NES Flash Drive and USB Port




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

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Step 1: 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

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

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

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

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. challenge

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    64 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I recently got a broken NES from a garage sale(for free) and didn't know what to do with it, so I looked around a bit and found this. It seems cool, so I think I'll try it!

    1 reply
    fungus amungusMrLawloLawl

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yeah, use it for a craft. If you want to play old NES or SNES games, use a Raspberry Pi instead.


    7 years ago on Step 4

    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

    1 reply
    fungus amungusjohnnyjr100

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    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.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    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...


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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


    8 years ago on Introduction


    8 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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".


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.