-08-27

how would you wanna charge the nes player..

wout smeets (author)jahrastapunk2010-10-15

stick it into usb

Snowtrooper514 (author)2010-10-02

this seems like you could do it with the 4th gen as well.

pduves (author)2010-08-10

How much would you guys pay for one of these with 2 GB? $50-60?

heroicraptor (author)2010-06-27

Could you post an up close picture of the iPod after soldering?

Mr. Squishy (author)2010-01-01

 You would need an inline remote if you have a 3rd gen, right?

wdmangiamele (author)2009-12-04

thts soooooooooo sick!!!! im going to try it with a 1st gen ipod shuffle because thats all i have....

ahlexys (author)2009-09-20

would there be a way to incorperate the start/select buttons as on/off? cuz i got a shuffle (3rd gen) and a couple nes controllers just laying around and i absolutly hate the battery dying on me in the middle of a long bus ride.

zitz (author)2009-05-21

could you just strip the wires coming from the circuit board rather than soldering new wires?

-Onji- (author)2009-04-16

how did you include the on and off eh?

ihrtglfx10 (author)-Onji-2009-04-16

For this you have to leave it "on" all the time. It will turn itself off after a minute or so, I haven't noticed a reduction in battery life or playing time.

ryan97128 (author)2009-04-07

You beat me to this one!! Nice job. I like that it has the rechargeable battery and no need for a USB hole. That looks like it would save about 2 hours of labor. I gotta build one of these for myself now! AWESOME.

ihrtglfx10 (author)ryan971282009-04-10

Thanks man! But you already did the hard thinking for me!

dimarel (author)2009-04-10

very nice (5/5) ! I want to do it now ! can you explain me witch circuit of nes controller go to ipod please... or do you have more one better photo ? thx !

ihrtglfx10 (author)dimarel2009-04-10

Glad you liked it! I will try to explain it, but ryan97128 has some great pictures on his project that I linked if you need a photo of what to do. I already had to glue some edges down and don't want to go through the hassle of taking mine apart. Each button is basically a circuit break, so by pressing the button you are completing a circuit to achieve a desired action. You can extend that break away from the Ipod and onto the NES circuit to use its buttons to do the same thing as the normal Ipod buttons. So you are just making the circuit longer. Normally the signal travels from one side of the button to the other but now the signal will travel from the R side of the Ipod button, up the wire to the R side of the NES button, across the NES button (when pressed down) to the L side, down the wire to the L side of the Ipod button. (See Step 4) So by pressing down the NES button we are completing the circuit for the Ipod. I corresponded the Up button to Vol. Up, Down to Vol. Down, Left to Back, Right to Forward, and A to Play/Pause. Does that answer your question, or am I way off?

brendan945 (author)2009-04-05

Nice Job. I have really been wanting to do this since I saw the other two. Glad to see it all comes together pretty nicely.

fwjs28 (author)2009-04-03

very cool...

fishandchips (author)2009-04-02

Nice project! By far the simplest Shuffle NES hack I've seen.

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