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NES Streamer Mod Project

This webpage is about my hobby project to build a NES Streamer.
The picture on the right shows the end result (click to enlarge):
But a NES Streamer, what is it ?
It is a combination of a NES and a Streamer:
• the NES is a videogame console, the abbreviation stands for Nintendo Entertainment Systemi. It was introduced in Europe in 1986; worldwide some 62 million consoles were sold. To play a game, a game cartridge must be inserted; Super Mario Bros. was a popular game.
• a streamer is a device to convert and transfer digital data (video, sound), to render it on a medium (tv, stereo, ...). In this case, a Popbox V8 is used as streamer.
• Mod stands for modification: the NES is modified for a new purpose, to give it a second life.
In this project, a NES Streamer is a combination of 80's design and modern technology: a wolf in sheep's clothing. The table below shows how design and technology have evolved over the years.

 NESPopbox V8
width x height x depth (mm)
250 x 90 x 200130 x 30 x 100
processor8-bit, 1.55 MHz12-bit, 700 MHz
memory2 KB256 MB
mediaROM game cartridgeexternal harddisk
typical media size256 KB4.7 GB
color palette48 colors4096 colors
resolution (pixels)256 x 2401920 x 1080
original price$ 199€ 125
added up:a wolf in sheep's clothing

The steps below describe how the NES Streamer was made.
(click on a picture to enlarge)

Step 1: strip the content of the NES

The NES console, one controller, and a game cartridge were bought on a retrogame fair. At the time of purchase, console and controller were broken, the cartridge was damaged.
The inside of the console was stripped and kept aside.

Step 2: build a 'light switch'

The streamer is placed inside the NES, a problem is then that the 'on' light of the streamer is no longer visible, so from the outside it is no longer visible if the streamer is on or off. To overcome this, this light switch detects the 'on' light of the streamer, and if detected, switches on the LED of the NES ☺ .
An electrical scheme was found on internet (link), and adapted for this project (R1>470kΩ; R2>LDR). The circuit was assembled, tested, then soldered.

Step 3: assemble an 'IR extender'

The streamer is placed inside the NES, therefore the infrared detector can no longer detect signals of its remote controller. To solve this, a standard IR Extender was bought; it has a wired receiver which picks up any IR signal, and then sends out the same signal via an emitter.
The device is placed inside the NES, together with the emitter; the receiver is placed outside the NES.

Step 4: power supply

The power for the whole (streamer, light switch, and IR extender) is supplied by the power adapter of the streamer. Of course the POWER-switch of the NES acts as the switch ☺ .

Step 5: mechanical modifications

The streamer has interfaces which are not 80's-compatible, so some holes had to be made in the console ☹ for power, video, and network connections. Fortunately, the holes are out of sight (back of the console). On the inside, screw interfaces were removed. 
To save space inside, the cartridge slot and mechanism were altered somewhat drastic, and then secured to the topcover. The cartridge itself was shortened. The controller cable was shortened.

Step 6: assemble

The NES was assembled again, using as much original content as possible.
For the finishing touch, the remainder of the game cartridge was fixed into the slot.

Step 7: connect and stream !

Project costs:

NES console5
NES controller1
NES game cartridge3
light switch15
power supply1
IR extender40
Total (€)65

For inspiration

Some links to nice NES mods:
home theater pc
alarm clock

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© Mark Nauta