Introduction: SNES to Parallel Port

Picture of SNES to Parallel Port

The basic steps to modify your SNES controller to connect to your computer via the parallel port.

Step 1: Strip SNES Controller Cable

Picture of Strip SNES Controller Cable

Strip the end of the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) controller cable (the end that connects to the SNES), and tin the ends of the wires. If you don't want to cut up your controller you can just stick wires in the end that plugs into the SNES according to the diagram in step 3.

Alternatively (what I did), you could replace the SNES cable with one from something else, that way you don't need to chop up the controller. In my case I had a broken NES controller that I borrowed a cord from. It is also recommended that instead of cutting the cable you get a SNES controller extension cable and cut that up. In either case the steps are the same.

Step 2: Powering the Controller

Picture of Powering the Controller

There are several ways to power the controller. The cleanest way is to draw power directly from the parallel port with diodes. You can also get power from the USB port or from an extra power cable inside of the computer (if you aren't using a laptop).

To draw power from the parallel port attach a diode to pins 4-9 on the parallel port connector according to the diagram below. The +5V end attaches to the white wire on the controller (make shore that the diodes are aligned correctly, the black stripe should point away from the parallel port).

Otherwise you can strip a spare USB cable and attach the controller's power (white) wire to the red 5V wire on the USB cable and the ground (brown) wire on the controller to the black/ground wire in the USB cable.

Step 3: Attach Everything Else

Picture of Attach Everything Else

The yellow/clock wire connects to pin 2, the orange/latch wire connects to pin 3, the red/data wire connects to pin 10, and the brown/ground wire connects to pin 18 (if you are powering trough the parallel port).

Step 4: Install Software

Picture of Install Software

You can find windows XP/2000 (PPJoy) drivers here:

PPJoy has fairly good documentation, including instructions on using different interfaces (the Playstation or Sega Genesis controllers for example). But here is generally what you need to do.

After installing PPJoy go to the control panel and click on the icon labeled "Parallel port Joysticks". In the new window click on the button labeled "Add...".

In the "Configure new controller" window set "Parallel port" to "LPT1", "Controller type" to "SNES or NES pad", "Interface type" to "DirectPad Pro/SNESkey", "Controller number" to "Controller 1", and "Controller sub type" to "SNES or Virtual Gameboy".

Hit "Add" and let windows install the drivers.

Step 5: Clean Up

Picture of Clean Up

Any your done _. You can configure your controller like any joystick/game pad in Control Panel - Game Controllers. This setup will work with pretty much all SNES/NES emulators, adding a level of authenticity a keyboard could never provide. And it functions like a regular game pad that you would buy in the store.


joseandres42 (author)2013-06-14

My laptop's parallel port did not have enough power for the controller, so
i had to power it with an USB cable, that goes into the parallel connector enclosure. Everything working fine now!

jitinchigo (author)2008-12-30

is it possible to just connect the snes wires straight to USB wires

all i noe is that:
Black(USB) = Brown(SNES)
Red(USB) = White(SNES)

where do i connect the other wires that are left on the SNES controller.
If you noe please email me at

please reply ASAP


bike_gye (author)jitinchigo2012-03-27

hear use this ti warks grate

Hungry_Myst (author)jitinchigo2008-12-31

No, you can't just connect the SNES wires to the USB wires. Well, except for the 2 that you listed that only provide power to the controller. The other wires need to be hooked up to the parallel port like I described. If you want to use USB you need to add some more complex circuitry (like a USB chip), which would be a whole other tutorial.

Mr. Squishy (author)Hungry_Myst2009-03-17

I have a guide on how to do a USB one.

I'll do ya one better. They make these things called USB>LPT adapters. Most all of them use the PL-2305H USB>1284 bridge, which supports all of the pins from a parallel port.

yawgmoth1 (author)BlackAngel9992010-10-16

Would there be a memory caching issue with that?

toogers (author)2010-10-26

you'd probably be better off using the keypad hack, where you wire controller's buttons to keypad's buttons.

yawgmoth1 (author)2010-10-13

I'm going to be adding an instructable soon for the original NES pad to printer port.

zack247 (author)2010-09-20

any way to do this with a ps2/1 controller?
cool instructable though, im gonna make one of these, it'll work the same way fro a nes, right?

dudeishfish (author)2010-06-18

Would it be possible to do the wiring straight into a parallel-usb wire?

santy22 (author)2008-04-12

would this work with a sega genesis 2 controller??

ultimatesx9 (author)santy222008-05-01

the sega Genesis\Mega Drive contrrollers use the same firmware in every version of the controller, it really does make a difference if use a Japanese pad in a genesis.

santy22 (author)ultimatesx92009-02-27

YEAH.... DIDNT ANSWER Will this Wire connection thingy work with a SEga Controller?

yawgmoth1 (author)santy222009-12-01

Not sure why people like SANTY here need to cop an attitude with people that are only trying to help. You're obviously not intelligent enough to figure this out on you're own, so at least show a little respect to those who can.

willrandship (author)santy222009-11-14

he means yes. Look on the ppjoy web site for diagrams.

ultimatesx9 (author)santy222009-03-03

No, you need to find the Sega to parralel schematics to do that. You might find them on here, otherwise, you got google right beside ya

Capt. Fat (author)2009-04-24

Would this work with a N64 controller??

Hungry_Myst (author)Capt. Fat2009-04-24

Not with the same software. There is probably a similar solution for N64 controllers but I don't know of it.

Capt. Fat (author)Hungry_Myst2009-04-25

crap.... Oh well Know a way to power a home made ipod speaker??

willrandship (author)Capt. Fat2009-11-14

You mean for an amp? Here is a good diagram. Substitue any power you want, and use any power source. Mix and match for good resistors.

Capt. Fat (author)willrandship2009-11-15

thanks for the diagram and all. but i really can't understand electrical diagrams like tht. and i gave up on the idea anywyays. thanks anyways though

willrandship (author)Capt. Fat2009-11-15

OK. It was just a common amplifier anyway.

AlternateLives (author)2009-06-23

Could you hook the controller up via serial port?

If you look into PPJoy, which he is using, there is a way to hook them up through serial, but it would require some sort of microcontroller, like arduino. If you go that route you're better off trying to make a modification to this project. That will use key presses, which you set as keys in emulator. Let me guess, you have a laptop that has no parallel?

yawgmoth1 (author)2009-10-28

First off, great instructable! I just tried mine with a slight difference. I didnt have a "cap" for the parrelel port cable so I chopped one end off (both ends we're male) and took note of the color coding to the pins. From there I just wired the SNES pad up to it. I used the White wire and Brown wire for usb power. Alas mine does not work....I think I did a shoddy job on the soldering maybe? The wires from the snes pad are AWFUL! They are those fabric type of wires. I'm going to try again tomorrow without those crap wires. I'll just solder better ones to the pad internally.

Cann0n (author)2009-09-01

I didn't add the diodes or use the SNES's power wire and it works well with linux.

ultimatesx9 (author)2008-01-24

like the instrucable, only i dont have an NES or SNES pad, but i have 4 Mega Drive pads, i know the software can handle Genesis pads (so it doesnt matter if i use Mega drive as its the same pad) but is there a way to make a parrel port thing like you made without maodding the acctual end of the controller?

willrandship (author)ultimatesx92009-07-04

Actually, I once did a SNES mod where I had both a SNES plug and a Parallel plug on the ends. I did this by popping the shell on the plug and soldering to the exposed wires. As far as I know, it worked perfectly. Just don't plug in both at the same time.

crrimson (author)ultimatesx92009-04-27

I just did an instructable for the Genesis controller here:

Hungry_Myst (author)ultimatesx92008-01-25

If you found a cable extender (something that goes between the console and controller to make the controller's chord longer) you could mod that. It's also possible to just stick the wires into the end of the connector. I know that paper clips stick very nicely into the holes on the NES and SNES controller connectors, and paper clips are easy to solder to.

ultimatesx9 (author)Hungry_Myst2008-01-26

yeah, found that you could buy DB25 male to DB9 male adapters in maplins, put that in, and now it thinks im always pushing button 6, and i cant mod that, cos its got solid platsic around it.

ultimatesx9 (author)ultimatesx92008-02-12

but i have used your advice and used a 1.5m female serial cable, stick paper clips in that, selotaped it together, but i stuck wires in where the white and brown cables are and i power it from a DC plug set at 4.5 (either that or 6v), havent tested it yet, should work tough

matstermind (author)2008-09-04

what kind of diodes are those?

crrimson (author)matstermind2009-06-26

Get 1N4142 diodes, those were recommended for the other parallel port controller projects, and you can find them at radio shack or online.

matstermind (author)crrimson2009-06-26


mr monoply33 (author)matstermind2009-06-12

I believe they are more specifically 3.6 volts zener diodes, if your still wondering.

Hungry_Myst (author)mr monoply332009-06-13

I just used what I had laying around at the time. If your going to buy diodes, don't bother looking for zener diodes as we aren't making any use of there zener characteristics. In fact, it would be better if they weren't zener.

matstermind (author)mr monoply332009-06-13

sort of, thanks

Derin (author)matstermind2008-11-30

data diodes

jitinchigo (author)2009-01-04

umm.. THNX do you know where i can get such chips and how to solder the few wires of an Snes to the chip? if so could you make a tutorial on that it would greatly be appreciated!

I have no idea where you can buy them outright, but I am sure you can buy a cheap controller (or other USB device) and gut the chip out.

bike_gye (author)2009-04-14

jitinchigo here is a link to show you what to do to tren it in to usb

bike_gye (author)2009-04-14

jitinchigo here is a link to show you what to do to tren it in to usb

Capt. Fat (author)2009-02-08

Nice instructable. Do u no any idea if you could use a video camera cable that hooks up to the tv connect ur super nintendo to the tv? My original tv cable is busted and i can't find a replacement :(

nemesispoi (author)2008-09-08

can you use the diodes from another electronic thing you have?

matstermind (author)2008-09-01

could you do this with a USB plug?

lmczitz (author)2008-07-27

I created a SNES to Parallel Port adapter. My problem is that unfortunately the thing simply won't work with WINDOWS XP PRO SP2 with drivers I am utilizing. These drivers are the fallowing:
Direct Pad Pro
I will thank you guys greatly if you can find information on how to make this thing work properly with XP SP2.

NOTE: I heard that there are some issues with the drivers for this mod and directX9c....

Thanks you very much for your answer in advance guys.

rocker9455 (author)lmczitz2008-08-22

you could try this software:

this guy recomends it;

hope this helps you out :D

About This Instructable




More by Hungry_Myst:The Raven, high-pitched tortureControl your iRobot Create with a Palm Pilot[Idea] Air Mouse
Add instructable to: