|Nintendo Super System controller interface and SNES to Jamma adapter
The Nintendo Super System (NSS) was the arcade version of the home console game Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It has been my experience having owned several of these machines that the arcade computer fails and is unfixable. So what do you do with the cabinets when the computer dies? Most people part them out. Well, I built this adapter so that one could use the home console (SNES) in several different ways.
Want to know more? Read on. Still want more info., email Mark @ Markfrizb3@aol.com
Nintendo Super System (NSS) Top: SNES controller, Bottom: NSS controller
Integrating the SNES into any arcade cabinet either required A LOT of hand soldering jumper wires or making a circuit board that does the same thing. The SNES doesn’t have an audio amplifier. I wanted to make the adapter plug and play… no hacking open the console or the controllers to put into an arcade cabinet. I wanted to make it so that no soldering would need to be done by the end user and if the SNES console died, then replacing it would be easy. I tried to plan for multi-environments and flexible enough to take advantage of the capabilities of the SNES. To that end, here is what I came up with:
This PCB was made to directly plug into the NSS cabinet. It also has jumper pins to re-route the inputs so that it’ll work in a regular Jamma cabinet (see below for Jamma pin out). Note: game like Star Fox that use all the controller buttons including L and R, then the Jamma harness alone is not enough but there are provisions where you could.
This PCB was also designed to plug and play into a Nintendo Vs. cabinet. See details below. This PCB was made to fit a need in my business so its design was to fit my specific needs and not necessarily as a consumer marketed item. This was designed by a MASTER in the pcb design world. He is one of the best in the business. Thanks Collin!
BIG NOTE!!!! This adapter is only fully functional on the original version of the SNES, NOT the mini system or aftermarket consoles. The SNES model # SNS-001 NTSC American or Japanese only. I don’t have a PAL unit to test it on so I don’t know if there are compatibility issues with PAL or not video wise.
Update: I have heard that the PAL versions A/V output is different. Outputs 12v on the Sync line (which would be bad). So this AV part of this adapter may not work on the PAL units. My adapter doesn’t actually use the sync line but rather uses the CV line and strips the sync away from that. So the PAL unit might work after all. I need to get a PAL unit to test with.
SNES SNS-001 American NTSC unit PAL unit (Japan and Europe)
This is the NSS controller interface pcb.
This pcb is an interface that connects the SNES controls to a NSS controller. It’s a plug and play directly from the SNES control port to the NSS controls factory wiring connectors (Below Left).
This pic (Above, Right) shows the factory Nintendo controller wiring connecting to the interface pcb. Only the factory original Nintendo controllers (Below Left) have this connector which makes it easy to connect. After-market controllers have only wires that solder directly to the controller pcb which still can be used.
The pic on the right, above shows alternate connections if one wants to connect a controller via 5 wire connections to be soldered (aftermarket controllers). The colors listed on the pcb are factory controller colors. Non-Nintendo controllers may have different wiring colors. Use a multi-meter to determine which is correct.
From Left to Right, 1 (Brown), 2 (not used), 3 (not used), 4 (Red), 5 (orange), 6 (Yellow), 7 (White)
(Note: the numbering is mine and doesn’t correspond to Nintendo’s numbering on the connector but rather, my numbering on the pcb. Nintendo numbering is just reversed – see below).
This is also a 16 pin header connector on this pcb for a ribbon connector (above). This is used to connect the NSS controller to the main SNES2Jamma pcb. The NSS controller wiring is very short and if you are wanting to use this controller with the SNES2Jamma pcb, then this ribbon connector is the way to do it. Remove the chips on the (above fig. 1) pcb if using the ribbon cables. Also, the 6 jumper pins (shown below on the SNES2Jamma) to re-route connections are not functional when the above setup using the ribbon cable is used. The 6 jumper pins only affect Jamma connections only.
(above photo) P1 P2 P3 SCART connector
I wanted to make this as plug and play as possible. I see all over YouTube people hacking open their SNES consoles and controllers and hand wiring a SNES to Jamma. So I made this so you don’t have to crack open anything.
*********Another interesting tidbit is that this adapter can also connect to a NES system for controls and sound and power ONLY. Since the NES has no provision of RBG internally, this adapter can NOT process the RF or CV video. The NES controllers don’t use a connector so the wires have to be soldered to the adapter.
Also, if you notice a VGA connector (above), it’s just a connector. It does NOT convert the video to VGA.
This is the SNES2Jamma SNES to Jamma interface pcb! (S2J)
This pcb has an integrated audio amplifier. Not a wimpy one either. It’s 12 watts mono. SNES outputs stereo but when connected to the S2J, it combines the signals to make it mono. An external Amp would have to be used and cut the CL2 to obtain amplified stereo. The RCA (P3) or the headphone plug (P1) can be used for audio signal in or out.
One of the big problems with the SNES audio/video port is that it’s a proprietary connector and only the European SCART cable has internal connections to the RGB_CV and Audio L and R. Other cables have only connections of Audio L&R and Composite Video. For the Arcade world, we need the RGB and through U7, we strip away the sync signal from the composite video (CV). The Composite video is still available through P3 if desired. So the SCART (CN3) is used to port the audio and video signals to the S2J pcb. The SCART (unfortunately) doesn’t port the Sync line directly, but rather the CV, which is why I have to use the sync splitter chip. P3 connector is OPTIONAL.
From Left to Right, 7 (Brown), 6 (not used), 5 (not used), 4 (Red), 3 (orange), 2 (Yellow), 1 (White)
(NOTE!: this is NOT the same numbering as the NSS controller interface but the colors and connections are the same. This numbering does correspond to Nintendo’s numbering of their connector’s (above) pin out. I just got the numbering backwards and had the boards made before I noticed the inconsistency).
Just like the NSS controller interface, it uses the same connectors for the SNES controls or individual wires can be soldered to it as well. There is a zip tie strap point to secure the cables from being pulled loose.
The S2J has a cable that is used to power the SNES console.
P2 connector ports the RGB signals to RCA jacks should you want to connect these to a TV. This connector is OPTIONAL.
CN4 is a VGA connector. THIS DOES NOT OUTPUT VGA (31 KHz). It was just a simple way to connect to a monitor that has this type of connector. This connector is OPTIONAL.
This adapter was designed for running Super Mario All Stars (5 in 1) + World and Donkey Kong type games in arcade Jamma cabinets that have 3 buttons and 1 or 2 joysticks. These games use 2 and 3 buttons. If a game uses 4 buttons (A, B, X, & Y), then you will need to use the CN2 connector for the 4th button. I may re-make this pcb with all 5 buttons terminating to the Jamma harness if enough people ask for it.
The S2J has a big power resistor to enable switching power supplies to turn on and/or regulate properly. It will get warm to the touch. This is normal.
Rear view of the SNES with the AV and power cable This is a piece of ¼” fiber board that I mount to the bottom of the SNES using existing screw mounts. It just makes it easy to secure the SNES inside the cabinet. USE short screws!
Nintendo Super System cabinet (NSS)
CN2 is used to connect S2J to the NSS with the Jamma and CN2, a SNES can be used in a NSS cabinet. The NSS actually had the volume control on the Jamma connector so this is why I didn’t port the 4th button to the Jamma edge because it would line up with the volume control and cause problems. Additionally, I wanted this to be plug_and_play for the NSS cabinet.
(Left) SNES installed in Super System cabinet wiring This is the SNES running in the cabinet – note: this cabinet using a LCD monitor
When using in the NSS cabinet, Jumpers on the adapter need to be positioned in the 2&3 spots. See chart below.
Nintendo Vs. Cabinet (Vs.)
The Vs. cabinet is typically 2 buttons, 2 joysticks. So S2J is used for 2 button type games (i.e. Super Mario All Stars 4 in 1). I did this to reduce the amount of wiring and accessories for installation in this type of cabinet. Because the Vs. cabinet has its audio amp integrated with the monitor, this S2J will send unamplified audio signal to this amp through the cabinet wiring. If you don’t want (or can’t) use the Nintendo amp, then J1 is a speaker terminal to connect the speakers directly. Because the Vs. cabinet originally used a monitor that displays its colors INVERTED (like a negative is to a photograph), the video from S2J will not display correctly unless the monitor has an inverter board. The S2J has a big power resistor as a load to enable switching power supplies to turn on and/or regulate properly. It will get warm to the touch. This is normal.
Another note: The Tri-Star 8 or Super 8. The video aspect of this adapter doesn’t support the Tri-star 8 or varients. These after market items only output Composite Video, not RGB.
Using the S2J in a Jamma cabinet. The main issues are the 6 jumpers. Blue is default.
Player 1 cabinet buttons
Jumper 1 2 3
JP1 1&2= A Y (depends on JP2)
2&3= NSS A B (depends on JP2)
JP2 1&2= A B Y
2&3= NSS A B select
start 1 start 2
JP3 1&2= pl.1 start pl. 1 select
2&3= NSS no connection
Player 2 cabinet buttons
Jumper 3 start 2
*JP4 1&2= pl. 2 select (note: not used on SM all stars)
2&3= NSS Y
1 2 3
JP5 1&2= A Y (depends on JP6)
2&3= NSS A B (depends on JP6)
JP6 1&2= A B Y
2&3= NSS A B select
*Note: SL2 when soldered to a short circuit connects pl.2 select to Coin switch
CN6 (player 1) and CN7 (player 2) are used if you want to use the NSS controllers via ribbon cable and the NSS controller pcb. The NSS controller pcb only needs the 16p header and Molex connectors, no chips are needed, in this case.
The MAJORITY of my arcade cabinets only have 3 buttons, some only 2 buttons so I needed this to adapt to my arcade cabinets as they are, which is why I did the jumpers.
The SNES video output is a little less than what a Jamma arcade pcb would output so if you are connecting this to an arcade monitor, you might have to brighten up the picture.
The Sync splitter chip (strips the Sync signal from the Composite Video) is powered by the SNES and not by the adapter power. So at least one of the controller plugs must be attached to the SNES console so this chip can get the power it needs.
This pic shows the VGA connector being used but it’s not necessary. Video is sent through the Jamma harness as well. The monitor in this picture is a Happ Controls LCD that does a VERY nice job of displaying the picture. This is a FULLY populated adapter. MOST people won’t need all the connectors installed. Again, I made this so that it would adapt to my arcade cabinets which is part of my business.
This is the back side of the adapter. On the left is the power cable that powers the SNES console. On the right are the controller connectors.
This project cost a small fortune in its creation. The parts alone cost almost $40 and that doesn’t include the SCART cable – another $8-$9 or the power cable, add another $2.50 for that, and the controller cables came from SNES controller…. Add $?? for those. Not to mention development, testing, revisions made, cost of pcb manufacturing, CAD design cost, sleepless nights, and more. It takes me over an hour to populate and solder. So this isn’t a cheap project. The NSS controller is much less expensive however. If I get enough interest, I may re-make this in a much smaller, bare bone basics. But I would need a LOT of interest to do that. I’m selling these to help recoup some of my (high) costs in making this.
Jamma Pin out (same as NSS – Nintendo Super System Arcade)
Parts Side Solder Side
Ground 1 Ground
Ground 2 Ground
+5 3 +5
+5 4 +5
(not used) -5 5 -5 (not used)
+12 6 +12
key 7 key
no connection 8 no connection
no connection 9 no connection
Speaker + 10 Speaker -
no connection 11 Ground
Video Red 12 Video Green
Video Blue 13 Video Sync
Video Ground 14 no connection
no connection 15 no connection
Coin 1 16 Coin 2
Player 1 Start 17 Player 2 start
Player 1 Up 18 Player 2 Up
Player 1 Down 19 Player 2 Down
Player 1 Left 20 Player 2 Left
Player 1 Right 21 Player 2 Right
Player 1 push button A 22 Player 2 push button A
Player 1 push button B 23 Player 2 push button B
Player 1 push button C or Player 1 “select” 24 Player 2 push button C or Player 2 “select”
(n/c) (NSS vol. sweep) push button D 25 Push button D (n/c) (NSS Vol. signal)
(n/c) (NSS vol. Gnd) push button E 26 Push button E (n/c)
Ground 27 Ground
Ground 28 Ground
CN 2 on adapter (same as NSS cabinet connector)
2 player 2 SNES/NSS Turn Right
3 player 2 SNES/NSS Turn Left
4 player 2 SNES/NSS Y
5 player 2 SNES/NSS X
6 player 1 SNES/NSS Turn Right
7 player 1 SNES/NSS Turn Left
8 player 1 SNES/NSS Y
9 player 1 SNES/NSS X
CN6 (player1) and CN7 (player 2)16 pin ribbon cable.
This is used to connect the main Jamma adapter to the NSS controller adapter (see above fig 1) only if you want to use the NSS controls (big arcade style controller)
NINTENDO FAMICOM CONSOLE SYSTEM HVC-101
Famicom = Family Computer (Fami – Com)
The Japanese version NES (not the Super Nintendo SNES but the NES), some of them use the same AV port that the SNES does. Unfortunately, this unit does NOT output RGB. The only way to use the A/V port is with the VGA converter or a TV with CV connections.
The differences between this Japanese NES (Famicom) and SNES is the power plug size is different and the colors of the controller wires are different. This unit only accepts the Japanese cartridges unless you have a cartridge adapter. Then it will play all both US and Japan.
The colors of the internal wiring of the controller for the NES is slightly different than the SNES.
(Above Left) This is the adapter currently. (Above Right) This shows what the NES controller wire colors would be. The Red and Yellow are reversed. On a few controllers, the White (VCC) was the color Green.
Original NES controller NES controller wires to adapter inside a NES controller my home made SNES to NES controller adapter