Teardown: Super NES (PAL) Controller SNSP-005

Some days ago, I took apart my SNES gamepad to connect it to an Arduino. And I was astonished by the fact how simple the electronics inside are. OK, I have to mention that those controllers were manufactured since 1990…

SNES Controller


Basically, the gamepad consists only of 12 buttons, 2 resistors, 1 capacitor and 1 IC.

The Gamepad

This Gamepad is a model SNSP-005, made in Japan. On the front side there are the Buttons A, B, X, Y, Start, Select as well as the digital D-Pad (Up, Down, Left, Right). There are also 2 shoulder buttons, which distinguishes the SNES controller from its older brother, the NES controller, which only has 8 buttons (A, B, Start, Select, Up, Down, Left, Right).

On the back there are the model number, the Nintendo logo and 5 screws (phillips heads), which have to be unscrewed to open up the controller’s case.

Teardown: The design

When all screws are removed, the back part of the controller’s case can easily be lifted off. Inside is the main PCB (in total, there are 3, but more about this later). It’s a single-sided PCB, the only part on the back of it is the internal connector for the connecting wire, which is held in place by 3 plastic posts to provide strain-relief.

SNES Controller geöffnet

This is the look inside the gamepad’s case having the back removed

The PCB itself isn’t screwed in place, it’s just held by the case. The PCB’s front side reveals its technology: From one of the connector’s pins, there are conductor paths leading to all 12 buttons, all over the PCB. Those buttons consist of 2 pads of conducting material (graphite?) on the PCB. When a button is pushed, a rubber membrane pushes another conducting pad down to connect the 2 pads on the PCB, closing the circuit.

SNES Controller PCB Platine

The SNES controller’s main PCB

We can now suspect that those conductor paths leading to all 12 buttons are connected to 0V/GND. If all pads were supplied with +5V, there would likely be problems with input at the IC, due to voltage losses or “high” currents. It’s more convenient to use pull-up resistors supplying +5V on each IC pin and pull the pin to GND.

The shoulder buttons are a bit special: They function the same way, but sit on 2 separate PCBs. They are only connected to the main PCB through 2 tiny wires each, and held in place by plastic inforcements from the back of the case. “Efficient Design”…

The IC: Parallel to Serial Shift Register

As 2 of the 5 connection pins are used for +5V and GND, there are 3 pins left for the communication.

Each of the main IC’s pins lead to a button. Aside from +5V and GND, 3 more pins are connected directly to the connector. So I suspect the IC to be a shift register. A short online research confirms that, although I wasn’t able to find that specific part’s datasheet. The model number says TG 9732H V520B (32nd Week 1997, 5V 20 Pin shift register?)

SNES Controller interner Anschluss

The gamepad’s internal connector

As I already know the basics of Serial to Parallel shift registers, I know these things have a Clock-pin, a Latch-pin and a Data-pin. The Serial to Parallel shift register uses Data as an input, its voltage is interpreted as a bit on each rising edge of a Clock pulse and stored internally. The Latch pulse triggers the output, the data from the internal storage is taken to supply voltage to each output pin (parallel).

Obviously, the chip inside the gamepad functions the other way around: 12 pins (parallel) function as inputs. The Latch pulse triggers the inputs to be stored internally, and the Data line is set to High or Low for each bit, which is put out after another by sending a pulse on the Clock line.

So I think the IC has internal Pull-Ups. The 2 resistors on the board are pull-ups for 2 of the communication pins, which most likely are Clock and Latch, as Data is an output. (Checked that, yes they are). So it could be that Clock and Latch trigger on the signal’s falling edge. I didn’t test that, but it should be easy to find out.


SNES Controller Einzelteile

All single parts of the SNES controller, excluding the conntection wire

Nintendo put simple and robust electronics into the SNSP-005 Super NES (PAL) Controller. Some buttons, 2 pull-up resistors, 1 capacitor (smoothing out voltage drops?), and a shift register, that’s all there is to it. Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact price a controller has cost back in these days. But I think Nintendo made lots of money with this.

Personally, I just love the simplicity of the design. After some experiments, I might build my own “SNES Controller”, as I still have a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. And because the design is so simple, it was very simple to connect the gamepad to an Arduino. Additionally, this should mean that it’s also simple to write a SNES Controller emulator running on the arduino. Speedrun cheats, anyone? ;)


There is one special thing, not everybody is aware of:

In the case, there are holes for each of the 4 buttons A, B, X and Y, all labeled internally. Those 4 buttons are labeled Blue, Green, Yellow and Red. That’s how I always knew this controller. But there are also 2 additional labels, indicating that 2 buttons were purple, 2 “lavender”. This is for the North-American NTSC version, which looks completely different from the European and Japanese PAL version.

Finally, here is a complete list of all parts inside the gamepad:

Label Part-Number
Case front 56V302 S-3
Case back 56V303 S-2
L-Button E10
R-Button E11
2x Splint
Rubber-Membrane ABXY
Rubber-Membrane D-Pad
2x Rubber-Membrane L/R
Rubber-Membrane Start/Select
4 Buttons (Blue, Green, Yellow, Red) C-X, C-Y, C-B, C-A
D-Pad H-2
PCB 56V313D
Connector CN1
Resistor 1,2k R1
Resistor 3,3k R2
Capacitor ? C1
Shift Register TG 9732H V520B
2x PCB Shoulder Buttons 56V314

And, of course, 4 wires for the shoulder buttons’ PCBs and a 5-wired Cable for the plug connector.
This connector has a total of 7 contacts, divided into 3 / 4 contacts to ensure this can only be plugged in the right way. Pins 5 and 6 are not connected (N/C).

This was a complete teardown of the SNSP-005 Super NES (PAL) Controller. I hope you enjoed this, and perhaps learned a bit from it.

As I increasingly engage in electronics, I plan to do more of these look-insides for electrnic gadgets. If you have any ideas or recommendations which device I should tear apart next time, please leave a comment.

Damon Dransfeld

Picture Gallery

Please head over to the German version of this article to view the picture gallery containing 12 images at the end of the post.

This entry was posted in Electronics & Hardware
Bookmark the permalink Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted 11. April 2014 at 04:13 | Permalink

    Forward of the World Cup, an ESPN FC panel that includes Shaka Hislop , Steve Nicol , Michael Cox and Iain Macintosh have place
    their heads collectively to formulate a top 10 of nations around the
    world that will contend in Brazil following 12 months. At any time because
    the Greek national soccer staff shocked the world by successful the Euros back again in 2004, issues
    have grinded to a in close proximity to halt for the boys in blue.
    With the month to month release of the FIFA/Coca Cola World Rankings, let’s just take a swift search at
    how this internationally acknowledged rating technique differs from ESPN’s Soccer Electricity Index

  2. Posted 14. May 2014 at 02:57 | Permalink

    We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in
    our community. Your web site offered us with valuable info to work on.
    You have done a formidable job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

  3. Posted 27. May 2014 at 10:24 | Permalink

    (Picture: The Related Press)

    Just about every white person you communicate to concerning the World Cup is incapable of remembering any precise
    occasion that came about throughout a recreation however can, with close to whole recall, bear
    in mind how they obtained very drunk on Sangria throughout a Spain-Paraguay match at 5 within the morning.
    From reading the above paragraph, the sharper ones among you may have possible observed 2014 soccer world
    cup that clever white individuals also adore the World Cup because it permits them to pair international locations
    with their respective alcoholic drink. “England
    is taking part in Argentina? Dude we gotta get some Newcastle
    then like, I don’t know, like some wine I suppose?” This plan might be consummated with a high
    5, a trip to Dealer Joes, and the purchase of a soccer jersey that shall be worn, on common, twice a decade.
    England is good

  4. Posted 2. June 2014 at 14:08 | Permalink

    Good day very cool blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark
    your web site and take the feeds also? I’m happy to seek out
    so many helpful information right here within the
    publish, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

    Also visit my web blog: coffeepurecleanseworks.com

  5. Posted 5. June 2014 at 06:33 | Permalink

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to
    be running off the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.

    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed
    soon. Many thanks

  6. Posted 12. June 2014 at 11:06 | Permalink

    If you are going for finest contents like I do, only go to see this website every day since it offers
    quality contents, thanks

  7. Posted 14. June 2014 at 23:22 | Permalink

    If you wish for to obtain a good deal from thnis
    post then youu have to apply such strategies to your won webpage.

  8. Posted 15. June 2014 at 06:33 | Permalink

    What’s up everyone, it’s my first visit at this web page, and post is
    really fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these types of content.

  9. Posted 16. June 2014 at 00:09 | Permalink

    He likened doing something, anything related to his art and true
    calling to being a part of his day and thus a
    part of him. They did not get rich by playing the lottery or
    gambling. Rosebud really brings some human qualities into the Mr.

  10. Posted 19. June 2014 at 09:53 | Permalink

    whoah this blog is great i love reading your articles.

    Keep up the good work! You know, many individuals are hunting
    around for this information, you can aid them

    Feel free to visit my web blog; zonifugal

  11. Posted 22. June 2014 at 11:36 | Permalink

    Joachim Löw has withdrawn from the World Cup squad Volland, Schmelzer and Mustafi.

    We present the 23 man flying to Brazil. What can they do?
    And what is not? by Paul Hofmann and Christian Spiller
    Most recent Image Galleries & Culture Media Moderator Günther Jauch introduced this time very intelligent
    inquiries Aguero World Cup Top Goal Scorer Odds. (Image: AP) The thigh of the attacker is nonetheless worse than I believed.
    Spain coach Del Bosque has been re-nominated a feasible replacement.
    Bitter finish to the year for Stephan El Shaarawy: 19.06.2013

  12. Posted 26. June 2014 at 00:04 | Permalink

    Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I
    was wondering your situation; we have developed some nice methods and wwe are looking
    to exchange sollutions wirh other folks, why not shoot me an email if interested.

  13. Posted 20. July 2014 at 20:52 | Permalink

    Hi there terrific website! Does running a blog like this take a great deal of
    work? I have virtually no understanding of coding however I was hoping
    to start my own blog in the near future. Anyway, if you have
    any recommendations or tips for new blog owners please share.
    I understand this is off subject nevertheless I simply wanted to
    ask. Thanks!

    My web-site Lending Club

  14. Posted 2. September 2014 at 08:52 | Permalink

    As opposed to creating a explained outcomes of the individuals guidance as well as the particular person being educated, both activities can relaxation a little, to create
    a relying on relationship also to bring about that connection. some Saa – S offering have
    this worry (specifically those which have price based rates versions).
    The cost that you simply or perhaps your company should have for giving packages
    by means of international courier professional services
    rely on the space the way the package has
    to journey along with the region that it will most likely be delivered.

  15. Posted 10. September 2014 at 08:18 | Permalink
  16. Posted 25. September 2014 at 08:43 | Permalink

    WATER INJECTION: EXPENSIVE TO BUY – HARD TO INSTALL. Additional statistical reports furnish information about the estimated
    cost savings realized if every car eliminates 5 to 10 minutes of idling in a day.
    And this is the very reason why we instinctively keep our car engine in excellent condition.

  17. Posted 27. February 2016 at 21:17 | Permalink

    This post is really a good one it helps new web people, who are wishing for blogging.

  18. Posted 20. July 2016 at 17:33 | Permalink

    Condoleante :(Unii stim ca nu e timp…..Dar unele cuvinte sunt atat de greu de smult si unele taceri imposibil de inp..tretat..er.Eu nu am nici o poza in care apar cu tata… doar noi doi. Poate c-ar trebui sa-mi fac. Sa apar la poarta lui si sa il intreb : tata, ne facem o poza? :)

  19. Posted 22. October 2016 at 18:11 | Permalink

    you were in pampanga and you didn’t tell me?!?!? boooooo!!! hmpt!hahaha… sayang! sana nakasama din ako, na-rescue ko pa ang aking pinsan from being skewered and roasted. (LOL)

  20. Posted 18. January 2017 at 16:00 | Permalink

    aristotlethehun | August 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm | hillbot paxson is not winning any support for his gal hillary. If the hillary campaign is paying him, they are certainly wasting their money.

Achtung: Wordpress interpretiert bestimmte Zeichenfolgen als Markup und verändert diese. Nutzt für Programmcode lieber Gist oder PasteBin-Services und verlinkt die Code-Schnipsel.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>