It’s been a while since I first posted about needing an unused SNES for a project, and while I haven’t posted anything else about the project, I haven’t been idle.
I’ve always been a fan of the “old-school” games of my childhood. The SNES, with its two-dimensional graphics and abundance of quality games of the RPG genre, is, hands-down, my favorite console. Unfortunately, my SNES is on its last metaphorical leg. So when I heard about the Mini-ITX motherboards, I realized that I could not restore my SNES, per se, but make a new one. Better. Faster. Stronger.
With the help of some pretty tiny computer components and two SNES controller to USB port converters, I will be able to play games on a computer running Linux, using SNES controllers.
Images and Commentary
Note, this will just be brief. I have a website in the works for more in-depth information. I’ll post here when it’s complete.
^ This is the SNES case mostly closed up, with the electronics (sans controller converters) tucked away snugly inside. I purchased three cases from Ebay for $20 (including shipping). Two of the cases were an old yellow-plastic color, and one was grey. The grey one, unfortunately, was slightly smashed on alternate corners.
I figured that with some spray paint, the yellow ones could look just as good as new. The best paint match I could find was from Krylon’s “Fusion” spraypaint for plastic line. “Satin Twilight,” #2440. It’s a decent match, but it’s a blue-based grey, where I really needed a red-based to get the slight purple hue.
The top half of the case has been painted. The cartridge slot where the “Super Nintendo” logo appears is the original color. The bottom half of the case is still the unappealing drab yellow. It’s been humid and raining, so I haven’t been able to paint it yet.
^ Here’s the SNES computer with the top off. It’s… a bit cramped, eh?
All these specs here are from memory right now… I’ll look up more details and / or provide links later.
The mainboard is a VIA EPIA M10000, with a 1Ghz processor. I’m using a Pico-PSU (tiny board where the orange and yellow is) paired with an external power supply (think of a laptop’s power setup). That memory stick is 1GB.
I’m using a 100GB Hitachi Travelstar laptop harddrive. This requires me to use a latptop hard drive converter to be able to use it with this non-laptop device. It’s the little black device in between the hard drive and the cable. The ATA device cable I’m using is a 10" round, which fits fairly well. I’m going to cut off the clear bits as they’re just in the way.
There are two USB ports at the back of the board, but as I want the SNES controller to USB converters to be plugged in at all times, I’m getting two additional ports out of an adapter that came with the board. (The business end is currently in the lower left of the case.) There were two firewire ports on this adapter as well, but I didn’t need them so I cut the device in half.
I’m still waiting for my SNES controller adapters to come in the mail, thus the conspicuous absence of controller ports on the case.
Right now, nothing is actually mounted in place. I have to do a bit of cutting on the back panel to allow the ports on the main board to stick out.
Oh, and see my high-tech power switch? It’s the pair of yellow-and-red wires sticking up. You just touch them together, and, voila! The computer turns on! I will hook this to the power switch on the SNES case eventually, but right now the wires work just fine.
My goal for right now is to install the latest stable Debian Linux release. Of course, I really have no idea how to go about doing that, so…
Can anyone take some time to help me out with this? I’d be extremely grateful!
As far as I can tell, I need one or more of the .iso files from this page. But I’m not sure which one I need, and that’s a lot of large files to download. I think I read somewhere that most users don’t need more than just the first three .iso files, so I’m downloading them right now.
If I’m not on the right track, someone please let me know. I’ll have more specific questions when I’m ready to begin the installation process, I’m sure.
Apologies for being a bit long-winded. Please leave your comments, questions, concerns, etc. Thanks!