DIY: How to add connectors for *SNES gamepads


The information provided on this page does not affect the upcoming Retrode 2, which comes with 2×2 game controller ports by default.

The Retrode supports the connection of up to 4 *SNES gamepads. Here’s how they have to be wired. Please note that there is not much space in the Retrode case itself, so a break-out cable solution might be best.

You need:

  • Soldering iron and solder.
  • Gamepad connectors, e. g. unsoldered from a multitap adapter.
  • (per connector) 5 isolated wires with stripped ends.
  • Phillips (cross-head) screwdriver.
  • Tools for making a cutout in the case.
  • Basic knowledge in using the above.


  1. Open the Retrode case.
  2. Identify the headers J5, J6, J7, J8, and locate pin 1 on J5 and J6 (see the layouts below to find pin 1). The gamepad connectors have pin 1 at the round end.
  3. Connect pins 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 of J5 with gamepad connector #1, and J6 with connector #2.
  4. (optional) Connect J7 and J8 with pin 4 of gamepad #3 and #4, respectively. Add pins 1, 5, 6, 7 from either J5 or J6 according to the schematic below.
  5. Come up with a clever solution for the mechanical mounting, and put everything together.

Finding the connectors

Depending on your hardware revision, the gamepad connectors may be located differently:

v3-gamepadconnection v7-gamepadconnection
v0.3 v0.7



Device configuration (optional)

The Retrode is a USB composite device with various different interfaces to the host computer. When SNES gamepads are connected as described above, they behave like USB joysticks by default. Alternatively, gamepads #1 and #2 can be configured to act as USB keyboards with user-definable key mappings. In order to define the behaviour of the Retrode’s gamepad interface, proceed as follows:

  1. Locate the file retrode.cfg in the Retrode’s root directory, and open it in a text editor.
  2. You are now free to edit the following settings:
    • [keyboardMode] — when set to 1, gamepads #1 and #2 are mapped to USB keyboard strokes.
    • [gamepad1] — Edit these 12 numbers to define the key mappings for gamepad #1. Details can be found in the configuration file.
    • [gamepad2] — key mappings for gamepad #2.
    • [nesMode] — allows for connection of NES gamepads instead of SNES ones.
  3. When you are done with the editing, save the file (please be patient, as writing to the EEPROM takes some time). The changes will become effective immediately.
  4. In order to restore factory settings, delete the first line in the retrode.cfg and save it.