FamiLAB Orlando and a SNES (Super Nintendo Emulated System)

FamiLAB is a hackspace in Orlando, Florida that Eben and I had a really great time visiting back in October. It’s hidden away in an industrial unit – it’s a big space, with its own commercial-sized CNC milling machine, 3d printers, laser cutters, an in-progress replica of the Bridge from Star Trek: TNG, some traffic lights, a cherry picker and a whole bunch of computers – broadly speaking, it’s pretty close to heaven. And it’s full of some great people, who use the space to get together, eat pizza, learn things (just this week their timetable include tutorials with the Pi, with Arduino, a microcontrollers show-and-tell session, a learn-to-solder session and an intro to Scratch), and make really, really cool stuff.

Ted from Familab has made a Raspberry Pi SNES hack with a difference. We see quite a few really nice little projects where an old console is gutted, a Pi stuffed inside, and the games run on the Pi. This is a bit different. It’s not just a casemod; it’s a Super Nintendo emulated on the original hardware; and it even reads (and stores the information from) old cartridges; it can write saves to them too!

This is not a project for beginners; its scale may be a little intimidating for those new to electronics. However, Ted’s documented what he did, from planning through research and construction, in minute detail, making this project easy to emulate once you are comfortable with a soldering iron.



Brian avatar


Mac Rutan avatar

This project is one of the most intense RP projects I have seen. Ted has gone to the nth degree with features on this! He has integrated the pi in such a way that the original feel of the hardware’s behavior and functionality are true. He installed an Arduino to manage the power down procedure between the SNES console and the RP. Check out his documentation as Liz pointed out:

Congratulations Ted on an amazing project!

yakko TDI avatar

First: HOLY CARP!!

Second: They are not in Orlando. Longwood, Florida is in the next county about 30 minutes from Orlando.

The_Dragonn_29 avatar

My god, I cannot throw money fast enough.

toxibunny avatar

Nice job, especially with writing savefiles to the original cartridges, but it’s all for nought if the SNES picture doesn’t fill the whole of the TV screen…

Ted (Waterbury) avatar

toxibunny, Retroarch fills the entire screen, but is slower than the SNES9x 1.39 I had running in that video. SNES9x 1.39 is hard coded to run at 320×240, and if I fix the video modes for the Pi, I could get SNES9x to run in full screen, as well.

Due to time and energy constraints (The blog was over 7 pages) I haven’t properly compared the emulators with benchmarks and screenshots as I should. I’ll probably get around to it, though.

toxibunny avatar

Is it possible that all you have to do is adjust the overscan/framebuffer size in config.txt?

Waterbury avatar

Yes. I thought I set it up correctly, but apparently didn’t. :)

toxibunny avatar


John Knight avatar

Blimey! If he were to sell such a thing, I know many enthiusasts would buy it! While the SNES isn’t a platform I’d be chasing, such work applied to the Commodore 64 is something on which I’d spend good money.

uXe avatar

Excellent work Ted!!

(I only wish I could get this kind of front-page exposure for my Raspberry Pi GameBoy project!)

Waterbury avatar

uXe. That’s amazing! You totally should. Liz, check that out!!! :D

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