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Nintendo

    This is a modified Nintendo video game console. It is a very simple bend and is a lot of fun to play with. To bend this unit I simply added a patch bay to a handful of points on the video processing chips. The Display can be tweaked by either connecting points together or by feeding in external signals, like audio or voltages from my modular synthesizer. the video shown above is an example of how the visuals can be controlled using clock signals from my modular synth.

    I connected the patch bay to the circuit using a connection terminal and ribbon cable. This allowed me to wire up the lid and board separately and plug them together when I was done. It made the whole job a lot easier. It also allows me to remove the lid completely from the unit if it needs to be serviced.

    Above is a picture of the control panel.
    On the left is a 21 point patch bay. Each point is simply wired to a pin on one of the ICs on the nintendo circuit board.

    To the right of the patch bay are 3 green points. These are connected to ground. Most of the points on the patchbay respond well when attached to ground.

    In the center of the control panel are a few patchable potentiometers with activation switches and buttons. This allows you to patch points together through adjustments which will vary the amount of video glitching as they are adjusted. I used two 500ohm pots and two 10 turn 100ohm pots.

    On the right are three external signal input jacks. Audio signals or voltages from analog synths or micro controllers can be used. Really cool effects can be achieved by feeding high frequency wave forms (like the output of a 555 timer) into some patch points. It gets interesting when the frequency of the incoming wave matches up with the scan frequency of the display. You can get some cool scrolling patterns by doing this.
    I imagine there is some danger involved in plugging random voltages into the nintendo circuit board….. but so far there haven’t been any problems. I suspect that running each input through some sort of op amp buffer would be a good idea.
    Each input goes through a potentiometer for limiting the signal as well as a switch and pushbutton for turning the signal on and off.

    The row of pins boxed in RED above are where most of the interesting effects are. There is one point below the others also boxed in RED. When this point is connected to ground, the graphics are dramatically simplified and become colorful block patterns. This is my favorite effect so far.
    There are many more points that can be patched together, but I’ve found that the general range of effects can be achieved using the points shown above.

    Sounds

    Sorry, no sound files for this piece.

    26 Responses to “Nintendo”

    • 1

      Web News Site » Blog Archive » NES patchbay for versatile bending said:
      September 8th, 2009 at 7:31am #

      […] Edwards of Casper Electronics shares his method for modding the classic NES console to generate synth-synced visuals and more -It is a very simple bend and is a lot of fun to play […]

    • 2

      Nintendo Circuit Bending - today and tomorrow said:
      September 8th, 2009 at 6:35pm #

      […] is what you get when Casper Electronics does some circuit bending on a Nintendo […]

    • 3

      circuit bent nes makes a fun video synthesizer | nexgengadget.info said:
      September 8th, 2009 at 10:47pm #

      […] You can also achieve similar effects from your NES by smashing it with a hammer while plugged in – for at least 10 seconds. Check out the complete worklog here. […]

    • 4

      circuit bent nes makes a fun video synthesizer | Tamasindo Secret & Technology said:
      September 8th, 2009 at 10:53pm #

      […] You can also achieve similar effects from your NES by smashing it with a hammer while plugged in – for at least 10 seconds. Check out the complete worklog here. […]

    • 5

      zs said:
      October 29th, 2009 at 7:44pm #

      i think i may try do do something similar with a PsOne

    • 6

      BirdFLU said:
      December 3rd, 2009 at 2:24am #

      Does it make any difference what game cartridge you have inserted?

    • 7

      Matt said:
      January 17th, 2010 at 4:16am #

      I’m a bit of an amateur circuit bender and have wanted to try and bend a nintendo system but haven’t wanted to try and bend anything that I have to plug into a wall. Is there a way to get around this or should I just not tackle it if my knowledge of what I’m doing is still limited?

    • 8

      Dave Johnson said:
      February 3rd, 2010 at 8:03am #

      Hey (to Matt) You don’t need to worry about any danger as long as there is a power pack between you and the wall socket.

      In other words, if there is a separate power pack which plugs into the wall (you know the sort of things I mean – AKA ‘wall wart’) and if this power pack feeds the main circuitry via a power lead, then there’s no actual mains anywhere in the main circuit at all and you can’t get hurt. The worst that can happen is something goes POP. 😉

      Dave J.

    • 9

      casper said:
      February 18th, 2010 at 12:58am #

      @ZS: Please let me know how bending a PS1 works. I hope you don’t break it!
      @BirdFlu: It will work no matter what game you use. Changing the cartridge changes the color palette and gives you a different range of shapes to glitch out. It’s really cool. I’ve found some games to be nicer looking then others, but they all work.
      @Matt: I agree with DaveJ
      @DaveJ: Thanks

    • 10

      princess dan said:
      March 17th, 2010 at 12:11pm #

      Hey, advice for all, hook up wire works wonders on the row of points that are holes. Slip it on in and set the helping hand. Ends up less elegant, but easy soldering for someone ham handed like me.

    • 11

      ed said:
      March 25th, 2010 at 7:49pm #

      very interesting project…
      Im experimenting with a nes clone, interconecting points in the cartridge circuit, with very good results, but i want to plug an audio source, where and how do you ercomend to do it?

    • 12

      princess dan said:
      April 16th, 2010 at 12:08pm #

      Anybody tried hooking 2 together? Duck hunt v. Punch out? Does anyone with more electronics knowhow than me know any portion of the patchbay that it is inadvisable to try this with? Don’t want to kill two at once. Also, galaga, rc pro am, and dr mario kick butt. Any game suggestions?

    • 13

      Dude said:
      June 8th, 2010 at 3:05am #

      The spinning high score screen on Captain Skyhawk is a good one for visuals I think. Metroid has very cool alien tiles, but they are somewhat hard to get at.

    • 14

      mitrobot said:
      September 24th, 2010 at 4:44pm #

      hi there can you please send me the scheme for circuit bending the nintendo it will be perfect this music is unbelivable i still can belive these sounds are coming out of that thing.
      Plz Plz Plz Send me the scheme for bending the nintendo.
      Greets

    • 15

      Jonny said:
      June 7th, 2011 at 5:34pm #

      Love the hacks! im interested in this one and would like to replicate it, however im struggling to understand what is needed and how many bits n bobs are needed and schematics? i live in the uk so im not sure if components have different names or what…. and by the way i DO understand that this is a visual bend! cheers

    • 16

      charels said:
      June 13th, 2011 at 6:38pm #

      The sounds aren’t coming out of the nes, the NES is still playing the game completely fine, the Video RAM is being glitched, nothing else. The sounds are from Casper’s other toys.

    • 17

      vonkhades said:
      August 28th, 2012 at 6:45pm #

      Hi there…

      I know this is a very old project.. but Im very interested in doing this for our anual chip music meeting in Spain (small meeting, in small touch..).

      I know some (basic) electronics (im building a modular synth 🙂 )…

      so Im wondering if you have any more info you could share about this like schematics… somewhere in the post you mention you have tried several different voltage values with success but Im still a bit scare on it… can you let me a safe range I could work :)?

      Cheers!!

    • 18

      vonkhades said:
      August 28th, 2012 at 6:54pm #

      Another question thats is mainly why I wanted to know the schemmatic… why you have 21 pin inputs for patching on (the black female banane like inputs) and you only have 13 pins modding inputs on the nes (on the red squares of http://casperelectronics.com/images/finishedpieces/nintendo/board2.jpg ????

    • 19

      casper said:
      October 5th, 2012 at 7:28am #

      Hmmm. I must have gotten resourceful after making the glitch diagram and found more glitches. Sorry I don’t have more info.

    • 20

      casper said:
      October 5th, 2012 at 7:40am #

      Hi hadesbox.
      Nintendo bending is relatively safe and you have lots of options. The best way you can learn really is to just get in there and play around. I always find that kind of answer annoying but it’s true. A few things I can tell you though…. Potentiometers are great. Use low values (100ohms, single or 10turn) and patch them between glitch points. Input buffers are definitely the safest way to go for patching in external voltage signals. Don’t be intimidated by this. Just use some op amps (TL074 is good). Look around with a multimeter to find a power source on the Nintendo circuit board. power your op amps off THat source. Then configure your op amps as voltage followers. By powering the opamp from the Nintendo it will ensure that the voltage coming out of the follower will never exceed the supply/nintendo voltage.it will also protect your synth from reverse current which is unlikely to be a problem anyway.

    • 21

      whippingstar said:
      January 17th, 2013 at 3:50am #

      easily the best thing on the internet. thank you so much, sir!

    • 22

      casper said:
      January 20th, 2013 at 5:00pm #

      hazzah. thanks

    • 23

      Carlos said:
      April 22nd, 2013 at 1:42am #

      Would you consider selling this set up I would like to make an offer.
      Email me carlosanoguez@gmail.com

    • 24

      lazer slut said:
      May 27th, 2013 at 6:52pm #

      any advice for working on an SNES…cause it’s fucking killing me.
      in the video above: how many external triggers do you have going through the NES?

    • 25

      JetpackJesus said:
      June 19th, 2014 at 8:14pm #

      “Hey (to Matt) You don’t need to worry about any danger as long as there is a power pack between you and the wall socket.

      In other words, if there is a separate power pack which plugs into the wall (you know the sort of things I mean – AKA ‘wall wart’) and if this power pack feeds the main circuitry via a power lead, then there’s no actual mains anywhere in the main circuit at all and you can’t get hurt. The worst that can happen is something goes POP. 😉

      Dave J.”

      This is a very old thread, but I thought it would be best to point out that the wall wart for the NES is an AC step down transformer with no additional circuitry. That means that this device is most certainly connected to mains at the power supply circuit inside the system. Additionally there is no “earth” or casing ground prong. Be safe and stay away from the psu unless power is disconnected!

    • 26

      Unicorn Genocide said:
      January 23rd, 2015 at 11:37pm #

      HI Casper, I’m working on one of these now, I was just wondering if you’ve still not had any problems as far as the non buffered inputs go. I know that the results would be better without them, but I want to make sure I don’t screw anything up. My modular puts out some really hot signals. Any suggestions?

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