15 Years have passed since the creation of one of the first few homemade portables made (by our recollection), along with Ben’s VCSp and the Portendo. To create his NESp, Tighe used readily available parts from Radioshack and electronic stores for an attainable Bill Of Materials for others to create their own style of NESp, before there was really any community at all to discuss such DIY endeavors. So let’s frost those tips, put a Nelly band-aid under one of your eyes, and drop Train’s Drops of Jupiter into your Sony Walkman and let’s take a trip back to 2001 as we walk to the theater to see the first Harry Potter Movie.
Completed in August 2001, Tighe’s portable NES was the first handmade portable that we had seen. This led us to the Benheck’s VCSp community page, later moving to the doomportables site, then on to the benheck forums – and the rest is history. While not as fancy as portables of today with CNC machines, 3D Printers, Vacuum-forming Tables, fancier project boxes from Polycase, and other construction methods of the like, Tighe took a straightforward design with printable decals to give it a sleek, understated look. Sporting a 4″ TFT Screen, incorporated controls, and an original NES motherboard and cart slot, it had everything you needed to enjoy classic NES games on the move, long before the process was as streamlined as it is today with supercomputers inside your pocket right at your fingertips.
A Radioshack Project Enclosure was appointed to house the electronics for this build. At a size of 8x6x3 inches, it had the perfect proportions to house the NES motherboard, albeit a bit thicker than required at 3 inches deep. The Screen, controls, and speaker were placed in the case first, with the appropriate cuts made into the case to actually to use them. The NES motherboard was placed on top, put in backwards so that the cartridge labels face forward.
All the parts wired and ready to go. Due to the front loading, push down design on the NES carts, the slot was wired in a way that may look backwards, but if you imagine folding the NES cart over when it’s plugged in, it is the correct orientation. The rf box was removed for space and a video amp created for proper composite video into the screen. 2 controllers were used for the buttons, wired up and trimmed slightly for placement on the front sides of the case.
You can find more information abut the NESp here at the NESp blog, and more recent projects of his on his blog. Tighe now spends his time in New York with his family, coding, collecting/restoring old Consoles, Pinball Machines & Arcades, and reviewing beers.