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22 August 2021

Repair & Single-Cable Mod for Grado SR80 Headphones

A month ago I bought a broken pair of Grado's entry level SR80 headphones on eBay. I had heard rumors of the Grado sound, and I actually found a pair of SR60s at Goodwill that I really enjoyed using. I wanted to see what the difference in sound was between the two models. Spoiler: there is a slight difference in sound, but you really have to A/B them. I prefer the SR80s but would be just as happy with the SR60s.

At the time, Grado were actually preparing to launch the SR80x, so low stock on their S-series had driven prices up. I figured a broken pair should work fine for me, as long as the drivers weren't damaged.

The photos in the auction listing showed a broken cable and detached driver assembly:

All the pieces were intact, and the seller was very candid about the condition they were in, so I bought them.

When I inspected them on arrival, I found that they appeared to have been crushed. The force of the crush had driven the driver part of the assembly into the outer housing, shearing off one cable completely and damaging the cable on the other. Later Grado designs for the ear cups prevent this from happening (the inset part containing the driver runs deeper so it rests against the outer cup).

There was also some scratching and wear on the plastic, a tiny split in the vinyl headband cover, and damage to the plastic grille on the detached ear cup (which you can see in the second photo above).

I was happy with my purchase and couldn't wait to get to work.

Part 1: The Cable Mod

The original cable on Grado headphones is exceptionally nice. It's heavy, well-shielded, long, and overall better than most headphones at their price point. I hate it. For me, the cable is heavier than the headphones itself, which means the SR80s are off-balance in use. It's thick, difficult to coil and store, and easy to twist, since the ear cups can rotate 360-degrees. The plug is too thick to work with anything in a case. Plus, I just don't like Y-cables. If you can have a single cable running to the left ear, why would you not do that? And ideally, make it replaceable?

Luckily, there's a mod for that, and I'd already done the mod on my Goodwill SR60s. I'm not going to go into detail, since this video covers it. I can't embed the video, but it goes through the process of loosening the glue with a hair dryer to pull apart the ear cups, then mapping wires, boring holes in the plastic casing, and all that good stuff.

I made a few adjustments to the video instructions - I threaded the cable through the headband cover to hide it, as well as a couple other minor tweaks. The big tweak was relocating the entry of the cable, since I was using a thicker, nylon-covered cable to give it a retro look. The cable enters at the top of the outer case, about 4mm back from center to clear a bump of plastic on the caliper that holds the ear cup in place. I don't have a photo of that bump, but here's how I routed the cable in.

The ear cups still need to pivot for proper fitting, and it's easy for the cable to get in the way of that. When I modded the SR60s, I routed the cable in at the top of each ear cup, but the cable prevented them from pivoting up/down in the caliper. I had to file a groove in the plastic bump on the caliper to get them to sit right. Anyway.

The cable was trimmed just long enough so that when both ear cups are fully extended (the largest size setting the headphones have) the cable stretched past the diameter of the ear cup by about 10mm. That gave me just enough room to solder the wires in place.


The cable I used has copper wire with an enamel coating (you can sort of see it in some of the upcoming closeups). To solder those wires, I found a YouTube video that explains the process. Very briefly, with the enameled wires exposed:

  • Heat your iron to 400 degrees
  • Dip the exposed wires in rosin flux
  • Melt a blob of solder on your iron
  • Run the enameled wire through the solder blob until it adheres

The combination of the flux and heat will burn off the enamel coating and get the wires tinned nicely. Thanks AJ! (He has more great DIY & coding videos on his channel, so check them out.)

I reassembled the headphones, tested them, and they actually sounded really great! So the cable mod was a success.

Part 2: Aesthetics

Now the for the rest of the damage. The side that had broken off is usually held in place by a press-fit mechanism: there is a hole punched in the spring steel headband that snaps in place on a round bump inside a plastic piece. Since that bump had been damaged whenever the headphones pulled apart, that side wouldn't stay in place. I just used hot glue to reattach it.

The plastic grille on the ear cups was cracked. I tried using Super Glue to fix it, but there just isn't enough plastic to hold well. So I figured why not just replace them? And why not do it with style? I already used the sharp-looking red nylon cable for the single-cable mod. What if I had a red grille to match? Maybe a metal grille? And why not a nice leather headband?

The leather headband part was easy (sorry, I forgot to take photos). I de-soldered the right side cable and pulled the plastic mount off the steel headband spring. I threaded the exposed cable wires through the hole in the headband spring and used heat-shrink tubing to keep it in place while I threaded the (much tighter) new leather headband cover onto the spring. Then I carefully cut the heat-shrink and gently finished pulling the cable through with pliers.

With the headband in place, the next step was to get rid of the broken grille material. It's just plastic, but held in place with what looks like black epoxy. I was able to cut it out with an X-Acto knife.

 That of course left a bunch of material in place on the inside of the ear cup as well as the back of the "SR80" badges. The badges I could sand down pretty easily.

The ear cups needed a more extreme solution.

This had to be done carefully, since the shape of the ear cups affects the acoustics of the headphones. I didn't want to carve out too much plastic, just remove enough of the old plastic grille from where it was glued to the inside ring. I was mostly successful.

I purchased the cheapest speaker covers I could find on Amazon and a can of red spray enamel from my local hardware store. I didn't get a clear coat, since the grilles are recessed and shouldn't see a lot of scuffing. Time will tell.

I traced the circumference of the ear cup on the back of the grille and cut it out with shears, making sure it fit well by cutting a little big and continuing to round the edges while test-fitting.

The glue holding the old grille in place was difficult to remove completely. There was a lot of scraping, fitting, and more scraping, by hand and with the rotary tool. I wanted the new grilles to sit as flush as the originals against the inside taper of the headphones.

The new grilles will also affect the sound, I'm sure, since they are metal instead of plastic, and are a little more dense. The perforations are smaller. Fortunately (unfortunately), my hearing is garbage overall, so such nuance will be lost on me.

Using JB Weld epoxy, I attached the new grilles, and then the badges. Placement of the badges is probably a little off, since I just eyeballed them.

Once that was allowed to completely set, it was time to reassemble. Since I'd already done all the cable measuring and soldering once, doing it a second time was easier. I also took the opportunity to deepen the groove the aux jack sits in so the ear cups could be pressed back together closer to the original tolerances. When assembled, there should be about a 9mm space for the ear cushion to attach.

I used a blob of hot glue to keep the wires from pulling out of the ear cups.

A thin line of hot glue was enough to glue the parts of the ear cups back together, and almost gave me enough working time to get everything adjusted to that 9mm gap.

I debated doing the next step, but figured why not. I'd already put plenty of time into these headphones, but I liked them enough that they were going to be my daily drivers (snicker). I might as well go all the way. So to fix the last aesthetic issue I had (barring the scratches & scuffs, which I think gives them some character), I decided to paint over the worn silver lettering with red enamel.

Using a toothpick.


The only thing better would be finding a leather headband cover that uses red thread, but I need to be done with this project sometime. I had considered making a leather headband cover (I have leather, red thread, and an 80-year-old Singer), but I didn't feel spending the extra time when, honestly, the professionally made cover would look better.

The broken headphones were US$35. I bought two red aux cables, new ear pads, the leather headband cover, speaker grilles, and spray paint. The headphone jack & various glues I already had. Overall, I spent about US$78 and five hours on them, not counting epoxy & paint dry time. A third of that cost was the headband cover! But in the end, I think they turned out well.

Part 3: Grado Prestige Series Overview

If you're looking into Grado headphones, the sound is definitely something wondrous. They aren't heavy on bass, though they can handle it if you crank the bass in your equalizer settings. They're very mid-heavy and they sound very open, as though you're listening to a live performance or very nice speakers. If you listen to music that tends to emphasize vocal performance or acoustic instruments (classical or jazz) definitely try them out. I've been enjoying them with guitar pop and electronic music.

So far they sound great to me, no matter what I throw at them. I'm sure the higher-end models will have more detailed sound, but I'm afraid a lot of nuance will be lost on me. Thanks tinnitus.

From bouncing around the internet, here's a quick breakdown of the differences between Grado's Prestige Series models:

  • SR60: The Grado Sound with no frills. Better sound than most headphones its price.
  • SR80: Slightly improved over the SR60 (tighter bass, brighter).
  • SR125: Again, slightly improved over the SR80, padded headband.
  • SR225: Noticeably better than the SR60 overall, but not so much over the SR125.
  • SR325: Metal housing instead of plastic, leather headband, top-of-the-line materials & tuning.

The difference in sound is apparently noticeable between the SR60 and SR325, but incremental from model to model as you go up the chain. What you gain with the upper levels are better materials and slightly better sound tuning. If you can afford the SR325, go for it. If you just want "the sound," the SR80 is probably the best sound/cost ratio. Some day I hope to get a pair of SR325s, or better still, the cream of the crop RS2e!

Not sure if I'd mod the expensive ones...

...well, I might.

20 January 2019

Add TRS Midi Out to the Korg Volca Keys

This is going to be a shorter post than usual, since this was actually a pretty straightforward modification.

I wanted to add a MIDI out port to my Korg Volca keys. People have done it before, and there are plenty of posts around the internet detailing the process. But one thing they didn't detail was how to add a more Volca-friendly 3.5mm TRS jack to handle the MIDI.

One of the nice things about the Volca series is how consistently sized they are. I didn't want anything sticking out or crowding the controls. Attaching a raised, 5-pin MIDI jack to the side was out of the question. I still wanted it to fit in my Volca rack with the others, or even in the Sterilite pencil box I use to protect it when I bomb around (seriously, it was 50 cents at a garage sale and might as well have been made for a Volca).

So I wanted to use a regular, 3.5mm stereo jack for MIDI, one that would sit nicely with the rest of the jacks on the face of the Volca, and one that used the "standard" (there is no standard) cable style instead of the Korg-only style. Even though the Volca is a Korg product, I'm hoping I can source any future cables or adapters a bit easier if they're not specialised.

Here's the result:
The trick was getting the pins to match up so my generic 5-pin adapter would actually transmit data. I used the pinout detailed in the post I linked to above, and then gave it my best guess. There was a bit of re-soldering, but now we can all learn from my trial-and-error.

First, I cut three wires a little long, then wrapped them around the circuit board to where the jack would be mounted on the front panel. I cut them shorter, leaving a little extra just in case. Then I soldered them to the pads Korg thoughtfully left. You can find them right next to the Molex plug that connects both boards.
Then I soldered each wire to its proper pin on the TRS jack I was using. In case this is your first outing, TRS stands for Tip, Ring, Sleeve, describing the poles on a typical stereo plug. You really only need three poles for your 5-pin MIDI, so it's okay.

I ended up using the open jack in the photo because a) I had them lying around from another project and b) it was a bit shallower than the full-case version, giving me about 2mm of clearance once the Volca was reassembled (there isn't much space in these things at all).

Here's a crude photo indicating which pads connect to which poles:
If you want to use a Korg-specific 5-pin cable or adapter, just swap the TX and VD wires.

The tricky part is drilling through the case of the Volca. I ended up drilling a pilot with a smaller bit, just to make sure everything was lined up properly, stepping up the sizes bit by bit (literally) until I had a hole large enough for the threaded part of the TRS jack. If you try drilling right away with the largest bit you need, you run the risk of catching it on the plastic or metal and messing up your nicely placed drill hole.

The issue I then ran into was that the jack wasn't long enough to reach through the Volca's case, which was a thicker layer of plastic and the slightly thinner metal faceplate. If you run into this issue, remove the metal faceplate (be careful, since the hex screws are held in place with small black nuts that will go away quickly if you don't hold onto them).

With the faceplate removed, widen the hole in the plastic until you can fit the body of the TRS jack through. Sorry, I didn't take photos of this part, but you want the main body of the jack to fit through the plastic and mount only to the metal faceplate, which is rigid enough to keep it pretty solid.

Mount the jack in place and reassemble everything, making sure none of your wires are pinched. Remember to plug the Molex back in.

Then plug in your adapter and use your Volca Keys as an on-the-go MIDI keyboard for another synth!
It's especially nice to have it hooked up to a Monotribe (with its own MIDI modification) so you can play actual notes instead of relying on the ribbon keyboard.

03 December 2018

Modify a MicroKorg into a desktop synth

I bought a MicroKorg off eBay, and got it cheap because 10 of the keys didn't work. It's always a gamble with "as-is" tech that's sold for parts, and this time, I lost. I was hoping it was just dirty contacts, since the MK looked kind of beat up. I figured that since it worked otherwise, there weren't any bigger problems than the contacts, and I could always use a MIDI keyboard if I had to.

When I opened it up and took a look at the keybed, I found that an old liquid spill had eaten away at the traces. There was some bubbling under the surface, and tiny bits of the copper traces had long ago flaked off. I did attempt to clean the board and re-connect the traces with conductive paint (and failing that, solder) but it wasn't meant to be.

Whatever it was, it was still kind of gummy. I think it was beer.
Here's a closeup of the broken traces. I could see the spaces when I held it up to the light.
I decided it wasn't the end of the world if I chopped off the mini keys and turned the MK into a desktop unit. Since that's probably why you're here, I'll get right to the steps.

Here's what you'll need for this project:
  • A radial arm saw or something that will cut straight. Really.
  • An electric sander or sanding block for shaping what you don't cut straight
  • A drill, with appropriately-sized drill bits for your screws
  • Some scrap wood, about 1cm (1/4") thick
  • Wood moulding or something for the front panel
  • 12 small 1mm thick washers--I used some from a "pop-rivet" kit
  • Various wood screws--at least four, two shorter screws and two long enough to get through your front panel
  • Wood stain if you want to do that
  • Maybe four new rubber feet, since you'll lose the front feet
  • Probably your MicroKorg, otherwise why bother

Step 1: Gut it.

Seriously. Unscrew and remove the wood cheeks. Take the base off, disconnect the two molex plugs that connect the Pitch/Mod wheels and keybed to the MK proper, and take the main board out of the case. We'll be cutting the plastic case, so we don't want random bits all over the circuits. There are plenty of disassembly videos and walkthroughs online, so have at it.

You don't have to remove the metal panel with all the knob labels, so there's a small comfort.

Step 2: Measure twice, cut once.

You only have one case to work with, here, so be careful. Looking at the top of the case, there is a lip across the front above where the keys were. I used that as a guide, marking off a straight line across the left side where the Pitch/Mod wheels were, and the right side, where there's a slim part that the wood cheek is screwed to (don't cut the wood cheeks yet, remove them!).

See how the lip comes down behind the keys? We want to keep that. Also, this MK is fully assembled. Don't be that guy.
The cheeks are something I'll address later--you'll have to trim them down, just not yet.

I used a radial arm saw to cut from each side because for some reason I actually have one. I was a little generous on my cut on the left side (you can see the extra bump in the photo below), and needed to sand down some extra plastic. When I was done, the top lip stretched from side to side. That's going to come in handy later.

You may have noticed I didn't remove the MK's innards. Be smarter than me.
The base is the same thing. I foolishly tried to score it with a razor, but my cut went crooked. I'd recommend that if you can saw it along a straight guide, do that.

Step 3: Make the front panel.

I used a piece of oak moulding from a hardware store for this. It's a little over 1cm thick and already bevelled. I measured across the case to make sure that when I cut it, the front panel would be flush with the left and right edges.

Once it was cut, I had to trim off another 8mm or so from the bottom, leaving about 1-2mm sticking up (and down) past the plastic case, like the wood cheeks do. I sanded it smooth, since the plan was to stain it in an attempt to match the original wood cheeks (I was marginally successful using a cherrywood stain, though I think Korg were going for walnut originally).

You can make it whatever height you like, of course.

Step 4: Fit it all together.

Without the keybed in place, the plastic case has nothing in front to keep its shape. If you tighten the four front screws, the top cover will collapse inward. To counter that, I used four small washers stacked together to make a spacer for each of the screw posts in the front. Once I had that figured out, I reassembled the MicroKorg.

You can see the washers I used to keep the top from bowing in, as well as the unused Molex connectors for the Pitch/Mod wheels and the keyboard. Those you can just tuck into the case.
Here's the full length. I've already cut the wood cheeks, but I cut them for a thicker front panel that I ended up hating.
An article I saw elsewhere said to drill holes into the screw posts and use those to mount the front panel. I didn't want to weaken what's already a rather flimsy plastic case (and also aim so precisely), so my solution was to cut three wood pieces from 1cm (1/4") thick scrap wood to use as mounting blocks.
Literally one screw holding it at the bottom.
They're 3-4 cm wide, and tall enough to span from the base to the top when wedged inside. I had to cut a notch into the top of each one to make room for the mainboard--it comes very close to the front of the MK. The front panel will actually screw into the thicker part of the wood spacer.

Here's one of the wood spacers in place (the notch is on the other side at the top, against the mainboard). Notice how the spacer is only screwed into the bottom panel--the top is held in place by the plastic lip.
Here's the spacer with my original, too-thick front panel in front of it, hole drilled and ready to go.
I used a single screw to screw each wood piece in place from the bottom of the MK, trying to keep the wood 1-2mm in from the front to account for the overhanging lip on the top panel. That didn't work too well, but it's all inside, so whatever.

I marked the front panel about 3cm in from each side, trying to keep them centered vertically, and drilled some small screw holes. To countersink the screw holes, I used a larger drill bit, a little thicker than the diameter of my screw heads. Then I attached the front.

I took this photo after it was all stained and reassembled, but you can see the inset screw.
The screw at the bottom of each wood spacer keeps it in place at the bottom, and the lip on the top panel of the MK does the same for the top, pulling the front panel in without having to drill anything into the top panel. It's all sturdy enough to give you something solid to mount the front panel. With just two screws holding in place, I can carry the MK around by the front panel.

I reattached the cheeks and marked off where to cut so they stuck out about 2mm in the front (you can see that in the photo above). I then taped them back-to-back and sawed them off, using an electric sander to round off the top front corners. Then I measured about 2cm from the bottom and 2.5cm from the front, and drilled new mounting holes, using the larger-drill-bit technique to sink them. That way I could use the original screws.

I screwed the back part of each cheek in place and used double-sided tape to keep the front from moving once it was lined up, then drilled through my pilot hole into the plastic case. Using the original mounting screws (you'll have a couple longer screws left over from pulling the keyboard if you want to use those), I attached the front of each cheek.

The original hole, upper left, and mine, lower right. I didn't want to drill into my front panel for I don't know why.
That's it. Most of this is done to your taste, so if you want to use something else for a front panel or replace the original cheeks or add a PEZ dispenser, that's yours to decide. I think the only thing I really have to add to the larger "MicroKorg mods" conversation is my solution for mounting the front panel as invisibly as possible, and maybe warn you about the case flexing without spacers.

I did have a third wood spacer in the center, but screwing into it would put the front mounting screw off center (there's a screw post just to the right of center, so it would be a tight fit). Luckily, the two screws seem to hold the front panel on tightly enough that I don't have to offend my aesthetic by having a single, off-center screw in the front.

Ready to rock.
I'm sorry I didn't take more photos, but have fun modifying your MicroKorg!

25 January 2017

Building the PiCart RetroPie housing

I saw Zach's writeup on his Pi Cart RetroPie build, and just had to try it. Definitely follow his instructions--they're really easy, and he covers a lot of the potential pitfalls. This post doesn't cover anything new, I just figured I'd document my foray into what it was like to put one together with stuff I had on hand. The second hardest part of this project was getting my hands on the Pi Zero, since Adafruit has them in and out of stock at random. The hardest part was winding all the cables inside the cart to make everything fit.

Here's the stuff I collected for this project:

1 16GB Sandisk MicroSD card (Class 10; speed is important)
1 Micro USB to USB-A adapter (the super small kind)
1 male to female Micro USB adapter
1 4-port USB hub (Link is to the one Zach used)
1 Nintendo cartridge of your choice
1 USB Wi-Fi adapter (optional)
1 USB Drive for ROM transfer

1 3.8mm Security bit
1 Box cutter with new blade
Hot glue gun
Lots of patience

As usual, click on the photos to make 'em bigger if you want to.

Zach's instructions use an Amazon Basics 4-port USB hub, which is only about $6. But I have USB hubs lying around, so to keep costs down, I used one that had two ports on one side and two ports on the opposite side. This way I could plug the WiFi dongle in at the back and add a bluetooth dongle later if I wanted. Power usage is a concern, though, so I probably won't. All you really need is two accessible ports for two controllers, and you can always unplug a controller to update ROMs via USB drive.

Before you start, maybe test the Pi to make sure it works. I've never had a problem with any Raspberry Pi boards, but you never know. Download the RetroPie image (you want the Raspberry Pi 0/1 version for the Pi Zero) and follow the instructions on the RetroPie page for installation. Plug the card in and boot the Pi, ideally with a controller attached. If everything works, assemble your PiCart!

I got everything together and opened up the cart using the security bit. There are a few free alternatives online for opening the cart, but trust me, buying the security bit or screwdriver is worth it.

There isn't a whole lot of room inside an NES cart, even though the thing is mostly filled with air. I pulled out the original game board and marveled at how big it was compared to the Pi Zero.


The Pi Zero needs to be held to be believed. It's about the size of half a graham cracker square.

Or about a fifth of a dollar bill.

I laid down a towel so the tiny parts wouldn't bounce away too easily, then got all the pieces out to assemble. The cables were all stiff and new (especially the HDMI adapter), so I figured I was in for a challenge.

The new guts.

The USB adapter is tiny...

...but it works.

I started by following Zach's instructions, and kept modifying as I went, since I was using a different hub and cables. The HDMI adapter connected to the Pi, the USB adapter plugged the hub into the Pi, and the male-to-female Micro USB adapter felt way too short...but would probably work.

So far, so good.

I was originally planning to keep the shell on the USB hub, since it seemed to fit as it was, but I decided to open it up to create a little extra air flow. The Pi Zero runs pretty cool, and it won't be handling any demanding games, but it does warm up while you play. This RetroPie will be set up to play the classics, because nostalgia. Those were the best games anyway. Don't judge me.

The USB hub isn't powered, and the Pi Zero doesn't put out a whole lot of extra power, so I scrapped the plan to add a bluetooth dongle. I wanted to keep the Wi-Fi dongle, though, for updates and metadata scraping.

I scored the divider on both halves of the cart, then pushed it to snap it off. It actually broke pretty cleanly. Then I sanded it smooth, mostly to rough up the plastic to give the hot glue a bit more purchase.

The Pi goes right about there.

Then I spent a stupid amount of time just moving stuff around and bending wires to find the best fit. There's really no preparing for this, you just have to figure it out through trial and error. The HDMI cable is NOT very flexible, so that took precedence. I was able to wedge it against the middle screw post to keep it bent.

I eventually got down to figuring out what to layer and how, making sure the USB cable threaded underneath the HDMI adapter cable. The HDMI had to wind over the corner of the USB hub's PCB, so I figured the natural gap underneath would be enough room for the Micro USB adapter cable.

I hot-glued the HDMI, Micro USB adapter, and USB hub in place at the front of the cart. They had to be there no matter what, so I figured with them glued down I'd have a better grasp on how the cables had to run. I built up a small layer of hot glue under the USB hub to raise it up a bit before gluing it in place. The Wi-Fi dongle fit nicely against one of the other mounting posts inside the cart.

That upper left USB port stays unused.

I ended up shaving flat the HDMI adapter and peeling the excess plastic off the USB plug on the USB hub. They were both just too thick, and with everything contained within the NES cart, they wouldn't be exposed to the elements or physical abuse.

I might have shaved a bit too much off the HDMI cable and damaged the shielding; time will tell. I also had to break off the power input on the USB hub to make room for the HDMI cable, and in doing so, I took out what looks like a fuse. The hub still works, though, so I'm going to optimistically assume it was a fuse for the now-missing power port. 

The Belkin USB Hub I used had a ridiculously long, metal USB plug under the plastic. It's that entire 2" metal thing in the second photo below. Really, who asked for that?

The winding process.

There! A super-tight fit.

Once the cables were mapped out and mostly in place, I adjusted the Pi to put as little stress on the plugs as possible and marked the mounting holes by digging the end of a push pin into the plastic of the cart. I placed hot glue blobs over the marks, let them dry, then plugged in all the cables, positioned the Pi, and (holding everything so it didn't move) pushed more hot glue through the mounting holes to fix it in place. With just the four points glued down, the Pi would be easier to separate from the cart if needed, and it would have some air flow all around it while it worked.

I wasn't too concerned with only two exposed USB ports, since all functions can be done with two--ROM load and controller or keyboard, or a two-player game. The Wi-Fi dongle was inside, so technically didn't take up any space. It's like a secret bonus functionality, and it's less likely to get lost in there. I put a dot of hot glue behind it so it wouldn't get jarred loose.

Having only two USB ports left a big ol' gap in the front of the cart, though. I wanted this to be a self-contained kit with a dedicated USB drive for transferring ROMs, so I figured I'd hot glue the cap for the USB drive in place as a kind of dock. That way, the USB drive can't get misplaced quite as easily. I left the string attached, clipped off the metal bit, and the string can be tucked inside.

Obligatory note on ROMs: Downloading them is shady at best. They're out there, but play fair. What's nice about the RetroPie is having all of my favorite games in one place, on a system that can plug into my new TV without a UHF adapter. If it's so handy, why am I keeping all my original consoles, carts, and discs? Because nostalgia. Don't judge me. If there's a fire, I'm totally jumping out the window clutching my SNES. The cat can fend for itself.

Built-in USB, storage.

The only thing left was to reassemble the cartridge. I meant to buy a few phillips screws to replace the Nintendo security screws, but never got around to it.

Not too shabby!

The Pi Zero performs really well for anything up through the Sega Genesis/Megadrive era. With two controllers plugged in, the hub works with no power issues. I was able to scrape a bunch of cover art via Wi-Fi with no hiccups.

Kudos to Zach for coming up with an easy-to-follow idea. The Pi Cart is a head-turner and a fun (and portable) way to play with your RetroPie build. I did this one as a Christmas present for a friend of mine, and he was really happy to get it. It sits nicely in his current library of NES cartridges as a sort of stealth option for when he gets tired of blowing on the real carts to get them to play.

It's nostalgia. Don't judge him.