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Wireless Sega Genesis Controller for Wii

All > Tech > Hacks/Mods > Wireless Sega Genesis Controller for Wii by emptyset
Many of you may have seen the wireless SNES and NES controller designed by Mark Feldman (available at which was amazing but, unlike like many unfortunate souls out there, I was blessed to have a Sega genesis as a child. I was inspired by his hack, and went out and learned to program and use PIC microcontrollers so that I could play the Sega games I enjoyed so much as a child on the Wii's virtual console with the controller they were designed for. This project is the fruit of my labors, allowing you to use your old Sega genesis controller with the wireless receiver designed by Mark Feldman.

**I have uploaded a new creation detailing an improved method of making this controller which uses a custom circuit board: **

**I have uploaded the receiver/charger that I use for all my controllers: **

For this project I used a PIC16F84A, an iPod mini replacement battery, some bits of perfboard, a small slider switch, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, a panel mount LED, a 434 MHz wireless transmitter, a 4 MHz crystal, and a sega genesis controller with a surface mount circuit board. It is important that you use a surface mount style board because the battery won't fit under the thru hole type.

The PIC, transmitter and Crystal are from
The headphone jack, LED and perfboard are from
The battery is from
I would try ebay for a controller.

The source code is available at
and in hex:
The wiring is pretty straightforward. You should note that the pin numbers for the controller in the schematic DO NOT correspond the the plug on the cord, but the order left to right of the wires coming off the circuit board.
First I figured the placement of all the components and drilled holes for the LED and power switch. Then I wired the grounds together for the battery, the 3.5 MM jack, the transmitter and left a wire to go the PIC and LED, and another for the controller. Next I wired the positive together for the battery, charger, and switch. Then the other side of the switch to the PIC and LED and transmitter, and left a wire for the controller. **The Transmitter came with four pins soldered to it, I desoldered these and soldered new wires directly to the board**

Solder the PIC **Make sure you programmed it first**, crystal, and LED in place. Run a jumper from Pin 14 (VDD)on the PIC to Pin 4 (MCLR). Attach a wire from the data pin on the transmitter to Pin 18 on the PIC.
Remove the original pin header from the controller and solder wires directly to the board, including the ground and positive you set aside earlier. (The battery wont fit if the pin header is used). I recommend taping them down to keep them straight.
Solder the wires from the controller to the PIC. **The pin numbers for the genesis controller in the schematic correspond to the labels in the picture above**
Glue the battery, switch, 3.5MM jack, and transmitter in place. I used super glue on the jack and switch, and hot glue for everything else. Put all the buttons back together. Position the PIC so that it fits in the controller like shown.
Put the circuit board in. I found that tacking the corners with hot glue made the next step easier.
With everything glued in place, put both halves of the controller back together and enjoy your new controller!

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Posted by natetrue 8 years ago ( 02-Apr-2007 18:34:52 )

Sweet hack. Is this the required receiver circuit?

Posted by emptyset 8 years ago ( 02-Apr-2007 23:44:32 )

Yep that's it. This page has more details on the construction of the receiver.

Posted by nosuchthingastwo 7 years ago ( 10-Jan-2008 15:41:09 )

The link for the transmitter source at fileden seems to be down. Anyone else having problems?

Posted by emptyset 7 years ago ( 10-Jan-2008 19:01:21 )

Sorry about that, I forgot to update the new location, it is now fixed

Posted by nosuchthingastwo 7 years ago ( 13-Jan-2008 10:25:35 )

Maybe I missed something, but what's the value of R1 in the transmitter schematic? Thanks for the awesome project, I can't wait to get started assembling this thing!

Posted by emptyset 7 years ago ( 13-Jan-2008 20:03:20 )

R1 is a current limiting resistor for the LED, but the LED I used had a built in resistor. If you want to use a regular LED, I recommend using the resistor calculator at to figure the value of R1 based on your LED choice.

Posted by nosuchthingastwo 7 years ago ( 14-Jan-2008 22:55:22 )

Do you know if there's a way to spot the surface mount versions of the Genesis controller? The ones I ended up with from eBay were pass through, their only identifying mark on the outside was Model No. 1650 printed on the back of the controller. Any chance yours has a different model number?

Posted by emptyset 7 years ago ( 15-Jan-2008 11:51:50 )

Unfortunately no, I already owned three controllers, and each one had the same model number but a different circuit board on the inside. It should also be noted that the pins might be (I'm pretty sure they are) in a different order on the pass through circuit board. I think you might be able to squeeze everything but the battery in there if you don't mind having a battery on the outside. I can figure out the correct pin out for the pass through controller if you are interested in this option. I also made a custom circuit board to fit in the controller, though I never published it, that can be used in any genesis controller. If you are interested in this option let me know, and I'll post a brief tutorial.

Posted by nosuchthingastwo 7 years ago ( 16-Jan-2008 01:48:25 )

The custom circuit board that would allow the battery to fit in any Genesis controller sounds like a great option. I'm also curious to see where you got the spring-like antenna, as well as what you do to charge the Li-ION battery.

Posted by emptyset 7 years ago ( 16-Jan-2008 21:20:33 )

The antenna is from a walkie talkie I gutted for another project. I'll get some new creations up detailing the charger, and circuit board I made. I'll try to get them up by this weekend, but I'm really busy with my current class schedule.

Posted by hootoocom 5 years ago ( 12-Nov-2009 00:36:38 ), comment hidden (show)

This comment was edited at 2010-01-27 00:32:42

Posted by battery 5 years ago ( 27-Nov-2009 20:12:39 ), comment hidden (show)

This comment was edited at 2010-01-27 00:32:31

Posted by nintendomat 4 years ago ( 09-Mar-2011 16:09:06 )

Sorry to be a pest, but are you willing to sell one of these brilliant what would be your asking price, and if so could you post to the UK, and would you accept paypal. I am exceedingly unexperienced with this sort of stuff. I would love to play megadrive (genisis) game on my wii with the authentic controller =]

Posted by emptyset 4 years ago ( 05-Apr-2011 23:27:08 )

@Nintendomat I am actually in the process of redesigning the whole thing. The wireless transmitters proved to be buggy and unreliable. I think that in the coming months I will be able to release a new version which I would feel confident about selling. I wouldn't want you to pay a lot of money only to be frustrated with it. If you'd still be interested in a couple of months just let me know. (Sorry it took so long to respond by the way.)

This comment was edited at 2011-04-11 19:41:23

Posted by nintendomat 4 years ago ( 14-Apr-2011 18:14:57 )

@emptyset sorry for the long reply also, waiting a couple of months is fine, how much would it approximatly cost? Also I salute you in your hard work =]

Posted by emptyset 4 years ago ( 14-Apr-2011 23:08:47 )

I just begun development, (I'm going to start a project log soon) My goal is to be able to sell them between 39.95 and 49.95 USD.

Posted by nintendomat 4 years ago ( 15-Apr-2011 04:55:06 )

@emptyset Cool, I look forward to it =]

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