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.
- The NES64 board itself.
- NES controller casing, either from an original NES controller or a more current reproduction. Most
reproductions are made to (nearly) the same specifications as the originals. Bought kits contain a
- Approx. 2 metres of cable, at least 6 leads. Nearly anything will do, but not much thicker
than 5 mm and something relatively flexible is recommended. Ethernet cable works fine, but may
be a bit too stiff for comfortable use, especially the shielded types. Control cable is another option.
If you get your own cable, it may of course be any length you like. Original NES controllers came with around
2 m of cable.
- 9 pin D-sub connector (DE-9, often listed as DB9), female. See if you can get a narrow version without
the screws at the sides. That may be hard to find, though, so you may have to alter the your connector casing
to fit your retro computer. Note that for many connectors, you need to get the casing/shell separately.
Alternatively, get a cable w/plug from a broken and non-salvageable Atari/Commodore joystick, or even from
a new reproduction Amiga/Atari joystick.
- 2-position right angle slide switch, SPDT On-On, 3 pins (or 5 pins with two shielding pins),
2 mm pin pitch, min 5 mm knob height. These should come cheaply
from your local electronics store or even from EBay.
- Basic soldering skills and tools/equipment. These do not come with the kit! ☺
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:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
If your D-sub connector is of the wide kind which has "wings" and fastening screws in the sides
(if you bought the kit, it will be!), you will probably have to trim off these wings. Otherwise the
connector will most likely be too wide to fit in the game ports of a Commodore 64 or Amiga -- especially
two at a time. Take a measurement to see whether it will fit in your specific retro computer, and if it
does, no worries. The standard connector provided in the kit can be fitted by trimming off excess plastic
from the sides of the casing by use of an X-Acto knife, a Dremel or similar. Likewise, the metal flaps of
the connector itself can be bent in to fit over the newly created hole in the plastic cover, using a set
Alternatively, you can acquire a cable with attached Amiga/Atari style connector which has the correct
size. These typically come from vintage, now defunct joysticks, and typically don't come cheap. You
may also want to get a newly reproduced joystick, or an old non-repairable one, and take the
cable/connector from there.
- Strip both ends of the cable, and tin the ends. Solder the 6 leads
to the D-sub connector, so that each of the pins 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 have a lead soldered to it. The
remaining pins are not used.
|Board pad||1 UP||2 DN||3 LF||4 RT||6 Fire||8 GND|
Now, align the lead colours with the board pads such that the pad numbers match up with the corresponding
pin numbers on the connector. Pin 1 to pad 1, pin 2 to pad 2, etc.:
The pads labelled "Select" and "Start" are not used for this application but are supplied for convenience
with other uses. Solder the leads to the back-side of the board.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)!