Retrofitting an NES console with a Nexus Player


This project doesn’t just boast the features of a media player, it still works as an NES system as well. 


Chances are that, if you have an old Nintendo system lying around, at one time or another you’ve thought about tearing it apart and rebuilding it with a Raspberry Pi. While Maker Adam Haile could never find the time to get around to doing that, he did recently manage to cram a Nexus Player inside his NES console. Even better, the weekend project doesn’t just work as a modern-day media player, it still functions as a gaming system should he want to relive the days of Mario Bros., Donkey Kong and Blades of Steel.  

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The low-cost Nexus Player runs Android and packs much more power than the original Chromecast. With this in mind, Haile  knew that this would surpass the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi and even enable him to run NES emulators.

“My main desires for this build was that the NES look completely stock and unchanged from the front and that original, unmodified, NES gamepads worked via the original gamepad ports. Fortunately, this turned out not to be too bad,” the Maker notes.

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Unlike today’s gaming consoles, the NES turned out to be pretty simple to pull apart, requiring nothing more than removing a few screws and the motherboard. To do this, he also had to disconnect the power connector and two gamepad connectors.

The Maker used a custom PCB, an Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4) and an NES gamepad library to interface the original controllers to the Nexus Player. 3D-printed brackets were employed to ensure that everything fit nicely inside the NES case, too.

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“The reason I use an Arduino Pro Micro is that it is based on the awesome ATmega32U4 (just like the AllPixel) which includes on-chip USB functionality. This makes it really easy to make the board show up as a USB keyboard and send keystrokes to a computer. 100 lines of code was all it took to convert the gamepad button presses (for both gamepads simultaneously) into keystrokes that could be used on anything that supports USB keyboards,” he explains.

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s official page, where you’ll find a step-by-step breakdown of the build along with all of the necessary files and software.

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