Nintendo 64 controller with PIC microcontroller

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

A few old N64 controllers lying around and figured that it would be pretty cool to use them to control other things. In this article I will describe in detail every step I took to achieve this. I`ve used a PIC microcontroller, but it should not be too hard to port the code to any other architecture. The N64 controller has three connections. From right to left with the round side up: Ground, Data and VCC (3. 3V). Just plug some

Nintendo 64 controller with PIC microcontroller
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

cables in the holes and you`re ready to go. The circuit I created for reading out the controller is shown in the schematic below. It is based around a PIC18F2550. I chose a pic from the 18F range, because I am interested in the USB capabilities, as I might try to use the N64 controller with a computer some day (future article maybe ). I did however limit my oscillator frequency to 20 MHz, so that everything should work on a 16F pic as well if you don`t need USB. I`ve connected three LED`s to RB5, RB4 and RB3. They will provide some visual feedback so we can see if everything works properly. A 3. 3V voltage regulator provides the voltage for the board. The maximum voltage the N64 controller can handle is 3. 6V, so don`t exceed that. If you use 5V you will risk frying your controller. The N64 controller is connected to the board with a simple screw connector. Here the supply voltage is given, and the data pin is connected to the RB7 pin of the PIC18F2550. I`ve also connected a header (JP1) for the PICKit2. This allows me to program the PIC without having to take it out of the circuit ( ICSP ). At the moment it also provides the supply voltage to the board because I am to lazy to find a good power supply. Make sure you set the PICKit to 3. 3V instead of the default 5V for the reason I mentioned earlier. The image below shows the fully built circuit built on perfboard. The rectangular thing to the right of the microcontroller...

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