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Creator Andrew Vaughan
Version 1.0
Date April 26, 2017
Estimated Time 30 Minutes
Estimated Cost ~$40

With the size of gaming devices and development boards becoming smaller and smaller, it was only a matter of time before someone put a console inside the controller. Using a Raspberry Pi Zero, a standard USB SNES Controller, and a few extra parts, you can make yourself a portable, rechargeable gaming emulator, self-contained in its own controller.

What You'll Need


Part Cost
Raspberry Pi Zero W (or Raspberry Pi Zero) $10.00
USB SNES Controller $6.90
MicroHDMI to HDMI Adapter $1.40
500mAh 3.7v Lithium Ion Polymer Battery with 2-Pin JST-PH Connector $7.95
Powerboost 500 Charger Breakout Board $14.95
Breadboard-Friendly SPDT Slide Switch $0.95
MicroUSB Power Cable, HDMI Cable, and Television/Monitor -
Total $42.15

Tools and Consumables

Tool Area
Soldering Iron & Solder Electronics Lab
Angled Wire Cutters Electronics Lab
Wire Strippers Electronics Lab
22AWG Wire Electronics Lab
Velcro Tape (or Hot Glue Gun) TBD
Philips Screwdriver Set Everywhere


Unscrew all screws on the back of the SNES controller and place them somewhere safe.
Make sure to look under any warranty stickers for hidden screws!
Carefully move any wires and components out of the center to make room for extra boards.
Your controller may look slightly different than this Retrolink controller. That's okay!
Before continuing, place all components on the back board to ensure they fit.
Make sure you account for screws! You may need to move components slightly for a good fit.
On the back of the controller case, use angled wire cutters to remove any unnecessary plastic from the backing.
Don't remove any screw holes! You'll need those later.
Use the angled wire cutter to cut about 6" of the USB cord from the controller.
The remaining USB cord can be discarded or used for another project.
Strip the outer black wire from the trimmed wire, revealing the 4 colored wires inside.
Strip a small amount of wire from the end of each exposed wire, to allow for it to be soldered.
Tin the ends of each wire using a small amount of solder.


  • Whenever using Lithium Ion Polymer batteries, pay close attention to maximum charge rates and amperages. Even with protection circuits in-place, these should always be treated with care.
  • Remember that most Lithium Ion Polymer batteries do not have thermal protection circuitry built in.
  • To reduce cost, an original Raspberry Pi Zero can be used, but note that, due to lack of network connectivity (the USB data ports are fully in-use), all administration of the platform (including game uploading) must be done on a separate system
  • To further reduce cost and bulk, the size of the battery can be reduced to 100mAh, or even less - but playtime (and charge rate) will be drastically reduced between plays.

Common Questions

No common questions have been made yet. Feel free to ask one!


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