Introduction: Nintendo 64 Controller Internal Rumble Mod
This guide will show you step by step how to incorporate rumble motors internally in a stock Nintendo 64 controller. Traditionally, a large rumble pak with batteries must be inserted into the controller in order to experience the rumble feature. This mod will not require batteries to run, and will also leave the controller slot open for memory cards or other peripherals.
Step 1: Supplies Needed
Here are the main components you will need to complete this mod:
Nintendo 64 controller
2 Nintendo 64 Rumble Paks (NUS-013)
24AWG stranded copper wire
Rotary tool such as a Dremel (optional)
Dual pole dual throw switches
Hot glue gun/hot glue
Step 2: Take Apart Rumble Paks
You will need original Nintendo NUS-013 rumble paks for this mod. You can use one or two depending on how much rumble you want. I chose to use two and that's what I will be demonstrating in this guide.
Use a 3.8mm gamebit to remove the two screws and open up the rumble pak.
Carefully disconnect the rumble motor from the circuit board.
Set aside one circuit board and two rumble motors.
Step 3: Trim Circuit Board
In order to fit the rumble pak circuit board in the controller, we will need to physically trim it down. Be very careful to only trim as far as I went in the third and fourth images.
You also want to trim down the gold contacts at the bottom by about half their full length.
I used normal scissors for the bulk of the trimming and a sharp razor blade for the finer bits.
Step 4: Modify the Rumble Pak to Run Without Batteries
In order to allow the rumble pak to run without batteries, you need to bridge two contacts on the circuit board.
Solder a wire between the two points circled in red. I used 24AWG stranded copper wire for this.
Step 5: Add Wires for the Rumble Motor
Add a wire about 6" in length to each of these points for the positive and negative output to the rumble motors.
Step 6: Prepare Controller
Disassemble your N64 controller by removing the 9 Philips screws on the bottom of the controller. Set the buttons, joystick, and circuit board aside.
Remove the plastic support underneath the d-pad location on the left side of the controller. We need this space to fit the rumble pak circuit board.
Simply use a sharp razor blade or a Dremel tool if you have one.
The second and third images give you and idea of where all the components are going to go.
Step 7: Add Leads to Circuit Board
Use flux and solder to tin all of the contacts on the circuit board.
You will need to add a wire approximately 6 inches in length to each of these pins: 1, 2, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32.
Note: pins 1, 16, 17, and 32 are clearly labeled on the circuit board. All pins in between are in sequential order.
The finished product should look something like the third and fourth images.
It's imperative to label the wires according to their respective pins. It will make it much easier later on. I used small pieces of scotch tape and a sharpie to make simple labels for each.
Step 8: Test Fit in Controller
Use electrical tape to cover the exposed rumble pak circuit board, allowing the wires to run out as shown in the image.
This should give you a general idea of where the finished wires will run.
Step 9: Add Switches
We will need to add two switches in order to allow the mod to function properly. One switch will allow us to use memory cards and other peripherals. The second switch is optional but will allow you to shut off one of the two rumble motors.
For switches, I used the C&K 0S203011MS1QP1 dual pole triple throw model from Mouser.com. These ended up working out pretty well after some slight modification. I had to shorten the contacts on the bottom of the switches as shown in the image. Left is a stock switch, right is my modified version. This will allow it to fit in the limited space available. Note that these are triple throw switches, though only double throw are actually needed.
The second image shows roughly where the switches will be mounted.
Step 10: Add Slots for Switches
Make two slots to allow for the switches to be accessible. I used a drill and small drill bit but a Dremel tool or similar would be ideal.
Step 11: Install Switches
Install the switches and use hot glue to fill in the space behind them so they stay in place.
I chose to run short wire leads off the switches before installation to allow for easier access, as shown in the image.
With the left switch, you want to switch pins 18 (rumble pak detection) with one pole, and 31 (3.3v) with the second pole.
With the other switch, you want to switch the positive wire of the second rumble motor. I chose to switch the left rumble motor and leave the right one always connected.
Step 12: Add Rumble Motors
Place the rumble motors in these locations in the wings of the controller. Carefully apply hot glue underneath and around them where you can to hold them in place, making sure to not obstruct the movement of the motor shaft.
They fit pretty tightly even without the hot glue, but will be vibrating a lot so better to be safe.
They should just barely fit in the space available.
Step 13: Connect Rumble Circuit Board
Now it's time to connect the rumble pak circuit board to the controller circuit board. Simply solder all the numbered pins of the rumble pak to their respective pins on the top of the controller circuit board. Again, all the pins are clearly labeled on the controller circuit board and in sequential order.
Pins 18 and 31 should be running from the rumble circuit board, through the first switch, and then to the controller circuit board to allow the rumble pak to be disconnected.
Step 14: Route Wires in Controller for Reassembly
Now comes one of the most difficult parts; getting everything to fit in the controller. It's a tight fit but you should be able to route all of the wires where they need to go.
The images above shows roughly the routing you want to use.
Extra wires going to the controller circuit board can be tucked in the space circled in blue.
The rumble motor related wires can be run along the path of the red line.
Note that all the wires you are running should be routed below the controller circuit board.
Carefully close the controller making sure not to pinch any wires. It can be very frustrating to get everything to fit, but keep working at it and it will eventually close.
Step 15: Enjoy Your Modified Controller
Congratulations! If you managed to actually get your controller to close, you now have a fully functional N64 controller with built in rumble!
To use controller paks (N64 memory cards), simply flip the left switch to disconnect the internal rumble circuitry before inserting your controller pak. When you are done, remove the controller pak and flip to switch again to turn on rumble. The way the N64 works, both devices cannot be connected at once. You will corrupt your controller pak if you try to insert it when the rumble is still active.
If you want less rumble, flip the right switch to disconnect one of the rumble motors. Not that you would ever want to do that, but you have the option.
Also note that you should only use one of these modified controllers with your system at any one time. The N64 console only has enough energy to safely power two rumble motors directly off the console. Additional controllers can safely use traditional battery rumble paks alongside your modified controller.
Please let me know if you have any questions. It took a lot of research to get this working and I'm more than happy to share it with you all.