Restoring your NES

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Getting your NES to work again…

The pins that connect the cartridge to the NES’s motherboard get bent down

from years of cartridges being pushed in and out. These really affect

the contact points needed for a good connection from the game,

resulting in a flashing power LED and TV screen. Here is how to fix it.

  1. Open the NES. Undo all of the screws you see, except for the 2 near the controller ports. Flip it over and take off the top.

  1. Remove the RF shield. This is the shiny bit of metal that covers the cartridge loading mechanism.

  1. Unscrew the spring-loader, and remember where the 2 different coloured screws went.

  1. Once the spring loader is off, you can carefully

lift the LEFT side of the board to flex it up slightly, allowing you to

slide the connector off the motherboard. It will be quite stiff and

difficult to get off, so wiggling from side to side usually does the trick.

  1. Now that we have the connector off, it is time to get tedious! Get the

smallest flat-head screwdriver you have (those precision ones work

well) and start lifting (very gently) the 32 pins that touch the cartridge, one by

one. I’m left-handed so for me, it was easiest to start from the right

and work my way left.

  1. Now that all the pins are lifted, carefully put the NES back together. TIP: the spring loader has a lip underneath it that has to fit under the motherboard at the front. If you don’t do that, the games won’t *click* down.

  1. Clean your games!

Put some warm water on a cotton bud and rub anything shiny in the

cartridge, black stuff comes off, this is good. When you have done

that, use a dry cotton bud to dry up any wetness, more black stuff

comes off!

Now your NES should work much better! No more

flashing!(well, not as much; it is over 20 years old!) I’ve found that after

this restoration that the games work better if you don’t press them

down with the spring loader; that’s just to do with the way the pins

are now sitting.

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