Introduction: SNES Classic Mini Internal Bluetooth Modification
Greetings to all of you Nintendo classic console lovers out there! This guide will be helping you install a semi-permanent internal bluetooth receiver to your SNES Classic Mini console (hitherto referred to as SNESC for the rest of the guide). This same technique will work with any of the classic consoles but ergonomics and dimensions may change as I have only done this with the SNESC.
This modification is really not that difficult, you just need some basic soldering skills, patience and attention to detail. If done properly you will have a bluetooth enabled SNESC that can be used with either a wired controller OR a bluetooth controller. I am using the 8bitdo SNES bluetooth controller but other bluetooth controllers may be compatible.
Also, this guide only details adding this mod to the player one connector jack but this is also possible for both jacks simultaneously. There is enough room in the case for two of these adapters... Just get two breakout PCBs and double the ribbon cable.
Throughout the guide the photos will have a labeling system. The key is:
Bk 1&2 - these are the ground connections. They connect to the BLACK wires on the console PCB Connector solder pads.
G 1, 2, and 3 - These are the GREEN console PCB Connector solder pads. These are the data and clock lines.
R - This is the RED console PCB connector solder pad and is the 3.3v power line.
Small Phillips Driver
T-5 star driver bit
Ribbon cable or small gauge wire
Decent Soldering iron and rosin core solder
Hot Glue or other adhesive (industrial double stick tape works too)
Small Phillips Driver
T-5 Driver Bit
About an hour or two depending on soldering skills.
Step 1: Open Up Your Console. Get to the PCB...
First we need to get to the guts of this console by removing the casing. Power down and disconnect all cables from your Classic Console. Put console face down on a soft surface so you don't scratch the plastic. Carefully remove the 4 pads in the corner with finger nail or other prying device. They use adhesive so just don't get them dirty and you can re use them. I usually just stick them to the center of the shell... Keeps them clean and not lost. You will need a small phillips head screw driver to remove the 4 screws beneath the pads. Keep these screws safe in a little dish or ziplock bag...
The two halves should separate with out much issue, just be aware of the small ribbon cable that connects the pcb to the reset/power switches. I would recommend removing the little ribbon cable during the modification as to not damage the delicate connector or cable. Just pull the ribbon from the blue plastic next to the connector directly out. Not up or sideways... straight out.
Next remove the 4 screws that secure the metal shield above the PCB. (The photos in this step show the installed dongle but ignore the adapter and just use the photos as a visual reference for the plate and the screws.
Now we should have the two halves of the case separated with the metal plate removed to expose the console's PCB. All our screws are neatly tucked away for safe keeping and the ribbon cable is disconnected from the power switch board to prevent damage. We are ready to move on to our next step.
Step 2: Prepare Breakout PCB
I wanted to keep this mod as non-destructive as possible so I chose to use the Adafruit Nunchucky Breakout PCB for the connector. This is a cheap and handy little trick... you could use a donated female wii mote connector or just solder traces directly to one another if you don't mind a destructive mod. But this way you can remove the adapter in the future if you should so choose.
Alright, so the Nunchucky only really has 3 lines on it but we need 5 so we are going to cut some traces. Use hobby knife (like an exacto) to cut the traces between the middle pads on the back of the PCB. Follow the dotted yellow line in the picture. Check that you've disconnected with a digital multi meter.
Bridge the two ground pins with a small piece of wire or a scrap resistor leg if you have those lying around your solder station. Make sure to use only a little bit of solder and make the bridge at the TOP of the metal tongue-- not the tip.
We also need to make a bridge between the back middle tongue and the second pad from the bottom left... just look at the photos as reference. This will be one of the data lines.
Give a little solder to each pad in preparation to connect to ribbon cable too. But don't attack the ribbon cable just yet
Step 3: Prep the Adapter.
So we need to add a single wire into the adapter to make sure the grounding scheme is going to allow the adapter to function properly in this mod. Usually the metal on the connector of the adapter is meeting the ground of the console in the mating port of the jacks. However, since we are installing it this way we need to manually make that connection... If we don't, the controller will behave strangely and glitch out.
Use a t-5 star driver bit to open up the 8bitdo adapter casing. There are 4 little screws... Once you get to the board you will solder a wire from the ground lug on the connector casing to the un-used pad on the board that is connected to the unused pin on the jack connector. This will be our custom ground casing pin. Yay!
Use a piece of wire that is the same length as the rest of those white wires in the adapter.
Solder those two points together... Don't reassemble until after we've finished the build so we can test functionality and make sure all the points are connected properly.
Step 4: Prep Ribbon Cable and Solder to Console PCB Pads and Breakout PCB.
Get a ribbon cable that has 5 conductors in it and cut it to about 5 or 6 inches in length... If your ribbon cable has more conductors in it you can pull off the 5 you need and use that for our mod. Seperate about 1/2 an inch of wire at each end of the ribbon and Strip about 1/8th of an inch from each wire. Twist and tin each wire on both sides of the ribbon cable.
I like to carefully add a bit of solder to the pads on the console PCB. I will start with a single wire on the ribbon cable, hold it down to the pad, making sure it is in alignment, then touch my soldering iron to the top of the wire until the solder melts on the wire and pad, making a good electrical connection.. Do this for each of the 5 wires... Note that you only need to use one wire connected to one of the Bk pads as they are already connected together electrically.
At this time we are going to solder the other end of the ribbon cable to the Red Nunchucky PCB. Now this is where it can get confusing... pay careful attention to make sure to connect the correct wire to the correct pad. Follow the diagrams carefully.
The breakout PCB orients itself like in the photo too... Making sure the printed side of the PCB is up with the U shape of the connector.
Step 5: Test Connections.
So now we have the ribbon cable soldered to the breakout pcb and the console connector pads on the main PCB. Use your multi meter to check you've connected the pads and wires properly. Also be sure that none of the pads are connected to one another with your meter... remember that the ground pads with the black wires SHOULD be connected together so don't worry about that beep.
If that checks out then connect the Nunchucky breakout board to the bluetooth adapter as oriented in the photo (even though the photo shows a connector that is not soldered yet)... Now check your continuity between each of the bluetooth adapter PCB Pads to the pads on the main console board. If this all checks out we are ready test the mod with power!
If you removed the little white and blue ribbon cable from the main board to the power/reset switch board, this is the time to carefully connect it again. Connect USB power from a PSU through a USB cable to the back of the console. Turn on the power switch and allow the unit to boot. If you wired the adapter properly you will see the little blue LED start to flash upon power up (if not disconnect power and check wiring again). Connect console to your television through HDMI. Get your bluetooth controller and put it in paring mode. Click the little red button on the adapter... when connection is made it will become a solid blue LED. Now check if the controller is working on the display. All directions and buttons work? Check it in a game... If its working as expected we are done with the electronics part of this modification! Yay!!... Might want to disconnect the bluetooth controller by turning it off so we can test a wired controller too. So turn off that bluetooth controller and plug in the wired controller... Does that work too? YAY... Ok, time to button up this beauty...
Step 6: Secure Adapter to Interior of Console, Put Console Back Together. Play Games! :)
Ok, time to put this beauty back together.
Carefully put the adapter pcb and connector back in the plastic casing, use the t-5 star screws to secure the case. Make sure orientation of red nunchuck PCB is correct. Now we want to secure the adapter in the top of the case. The goal here is to place the adapter so that we can access the sync button and see the blue light... if you put it just a bit off set from the plastic tab you will be able to see both the led and button. Just use your eyes to place it properly. I used Hot glue to secure it... but industrial double stick tape will work. Super glue is not your best bet as it can break with a bit of impact. Adhere your adapter...
Time to set the big ribbon cable in its place before we secure the medal shield.. I like to fold the ribbon cable at right angles and push it down a bit. I also put a dab of glue under the ribbon cable on the Console PCB... not on any components, only on the solder mask... and ONLY A TINY BIT. :)... There is a perfect little path for the cable to travel along with its little white ribbon cable buddy.
Secure the metal shield and carefully put the two halves together. Screw the 4 screws and replace the rubber pads. Power up the console once more and test you've still got functionality.
Congratulations! You have successfully added bluetooth to your SNESC while maintaining the aesthetics we know and love!
Remember, you can do this for both controller ports... just rinse and repeat. :)