USB NES controller using a keyboard brain

This is a little thing I made while procrastinating recently, it is similar to what I did with the controls on my first arcade machine – ripped a keyboard apart and wired the matrix up to switches. This time I used a USB keyboard and tried to put it all inside a NES controller. I have seen NES controllers being recycled all over the show so this isn’t really anything new, although using a generic USB keyboard means it works with Linux, Windows and Mac. I used the linux command “showkey” and a lot of trial and error to probe around and find the correct combinations to produce up down etc.

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4 thoughts on “USB NES controller using a keyboard brain

    • Hey sorry the exact wiring will vary depending on what keyboard you take apart. The ones I have seen inside use a simple matrix type thing:
      You have n wires in group A, and m wires in group B. Each combination of a wire from group A and a wire from group B gives a unique key combination. For example A1 and B4 might be CTRL and A3 and B1 might be ALT.
      To see which key is being triggered by each combination (Linux), open a new terminal without X (CTRL+ALT+F1) and run ‘showkey’.

      As for the NES controller, the only part that I reused was the push buttons which are just mechanical switches with 2 terminals, wire them directly to the wires you want to join.

      Good luck!

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