Picture of USB SNES Controller
First instructable. Let me know what it needs and fixes.

I did not make the circuit or program. I am just making a guide that shows step by step assembly of how to make the USB SNES controller. The original page is here:

This guide will convert a regular snes controller into a usb gamepad. It is tested working on XP, Vista, 7, and PS3. It should work on mac and linux but I have not tested them. The device is recognized as a standard HID device.

-You do not need to program anything for this guide. The program is already compiled and ready to be flashed to your chip.
-You do need basic soldering skills.
-Basic schematic reading skills helps, but I will try to explain every step.

Step 1: Parts Needed

Picture of Parts Needed
usb avr programmer.png
Parts List:
-Atmega8 DIP microcontroller
-AVR programmer (usb, parallell or serial. I use usb.)
-12MHz Crystal osscilator
-[2] 3.6 volt zener diode
-1.5K Resistor (anywhere from 1.3K to 1.7K should work)
-[2] 68ohm resistor (anywhere from 60 to 75 should work)
-USB male cable
-SNES controller (first party works better. wires colors match guide.)
-Small wire.
-PCB - www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp - $2
-Breadboard. This makes it much easier to test before putting into a controller.
             www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp - $9

-Wire Stripper
-Wire Cutter
-Soldering Iron
-Needle nose pliers (makes it alot easier to place and move wires on breadboard)
-Dremmel or cutting tool. (chip will not fit into unmodified controller.

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bananenbär7 months ago


Everything seems to work fine, but my Windows7 64Bit detects the Controller as "Unknown Device" (Driver installation seems ok, though...) and pushing buttons on the controller has no effect :(

Any idea what's happening here? I'm using the 1.9 version of your code.


Got it... swapped D+ and D- ... too easy :->

ferret1418 months ago

Hi I'm trying to build this as a christmas present for someone but I've hit a hurdle on two boards.

My Teensy 2.0 shows up as "Virtua Stick High Grade" for a second then becomes "USB Input Device"

My Pololu A-Star 32U4 Micro also shows up as "Virtua Stick High Grade" but constantly disconnects and re-connects.

Can anyone offer a solution to either of these problems?

joshdgatlin10 months ago

I've tried this and failed. Maybe it's my connections, but everytime i plug it in, all it says is that the device malfunctioned. I'm just gonna go ahead and buy a USB SNES controller because this shouldn't be this hard. it could be because the materials are all cheap as crap and all the wires are flimsy so that could ruin some of my contacts. IDK but it sucks that I couldn't get this to work. I wanted to implement it into my senior design but oh well. Im not gonna spend weeks on a controller.

avery.duncan10 months ago

Unless you just have the materials lying around, Isn't it just cheaper to get a snes controller to USB adaptor?

joshdgatlin11 months ago

The coding explanation is BOGUS! How is a person supposed to learn how to program the chip and all you say is "welp, program the chip, NEXT step is everything else" like come on dude! seriously?

timeblade0 (author)  joshdgatlin11 months ago

Sorry I didn't explain better. I did not modify any source code for this project. I should have used the term Flashed in Step 3.
Download the hex file from the link in Step 3. It is the compiled source code that is ready to be transferred to the chip.

This is a usb programmer that can be used for it:

These 3 together make it easier to wire the programmer to the microcontroller:

The 5x2 ribbon wire from the programmer plugs into the AVR Programming Adapter. From there, the 6 pins plug into an open spot on the breadboard.
Then wire each of the 6: GND, 5V, MISO, SCK, RESET, and MOSI to the corresponding pins on the chip. Open your chip flashing program of choice (I used ProISP) and flash the Hex file to the chip. After that, set the high and low fuse bytes. The 12MHz oscillator must be connected to flash and set fuse bytes.

After doing this successfully, the programmer and adapter can be removed from the breadboard.

I can post more pictures if they would help.

Is there another way I can program this chip. like using another arduino instead? buying parts seems extra.

timeblade0 (author)  joshdgatlin10 months ago

I have read that an Arduino can be used to program an atmega8 chip. I have not tried this, but this guide appears to be what your looking for


(note that an atmega8, atmega168, and atmega328 have the same pinout for flashing programs)

timeblade0 (author)  timeblade010 months ago

I don't like how he uses an imitation Arduino.
Found this pic on google that might be easier to follow. Pin1 is at the top right of this picture.


yes please post pictures!

timeblade0 (author)  joshdgatlin10 months ago

The first picture shows how I have the chip wired. The second shows the full usb avr programmer attached.


Oh you're totally fine dude, haha I was being a jerk that day because I was rushing to finish it. But this is a great instructable nonetheless, just be careful of your wording because some people might miss the SMALL details.

Can you please help i am trying to build this i bread boarded it and when i connect it to my computer i get unknown device please help

XOMR2 years ago
Here's where I run into a dead end. Only thing that Windows detects in its Devices is a "Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port." Any tips on where to start trouble shooting?
timeblade0 (author)  XOMR2 years ago
Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port is the usb micro controller programmer, not the controller.

Basic overview of steps:
1. Program microchip with programmer on computer.
2. assemble circuit with programmed microchip on breadboard,
the usb microcontroller can be disconnected and is no longer needed.
3. plug cutoff usb wire into breadboard as illustrated in Step 4.

There should be a driver for Human Interface Device if all is well.
If not, the zenor diodes might be backwards.
Also check that all pins are in the right locations.
Did the programmer program say chip flashed successfully?
Speaking of programs, would it work if I used AVRdude to program the ATmega8? Also, I tried to create a sketch of a NES controller with the USB conversion circuit built in (picture below). Would it work?
timeblade0 (author)  GenesisMaster1 year ago
AVRdude should work. I've had friends use that with no problems.

The NES circuit might work.
The way this adapter works:
Press button on controller.
Command is sent to that controller's microcontroller.
That microcontroller sends out the commands to the console.
This is where the adapter intercepts it and converts it.
If your NES circuitboard still have the NES microcontroller, it should work.
If not, you will need to modify the code a lot.
Went through the circuit again. Then went through it again with a different USB cable and that did the trick. Now to perf board!
timeblade0 (author)  XOMR1 year ago
Glad it's working so far.
The usb part with the zenor diodes is a little tricky on perf board.
Take it slow and do each connection one at a time.
Gompka2 years ago
Thanks for the reply, i will give it a shot and report back.
Gompka2 years ago
Any idea if the atmega328P will work with a 12mhz crystal? I have one laying around vs having to buy an atmega 8. I know the operating frequency will have an affect on the timings, but if i clock down the 328P i'm thinking it should work.

timeblade0 (author)  Gompka2 years ago
The 328P can use a 12mhz crystal. The timing should not be a problem if configured right.
I don't know if the same code will work.
I think code from Atmega88, 168, and 328 is directly compatible.
I think from an Atmega8 to an Atmega38 would require you to modify the source code.
I don't understand the code enough to change it.

Source Code:
Baniski4 years ago
I bought the usb programmer, and made the connections, I downloaded the. .. .hex but what program I use to upload the .hex file to the ATMEGA8?

The programmer should have a driver disk. The suitable software for programming must be inside that disk.

However I used ISPprog v1.6.7 from :

It seems the latest version is 1.72 :
timeblade0 (author)  krauser352 years ago
I used ISPprog 1.6.7 as well.
webfp463 years ago
Can you also post the C source code. I actually want to know what I am programming. Or is there some way to backcompile the .hex file?

timeblade0 (author)  webfp462 years ago
Source code can be found below. This is what I based this instructable on.
Can I use an arduino to program the controller. I know you can use it as isp.
timeblade0 (author)  evan.stoddard2 years ago
I have heard of doing that, but have not done it. You should be able to use the Arduino as an ISP to download this code. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work.
you should consider making an instructable for the ATtiny45 version, i can sorta figure out whats going on from andreq's files but i'm not very experienced.
blackowaya4 years ago
Long time passed, but I'm here to show how i made my adaptor.

I used an ATTINY25. All componentes are inside the DB25 shell. After a lot of optimization (and reseach X_x), i managed how to implement  a calibration routine for the internal oscilator.

Here is the firmware's url.

Thank you Andreq, your information was a huge help.

ummmm can you just make me one? i hate electronics and working with robotics, its too confusing, i could provide a controller and money!
Its OK with me but I know that shipping cost will kill you!
I is really simple and a good experience, you can do it, trust and believe in yourself! This is the cheapest way. I strongly recommend you to do it by yourself then share your experience with us.
There are two other ways :
1. You can ask someone whose job is electronic at your local place, do it for you.
2. Another way is buying one of these from amazon :
a. NES Retro Classic Controller USB
b. NES Controller to Pc USB Adapter
c. Retrolink Nintendo NES USB Adapter for PC

Good Luck!
andreq5 years ago
I did the same thing some times ago, but I used an ATtiny45 (DIP).

The schematic and source code can be found here :

I did some modification to the source code to include automatic internal OSC calibration. I'll try to find it somewhere on my hard drive.

If my memory is good, it might even fit inside an ATtine25 (that's what I had around...)

Anyway, great job, but you should show us how the finished PCB looked like and use less "marketing" pictures :)

andreq andreq5 years ago
Here is the full sources.

Include schematic, code and compiled HEX.


It should fit inside an ATtiny25, it compile to 1984 bytes (kinda... funny)


I'm afraid the link to the firmware made by andreq is dead.

I'm trying to make this adaptor, using an ATTINY25, i tried to add internal OSCCAL and optimize the code from hobbyelektronik but my firmware compile to 2138 bytes (it's too fat).

If someone have the source code of the firmware of andreq, please post it. Thank you in advance.
Lucky enought, I found it inside an old backup folder :


You might have to look at the code. I've seen I commented out the autocalibration part (to save space). Also, I changed the usb vendor name to Andre in the usb-config. You could just change that to anything small (<=5 letters) if you care. Make sure to set the lenght accordingly.

You might need to play with the OSCALL value which is read from eeprom 0x00. It should be between 125 and 128.

Have fun! There's nothing like the real feeling of a Snes game-pad when playing classic games.
WOW, thanks a lot andreq ¡n_n¡.

I'll be testing it tonight. Yeah, nothing better to use the original SNES pads to play classic games. I'm a SNES fan and i think is the best pad in terms of weight, confort, response and button layout. I'll be posting photos when finish the project.
I'll try to find that file on my computer again and upload it somwhere else. If your in a hurry, the easiest part to "cut" is the USB device name. It take lots of space.
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