SNES Portable Hand-built

SNES Portable, Hand-built
Chapter 10 of the book

Build a portable SNES system with a 5″ TFT display, stereo sound and built-in battery pack.

This project can be constructed by hand using printed templates and hobby materials. You’ll also need a soldering iron, X-Acto knife, wire, screwdrivers and other common tools.

Construction Resources

Once you’re ready to begin work on this project the links and information below will be of much help. All links open in a new window so you can easily come back here during your online part collection. This information is all contained in the book of course, but the book itself doesn’t have internet access 😉


Major Project Components

The two primary components of these projects are the original game systems and the display. Below are the correct models to use, with a reference photo and easy-to-use automatic eBay search link.

Console model:
1997 Model “Mini” Super Nintendo (also called SNES 2)
Automatic eBay search for this item (Mini SNES)
Display model:
PSOne 5″ TFT display – Official Sony Model
Automatic eBay search for this item (PS1 screen)

Electronic Components Lists and Part Numbers

I’ve separated the electronics parts list into what you can get online from Mouser (www.mouser.com) and what you’ll still need to find at Radio Shack. Therefore the two lists below are the same as the single list in the book. You’ll still need everything from both lists, but the more things you can get online from Mouser the cheaper it’ll be.

Unlike Digi-Key, Mouser’s website has no minimum order so it’s handy for the experimenter, plus they have good prices. Please note that the items for modding the PS1 screen (10 ohm resistors and white LED’s) are also included on this list. Using this list you can easily copy/paste the part numbers into Mouser’s web site (or Radio Shack’s, below) to complete on online order. Sure beats typing!

You can get a good price on single Ni-MH batteries from Mouser, so they are listed below as well. You’ll need 6 total. Note the three choices available – the higher the mAh rating the longer they’ll last. Choose which fits your budget. I’ve also included the battery holders you’ll need from Mouser, again, cheaper that way.

SNES hand built
Electronic Parts List from Mouser:

# Part Name Quantity Vendor Vendor Part #
1 6mm Tact Switch 12 Mouser, Inc. 101-0161
2 10 ohm resistor (screen mod) 1 Mouser, Inc. 660-CF1/4L100J
3 10k ohm resistor 16 Mouser, Inc. 660-CF1/4L103J
4 T1 size white LED (screen mod) 3 Mouser, Inc. 606-CMD204UWC
5 EPD Battery Holders 4XAA 2 Mouser, Inc. 12BH347
Chose a type of Ni-MH rechargeable battery:
5 1300mAh Standard Series 6 Mouser, Inc. 573-GP130AA
5 1600mAh High Capacity (better, more $) 6 Mouser, Inc. 573-GP160AA
5 1800mAh High Capacity (even better, even more $) 6 Mouser, Inc. 573-GP180AAHC

Below are the Radio Shack electronics parts. Mostly the bigger, more mechanical stuff, plus the PC boards.

A change: Since the printing of the book Radio Shack no longer sells rechargeable RC car batteries and chargers separately – now they’re typically in a “combo pack” Therefore with this project you may need to either just use regular AA batteries or buy a separate Ni-MH charging unit. Ask a Radio Shack employee what they have – if you can find a 9.6 volt RC car charger by itself then that’ll work.

If you find a different brand or type of Ni-MH 9.6 volt battery charger it should work with this project. Be sure the check the polarity of the wiring before attempting to charge the batteries inside the SNES.

SNES hand built
Electronic Parts List from Radio Shack (stores or online):

# Part Name Quantity Vendor Vendor Part #
1 Grid-style PC board (Size: 2 3/4” x 3 11/16”) 1 Radio Shack 276-158
2 1/8” panel-mount jack 1 Radio Shack 274-251
3 1/8” phone plug 1 Radio Shack 274-287
4 DPDT submini Slide Switch 1 Radio Shack 276-407
If available: 1 Radio Shack
5 Ni-MH/Ni-CD battery charger 1 Radio Shack 23-333

For remaining materials (screws, glues, plastics) please see the book.


Support Files

Contained in this single ZIP archive are all the files you need for this project. See book for more details. Includes templates, patterns and printable decal graphics.

Download SNES_handbuilt.zip



Changes, Updates or Error Corrections

This section contains information on things that may have changed since the printing of the book, corrections to any errors found and better ways of building the projects, if applicable.

Part numbers to get Shift Registers from Digi-Key or Mouser (To avoid wasting good NES controllers)

In the SNES chapters (all 3 of them) it suggests using the “4021 shift register” chip from a NES controller to build a SNES controller. Specifically you need 2 of them. Thing is, this ends up wasting 2 Nintendo controllers which aren’t always easy to find. The solution is to simply order replacement shift registers from an online vendor.

The Digi-Key part # is 296-2040-5-ND, Mouser part # is 595-CD4021BE. You’ll need (2) for a SNES project, but they are dirt cheap.

See the thing is, I had a very tight schedule when writing the book. Something like 4 months to design 8 projects, build them AND write about it. Therefore I didn’t have time to experiment with new stuff (like new video mods or different shift registers) I only had time to do what I already knew would work. Hopefully these pages can help bring some of that up to speed.

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