How to repair Gameboy common problems

How to fix Nintendo Gameboy common problems

How to repair Gameboy commom problems

How to fix Nintendo Gameboy common problems
How to fix Nintendo Gameboy common problems

Recently, I came across a Gameboy at Goodwill for $6.99. While inspecting it I noticed the battery contacts where very corroded but the Gameboy was complete albeit very dirty likely from years of use and the lack of the previous owner taking good care of it. I couldn’t test the Gameboy before I bought it but I thought I could use a low budget trick to clean up the battery contacts to look nearly new.

When I got home I tried to turn on the Gameboy with new, fresh batteries but it wouldn’t power on. I wasn’t very surprised though because the battery contacts where nasty. Here’s some before pictures.

Gameboy DMG Battery Corosion
Gameboy DMG Battery Corosion
Gameboy DMG Close Up of Battery Corosion
Gameboy DMG Close Up of Battery Corosion

What you need:

  • Small flat blade screw driver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • White distilled vinegar

How to remove the battery contacts

I used a small flat blade screw driver to get underneath the battery contacts and then used needle nose pliers to pull out the battery contacts.

Gameboy DMG Battery Contacts Removed
Gameboy DMG Battery Contacts Removed

Cleaning the battery contacts with vinegar

Gameboy DMG White Distilled Vinegar
Gameboy DMG White Distilled Vinegar

White Distilled Vinegar does a great job of eating through the corrosion on the battery contacts. All you need to do is soak the battery contacts in the vinegar for a few minutes. You can see the corrosion bubble right off. You can also use a flat blade screw driver to scrape off any corrosion that doesn’t bubble off on it’s own while it’s soaking.

Soaking the Gameboy DMG battery contacts in white distilled vinegar
Soaking the Gameboy DMG battery contacts in white distilled vinegar

After 5 minutes of soaking I removed the battery contacts and cleaned them up with water. Next I soaked them in some Rubbing Alcohol and then dried them using a paper towel before reinstalling them into the Gameboy.

Here’s a close up of the battery contacts installed:

Gameboy DMG Cleaned Battery Contacts
Gameboy DMG Cleaned Battery Contacts

Note: This picture was taken during testing and before the final cleaning of the Gameboy

Does it work now?

I reinstalled the batteries and tried to power on the Gameboy and to my delight it turned right on! This is proof of a cheap DIY fix for a non working Gameboy. There was a catch though…

I did notice that once the Gameboy turned on that some of the lines on the lcd were not being displayed. Luckily there’s a DIY fix for this too.

How to fix the lcd screen when lines are missing

Gameboy DMG LCD Missing Lines Pixels
Gameboy DMG LCD Missing Lines Pixels

A common problem with Gameboy LCD screens is missing lines in the screen. This is usually caused by a bad connection in the LCD cable. When you heat up the cable and apply pressure on it the lines will disappear.

Non official Nintendo Gameboy LCD Fix it tool =)
Non official Nintendo Gameboy LCD Fix it tool =)

All you need is a hair drier or a heat gun. You want to heat the cable where it’s missing lines. Take a look at the picture I added for a better description:

Heat Up Gameboy LCD and Press Down Cable
Heat Up Gameboy LCD and Press Down Cable

Final Result

Gameboy DMG LCD After LCD Fix
Gameboy DMG LCD After LCD Fix

After heating up the cable and applying pressure it looked perfect! Hopefully this information helps somebody with similar problems with their Gameboy.

How to fix ROB the Robot

NES Deluxe Set Box Front

I recently picked up an original NES Deluxe set from a garage sale for only $40. It was a complete set and in the original box with Rob the Robot! Obviously I couldn’t pass up a deal this good.

Here’s some pics of the NES Deluxe Set Box for your viewing pleasure =)

NES Deluxe Set Box Front
NES Deluxe Set Box Front
NES Deluxe Set Box Bottom
NES Deluxe Set Box Bottom
NES Deluxe Set Box Back
NES Deluxe Set Box Back
NES Deluxe Set Box Side
NES Deluxe Set Box Side
NES Deluxe Set Box Styrofoam
NES Deluxe Set Box Styrofoam
NES Deluxe Set Box Contents
NES Deluxe Set Box Contents

Upon returning home to test it I found that everything worked perfectly except ROB wouldn’t move up or down. I was able to fix ROB so I thought I would share some knowledge on what I did to fix the problem.

How to fix ROB

It’s much easier to fix him if you turn him upside down. This is due to the fact that ROB is filled with gears and if he’s upside down the gears will not fall out when you remove the screws that hold ROB’s torso together.

NES ROB Repair - ROB Turned Upside Down
NES ROB Repair - ROB Turned Upside Down

Once the ROB’s torso screws are out the inside will look like this:

NES ROB Inside View
NES ROB Inside View

When ROB can’t move up or down it’s almost always do the the front gear/axle assembly. Back in the day Nintendo glued a part of it together and over time the glue can dry out and when that happens the gears won’t turn on the axle. Below is a picture of the gear I’m talking about:

NES ROB Inside Problems
NES ROB Inside Problems

All you need to do is remove of ROB’s as well as the gears that move the arms. Next you can remove the gear/axle assembly and put super glue on the part listed in the previous pic.

Reassembly

It’s much easier if you prop up ROB’s arms when you put him back together. You need to make sure everything lines up otherwise you will have to take it apart again because it will not work unless it’s lined up perfectly.

The outcome

Nintendo NES Blue LED Console Mod

View of Blue LED modded Nintendo NES

Nintendo NES Blue LED Console Mod

One way to make your Nintendo NES stand out is to remove that boring old red power LED and replace it with a different color LED of your choice.

I recently installed a blue LED in my NES so I took pics and figured I’d do a write up for someone if they wanted to do this mod. It doesn’t take a lot of skill and it’s very inexpensive to do. I hope you enjoy my DIY how to.

Requirements:


A Nintendo NES (duh)
Soldering Iron
Solder
De-soldering braid
LED (duh again)
Phillips screwdriver
About 20 minutes total time (or more depending on your skill level) to take apart the NES and solder in the new LED

Tools required to install the new led on the Nintendo NES
Tools required: Soldering Iron, Solder, and De-Soldering Braid

Lets begin!

Start taking apart the Nintendo NES:
1. Remove the 6 Phillips screws from the bottom of the Nintendo’s case.

View of the bottom of the Nintendo NES showing the 6 screws that need to be removed.
View of the bottom of the Nintendo NES showing the 6 screws that need to be removed.

2. Remove the top case and unscrew the 7 Phillips screws that attach the metal casing. Remove the metal case.

View of the 7 screws that hold on the metal shielding on Nintendo NES
View of the 7 screws that hold on the metal shielding on the Nintendo NES

3. Remove the 4 Phillips screws that attach the game cartridge caddy. Slip out the caddy.

View of the 4 screws that attach on the cartridge caddy on the Nintendo NES
View of the 4 screws that attach on the cartridge caddy on the Nintendo NES

4. Remove the final 2 Phillips screws that hold in the NES motherboard.

View of the 2 screws that hold in the Nintendo NES motherboard
View of the 2 screws that hold in the Nintendo NES motherboard

5. Re position the motherboard out of the way and remove the 2 Phillips screws that secure the Power/Reset board.

View of the 2 screws that secure the power-reset board in the Nintendo NES
View of the 2 screws that secure the power-reset board in the Nintendo NES

Now plug in your soldering iron and get your de-soldering braid ready. Desolder the old LED and remove the plastic light spreader with it.

Make a note of the polarity of your new LED because it WON’T work if you install it the wrong way. The way you can tell the polarity of the LED is by looking at the legs. One leg will be longer than the other. The longer leg should be on the right side if your looking at the NES from the front. If you install it with the wrong polarity it won’t damage it or the NES it just won’t light up.

View of the Nintendo NES LED polarity
View of the Nintendo NES LED polarity
View of the Nintendo NES light spreader and stock Red LED
View of the Nintendo NES light spreader and stock Red LED

Insert your new LED into the light spreader and solder the new LED into the power/reset board.

Put the NES back together and enjoy your new colorful NES power LED.

View of Blue LED modded Nintendo NES
View of Blue LED modded Nintendo NES

I hope you found this DIY how to helpful. Please leave me a comment if you feel so inclined.

Happy gaming!

How to take apart (open) the Nintendo NES-001 (Toaster)

Nintendo NES with top cover removed
Nintendo NES
Nintendo Toaster NES

It’s very easy to take apart the original toaster style Nintendo NES. You only need a standard Phillips screw driver and optionally a dental pick tool.

Nintendo NES Tools
Nintendo NES Tools
  1. Flip the NES on it’s top and remove the 6 screws from the bottom of the NES
  2. Remove the top of the NES and set the NES on it’s bottom like normal
  3. Remove the 6 screws holding on the metal shielding
    Nintendo NES top cover removed exposing metal cover
    Nintendo NES top cover removed exposing metal cover

  4. Remove the cartridge caddy by removing the 6 screws that hold it in place. Take note that the 2 silver screws are longer and remember to put them back in the same spot.
    Nintendo NES with top cover removed
    Nintendo NES with top cover removed
    Nintendo NES view of game cartridge caddy
    Nintendo NES view of game cartridge caddy
    NES Repair remove game cartridge caddy step: a
    NES Repair remove game cartridge caddy step: a
    Nintendo NES remove game cartridge caddy step: b
    Nintendo NES remove game cartridge caddy step: b
    Nintendo NES View of Motherboard and 72 pin connector. Game cartridge caddy removed.
    Nintendo NES View of Motherboard and 72 pin connector. Game cartridge caddy removed.
  5. Remove the last 2 screws that are located near where the power supply and component cables plug in.
  6. Now you can remove the motherboard from the NES.
    Nintendo NES Motherboard with 72 pin connector removed
    Nintendo NES Motherboard with 72 pin connector removed
    Nintendo NES Motherboard Removed
    Nintendo NES Motherboard Removed

How to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair Nintendo NES common problems

How a Nintendo NES game cartridge looks in the 72 pin connector
Nintendo NES Toaster
Nintendo NES Toaster

A very common problem for the original style “toaster” NES is when you put in a game and turn on the NES that you only get a blinking red power light and the system won’t play the game…This symptom can be caused by multiple factors so lets first understand what’s really going on here.

Nintendo installed a lockout chip (also known as the C.I.C. Chip) on the motherboard of the toaster NES. Note: The newer style “Top Loader” NES does NOT have a lockout chip on the motherboard. Nintendo implemented the lockout chip to try to stop non licensed games from being produced for the NES. Because of this lockout chip every officially licensed NES game has a chip in the game cartridge that syncs with the NES’s Lockout chip when you turn on the NES. When you turn on the NES the lockout chip on the motherboard looks to sync with the game chip. If the game doesn’t have the chip present the NES will then restart once every second because it “thinks” you have a non licensed game. Now that you understand the lockout chip and how it works you can better understand how to fully diagnose the NES.

Nintendo NES Motherboard Version 10 from 1987
Nintendo NES Motherboard Version 10 from 1987
NES Motherboard with Lockout CIC Chip Highlighted
NES Motherboard with Lockout CIC Chip Highlighted

It’s pretty simple to disable the NES lockout chip. You need to open up the NES and get it down to the motherboard. I’ve attached a picture for you to see where the lockout chip is located on the NES motherboard. All you need to do is cut pin 4 on the lockout chip. The way I cut it was by using a pick tool (looks like the one a dentist uses to scrape your teeth). All I did was pull pin 4 out of the chip and viola! No more NES lockout chip! Once you do this your NES will not restart once every second if you don’t insert a game.

Nintendo NES Motherboard after Lockout Chip (CIC chip) has been cut
Nintendo NES Motherboard after Lockout Chip (CIC chip) has been cut
NES Lockout CIC Chip Close Up View
NES Lockout CIC Chip Close Up View

Repair Nintendo Problems

Another common problem with the NES is a bad connection between the game and the NES motherboard itself. This is caused by the infamous “72 Pin Connector” that the Toaster NES has. This connector is very sensitive to dirt and dust and dirty connections will almost always be the culprit. Sometimes the 72 pin connector itself is bad due to it getting bent or broken but this is more rare and a good cleaning should at least be tried to restore it back to original functionality.

I hate the Nintendo NES 72 pin connector from the Toaster!
I hate the Nintendo NES 72 pin connector from the Toaster!

Once you take apart the NES you need to slide off the 72 pin connector. Just wiggle it back and forth until it slides off.

Pulling the 72 pin connector off the Nintendo NES motherboard
Pulling the 72 pin connector off the Nintendo NES motherboard

With the 72 pin connector off the NES motherboard you can now clean the pins with a 50/50 mix of alcohol. I’ve always had good luck with the 50/50 alcohol but there are other ways you can do it. I dipped Qtips in alcohol and then scrubbed off the pins on the motherboard. Using the other end of the Qtip or a clean rag wipe off the contacts until they are clean and dry. As you scrub the contracts your Qtip will turn black. The black is all the dirt and crud accumulated of the 25 plus years the NES has been around.

Now that the NES motherboard is clean you can turn your attention to the actual 72 pin adapter. Over time it gets worn out and dirty so the first thing you want to do is clean it off using the same 50/50 alcohol.

The infamous Nintendo NES 72 pin connector in all it's glory!
The infamous Nintendo NES 72 pin connector in all it's glory!

Take a Qtip and dip it in the alcohol and run it over both rows of pins on the 72 pin connector. Use the other dry end of the Qtip to scrub the rows clean and dry. Just like when you clean the NES motherboard your Qtip will turn black.

Since the toaster NES has you put in the games and then press the game down into place, this bends the pins on the connector over time. They get stuck bent down and it give you little or no connection from the game to the motherboard. To fix this you can use a dental pick or a very small flat blade screw driver to bend these pins back up into place.

How a Nintendo NES game cartridge looks in the 72 pin connector
How a Nintendo NES game cartridge looks in the 72 pin connector

Nintendo NES 1 VS NES 2 – Differences in the Toaster VS the Top Loader

Nintendo NES Control Deck Box

This article will include information on both the original NES, sometimes referred to as the “Toaster NES” and the NES 2 usually referred to as the “Top Loader”.

Nintendo NES Control Deck Box
Nintendo NES Control Deck Box
Nintendo NES Action Set in Box
Nintendo NES Action Set in Box

The toaster came out in 1985 in the US. It was test marketed around the U.S. in New York and California.

Nintendo NES Top Loader Box
Nintendo NES Top Loader Box
Nintendo NES Top Loader and Controllers
Nintendo NES Top Loader and Controllers
Nintendo NES Top Loader in open box
Nintendo NES Top Loader in open box

The Top loader came out in 1993. It does have several differences from the original NES:

  • Only RF output
  • No Power LED
  • New “Dog Bone” style controllers

The Top Loader is more rare but the funny thing is the Toaster gives a better video signal due to it having composite out (instead of RF Out only like the Top Loader has). You can mod the Top Loader to have composite out like the Toaster so that’s something to think about.