I did this last spring with some of my friends based on technical info we found on the internet in various places. While you don't need to have a strong background in electronics to do this effectively you ought to at least know how to solder properly. I was able to find almost everything I needed at Radio Shack although they are a bit expensive so look around and you can probably do this pretty cheaply.

What you'll need:

  • 1 or 2 Super Nintendo Controllers
  • 1 DB25 Male connector, solder type (Radio Shack part #276-1547 )
  • 1 DB25 casing, plastic (Radio Shack part #276-1549)
  • 5 Diodes. I suggest using Germanium 1N34A (Radio Shack part #276-1123)
  • some copper core wire
  • electrical tape
  • soldering iron and solder

1.Assemble all the materials above. Find a good workspace with proper ventilation from the lead fumes that the burning solder will give off.

2.Cut off the connector at the end of the SNES controllers leaving a bit of extra wire still attached on one if you wish to do testing (below). Strip the thick grey exterior cabling about an inch or so and seperate the interior wires, there should be five of them. Strip each wire as much as you think will be necessary, remember you can always strip more off as needed.

3.(Optional) You can either use the pinouts as described below or you can test each pin on one of the SNES connectors you cut off. To do this simply use a multimeter, continuity tester or even an LED connected to a battery and check each wire and each pin on the connector to see which leads where. Record the wire color and pin number.

      Pin     Description             Color of wire in cable
        ===     ===========             ======================
        1       Ground                  Brown
        2       ?                       no wire
        3       ?                       no wire
        4       Serial data             Red
        5       Data latch              Orange
        6       Data clock              Yellow
        7       +5v                     White

 7 | o  o  o  o |  x  x  o  | 1
     |  |  |  |          |
     |  |  |  |          +-> Ground
     |  |  |  +------------> Data
     |  |  +---------------> Latch
     |  +------------------> Clock
     +---------------------> Power

4.Solder the diodes anode side (the side without banding) to the DB25 connector at pins 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Twist the cathode ends together and solder them to create one wire. Solder this wire to the white power wire (pin 7).

5.Solder a wire across pins 18-25 on the DB25 connector. That is, solder a wire across pins 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. Next solder the brown ground wire (pin 1) on the SNES cable to pin 18 on the DB25.

6.Solder the orange latch wire (pin 5) on the SNES to pin 3 on the DB25 connector.

7.Solder the yellow clock wire (pin 6) on the SNES to pin 2 on the DB25 connector.

8.This is the tough bit. Every project has one of these and this is the one here. Thankfully it's also one of the last steps so you're almost done. The red data wire (pin 4) coming from the SNES cable has to be soldered to either pin 10 or pin 12 on the DB25. This depends on whether you want to make this controller #1 or controller #2. If you're only converting one controller solder the red wire on the SNES to pin 10 on the DB25. If you're also converting another controller into this adapter then do everything else as written above for it as well, except solder it's red wire (pin 4) on the SNES to pin 12 on the DB25. Got that? If you're doing two controllers do everything as stated above, just put their red wires on different pins on the DB25. After doing so I suggest marking on the controllers which one is #1 and which is #2.

9.Check your wiring before you close everything up. Then use some electrical tape or shrink wrap to secure the two SNES cables together for a few inches after the stripped parts so they won't pull everything apart easily. Put the DB25 casing (hood) on and screw it together.

10.Assuming you did everything correctly the controller should work perfectly on your computer. Plug it into one of your parallel ports and get some drivers. Windows drivers can be found by searching around for a copy of DirectPad Pro. For 2000, XP and the other NT codebase versions of Windows NTPAD XP is reccomended. For Linux drivers read the w/u following this, Chronos Tachyon has covered it in excellent detail. Enjoy... no really... if you don't we'll send some guys to your house and well... it's not pretty.

Note:this information is provided as is, I don't claim responsibility for any damage to yourself or your equipment by following the directions given.

/me waves at belgand.

If you're running Linux, the driver is already built in to modern kernels. Anything 2.2.x should be good to go out of the box. The driver is known as joy-console and it actually handles rewired joysticks from quite a few other console systems. Browse /usr/src/linux/Documentation/joystick-parport.txt for the complete lowdown, including instructions on using NES or PSX controllers.

  1. You may have to recompile your kernel with joy-console support, if you don't have the driver already. A quick "find /lib/modules -name joy-console.o" will tell you if you need to recompile.
  2. Make sure your parport and parport_pc kernel modules are either getting loaded at boot or are set up for proper autoloading in /etc/modules.conf.
  3. Add the following lines to /etc/modules.conf:

    	alias joystick joy-console
    	options joy-console js_console=0,1,0,1,0,0
  4. Et voila. Try running any sort of joystick-based program (like jstest or, say, the libjoy.so plugin for XMMS) to confirm that things are working smoothly.

At this point, you can impress your friends by playing real SNES games (via snes9x) with real SNES controllers under Linux by turning your new Athlon into a really fast emulator of early-90's technology, you can spend all night furiously playing Bust A Move or Yoshi's Cookie or something equally addictive, or you can sacrifice the proper number of goats required to get Quake 3 Arena running with joystick support so you can learn newer and more novel ways of getting your ass kicked as you desperately try to aim the railgun with something that can only be described as more accurate than a trackball. :-P

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