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Portable 8-Bit Nintendo

Some of the greatest games ever made were on the good ‘ol 8-Bit NES of the late 80s. I had my original NES laying around and decided to bring it back to life…as a giant “Gameboy” like portable.

Highlights:

-5″ color TFT backlit LCD

-Externally rechargeable Lithium-ION power supply w/ > 3 hours runtime

-Sound

-Homemade Clear lexan case

Parts used:

-1 original NES console

-1 cheap clone controller w/turbo buttons (eBay)

-8 Lithium Ion cells, wired 4/4 parallel for ~15 volts @ 2400mah (AllElectronics)

-PlayStation 1 Screen (AllElectronics)

-Lexan (Home Depot)

-1 new 72 pin game connector (eBay)

-Lots of CA tire glue…(TowerHobbies)

Construction:

First I gutted the NES and PSOne screen and laid the parts out to see what dimensions the case would have to be. I then cut the 6 lexan pieces I needed and CAed 5 of them together, minus the back. Next, I cut out the hole for the controller using a scroll saw. A side benefit of clear lexan is I didn’t have to make a hole for the screen. I drilled a hole in the side for the power switch and proceeded to glue the screen in place, minus extra citcuits I didn’t need for interfacing with the PSOne. I then desoldered the NES capacitor and placed it on some wires behind the board to reduce overall thickness.

Next, I used a holesaw to cut the speaker hole in the back panel, and a scroll saw to cut the hole for the game connector to come through. I then glued the controller into the case, placed the NES motherboard over top, installed the power switch, glued the speaker in and waited….until finally, the batteries arrived! I took the 4 cell phone packs apart and re-wired them as 4/4 parallel to get ~15 volts @ 2400mah. I wired everything up to a 8v DC regulator as the screen used 7.5v and the NES used 9v AC, though he NES runs just fine on DC. The entire unit in operation draws ~720ma, and I have over 3 hours of playtime per charge. When it’s time to recharge, I plug my AstroFlight Lithium charger into the convenient charge jack on the bottom right of the back panel.

What took longest was re-working everything to be as small as possible, but without extensive modification to the circuits. I could have used a so called “NOAC”, or Nintendo on a Chip as they’re called, but they don’t SOUND or WORK quite like a real NES does…and I already HAD a real NES. Ordinarily you have to press the game down to make proper contact in the connector, but the new one is very tight and it turns out I don’t need to hold the game down.

It’s actually quite comfortable to play as I sanded down the corners on the bottom half of the unit. It’s a bit heavy though, but I have no trouble playing it while laying down or sitting at a table.