Introduction: NES Flash Drive and USB Port

Picture of NES Flash Drive and USB Port
The NES consoles and game cartridges have been used for many things, but I wanted to make some ridiculous system that utilized the slide-in action of the system. Of course what made the most sense was to put an 8 gig flash drive in the cartridge and make the NES the port. It had to happen!

And so it did. And here's how it happened.

Note: This NES was dead and sold to me as-is. I think the game cartridges still worked, but it's not like you can't play Tetris on everything.

Step 1: Open a Cartridge

Picture of Open a Cartridge

Get an old game cartridge and open it up. I used a special bit I got online that's made just for this, but I've heard of others having luck with making their own bits.

Step 2: Modify Cartridge and Add Flash Drive

Picture of Modify Cartridge and Add Flash Drive

With the cartridge opened up, use a Dremel to make a hole for the flash drive to stick out.

With the opening, use hot glue to keep the flash drive in place.

Step 3: Open and Mod the NES

Picture of Open and Mod the NES

Now it's the NES console's turn!

Use a Phillips head screwdriver to take the top off as well as the metal shield inside.

Using a Dremel again, cut a hole in the middle of the 72-pin connector and a small hole in the back for a cord to come out.

Step 4: Inserting the USB Cable

Picture of Inserting the USB Cable

Insert a USB extension cable into the opening in the NES.

Double-check to make sure that the cable is in the right spot and hot glue it in place.

Insert the cartridge to make sure that the flash drive connects cleanly with the USB cable.

If it's good, put the metal shield and plastic top back on and you're done!

Step 5: Enjoy a Ridiculous Item

Picture of Enjoy a Ridiculous Item

Presto! You now have a ridiculously inefficient flash drive and a massive USB port. As an added bonus you can make a custom icon for the flash drive so that you know what game cartridge has been inserted.

Step 6: FAQ

Why not a 2.5" HDD instead of a flash drive?

I had a spare 2.5" drive that I was trying out for a while, but wasn't happy with the connection I was getting with it and shelved this idea for a while. When I tried again the drive was dead and didn't want to spend money on a new one just for this. The total spend here was $20 (NES and cable) and I wanted it to stay low. After all, it's not very useful, is it?

Why not use the connector pins instead?

Right, the idea of soldering the 4 USB pads to 4 pins on a game cartridge and something similar to the other side with a cut up USB cable. It would've made the build more impressive, but not change the action. Also, this way it's easy to remove the flash drive and use it as normal.

Why destroy a NES?

Really surprised that so many people care. There are a lot of them around that still work. This one didn't. Yes, I could've put some work into it and make it function again to improve its value by $30 or so, but I'm not interested.

Why not put more memory in there?

You absolutely could. If you want to take this idea further the instructions are here for you.


johnnyjr100 (author)2011-10-25

i have a couple of recomandations for this.
1. make it so that it uses the original connecter and make a adapter in the cartrage.
2.make the controller slots work.
3. make the power button turn on or off the usb connection.
Thats all and this is a great instructible

All good suggestions. I had this project on the back burner for a looong time. With so many things I wanted to do it just wasn't happening so I stripped it down to the easiest and bare essence. Of course there's plenty of room for exploration in this area if anyone else feels like doing it.

husamwadi (author)2011-05-23


ebayhax4u (author)2011-04-08

I am going to make this over the spring break but to make it more practical, after i've done what you did here im going to remove the two controller ports and add additional usb ports. and to just finish it off im going to take apart my controller, take out the guts, put in a flash drive, and connect an extension cable to the flash drive so it looks like a controller. Swap meet here i come!

Toastytoes (author)2011-03-06

You coud EASILY fit a 250 gig + SSD into one of those cartridges...

If you are willing to give me one, I am willing to try it :)

Actually you could build it with a network drive inside, probably get the router in too - which would make for an awesome looking router...

Hide every cable you can inside with a single power cable and subtle aerials, for some reason routers always end up on show, might as well make everyone jealous...

Heh. If I had that kinda money...

TOCO (author)Toastytoes2011-03-13

I wish that i could get a 250 gig hdd for my laptop. but man ubuntu on an ssd would fly like the wind.

neurrowcat (author)2011-03-06


legless (author)neurrowcat2011-03-06

Did you not read the bit that said "This NES was dead and sold to me as-is"?

neurrowcat (author)legless2011-03-07

OK, sure i didnt read that, but, that is not very hard to repair!
i have repaired several old consoles, and only one is "super-dead".

roland985 (author)neurrowcat2011-03-07

Besides, not all of us want to play NES all the time... There are literally hundreds of emulators out there too...

neurrowcat (author)roland9852011-03-08

Yes, true. But then again, a good conditioned nes is like a 100 Euro thing!

and as i said before you could make it compatible with the "usb" cart and play legit games at the same time.

Yeah, but here it cost $10 for a broken one.

OK, sure ill' buy all of them!!

Then ebay is your new best friend

Yea sure

crawlingdeadman (author)2011-03-02

remember how heavy The Legend of Zelda cartridge felt compared to the rest?

Yeah, that was because it had a battery inside it.

yeah i know that now, at the time i thought it was a bigger game... because it weighed more...

roland985 (author)fungus amungus2011-03-07


brodyf (author)roland9852011-03-08

to save data

roland985 (author)brodyf2011-03-09

Ah, was it because of volatile memory?

zack247 (author)2011-03-02

i really enjoyed reading this! the nes started mostly all home gaming.

the only thing i would change is instead of cutting the cartridge and connector what you should have done is use the original connector and solder wires to the cartridge.

so like this:
usb drive > cartridge edge connector
cartridge socket > usb cable

Fieldownage (author)zack2472011-03-03

I was thinking along the same lines, but...

What if you would use a 4-port USB-hub soldered to the cartridge socket, and then four USB drives cartridge edge connector. But while we're on that subject...

I believe NES used 72-pins on its cartridges, so to do it the right way, we should utilise most of those pins and use sixteen (way nicer number than eighteen) USB drives and four 4-port USB-hubs connected to a master USB-hub. That would be pretty darn epic, wouldn't it?

legless (author)Fieldownage2011-03-06

Wouldn't it cheaper and easier to just shove a 320GB USB drive into the thing?

Fieldownage (author)legless2011-03-08

Probably, but fitting a 2,5'' hard drive into the cartridge might be a bit hard... And it's way more fun to fit loads of hubs and memory sticks into it. :P

zack247 (author)Fieldownage2011-03-07

imagine how many hubs you could have chained together!
its mind blowing!

you, sir, have just made me think about that, it makes me want to buy many, many hubs and see how far i can chain them before it doesn't work... :/

Fieldownage (author)zack2472011-03-08

"...but because we can." :)

zack247 (author)zack2472011-03-04

just another thought here...

who here thinks that nintendo should start making the nes again?
perhaps instead of having to use game cartridges they could have all nes games pre-installed, or have the "new" nes have wifi and internet so you can purchase games over the nintendo network.

anybody think the same?

matstermind (author)zack2472011-03-06

they sort of did that with the wii virtual console, but if they would remake the NES, I think having the games preprogrammed or downloaded would remove the classic feel of the cartridges. just my take on it

zack247 (author)matstermind2011-03-07

the only problem with the virtual console is that you have to buy special controllers for them and the controllers arent cheap in my area, let alone easy to find for some reason.

then what it you used game carts like memory cards?

Toastytoes (author)matstermind2011-03-06

Actually, nintendo has started producing the 64-pin connectors again. So, you can pop a new one in your old NES, and it works like brand new. It's muchos awesome.

eagletjs (author)zack2472011-03-06

i think they did remake the NES i could be wrong but i think its called retro system it will play the old NES cartridges.

zack247 (author)eagletjs2011-03-07

no, you arent wrong.
im not sure but i think its called the retro duo, and it plays nes or snes and possibly other games.

from google there seems to be different brands of it, the other brands just call it something else.

i would buy one but luckily i still have a functional nes.

bustedit (author)zack2472011-03-04

"the nes started mostly all home gaming"

fungus amungus (author)zack2472011-03-02

Yeah, that was considered as well. I ended up not doing it because this way it's easier to salvage the parts if changed my mind. The NES was toast anyway.

thats what i was thinking too then you wouldnt have to mes it up if you cut it

burn_seventh (author)2011-03-07

epic!! hahahahaha incredibly good (you could actually get the old 512 mb rams and load some roms's with it and actually PLAY the games on your laptop!!! (that way you could at least give it a spesific use)

daemonkrog (author)2011-03-06

I think I'd like to see an NES turned instead into a NAS. To me, if I'm going to tear apart a classic game system, it had best be worth it.

adrian.robb (author)daemonkrog2011-03-06


daemonkrog (author)daemonkrog2011-03-06

Note: NAS = Network Attached Storage

rocksalt2342 (author)2011-03-06

woah... imagine if there was a flash drive the size of a NES cartridge... that would be like a billion gigabytes!

cozmoz365 (author)rocksalt23422011-03-06

You could always put laptop hdds in the cartridges with usb.

christzilla (author)2011-03-05

This is awesome, NICE!

LoganMackey (author)2011-03-03

LOL this is awesomely stupid! so you have to blow on it to make the flash drive work?

Thanks, mission accomplished :)

So far, no blowing needed yet. I'm kinda hopeful that it gets dusty so I have to.


sillyzombie666 (author)2011-03-02

i think this would be cooler if you put a small external hard drive that needs no external power just the usb cord and put that in the cart

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
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