Zsnes Emulator Controller




hello, this is my first published instructable (so forgive any of my newbie mistakes...)

with this i will show you how to make a controller for your zsnes Super-NES emulator (or any other emulator that uses the same buttons) out of a keyboard.

  I'm not going to write a big long spiel about safety and what-not, but i will say this: if you try this and something gets broken or you hurt yourself , you chose to do it . I'm not saying you are going to blow up the world or something, but if something happens I am in no way responsible!

also, i worked on this with citrusoda2009co so if she posts an ible similar to this i didn't copy her and she didn't copy me...

enough of that, now to the actual building of stuff!

This ible is entered in the Keyboard Vs. Mouse speed challenge so please vote!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: What You Need

you will need the following parts do build the controller:

-a keyboard (preferably a usb keyboard, but i used a ps2 keyboard 'cause that's all i had...)
-a screwdriver
-something to cut the keyboard's plastic casing (eg. a saw)(it would be great if you had a laser cutter, you would be able to make far smoother cuts)
-a few scraps of wire (if you really need to just steal some from your keyboard's cord)
-pen 'n paper
-solder + soldering iron

optional (only if you plan on breaking the wires off the board accidentally):
-wire-strippers (you could use a knife or nail-clippers if you have to...)

Step 2: The GREAT "first Step"

remove the screws from the back of your keyboard (don't lose them).

carefully remove the little circuit board from the case (there should be a little screw holding it in place), try not to break off the wires (it makes a lot of work...).

Step 3: The Next Step

once everything is removed from the casing begin to remove the keys.
they come out really easily (just wedge a screwdriver under the key and pop it out)

Step 4: Hacking Up the Case

take your saw (or whatever other sharp implement you have chosen to use) and cut your case in half (ish).

Step 5: The Technical Bit

replace the thin piece of plastic with the circuits printed on it back in the small half of the case .

this is the point where you have 2 options:
1. you can trace the circuits and solder some bits of wire onto the plastic sheets to complete the circuits once the plastic sheet is cut. (this takes a while)


2. you can carefully fold the plastic an punch a few holes in it so the whole thing will fit in the case (you need to make sure the position of the buttons for the number pad stays the same.) (this is more difficult, and often won't work)

i did the first one but you could try either...

Step 6: Cutting or Folding

once you decide what you are going to do:

if you are going to cut it you need to know what buttons connect to what there is an excellent ible on this: here , another method of doing this is with a resistance tester (just connect one side to the button and test each of the connectors til you get a reading, rinse and repeat for both  sheets). once you know what buttons connect to what get a couple bits of wire so you can re-connect the circuits and solider them to the plastic sheet.

if you are going to fold it a word of advice: "please try the other method". it is really hard to line up the screw hole and not break one of the circuits. only try this if you don't have a soldering iron.

Step 7: Putting It All Together

cut the octopus-like silicone sheet and replace the short end in the case.
replace the circuit board in its holder (replace the screw).
re-attache the top of the case.

Step 8: The Buttons

you should now have a lovely square-ish controller...  but something is missing!

you still need buttons!

you should still have the keys that you removed from the keyboard.
find the "a", "b", "x", "y", "l", "r", "~", "home", "up", "down", "left", "right", "+" (the tall one from the number pad), and "enter"(also from the number pad).
attach them to the controller as shown in the pictures.

Step 9: Setting the Buttons

open Zsnes and go to the controls menu, select input.
then change the l, r, a, b, start, select, turbo, up, down, left, right, home, x, and y buttons to their inputs on the controller.

Step 10: Finished!

congratulations! you are now the proud owner of a Zsnes controller!

i would advise using this with a separate usb keyboard (so you can log in and whatnot), especially if you are using a ps2 keyboard

you may now do whatever you like to make it look more pretty (i would suggest covering the open space in the side with a piece of electrical tape, and covering the hole left from the now missing keys).

thank you for reading this and please vote!

Keyboard vs. Mouse Speed Challenge

Second Prize in the
Keyboard vs. Mouse Speed Challenge

3rd Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
3rd Epilog Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • Robotics Contest

      Robotics Contest

    18 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I found another option... Instead of folding it and sticking it in the case, you can fold it and tape it to the bottom of the keyboard! (I did try this, and it works)

    8 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm glad to hear my guide worked for you, and that you even improved upon it. My only reason for folding it back into the case was for aesthetics, but folding it under the keyboard would probably prevent any extra button presses (which occasionally happened for me).

    I would love to see a picture of your completed controller.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm glad you're intrested! Anyway, I put a sheet of paper in between the circutry stuff, to prevent any button stuff, and then taped it and used an old lego box to cover it up! Also, I made little button cover things. :) Thanks for this instructable! (sorry about the non-close up pictures)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That's really good! You have no idea how happy it makes me to see this controller made by someone else.
    a couple things I would suggest (things that i was going to do on mine but never got time for) would be maybe getting some of those flat lego pieces (pic attached) to cover the places where the old keys were or perhaps spraying the cardboard black. But again these are all just aesthetic things.

    Awesome! :D


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm following your ideas, I finished painting it black. I just need to dig out my legos! :)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmm... perhaps a sheet of plastic, cut to the correct shape, then set and glued into the space. You could finish it by filing any seams with glue then sanding it smooth and painting it.

    Or just paint the cardboard black.
    Either or...


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I've been looking for a controller like this for a week! (actually, maybe 2 weeks) Th NES controller USB was way to complicated. This is awesome, and I'm definitely going to make it!!!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is a GREAT instructable. Ive subscribed to this newsletter for years now and this is going to be the very first instructable im going to do.

    I dont want to make a SNES controller but i DO want to cut my keyboard exactly like thi as i use the number/arrows for gaming. But playing like this causes me to push the keyboard too far to the left where it falls off my lap (for xboxing). Ive searched high and low and keyboards like this (just keypad / arrows / del bar) dont exist.

    Thanks again!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is weird. Really, lol :)
    Why would you not use a snes controller converted to usb?

    5 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    i can think of one reason.... because you need your controller
    to play on your ACTUAL SNES.

    um they sell new usb onesthat dont break the old ones you do realize that. you can also make your own using a reproduction controller or just use one of the many adapters they sell or just use and butchered keyboard

    yest thats true...
    but this was free. my point was to salvage a keyboard that was going to be thrown out, not to make an authentic looking controller.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    i used a keyboard because its for a keyboard contest.
    also i didn't want to take apart my snes controller...