Complex Shapes In KiCad

Posted Thu 13-Sep-2012


The board design for the SNES wireless controller project is proceeding nicely. I recently finished the main controller schematic, after running into multiple difficulties about how exactly to implement its electronics. Next up: laying out the circuit board. This presented its own set of challenges, which eventually led to me developing a powerful tool for simplifying the layout of complicated circuit boards.

Picking A PCB Shape

Posted Wed 12-Sep-2012


One of the problems we faced when designing the schematic for the wireless SNES controller, is whether to leave the original PCB in, or fabricate a complete replacement. Implementing the controller on a smaller circuit board would make it cheaper to manufacure: most PCB prototyping companies bill by the square inch. However, using a smaller board would result in an extremely cramped layout, and might require physical modification of the plastic supports on the inside of the circuit board. Instead, we decided to replace the entire PCB. As we had already decided this project was for fun, money was no object. Also, the larger amount of space on the bigger board makes it easer to route the circuit. Unfortunately, there is one more downside to the full PCB approach: the replacement PCB must fit exactly into the space left by the older board. This led to another issue: the PCB will only fit in a single brand of SNES Controller.

A Wireless SNES Controller

Posted Mon 20-Aug-2012


Many classic arcade and console video games can be played with a D-pad. While one can use modern controllers with these programs, they lack the elegance of the older designs. However, if one uses one of these older controllers with a USB adapter, one is forced to be tethered to the computer.

Wireless SNES controllers have been done before. However, they usually don't pay close attention to power usage, and none support multiple controllers using a single interface.

The purpose of this project then, is to develop a low latency, ultra-low power device to interface with the original SNES hardware, and connect it to a modern PC. This device must be relatively cheap to manufacture, use components that are currently being manufactured, support multiple devices without interference, and must minimally modify the hardware. Additionally, it should use techniques developed for packet radio to allow for multiple transmitters on the same channel.