Many people build their own PCs. Many of them do it because it can be cheaper, and many do it to have something completely custom for themselves. For me, it was a little of A, and a little of B. Despite having chosen the parts myself, there is a chance someone has a build just like mine - and if you only go by appearances, my build isn’t that unique. I have to fix that.
My case has two 5.25” drive bays, but in this day and age I don’t really need them. I’m not going to use an optical drive, I don’t need more hard drive or SSD bays, I don’t care for having a fan controller, and I certainly do not need a toaster bay. I figured one of those drive bays is the perfect place for me to make my build completely unique, but what do I put in there?
My thoughts turned to the two unused USB 2.0 headers on my motherboard. More USB ports would be nice, but I already have 9, and want to keep it an even number. Plus, more USB ports is neither cool nor unique. In the past I’ve used the Pi Zero’s USB OTG to have it act as a device rather than a host, which could lead to some cool things, but the idea of embedding a Pi in a drive bay didn’t seem to lead anywhere too exciting for me.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time playing emulated games on the desktop in the few weeks that I’ve had it. Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 8, and Super Smash Bros. all run really well. The only problem is that Xbox 360 controllers aren’t authentic.
A while after Super Smash Bros. for Wii U came out, Nintendo released an official GameCube to USB adapter. Shortly after that, third party peripherals came out that worked with both the Wii U and the PC. These adapters use two USB A male connectors (though one is just for power). As luck would have it, the 9-pin motherboard USB headers provide two ports’ worth of USB signals and power. Additionally, the GameCube controller adapter is small enough to fit inside of a drive bay. When I realized this, I ordered one of the adapters off Amazon, and started planning out my drive bay.
I plan to CAD out a custom drive bay, with holes for the four controller jacks. I will then build the enclosure, and take apart the controller adapter. I will then mount the adapter board to my custom enclosure and cut the USB A connectors off and solder the wires within to a 9-pin USB header. Finally, I will mount the whole thing in a spare drive bay and have a really unique emulation machine. I’ll be sure to post an update once the whole thing is complete, but for now I’m really excited.