Hobbyist grinds down unique chips by hand to make a Recreation Boy-sized NES

  • The “TinyTendo” venture, which inserts an actual NES right into a Recreation Boy-sized enclosure, isn’t for the faint of coronary heart.


  • The {hardware} can play {custom} sport cartridges, although full-size carts can be playable with an adapter.

  • The TinyTendo fees through USB-C.

  • As soon as lower down, the NES chips might be soldered to a {custom} PCB that’s smaller than a Raspberry Pi.

  • The NES PCB and a number of other different boards work collectively to make the system operate.

If you would like a conveyable console that may play previous Nintendo Leisure System video games, the best possibility is software program emulation, whether or not you’re utilizing Nintendo’s official Swap app, a conveyable PC, or some low cost knockoff emulator handheld. For individuals who need higher accuracy than software program emulation can present, there’s at all times the Analogue Pocket, which might (with present firmware) re-create the NES in {hardware} utilizing its FPGA chip.

However some purists are unhappy with something apart from unique {hardware}—that’s the only possible explanation for tasks just like the TinyTendo, which matches to extraordinary lengths to squeeze a complete NES into a conveyable package deal roughly the size and weight of the previous grey monochrome Recreation Boy. The venture is the creation of {hardware} modder Redherring32, who ultimately plans to open-source the venture.

For miniaturization tasks like this, you usually see chopped-up or totally custom-printed circuit boards used with the unique chips to contort the {hardware} into a brand new form. This panorama orientation mod for the unique Recreation Boy or the unique Analogue NT are each good examples. However extra drastic measures have been wanted to squeeze a complete NES right into a handheld console, most notably the elimination of cumbersome pins and ceramic that the unique chips all use.

“TinyTendo makes use of actual NES chips which were bodily lower and floor down smaller,” wrote Redherring32. “A easy run down is that I sand away the underside of the chip until I hit the die and leads, then I lower the chip smaller with a Dremel. The tip result’s 10x10x2mm, and floor mountable.”

The hand-cut chips save a considerable quantity of house by shedding the pins and ceramic.

Soldering the hand-cut chips to a {custom} PCB creates a totally useful NES board that’s “smaller than a Raspberry Pi 3,” although the design additionally integrates an influence administration PCB, a button PCB, and different boards for audio and different features. The console has a built-in LCD display, fees over USB-C, and performs  miniaturized (non-original) sport cartridges, although full-size carts may very well be performed with an adapter.

The draw back of this venture is that it requires the sacrifice of an precise NES to make it work. This prototype was created from an NES with a “very damaged motherboard,” and we might encourage anybody who desires to make their very own to reap components from non-functional consoles slightly than destroying functioning {hardware}.

Redherring32 is accountable for a number of different modding and preservation tasks, together with open supply PCB designs for the unique entrance– and top-loading NES motherboards and the “PicoPad,” a useful controller that’s significantly smaller than the connector that plugs it into the NES.

Itemizing picture by Redherring32/Twitter