MiniNES – Non-NFC Guide

Here is a step by step guide for non nfc builders.

Thanks to Evan and his original work..

MiniNES: Projector

I found an $50 micro projector on ebay that has a USB power output. The 480 resolution is plenty for all the game systems!  Fits perfectly below the MiniNES case!

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I do get undervoltage warnings, but I should be fine as long as I have a clone image to use when my SD card goes corrupt.  Here is the link if anyone wants to take a chance on a “untested” “might be broken” “sold as-is” “no power cable included” projector

Mini NES Build w/ Functioning Cartridge Loader

Mini NES Build

This is a summary post about my Mini NES build.  This project is a derivative of the original efforts of DaftMike.  I used his 3D print files and basic source code, then reverse engineered the circuit from his Electronics Kit that allows the Raspberry Pi to talk to a NFC reader and an Arduino to control power.  Improving on the design with added features such as Fan Control and NFC Writing.  While also fixing bugs including lost Controller Configuration, Bad Power, and allowing  Out of Order Assembly.

If you are interested in making one of these, you can checkout my build instructions here:

Complete Guide: How to make a Mini NES~!


  • NFC Reader I2C will read tags to launch games AND write tags based on the last played game selected from EmulationStation. No additional devices or software needed to write tags.
  • Working Front Panel POWER and RESET Buttons with functionality not limited to launching games and safe shutdown of the pi.
  • Red Front Power LED (basic system status)
  • MultiColor RGB LED (advanced system status), can be disabled if distracting while playing with a simple double button press.
  • Power cut off circuit, similar to the popular Pi PowerBlock kits.
  • Cooling Fan turns on/off based on temperature.
  • USB Socket Extender to reposition the Raspberry Pi’s USB ports to the front of the case.

A full set of the design files (pcb and software) are available on Etsy (WestabyElectronics).



NES Raspberry Pi - 3D PrintedFront button alignmentButton AssemblyPCB: Pi Power and NFC wiringTesting fit of PCB design

MiniNES Progress Update

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Progress update on my rev2 boards. Returned from holiday and am picking up this project again. New boards fix all issues found on rev1 boards (see previous post and sale for those).

I am not taking sales yet. However, I can say that my kit will require soldering (difficulty=easy) and include the following: the PCBs pictured, switches, LED, USB jack. Not included: wire, solder, raspberry pi, arduino pro micro, fan, and NFC.

Features: This is a daftmike clone. Has identical features such as NFC, usb extender, fan control, and multicolor status LED.

MiniNES: NFC Progress Video

Today’s progress, tag reading !

MiniNES: NFC Wiring Diagram

This wiring guide matches the .ino arduino code titled “NESPi NDEF Reader/Power Controlller v0.1 [mike.g|jun2016]” and python code titled “NESPi Cart Reader v0.1 by mike.g”. Be sure to test the rPi power circuit with a multimeter after assembling before wiring into your rPi.

Note 1: This schematic is a draft, see comments for latest revision.
Note 2: The MOSFET part numbers listed are for surface mount kind, you can substitute with most any through hole package that supports 5 volts or more.
Note 3: This wiring diagram will become outdated if and when Mike posts updated arduino code.

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Cord Cutters and Data Caps

As people stream more video you may run into Data Caps. The average Platteville resident with CenturyLink internet has a 250GB Data Cap. Note: There are no Data Caps for the 1Gbs service.

Some rough numbers from Netflix and SlingTV put HD streaming at 750MB/hour and SD streaming at about 400MB/hour. If you only watch HD streams, you would hit 80% of your 300GB monthly data cap after 63 hours/week. Not too shabby.

What about UHD 4K streams? Netflix estimates those at 4-8GB/hour. If you only watch 4K streams, you would hit 80% of your 300GB monthly data cap after a mere 5-12 hours/week. Yikes !

OTA: Metal Monster

91XG Unidirectional Ultra Long Range DTV Antenna


Have you seen antennas that look like this around Platteville? You will usually see them on 30 foot towers. This is a long range UHF and VHF combination antenna.

Those antennas are expensive to have installed (the tower is the bulk of the cost). The height rule for VHF reception is 8 feet above your neighbor’s home OR 32 feet above ground. Meaning that a tower is normally required to get the needed clearance.

But did you know that Platteville receives no VHF channels?? All that height is overkill for the shorter waveform UHF reception.

For reception of Madison TV channels in Platteville, you need a good UHF only antenna. Do not worry about VHF reception at all. UHF antennas are small and do not need much of a clearing to aim into. A few hundred feet of clearing is fine. For height, 3 feet is best but will work with as little as 2 feet above your neighbor’s roof. UHF antennas can function when mounted 3 feet from ground~!!

Mount where it makes sense for your home. The link below is for good quality UHF only antennas.

Shullsburg is full of Smart People

I took a drive through Shullsburg last weekend, keeping my eyes out for home antennas and towers. Unlike Platteville, I found that nearly every home I saw in Shullsburg had a bow tie reflector type antenna that I recommend. Most were the 4-way ones (DB4 and Clearstream2). While in Platteville I still recommend 8-way type such as the DB8 or Clearstream4.

A quick review of tvfool for Shullsburg shows that they have 40 dBm more signal than Platteville. So I imagine that they can get away with a smaller 4-way antennas and no powered pre-amp.

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OTA Secrets

What is the secret to good TV antenna reception?  Using the right Hardware and Aiming.


You have to look at every part of the chain from the antenna to your TV. They all affect signal quality.

- Antenna – Collect as much signal as possible
- Balun – Older baluns can be less efficient
- Amplifier – Low noise and mounted near antenna
- Cables – Length is the important number.  However, older cables can be leaky and may need replacing
- Splitters & Connectors - 
Limit your number of splitters and connectors. Use exact cable lengths wherever possible.


The success of your antenna reception is highly dependent on good aiming strategy.

Go to and find the angle you need to aim. Walk around the outside of your home and determine a location where you can point in that direction and have a clear line of sight. Aim into fields, aim between houses, aim around trees, aim above houses.

If you have a clear line of sight and that angle just isn’t reliable enough, try spinning the antenna 180 degrees in the OPPOSITE direction to receive the bounced signal instead. If you have a lot of structures behind you, the reflected bounce can sometimes be stronger than your primary direction.

Remember: If your antenna has a built in electric rotor (like the cheapo chinese one), use it. The procedure to use the cheapo antenna’s rotor is:
1. Press the red rotor button on the power box and count to 1. This will rotate the antenna for approx 20-30 degrees in a direction.
2. Wait 5-10 seconds for your tv’s signal indicator to refresh. If you have a channel lock, you may have to wait up to 20 seconds for the picture to return.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, varying the duration that you hold the button. Example: Press for 1 second, release, and press for 2 seconds – will rotate in the other direction. Allowing you to “home in” on a signal.