NES64 Instructions

Kit Contents / Parts to Buy

If you bought the NES64 as a kit, you have all the below components already and you are ready to go. If you only bought the board, or you had it printed yourself, you will need to get the below as well.

Assembly Instructions

Assembling the board and mounting it into a case is relatively easy. However, some basic soldering skills are required, as well as some equipment such as a soldering iron, wire strippers, etc. Here are the steps:

  1. Solder the switch to the top right of the board. This switch will allow you to change what is perceived as "up" by the computer, toggling between the actual "up" direction of the D-pad (joystick style jumping) and button A (NES controller style jumping). Please note, you may position the switch pointing either way, depending on whether you are willing to destructively modify your controller case or not:
    1. Let the switch lever point away from the board to be able to change the setting from the outside of the controller. This is only recommended for new reproduction controllers which can easily be replaced, as you need to cut a part of the case top, or drill a hole in it.
    2. Let the switch lever point towards the centre of the board if you don't want to modify your controller in a destructive way. This option will let you restore the controller back to its original state at a later point if you wish. This is recommended for use with original controllers. The downside is, of course, that you need to open the controller if you want to change the setting.
  2. If you sourced your cable from an existing joystick or an extender cable, you need to figure out which lead is connected to which connector pin. This is best done by simply holding a multimeter to each pin in succession and test for continuity with the leads. If you bought the kit, you can see the colours in the table below, but feel free to double check just to make sure -- especially if you're colour blind like me.

    Connector pin123468
    Board pad1 UP2 DN3 LF4 RT6 Fire8 GND
    Kit lead colourRedBlackGreyOrangeGreenBlue

  3. Strip the insulation off the cable and tin the leads. Solder the 6 leads mentioned above to the back-side of the board according to the table. Please note, your lead colours may be different if you're using another cable than the one from the kit. Make sure to match them up correctly, or you may break your vintage computer! Pins 5, 7 and 9 and corresponding leads are not used. The pads labelled "Select" and "Start" are not used for this application but are supplied on the board for convenience with other uses.
  4. Open your NES controller by unscrewing the 6 small screws from the backside and gently removing the back cover. Do not tilt the controller, or the buttons may fall out. Remove the existing PCB and cable, if any, by gently lifting it off the plastic pegs.
  5. If you chose to point the switch outwards earlier, you will need to cut or drill a hole in the top part of the case for the switch lever to stick through. The centre of the hole needs to be 25 mm from the right side of the case, and 5 mm from the top. The hole itself needs to be 5-6 mm wide.

    Instead of drilling a hole, you may want to use an X-Acto knife or similar to cut a section out of the case, corresponding to the drilled hole and upwards. This will make it slightly easier to make the position of the hole fit the switch, but a drilled hole will usually end up looking nicer.
  6. Mount the NES64 board in the casing, making sure to let the cable snake around the two plastic pegs as a strain relief. Notice that the PCB will need to rest on some of the stand-offs, while other standoffs will need to fit through holes in the PCB. This will vary from casing to casing. If you encounter a NES casing that the NES64 will not fit into, please let me know so I can decide if I need to make future revisions fit that particular type of casing. Close the two casing halves and add back all screws.

Good luck with your new NES controller for your Commodore / Atari retro computer (or compatible)!