My NES stopped working last night...

Dio Brando

Mickey's Coach
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Posts
577
After over fifteen years of undying service, my NES was unable to boot up Contra, only giving me a constant blue screen. I tried everything I could for a couple hours, blowing on the cartridge:D, adjusting the cartridge in the NES, trying different cartridges, different cables, bending the pins on the connector (which I replaced about eight months ago for more reliability), re-seating the pin connector, cleaning the connectors, and nothing seemed to work.

I know that this forum is not the best place to ask, but I thought I should start with people I am a little more familiar with. Does anybody have any ideas of what else can be done, or is there someone here who has the knowledge to repair it for me? Buying a new NES is NOT an option here. This NES has given me too many wonderful memories to just desert it. My NES alone is probably the reason I have come to love playing old school systems in the first place. Plus, I know this is a little silly, but with having a childhood with four sisters and no brothers, I consider the NES as my brother, someone who would spend "man time" with me back in the day. I cannot let him down now.

I will do anything to see my NES work again. Please help me.
 
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rarehero

Rotterdam Nation Resident,
20 Year Member
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Jan 12, 2001
Posts
13,396
Does reseating the pin connector have anything to do to tightening the slot for a better connection?
I think that's what my dad did when I was younger.
It works good, but it's a bear to put in and take out the carts.
Can't really say much else without looking at the system itself.
It's nice, the attachment you have to it, but replacing the console wouldn't
be that difficult or expensive.
And then you could just do something fun, like bronze it or have your
remains placed in it when you die.
 

pepelegit

Pleasure Goal
Joined
Aug 15, 2009
Posts
146
two major things.
1) if you replace the 72 pin connector, stop pushing the cart down unless absolutely necessary. the replacements tend to be significantly tighter, which means they don't actually require the game to be pressed down.
they also seem to have more of a 'memory' than original ones, which means that if you *do* keep pushing the carts down, the pins remember their new position pretty quickly, and a replacement connector can go sour inside of 6 months.
2) the chronic reset is the result of a poor connection preventing the nes from making proper contact with the lockout chip in the cart (it's even more sensitive than the game in terms of requiring clean connections). the good news is that you can eliminate the lockout check and eliminate the reset issue. then it's just a matter of getting a good enough connection for the data to tranfer (which is significantly easier). try googling nes lockout chip disable or something like that.
any questions, feel free to pm me.
 

Zenimus

Zantetsu's Blade Sharpener
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Apr 11, 2005
Posts
2,446
I don't know anything about disabling the lockout chip, but usually the endless reset on startup is simply due to a malfunctioning pin connector.

Getting a new one will make the games run on the first try about 90% of the time. But yeah, like pepelegit said, you don't need to "click down" the games anymore with a new connector.


EDIT: Oh, and don't use a Game Genie after you replace the connector. Game Genie's were made for the looser fitting original connectors, so if you try it with a tighter, newer one, you'll bend the pins all up. I learned this the hard way... :D
 
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Moon Jump

Alfred Garcia's Butler
Joined
Jun 1, 2003
Posts
5,904
My NES is from 85' and was in a house fire back in 99'. I got a new pin connector for it and it works much better now. It's really easy to do, just open it up, replace the old one and screw the new one in. The new pins are REALLY tight when you first start using it, but I'm getting much less gray screens and blinking red lights. I still have to jiggle the carts from time to time to make some games work. But always make sure your games are clean. Going through my cart collection after the fire was horrible. I lost a lot of games, but I was able to save some of them. They really needed a good cleaning. A little rubbing alcohol and a q tip does wonders.
 

pepelegit

Pleasure Goal
Joined
Aug 15, 2009
Posts
146
I don't know anything about disabling the lockout chip, but usually the endless reset on startup is simply due to a malfunctioning pin connector.

yeah, i'll clarify, in case anybody is interested.
if you've got a really bad connection (everything is filthy or the pins are all bent out of whack), then the system can't read your cartridge. this generally causes a) a blank screen, or garbled mess, or something similar and b) the blinking reset.
the blank/garbled screen is because the system can't read game data; the reset occurs because it can't read the lockout chip. that's why an empty nes blinks (no cart means no lockout chip).
design-wise, the purpose was to prevent unlicensed games from working by building a system that would reset itself if it was fed merely game data (a cart without the proprietary, patented, and heavily protected lockout chip built in). most companies producing unlicensed games either bootlegged the chips or created carts that would 'short' the lockout test after several resets, thus bypassing it (wisdom tree used this method). if you're curious, the second method was to keep from getting sued for bootlegging nintendos lockout chip.

what i was getting at is that the lockout is more sensitive to flawed connections than the game data is. that's why sometimes you'll get a system that resets without a blank screen. you'll see the splash screen for a second, it'll reset, and then repeat. disabling the lockout test prevents the reset. (of course, if it *also* can't read game data, then the connector is likely the primary issue). as a side effect, the system will stay on with no game in it after the chip is clipped.
so yes, it's the connector preventing the chip from being read, but you can buy yourself some serious wiggle room by disabling.

just in case anybody was curious as to what i was trying to say there.
it's not something that necessarily *needs* doing, but i've found it makes a significant difference for me, and once you've got everything apart to replace the 72 pin connector, there's little reason *not* to do the extra 30 seconds of work...
 
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SonGohan

Made of Wood
20 Year Member
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Aug 22, 2001
Posts
23,654
Really, just buy a new one. If you're so gay for your old NES then put it on a shelf and make a little tombstone for it. I mean, you can buy systems for like $5 now.
 

ki_atsushi

So Many Posts
No Time
For Games.
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Really, just buy a new one. If you're so gay for your old NES then put it on a shelf and make a little tombstone for it. I mean, you can buy systems for like $5 now.

More like $30, they have become more valuable over the last few years since retro gaming has become the "in" thing.
 

Dio Brando

Mickey's Coach
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Posts
577
Thanks for the input, everybody. I have to admit that I made a serious error in my problem description, which I have changed. I meant to say that when the cartridge was properly inserted, it would only give a steady blue screen, and if the screen did flash, it would flash from one blue screen to another (no blue to black screen, which it normally should do, if I recall).

I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with the 72-pin connector, because it is not even a year old, and I bent the pins to see if it would improve the connection. I even tried the old one, which still sort of works, to see if I was just unfortunate enough to have a defective replacement. No such luck.

I have also noticed some flaws on the NES's board, including a small chunk missing on a couple of the metal plates that you connect the 72-pin connector to ,if that makes any sense. This may be the problem...

Thanks for that site, darcotrigger. I will look into it, though it might cost me a pretty penny.

For now, I guess I will let my NES have the rest it deserves.:crying:

And then you could just do something fun, like bronze it or have your
remains placed in it when you die.

You know, I always half-joked having my NES buried with me when I died. I like your idea of my remains in it even better.
 

SonGohan

Made of Wood
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More like $30, they have become more valuable over the last few years since retro gaming has become the "in" thing.

Are you looking online? I was just in a pawn shop the other day and saw a system with 5 games for $10.
 

pepelegit

Pleasure Goal
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Aug 15, 2009
Posts
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depends on where you are, i suppose. where i am, they go for about $50 (CDN) in the pawnshops, and $20-40 in 'thrift' stores. even yard sales are asking at least $20 these days. everybody 'knows what they're worth,' and thinks they should get the same for the one they've had supporting a table leg for the last ten years.
yay for the interwebs; it's almost impossible to find anything locally that isn't being considered 'collectible' by the seller. (and most of it really *isn't* collectible)
 
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