Archive for April, 2010

Mayflash Wii to NES fix tutorial

Posted in Mod Projects, NES, Tutorials on April 25, 2010 by satoshimatrix

This is a continuation to my Mayflash NES/SNES to Wii Adapter article. Please read that first.

This tutorial will instruct you in how to build yourself a Mayflash NES/SNES-to-Wiimote controller adapter with a full fledged standard 7-pin NES connector instead of the provided DB-9 pin connector.

 

Note that since the writing of this tutorial, Mayflash has begun to include DB-9 to NES 7-pin adapters along with their controllers. Still, if you don’t want to bother with the adapter, this is still a good read.

By default, you can only use SNES controllers and DB-9 Famiclone controllers.

FAQ

Q: Huh? NES 7-pin? DB-9? I’m confused.

A: In the 1980s, many videogame systems including the Atari 2600, Commodore 64 and even Sega Genesis used a standard nine pin controller port called a DB-9. This meant that many controllers were interchangeable with each other, allowing gamers to use Genesis controllers to play Atari games.  The NES used its own connector. This mod involves removing the DB9 connector and replacing it with an NES 7pin connector.

Q: That sounds hard! What’s so special about the Mayflash adapter anyway? Why not just use Retrozone’s Retroports?

A: The Retroports that Retrozone sell are marketed as NES & SNES to Wii adapters, but they are in reality only NES & SNES to Gamecube adapters. This means that they work on all Gamecube games that support digital control, but on the Wii they only work with games that alllow the use of Gamecube controllers. Increasingly, more games are being released on the Wii that support the Wiimote on its side and Classic Controller only, such as Megaman 9 and Megaman 10. Also, since the Mayflash adapter plugs into the Wiimote and not the Wii itself, it sort of makes the NES/SNES controllers wired-wireless, preventing trip hazards.


Q: What do I need to do this project, and where can I find each item?

A: the obvious:
Wii
Wiimote

the rest:

Mayflash NES/SNES to Wii adapter – various online stores, ebay
NES and SNES controller – check your local used game stores. ebay has them, but be careful of knock-offs. Always look for Nintendo’s logo. The design patients for the controllers have expired, but knock-offs will never have Nintendo written on them.

Salvaged female NES 7pin controller plug

The ideal place to find one is if you have or know someone who has a dead/unwanted NES. Alternatively, check ebay for the part itself that someone has already removed or buy an NES for parts. Getting it out of the system is real easy – Simply remove the screws holding the case together, remove the RF shield and simply unplug one of the controller ports. Finally unscrew both screws on the black plastic piece that keeps the 7pin connectors in place.

small star screwdriver – your garage/junk drawer/hardware store.
soldering iron and solder – hardware store.
desoldering pump/braid – hardware store.
scissors – your kitchen/department store
glue – may not be needed, depending on your skill.
a sharp work knife – your kitchen/craft store.
small pair of pliers – garage/hardware store.

Okay! With that out of the way, let’s get going!

*Desclaimer: Following this tutorial should allow you to achieve desirable results, but that being said I take no responsibility for following my advice here. By continuing to read this you take full responsibility of damaging your hardware, burning or cutting yourself. Don’t be a jackass and you should be fine.

1. Take your Mayflash NES/SNES to Wii adapter apart by removing the four screws on the back. Set aside the top part of the shell along with the four small screws and the turbo fire button in a safe place, preferably in a bowl so you don’t lose anything.

2. Unhook the cord and remove the PCB from the bottom tray. Place bottom tray in bowl with the other side and the screws.

Top side of the Mayflash PCB

3. Carefully examine the PCB. You’ll notice that the Famiclone DB-9 plug is connected to the PCB using all nine pins, even though Famicom/NES controllers only use five pins. On the real hardware, the two extra pins to make of the 7pin connector were only used by specialty controllers such as the Zapper or PowerGlove. You will notice a pattern that looks like this:
**________**
1 \ o o o o o / 5
**\ o o o o /**
*6 `~~~~~’ 9*

Note that this diagram shows the correct pins that face away from the PCB. In other words, the pins that are normally visible and plug into DB-9 controllers.

4. Use a soldering iron and soldering pump/braid to heat and remove the solder that holds the DB- 9 pin plug. This is a slow process, be patient: Don’t try to forcefully remove the pins as that will most likely result in damaging the entire PCB.

Desolder the nine solder points on the left.

5. Once you have the old DB-9 pin adapter removed, either discard or keep for a future project. Either way, you’re done with the stock DB-9 pin connector for now.

6. Prepare your salvaged NES 7pin adapter. If you’re using one taken from an old NES, you can easily finish this project just by soldering the correctly colored wires. Wires may be different for third party NES female plugs, I’m not sure.

NES 7-pin connector pin numbers, the wire color and the job each does:

1 Brown Ground
2 White  5 Volts
3 Red     Clock
4 Purple Not Used on standard controllers.
5 Orange Latch/Strobe
6 Blue    Not Used on standard controllers.
7 Yellow Data

You will need only the brown, white, red, orange and yellow wires. clip the blue and purple right out of the way so you don’t get confused by them. In case you’re wondering, they’re for specialty controllers like the Zapper.

7. Back where the DB-9 pin adapter was, remove any excess solder and ensure you can place wires in each small hole. Here is the DB-9 standard layout for most Famiclone DB-9 connectors, including the Mayflash:

1 N/A
2 DATA
3 LATCH/STROBE
4 CLOCK
5 N/A
6 +5V
7 N/A
8 GND
9 N/A

Reading the pins of a DB-9 is simple. The top row is 1-5 and the bottom is 6-9.

DB-9 pins you need to solder to are in represented by “x”. “o” shows pins that you can leave disconnected.

**________**
1 \  oxxxo  / 5
**\  xoxo /**
*6 `~~~~~’ 9*

Just to double check specifically, solder the NES wires to these places:

2 Yellow
3 Orange
4 Red
6 White
8 Brown

Here is a stripped SNES controller showing the location of the five needed pins. Note that the color of two wires on the SNES are reversed. Refer to what I wrote above.

8. Simply solder away. Take your time. Remember to solder on the underside only.

9. Before reassembly, try it out. Your oldschool NES controllers should now work perfectly on Wii games that support Classic Controllers.

10. Depending on where you want to place the NES 7pin connector, use your knife to cut away plastic in the way and possibly glue it in place. On my adapter I simply cut away enough plastic for the new NES connector to fit snugly in place and tightened up the screws to hold it in place. No plug, no mess.

My compeleted Mayflash adapter with a functional NES 7pin correction. Not the prettiest, but fully funtional and I used no glue at all.

11. Boot up your favorite NES, TurboGraphfx, Select Genesis Wiiware or Wii games including both Megaman 9 and 10 and enjoy them using either an authentic NES or SNES controller – that will still also work with the real NES and SNES!

Choose your controller of choice. Real NES or SNES controllers now both equally work great on thr Wii!

You can see the results of my work here:

Most NES controllers will work including third party Famiclone controllers as long as they adhere to the NES 7pin standard. Unfortunately, the NES Advantage arcade style stick doesn’t work correctly. One theory is that it needs 5v to run but the Wiimote can only provide 3v.

Any of these NES controllers will work on the Mayflash adapter. Sorry, the Advantage doesn’t work correctly.

Still, it’s a small annoyance compared to having a totally different plug.

Good luck and happy gaming!

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Mayflash NES/SNES to Wii Adapter Overview

Posted in NES, Peripherals on April 20, 2010 by satoshimatrix

This generation of consoles has made retro new again. Brand new retro-style games like Megaman 9 and 10 are popping up and it’s almost as if the NES era is getting a renaissance. The only problem is that playing them with modern controllers pulls one out of the experience.

Late last year Mayflash, my new favorite Chinese peripheral manufacturer,  released an interesting controller adapter for the Wii. With this adapter, one could use NES or SNES controllers on the Wii by connecting them to the adapter and then the adapter to a Wiimote, essentially fooling the Wii into thinking these older controllers are in fact the Wii Classic Controller. This means all those classic games can be played with a real classic controller.

Mayflash package design has come a long way in the past few years. No Engrish and pretty good graphic design!

Getting the adapter to work is simple and easy – Just plug in the adapter to the Wiimote and your classic console controllers into the adapter.

While this all sounds great to most of the people who read this, some of you might be asking yourself “Why would I want to use an NES controller on the Wii? Those things are so uncomfertable!” or “Why bother with an SNES pad when there’s the Wii classic controller?”

In both cases, it’s really a matter of preference and nostalgia. Holding the Wiimote on its side emulates the style of control that the NES provided. Holding a real NES controller is a lot more satisfying. If you didn’t grow up with an NES, getting used to the brick design can be difficult. The Wii Classic Controller is basically a dumbed down copy of the SNES pad with two thumbsticks attached. Most games that support the Classic controller do not need either thumbstick and they just sort of get in the way. Most retro gamers agree that the original SNES controller is one of the best ever designed, so why wouldn’t you want to use it on the Wii?

Unlike many prior mods that allow you to use an NES or SNES controller on the Wii, this adapter doesn’t require you to padhack your old controllers. They can still be used on your classic consoles and the Wii as well.

This may sound all too good to be true, and unfortunately there is a snag. While original Nintendo made SNES controllers work on the adapter without a hitch, Mayflash designed their adapter with a DB-9 pin connector for NES controller functionality. In Asia, most NES-clones (commonly called Famiclones) use this type of controller connector.

Because the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) used a proprietary 7-pin controller plug,  DB-9 Famiclone controllers cannot be plugged into the real hardware and 7-pin NES controllers cannot be plugged into Famiclones.

Thus, out of the box you can only plug in SNES controllers and DB-9 Famiclone controllers.

Connected are a Handy FamiEight Famiclone DB9 controller (left) and an OEM SNES controller (right)

This may sound like no big deal as Famiclone controllers are dime a dozen and cost even less than that. Many also feature build in turbo fire.

However, Famiclone controllers are made as cheaply as possible in China, and are thus universally of poor quality. Using real controllers is much more preferable.

Being unsatisfied with just using my Famiclone controllers on the Wii, I set out to take my Mayflash NES/SNES to Wii adapter apart and rebuild it with actual NES functionality.

In my next post I’ll detail how you can do what I have done: modify your Mayflash NES/SNES to Wii Adapter with a fully operational NES 7pin controller, allowing you to use your classic NES gear on your next-gen system.

Stay tuned.