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 Post subject: "New" NES Controllers
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:41 pm 
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As Nintendo is going to be releasing the NES Mini soon, the controllers will naturally be available separately as well. From the pictures, the plastics look compatible with the original NES controllers. These may end up being great sources of replacement OEM-quality buttons, rubber actuators, and plastic shells, complete with licensed designs.

A replacement PCB, reproducing the design of the original NES/FC controllers, could easily be made to fit in the shell of these new controllers. Throw in a new cable, and you've got yourself a very good "new" NES controller. Is anyone interested in something like that? With any luck, the molds are based on the original and the old PCBs can actually slot inside - but I wouldn't get too hopeful for that.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:17 pm 
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I thought of exactly this. Now the only problem is to find new connectors; they could be 3D printed I guess. I would really like to get my hands on one of these new controllers and look inside. I'm rather sure it's a simple job to replace the PCB. Anyone knows a replacement/source for the pins inside the connector?

EDIT: the mold of the controller could be the very same one used at the time, if they still have it, why change something that works? The electronics could easily fit inside an original NES controller, so if they want the exact same thing, why change anything?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:46 pm 
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Jarhmander wrote:
the mold of the controller could be the very same one used at the time, if they still have it, why change something that works? The electronics could easily fit inside an original NES controller, so if they want the exact same thing, why change anything?

The might change it for the same reason they're not just re-issuing the NES with an HDMI output upgrade. Inter-operability with old parts isn't their business; they only get money if you buy something new.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:50 pm 
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Also, compatibility with the original NES is much less useful to them than compatibility with the I²C port that their current wired controllers do use...


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:52 pm 
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Yeah sure, interoperability with old hardware isn't relevant to them, but just using the same old mold would save them a redesign I guess.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:53 pm 
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But that's just the thing: it's not a redesign. It's (extremely likely) the same I²C port that the Nunchuck and Classic Controller use.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:17 pm 
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Er, I think there is a bit of misunderstanding. Yes, the connector is the same used for the Wiis, but the controller (the plastic box with buttons) looks identical to the NES'. They could reuse the NES controller mold for that part only.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:25 pm 
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Jarhmander wrote:
just using the same old mold would save them a redesign I guess.

I would imagine that in the decades since they designed it, their manfacturing process has changed enough that it would be at least as much effort to try to reuse the old design with a newer process as it would be to design something new.

Though, it actually might be an interesting business strategy if they made something that was mostly parts-compatible with the old controllers. Hoping people will buy the new $60 "toy" NES just to get controller parts. Maybe they'd combine it with something devious like never offer the second controller as its own purchase.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:29 pm 
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Ohhhhhhhhhh.

My understanding of industrial molds is that they're only good for about a million castings each, and I wouldn't be surprised if just during the NES's commercial life they'd already had to manufacture new molds several times.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:44 pm 
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Jarhmander wrote:
I thought of exactly this. Now the only problem is to find new connectors; they could be 3D printed I guess. I would really like to get my hands on one of these new controllers and look inside. I'm rather sure it's a simple job to replace the PCB. Anyone knows a replacement/source for the pins inside the connector?


Actually there is a surprising number of factories that make NES extension cables, considering how long NES cables were to begin with. I tried samples from like 5 different manufacturers, found one that I liked and had them make a bunch for me.. so I'm pretty much stocked for life. I'm using these for my USB adapters, and I've got some other ideas for them too. You can find some on ebay for $5~$7 individually, but I'd be happy to cut a better deal to any fellow NESdev'er for a small pack of them (not really wanting to ship individual ones, but at least 4 or 5, sure). Probably would have been cheaper if I had ordered single-ended ones, but I didn't want to be stuck with more than a lifetime supply of them, hehe. And I've got stuff I can do with both ends.

Would be interesting to see if they did use the original mold (or just the same layout), I suppose it could go either way. There's nothing really special about the old design that would be problematic (unless the cable diameter is very different). But they should be making enough of these where a new mold wouldn't be huge deal.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:09 pm 
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Jarhmander wrote:
I thought of exactly this. Now the only problem is to find new connectors; they could be 3D printed I guess. I would really like to get my hands on one of these new controllers and look inside. I'm rather sure it's a simple job to replace the PCB. Anyone knows a replacement/source for the pins inside the connector?

Point: if you can 3D print NES controller connectors, then you can 3D print the NES controller shell/enclosure, the buttons, and anything else that's hard plastic, so why even care about these controllers?

Also, what you *can't* 3D print is the rubber contact pads -- and these are important to the original "feel" of original NES controllers (ask anyone who does speedrunning on actual hardware). Many third-party ("OEM") controllers today get the pads wrong, hence the pressure/feel wrong, and it's awkward compared to the real thing. I've experienced this with third-party SNES controllers, for example -- and even some real/original SNES controllers which had just gotten too old (plastics and rubber harden over time).

Honestly, my opinion is that the controllers in this new "NES console" (if you can even call it that -- I sure wouldn't) are probably not going to be compatible with the originals (either in form factor, internals of the shell, or parts). rainwarrior, IMO, hit the nail on the head. But I am also of the same opinion as 93143 (in another thread) -- right now everything is speculation. Everyone should chill out until they're actually released-to-market, then people can start tearing things apart. :P

P.S. -- It's honestly too bad they made the controllers like the original NES and not like the "dogbone" of the top-loader NES / Famicom AV. Matter of opinion, but the "dogbone" is significantly more comfortable in my hands due to the angled button placement and curved sides.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:18 am 
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As I wrote in my comment to the Slashdot story about this, fans of the dogbone (NES-039) can use a Wii Classic Controller (RVL-005).


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:49 am 
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koitsu wrote:
Jarhmander wrote:
I thought of exactly this. Now the only problem is to find new connectors; they could be 3D printed I guess. I would really like to get my hands on one of these new controllers and look inside. I'm rather sure it's a simple job to replace the PCB. Anyone knows a replacement/source for the pins inside the connector?

Point: if you can 3D print NES controller connectors, then you can 3D print the NES controller shell/enclosure, the buttons, and anything else that's hard plastic, so why even care about these controllers?

Also, what you *can't* 3D print is the rubber contact pads -- and these are important to the original "feel" of original NES controllers (ask anyone who does speedrunning on actual hardware). Many third-party ("OEM") controllers today get the pads wrong, hence the pressure/feel wrong, and it's awkward compared to the real thing. I've experienced this with third-party SNES controllers, for example -- and even some real/original SNES controllers which had just gotten too old (plastics and rubber harden over time).

Honestly, my opinion is that the controllers in this new "NES console" (if you can even call it that -- I sure wouldn't) are probably not going to be compatible with the originals (either in form factor, internals of the shell, or parts). rainwarrior, IMO, hit the nail on the head. But I am also of the same opinion as 93143 (in another thread) -- right now everything is speculation. Everyone should chill out until they're actually released-to-market, then people can start tearing things apart. :P

P.S. -- It's honestly too bad they made the controllers like the original NES and not like the "dogbone" of the top-loader NES / Famicom AV. Matter of opinion, but the "dogbone" is significantly more comfortable in my hands due to the angled button placement and curved sides.


Surely you're not arguing that 3D printed parts are even comparable in quality to injection molded ones? (I'm talking about "Typical" 3D printing here ofc.)

I really doubt Nintendo wouldn't just make new molds, as someone pointed out, molds wear out anyway. (So they'd have to replace them at some point for this product, better to have them already designed.)

I like the dogbone shape, but I can't handle the buttons being slanted the wrong way. It might not look as good but \ would be much more ergonomical than / .


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:23 am 
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koitsu wrote:
Jarhmander wrote:
I thought of exactly this. Now the only problem is to find new connectors; they could be 3D printed I guess. I would really like to get my hands on one of these new controllers and look inside. I'm rather sure it's a simple job to replace the PCB. Anyone knows a replacement/source for the pins inside the connector?

Point: if you can 3D print NES controller connectors, then you can 3D print the NES controller shell/enclosure, the buttons, and anything else that's hard plastic, so why even care about these controllers?


The reason to care about these new ones is that 3D printing is great for prototypes, but both garbage quality (and yield and ROI) for anything made in large quantities. At no point was I suggesting that these controllers are some effort by Nintendo to revitalize NES supply. I'm only saying they might be a great source of parts for a nicely done hack job.

Jeroen wrote:
I like the dogbone shape, but I can't handle the buttons being slanted the wrong way. It might not look as good but \ would be much more ergonomical than / .

This is my reasoning too. The odd button configuration was continued through most of the Nintendo DS era when running GBA games, and some DS titles as well.

rainwarrior wrote:
Hoping people will buy the new $60 "toy" NES just to get controller parts.

As the controller is only $10, this is exactly what I will try doing, if only for the sake of finding out if it'll provide useful parts or not.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:32 pm 
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Nintendo sold about 40 million NESs and most of them came with two controllers. If a mould is good for 1 million controllers, they must have needed between 70-80 moulds during the lifetime of the NES.

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