Picture of Use an Arduino with an N64 controller
There are tutorials out there for using an NES controller with an Arduino, but using the more complicated N64 controller and its analog joystick has a definite appeal. If you have an Arduino around and don't want to buy an Adaptoid, this instructable will make it possible to play emulated games in Project 64 with your Ardunio and an N64 controller.

Is this hard? / Will it damage my stuff?
This will not modify your controller in any way, and the wiring is extremely simple, so if you do everything carefully there should be no risk to your controller, and you can unhook it at any time to use with a N64 console.

What you will need:
Arduino - $30
Processing 1.0 - free
Arduino Software - free
3 pieces of wire - free (I hope)
USB cable

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Step 1: Wiring the controller

Picture of Wiring the controller
The first thing you need to do is connect your Arduino to the controller
The controller only uses three leads: +3.3V, signal, and ground.
Looking directly at the plug, ground is farthest left, signal is in the middle, and +3.3V is on the right. Using the wire, connect ground and +3.3V to the respective pins on the Arduino, and connect the signal lead to the Digital 2 pin on the Ardunio.

NOTE: If you have other code on your Arduino, you should disconnect the controller and upload the new code from the next page to the Arduino before powering it up with the controller attached.

Connect the Arduino
Connect the USB cable and the Arduino will have power.
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xenoinc2 years ago
Great post!

With the new version of Arduion-1.0 i did have to include the "import" stuff & as well take care of RXTX-2.2pre1 / RXTX-2.2pre2 (see below)

Minor Issue:
Has anyone made a patch yet for the controller's sensitivity? With a lot of games this is a HUGE problem.

Overall, great job throwing together the documentation

Fix the RXTX errors:
Hey xenoic, which version do I need to download? And do I need the source or binary?
Currently they are only offering "RxTx-2.2 pre2". So this should help you out.

just pull back the latest RxTx 2.2 preview version & you should be good
Jdbye1 year ago
I've been trying to get Controller Pak support working, but it seems the timing of the sending/polling isn't accurate enough as getting the controller status and button state works fine (verified this by logging the data) but the mempak refuses to work. I don't know assembly so I can't convert the entire code to it, does anyone have any suggestions for optimizing my code and making timing more accurate?

Arduino code can be found here:
Project64 plugin source:
lolpaper21 Jdbye11 months ago

Hey I recently got ahold of your code (I don't know if you're even still on that project, its been about 10 months.) What COM port is your program searching for? Because My UNO is on COM3 and it says Failed to open com port

Just saw your reply, in that code it uses COM4 but you can change it in Controller.cpp near the top at #define comPort. I never added a config window to allow changing the COM port since having it hardcoded worked fine for my own personal use and I was more interested in getting controller paks working. Still not sure why the Memory Pak doesn't work, it seems to transfer data fine but struggles with the 32-byte data packets and the data gets corrupted. Might be a timing issue. It's a pity since the only adapter that works with paks to my knowledge is the Adaptoid and those are not easy to get anymore. Would be nice to have full pak support, add USB HID and maybe do a production run of some boards if people are interested.

double_g made it!1 month ago

Great instructable! In well under an hour I now have my old n64 controller hooked up to my pc all with stuff I had lying around :).

Also for those using the latest processing 2.2.1 make sure to look at @BrookBigford's comment for the additional import line that is needed.

BrookBigford4 months ago

Solution :

cannot find anything named "KeyEvent.VK_UP"

I just downloaded processing 2.2.1 and received this error trying to run the N64_Controller_mouse.pde file. I fixed it by including this line to the list of files to import.

import java.awt.event.KeyEvent; //<----SOLUTION

clynch72 years ago
I don't know if this instructable is still alive, but in the Processing window, it says that it "cannot find anything named "KeyEvent.VK_UP". " I feel like I'm so close to being able to play!
quasse (author)  clynch72 years ago
I think that over time the processing people have changed the way KeyEvents work, but I remember someone commenting with the changes that needed to be made to the code...

If that doesn't work, you could try and find the old version of processing that I used to write this tutorial. I think it was 1.0
Have you had any luck in finding 1.0, or have you found a way to allow it to work on 1.5.1? - Thanks
Jeebiss1 year ago
I think I found the old version of processing for anyone interested.
Quick addon, I managed to get this working flawlessly with Zelda with the link I posted for Processing 1.0.9.Work the sake of being a clean project, I soldered on some jumper wires that came with my arduino, onto the wires for the controller. Now I can very easily add/remove the controller when I am not using it. Thanks for the GREAT instructable.
Maxaxle1 year ago
Having inserted the three import lines, I'm having an issue running the the two Processing files, both coming up with this issue:
"Cannot find anything named "KeyEvent.VK_UP"
on this line:
"VKey.keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_UP);// DUp"
Any ideas?
Anyone have any luck either getting this to work with Processing 1.5.1 or newer or find a place to download 1.0/1.1?
ozatomic2 years ago
Having some problems getting the Processing application to work. I've tried Version 2.0b6 and version 1.2.1 becasue I can find ! and i keep geting the following error about disabling serialEvent. Doesn't have anything about a RXTX missmatch Stable Library ========================================= Native lib Version = RXTX-2.1-7 Java lib Version = RXTX-2.1-7 error, disabling serialEvent() for //./COM2 java.lang.reflect.InvocationTargetException at sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke0(Native Method) at sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke( at sun.reflect.DelegatingMethodAccessorImpl.invoke( at java.lang.reflect.Method.invoke( at processing.serial.Serial.serialEvent(Unknown Source) at at Method) at$ Caused by: java.lang.NumberFormatException: For input string: "" at java.lang.NumberFormatException.forInputString( at java.lang.Integer.parseInt( at java.lang.Integer.valueOf( at N64_Controller.serialEvent( ... 8 more
Ignore this i had enabled debugging in the ardunio file and forgot to turn it off .
clynch72 years ago
I've tried searching high and low looking for Processing 1.0, but with no success. Do you have any ideas where I could find it?
Klaudiuszm2 years ago
Great instructable! I've used it and it works great. I have found one troubling issue though, the analog stick is behaving like digital(being either on or off).
Klaudiuszm2 years ago
Great instructable! I've used it and it works great. I have found one troubling issue though, the analog stick is behaving like digital(being either on or off).
cubbydebry2 years ago
Okay so Im having a little bit of trouble working this out on my mac. I hooked up the controller correctly and check out the serial monitor, that seems to be working okay, I get a "4" for pressed, a "0" for unpressed and then the joy stick input, so I think the error is in the processing file. I am using processing version 2.0b6, I added the "import" lines and the only errors I get are:

WARNING: RXTX Version mismatch
Jar version = RXTX-2.2pre1
native lib Version = RXTX-2.1-7
and something about a stale lock file, if anyone has any ideas, your help would be greatly appreciated :)
How do you change the controller pin?
I tried changing #define N64_PIN 2 to #define N64_PIN 13, but this seems to do nothing; the controller does not work on pin 13 but it still works on pin 2.

The reason I ask is because I wan't to connect 4 controllers at the same time, allowing 4 people to control 4 controllers.
Well I found out how to change the pin number by changing the 0x04s in these values:
#define N64_HIGH DDRD &= ~0x04
#define N64_LOW DDRD |= 0x04
#define N64_QUERY (PIND & 0x04)

to 2 raised to the power of the pin that you want (so if I wanted pin 4, I would put 2^4 which is 16. Make sure the 16 is in decimal, not hex though.)

However, I want to add multiple controllers. I tried a few ways of doing this by changing numbers around values and stuff around, but what I have tried is unstable (player one always works, two sometimes, but can never go down, three is good 3/4s the time, and I have yet to have a problem with 4.)

Does anyone know how to make the code stably support at least 4 players?
Finally got 4 controllers to stably work, if anyone wants the code and/or help making it work, feel free to contact me... in some way, pming me is probably the best. Thanks so much quasse for the code by the way!
Can you post your code?
Hi, im very interested in what yoou said, which arduino did you use?
Sadly, I used the controllers for a little bit, and they started acting up again... I will have to do some more tests and try more stuff out. I am using a Uno by the way. It is really odd since I can see no reason why one controller should affect another and why the code only likes certain controllers in certain slots...
Jdbye2 years ago
I followed this guide and it worked well.
However, I wanted analog stick support, so I wrote a plugin for Project64 and other emulators.
The only thing that's missing is Memory Pak, Rumble Pak and Transfer Pak support (like the Adaptoid has)
I have no idea how to implement either of them and there doesn't seem to be much of help on google, nor can I find the source code of the Adaptoid plugin/driver, so if anyone could point me in the right direction that would be great.
relima Jdbye2 years ago
Please, can you make it available as a compiled file?

The source is very helpful, but I am running into problems when compiling it.

quasse (author)  Jdbye2 years ago
That sounds awesome, is your plugin posted online anywhere?
Jdbye quasse2 years ago
Oh, also, Rumble Pak support would be pretty easy to add. I would add it if I knew where my Rumble Pak was.
Jdbye quasse2 years ago
Only one controller is supported at the moment, but adding support for more would be easy. Mempaks work however by letting the emulator handle them (but that means you can't use physical mempaks)
You will probably have to change the COM port in Controller.cpp to match your Arduino's COM port (it's hardcoded for COM4 at the moment, I would add a configuration dialog to choose COM port, but I'm not sure how to make dialogs in C/C++)
natman34004 years ago
This is so fun to use with my atomic purple controller. The connector broke about a year back, and I haven't been able to use it with my real 64, and have been wanting to use it on the computer.
Just a hint :] ...
If it's an easy 3 wires to hook the controller up to an arduino, it's an easy 3 wires to plug it into your console.
woodmaster2 years ago
Hey it´s a verry helpfull instructable, but can you tell me the colours of the cables ( because on my old controller is`nt a plug)????

Thanks woodmaster
abadfart3 years ago
im not really familiar with Arduino could you give me an idea of how to hook 4 controllers so i can play 4 player super smash brothers works for two controllers
gadgehammer2 years ago
Hey which part of the code do u add
"import java.awt.Robot;"
"import java.awt.AWTException;"
"import java.awt.event.ImputEvent;"
btw i am running Processing 1.5.1
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