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General information (FAQ)

What is Retrodapter?
Retrodapter is an adapter that lets you connect you old retro gamepads to your PC via USB.

It is fully plug-and-play with no drivers needed and has been tested to support the following gamepads:

  • NES
  • SNES
  • SEGA Master System
  • SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis 3-button controller
  • SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis 6-button controller (thought with some issues - see the FAQ)
  • Suncom TAC-2

Why is Retrodapter?
I wanted to be able to use my old real gamepads with emulators in Windows.

Under which operating systems does it work?
It's only been tested under Windows 7 and 8.1, but it should work with any windows from Windows 98 second edition and forward. Linux and Mac might also work but hasn't been tested.

How do I install Retrodapter?
It's fully plug-and-play so all you have to do is plug it into a USB port and it should install itself.

What issues are there with the Mega Drive/Genesis 6-button controller support?
Because I have tried to maintain compatibillity with both 6-button and 3-button controllers without using extra HW, there are som button combinations on the 6-buttons controller that will NOT work because the X/Y/Z buttons will be filtered away. The combinations that will NOT work is when the button state (pressed/not pressed) of the UP, DOWN and LEFT buttons are EXACTLY equal to the button state of the X, Y and Z buttons:

  • [UP, DOWN and LEFT button state] == [X, Y and Z button state]
You can get around this by adding an extra switch on the PC1/PC2 lines to allow the user to manually choose the type on controller (i.e. 3-button or 6-button), but I haven't done that and the code is not currently prepared for it.

Retrodapter uses a VID that is free for educational use only. Do NOT use this VID for anything that might get out of your lab.

You should consider getting your own VID/PID pair. You can get one at low cost by getting a commercial v-usb license from Objective Development.

Are there any good sources for information?
But of course. I've used information from the following sources to complete Retrodapter:

Anything else?
You are fully responsible for any and all actions you take using information and/or code or hardware from this site. Basically: USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!



The zip file(s) contains a schematic of the hardware and source code for the firmware.

Note that while this all seems to be working it has certainly NOT been thouroghly tested. Consider yourself warned :-)

A changelog is available in the download


Retropad is released under the GPLv2.

Retropad uses v-usb from Objective Development as USB driver. This driver is released under its own license and has a license file of its own included in the download.

/Olof Holmgren [olof@fulhack.org]

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