Super Awesome NES Advantage Lamp With Options




Introduction: Super Awesome NES Advantage Lamp With Options

About: I am a Quality Assurance Engineer for a yearbook/education company. I used to be a Graphic Designer and still dabble here and there. I am a jack of a lot of trades, but a master of none.

Children of the 80's and 90's here it is... one of the most awesome desk lamps you have, and will ever, come across. Introducing... the 1987 NES Advantage Lamp (or as some affectionately called her, "the disadvantage").

I am all about options. So with this build I tried to break up this project into three sections from easiest to hardest. You basically have the non-soldered ending all the way to the potential addition of a USB Charging Port and Push-button on/off switch. What geek wouldn't love this lamp?!

It's with some apprehension I show you my methods for this in that I sell these lamps (and others like them) in my Etsy shop here:, but I would really like to win the Lamps and Lighting contest on here. Hopefully this, or one of my other, submissions will be just the ticket. Please don't forget to vote if you have learned from, and enjoyed, any part of this instructable. Thanks!

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Step 1: What You'll Need...

Items you'll need:

  • NES Advantage Controller (preferably not working...) - Found mine on eBay for about $6.50
  • Thift Store Lamp (for parts) - Average cost at Goodwill is $2.99
  • Phillips Head Screw Driver
  • Electrical Tape and/or Glue
  • Single Pole on/off switch (some thrift store lamps, like the one used here, already come with this)

Optional Items:

  • SP/ST (Short shaft) Non-Momentary Push-button On/Off Switch (Radio Shack) - $2.49 to $3.99
    • I ended up using a short shaft, SPST switch from Home Depot since the rocker switches and other push button ones from Radio Shack didn't work out.
  • USB Cell Phone Charger for the wall - Free to $2 online
  • Electrical Wire
  • Solder and Soldering Iron
  • Pliers
  • Strong Glue (ala E6000 or JB Weld)
  • Dremel Tool with a Cutt Off Wheel
  • Hobby Knife or Box Cutter

Step 2: Careful Demolition...

  1. First you'll need to remove the plate metal bottom from the NES Controller.
    • Remove the bottom rubber feet to access the screws.
  2. Second would be to remove the circuit board from the NES Controller.
    • You may need to use the pliers to break the board out (I originally was going to leave the potentiometers attached for sake of time and laziness, but later had to take them out).
    • Be sure to keep track of the rubber button connections and all the parts for the joystick (except for the actual joy stick).
  3. Now either glue the buttons into place, or if you plan to use some of them for one of the optional steps then replace the rubber button pads and tape the buttons and pads into place.

Step 3: Lamp Parts...

  1. Start by ripping the bottom cloth off of the lamp's base (if it has carpeting). Otherwise remove the screws, or crack the bottom plastic in order to get the bottom off.
    • There may also be a weight that needs to be removed (and used as a doorstop and/or paper weight).
    • Feel free to paint the lamp or make any changes you want (you can see I painted mine).
  2. Take your pliers and unscrew the nut and washer that hold the lamp to the base.
  3. You may need to unhook some wires to get the main lamp part free (be sure to make note of how the wire nuts are and what wires connect where and how).
  4. Once the lamp arm and it's cord are free I took the housing for the joystick (remember I told you to save everything) and drilled a hole for the lamp wires to go though.
    • Depending on the shaft of the lamp arm, you may be able to fit part of it through as well to attach a nut, or bend some of the metal at the bottom of the base, to secure it to the joystick housing.
    • If you can do this then it will be easy to reassemble the controller and your lamp be attached where you want it.
  5. At this point you can rewire the lamp to its original connections (if you haven't already).

Step 4: You Are Done! (If You Are Boring and Have No Sense of Adventure...)

Alrighty then! You are done. That was quick and simple... Simply reattach the plate for the bottom of the controller. If your lamp doesn't have an on/off switch already attached to its cord, then grab your single pole on/off switch and follow the instructions for cutting the cord and attaching this switch.

***If you are adventurous... and are thirsty for more... then don't reattach the bottom plate just yet. Continue to the next step (do not pass "GO", do not collect $200 (yet)). :-)

Step 5: Option #1 Cool On/Off Button...

Here's where we separate the men from the boys...

  1. Figure out which button(s) you want as your on/off switch for the lamp.
    • If I were smarter I would have chosen to use the 1-2 selector as the on/off switch, but alas I took the low road and tried using a SPST rocker switch that I mounted under the Start/Select buttons (that didn't work).
      • All Rocker and Push Button on/off switches were too thick/tall so I finally went with one that would replace one of the potentiometers on the original controller with a push button on/off from Home Depot (the truth, not a shameless plug or bribe to win the contest).
  2. Take and cut a small portion of one side of your lamp wire, exposing the wire.
    • Take two small sections of your wire and solder one to one end of the wire and the other wire to the other side.
    • Then solder one wire to one post of your SP/ST, Non-Momentary, Push Button On/Off Switch and solder the other wire to the other post on the switch.
      • Make sure that none of the connections touch each other. This is where I applied some electrical tape to the connections.
  3. Once everything is soldered and connected/mounted then you can reattach the bottom plate.

** Now if you are just a glutton for punishment... then do not reattach the bottom plate and feet. Continue to the next optional step, but you better hurry before you talk yourself out of it!

Step 6: Option #2 Adding a USB Charging Dock...

Wow, if you are still with me up to this point, you are hardcore! For this step you will need the phone USB wall charger. The USB Charger I used was for the US standards. International standards and wiring will probably be different.

  1. You can take a Dremel tool and cut the case off of the USB board.
    • The two posts will more than likely fall off and you will see the solder spots on the circuit board.
    • The other option (and potentially easier one) is to just leave the USB board in its case.
      • This will depend on how your USB charger input appears and its relation to the outlet prongs.
  2. Cut two more additional pieces of wire and solder one to each prong (or solder spot on the board).
  3. Then solder (or wire nut) the ends connected to the UBS board to the connections you made earlier for the on/off switch.
  4. Now the hard part... deciding where you want you charger port to be... and will it fit?
    • Once decided you will measure and mark out the spot and carefully cut that out with a hobby knife and/or Dremel tool.
  5. Glue the charger port to the underneath/inside of the controller and make sure it sets.
    • You'll want to use some strong glue, like JB Weld or E6000 to adhere it in place.
  6. Once the glue has set, be sure to test the lamp using the external switch, the on/off switch (if you wired one) and then the USB charger port.
  7. If everything works fine, then reattach the bottom plate and the rubber feet.

*** Note: I tried wiring the USB Board below the on/off switch. It simply didn't work. I had to wire it to the lamp wire connections. Doing this, the lamp and the USB Charging Port cannot be used at the same time. Honestly, it could be a lot worse. One or both of the extras we've added could just not work, and all this work be for nothing. Turn the lamp on via the push button on/off switch and look at the bright side (pun intended). :-D

Step 7: Let There Be Light! (and Closing Remarks)

I know what you are thinking... yes, I could have used a 3-wire appliance cable since I have a lamp and a USB charging unit on the same circuit. Honestly though, it's no different if using an outlet extension splitter and plugging in the USB charger and the lamp into it.

Also, the external switch is just so in case the SP/ST switch ever goes out I have a backup that will still operate the lamp. Keep in mind that the external switch will always need to be on so that the USB charging port will work, and the SP/SP switch will effectively be the on/off switch.

Lastly there HAS to be something I could have done with the LEDs, maybe have one of them turn on when the charger port it in use, SOMETHING! At this stage in my life circuit board scare me because of my unfamiliarity with soldering components. Look at it, as this Instructable showed you how to make something cool. It gave you options, but also left room for improvement and is open to constructive criticism (keyword being "constructive").

So there you have it... one of the coolest lamps I have ever made. Hopefully you have enjoyed this Instructable. I tried to keep it simple and easy to follow. Let me know if you have any questions and don't forget to vote for me in the Lamps and Lighting or Gadget Hack contests.

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    7 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 7

    putting in a dimmer switch would be cool but overall great instructable


    Reply 5 years ago on Step 7

    Thanks! Yeah, when I realized the push button and rocker switches weren't going to work that appeared to be my only option. There is a 3-way dimmer that is available at Home Depot as well, but the shaft was so much larger than the potentiometer hole. I actually had to make the hole slightly bigger just for the push button I went with.

    I am glad people seem to like this project, buy also that it appears to be sparking other ideas to mod it differently than I did, but with the same general effect.

    Thanks to all who have voted for me so far. Those who haven't yet, please do! Thanks again!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Gah, you put the USB port upside down! :P Minor gripes aside, this is great! I'll definitely be making one the next time I find an NES advantage.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, it was about the only way I saw it fitting well in such a thin case. If the leads for the USB power of the board were on the other side then I would have been golden.

    I really wanted to have one of the NES Controller buttons be the on/off switch too, but the case is so thin and it slopes at an angle. To me, it's worse than a BTX box.

    As I said, as cool as it is... I left room for your improvements and innovations. Thanks for checking it out. I hope I earned your vote in the contest. :-)

    some random dude
    some random dude

    5 years ago

    Wow... seing that controller brings me back! im so making this!