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by Joshua

Introduction

This variation on our NES Controller project makes use of a very large amount of LEGO bricks in order to make a very large USB game controller in a classic NES style. While fundamentally no different then the original project, it does require a gross amount of LEGO parts in order to build.

On the upside it's really fun to play Super Mario Brothers on a massive oversized game controller.

Video Overview

  1. Download the free LEGO Digital Designer software.
    • Download the free LEGO Digital Designer software.

    • Download our Giant LEGO NES Controller file for use with LEGO Digital Designer. (Click the link and then click the Download button found on the site.)

    • Within LEGO Digital Designer you can grab a parts list. Use this list and buy way too many bricks from BrickOwl or BrickLink.

    • Once all your parts show up use the "Generate Steps" feature built into Digital Designer to create your own directions.

    • We spent around $125 buying up all the bricks for this project. This makes the project a bit more expensive than most LEGO kits, but quite a bit less than the big kits being sold these days.

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  2. Figure out where you're going to put everything inside your controller.
    • Figure out where you're going to put everything inside your controller.

    • We used some slightly smaller sized Jumbo Pushbuttons for the D Pad. You can get your own made up by grabbing files from our GitHub and then getting them made from OSHPark. We'd just recommend using our standard ones.

    • Since the inside of our controller is smooth we cheated a bit and taped down some plates so that the Touch Board was more secure. We also used double sided tape to secure down all the buttons.

    • We used a slightly different prototype version of our Touch Board for this project, since we were worried about spacing. However our standard board would also fit just fine in the space available.

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    • Run a very long line of tape from a Ground connection on the Touch Board all the way to the end of the board.

    • We'll be using this to hook up Ground for several buttons.

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    • Use a small piece of double sided foam tape to secure down all the Pushbuttons.

    • Our current code doesn't allow for a "Start" and "Select" button. None the less, we wired them in anyways so we can eventually add functionality when we update the code.

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    • Connect the colored side of the B button to Pin 0.

    • Connect the colored side of the A button to Pin 1.

    • Connect the white side of each button to the Common Ground.

    • The Pins you use don't matter. You can easily change that in the code.

    • We weaved the tape through the holes to make a solid connection. It helps to test your connections with a Multimeter.

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    • Position and tape down the four D pad buttons.

    • Put your LEGO D Pad in place and test to make sure each button is being pressed. You should hear a little "click" then pressed.

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    • Make a Common Ground line from your Touch Board around your D Pad.

    • Feel free to attach it to the original Common Ground you made. Test with a Multimeter to make sure all your connections are strong.

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    • Connect each of the D Pad buttons to the Touch Board.

    • We used Pins 14, 16, 17, and 18. Again, it doesn't matter which numbered pins you use as we can change things in the code.

    • Don't overlap lines of tape. This can cause issues shorts and mess up signals. When in doubt just redo a line. The tape should peel up and be reusable.

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    • Our current software doesn't have code for the Start and Select buttons. Yet.

    • If you want to wire in the Start and Select buttons do so now.

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    • If you've never used the Touch Board before, STOP! Read the Touch Board User Guide. You need to install both the Arduino Software as well as some additional software for programing.

    • Open up Arduino. Open a new project window. Copy and Paste in this code.

    • You're probably going to need to change a but of code. Lines 14-21 let you change which Pin is which button.

    • For instance, in Line 14 says that Pin 15 is the "Down" button. If you connected your "Down" button to a different pin you need to change that number. Same thing for all the other pins.

    • Our code makes your computer think that our Touch Board is a USB KeyBoard. When you press one of your Pushbuttons your computer types a keyboard key. You can change which keys are pressed in the code.

    • For example, line 111 control shows that the "A" Pushbutton will in fact type the letter A when pressed. If you change Key_A to Key_F that button will now type the letter F. The other buttons are controlled the same way.

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    • Seriously. Test everything again with a multimeter.

    • Make sure your double sided tape is holding your buttons down.

    • Make sure you code is correct. When in doubt, open up a text document and start pressing buttons. Does the "Up" make your curser go up? Does the "A" button type the letter A?

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    • Use this link to play Super Mario Brothers in your web browser.

    • Notice how this website requires you to use the Z and X keyboard keys to control Mario. You'll need to slightly modify the code and re upload.

    • There are many many places online that allow you to play classic video games in a web browser or on your computer.

    • If you've got access to a Raspberry Pi you can use your controller with that system as well.

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Finish Line

Joshua

Member since: 11/16/2017

47 Guides authored

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