Episode 284: Nintendo Classic Edition Teardown with David from Technophiles

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    Special guest David from the Technophiles podcast gets his hands on an NES Classic and shows it to Ben. Ben addresses one of the biggest shortcomings of the NES Classic by showing you how to extend the controller and hook it up to an oscilloscope to check the integrity of the signals!  He’ll also show you what’s inside the box and do a tear down of the hard to find retro console!

     

    The first thing The Ben Heck Team did was unbox the NES mini. They found some manuals, a poster of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, some power and HDMI cords, the controller, and the unit itself.

    Following the unboxing of the NES Classic Ben does a teardown of the controller and the unit itself. The controller uses a single sided PCB to save money.  There’s power, ground, serial data, and serial clocks. They’ll be looking at the signals from this using the oscilloscope. David also brought his Wii Pro Controller to try with the system and Ben takes that apart as well. It uses the same chip as the NES Mini Controller: WCP405. This means you can wire things up to the PCB of the NES Mini Controller and turn it into a pro controller.

    After he’s done tearing apart the controller he does a teardown of the unit itself.  He discovers a heat sink and a thermal pad. The main board contains the system on a chip, hdmi, and all the power connections.  There’s an ARM processor, 256 mb of RAM, 512 MB of Flash storage memory, and a power management chip. On the back there is a chip that takes a parallel RGB image data and turns it into LVDS, differential signaling for HDMI.

    Ben hooks the controller up to an oscilloscope to check the signals. They use the oscilloscope to read the BUS. After checking the I2C Bus on the scope Ben is confident he can extend the cord with little difficulty.  Next, he hooks up the Wii Pro Controller to compare the difference.

    Finally, Ben looks into extending the controller cable. Ben wires an Xbox One cable to the NES Mini controller to extend the cord. If they are able to see a difference in the signals from the extended cord and the included cord for the NES Classic Mini it could shed some light on why Nintendo chose to include the shortened code.