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Does anyone know where I'm going wrong with improving my NES? I've owned it since new but it's been in storage for 15 years until recently.


Some of the games worked but intermittently. The first thing I did was cut the pin to the NES10 chip which worked. Then I manually bent the pins on the cartridge connector for a tighter grip and sprayed some WD40 branded electrical contact cleaner on the cartridges. This helped a bit.


Then I removed the 72 pin connector and boiled it as recommended elsewhere, and cleaned the motherboard connector with a fibre pen, then wiped it with nail varnish remover and cotton buds. Since then it hasn't loaded a single game. Just a grey screen.


I bought a new 72 pin connector, and cleaned every cartridge with the nail varnish remover and cotton buds, but still no joy.


I'm wondering if I've left deposits on the motherboard or cartridge connectors with the fluids I'm using?


The WD40 contact cleaner does say it's non-conductive, but that's why I used the nail varnish remover to clean afterwards. I have alcohol cleaner as well but I haven't used that yet.

Considering flowing some solder onto the motherboard pins, and then running desolder braid over it to keep the solder area small and flat.


Any other ideas?

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3 hours ago, Grinllord said:

Does anyone know where I'm going wrong with improving my NES? I've owned it since new but it's been in storage for 15 years until recently.


Some of the games worked but intermittently. The first thing I did was cut the pin to the NES10 chip which worked. Then I manually bent the pins on the cartridge connector for a tighter grip and sprayed some WD40 branded electrical contact cleaner on the cartridges. This helped a bit.


Then I removed the 72 pin connector and boiled it as recommended elsewhere, and cleaned the motherboard connector with a fibre pen, then wiped it with nail varnish remover and cotton buds. Since then it hasn't loaded a single game. Just a grey screen.


I bought a new 72 pin connector, and cleaned every cartridge with the nail varnish remover and cotton buds, but still no joy.


I'm wondering if I've left deposits on the motherboard or cartridge connectors with the fluids I'm using?


The WD40 contact cleaner does say it's non-conductive, but that's why I used the nail varnish remover to clean afterwards. I have alcohol cleaner as well but I haven't used that yet.

Considering flowing some solder onto the motherboard pins, and then running desolder braid over it to keep the solder area small and flat.


Any other ideas?

I noticed you didn't mention anywhere about cleaning the cartridge contacts on each of your games. Both the edge connector and cartridge contacts need to be clean in order to work properly. Just doing one over the other doesn't always work. Just my two cents.

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I've never heard of using nail varnish remover, I always use rubbing alcohol.

My first thought would be that the ZIF connector isn't quite in the right spot, as far as attaching to the motherboard. Sometimes you need to pull it out just a hair.

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So I just cleaned the motherboard connector with alcohol, then refitted the 72 pin connector and tested for continuity. Every pin was fine. So I cleaned a couple of games with alcohol as well, but still nothing loads. I'm very disappointed if I've killed my NES so easily even though it's my own fault.

 

Next up will be dismantling a cartridge and checking continuity to each pin while it's inserted.

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I've found that after disabling the 10NES chip that some of my games still didn't work. 9 times out of 10, it was because the cartridge connector was downright nasty. Disassemble them with a security bit and clean with a mild cleaner. I used to use Brasso before I knew better, which can strip the plating off the connectors. I switched to Barkeeper's Friend and that works great. It's more of a liquid than a paste/cream, and it gets the job done without screwing up the cart.

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4 hours ago, Silverfleet said:

I've found that after disabling the 10NES chip that some of my games still didn't work. 9 times out of 10, it was because the cartridge connector was downright nasty. Disassemble them with a security bit and clean with a mild cleaner. I used to use Brasso before I knew better, which can strip the plating off the connectors. I switched to Barkeeper's Friend and that works great. It's more of a liquid than a paste/cream, and it gets the job done without screwing up the cart.

Never heard of using Barkeeper's Friend, but I've used that for other things. I might have to give that a go myself. Cool idea!

 

I normally just use an ink eraser to clean the contacts of a cartridge. That has always worked for me. A lot of times you don't even have to take the cart apart.

ink-eraser-250x250.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

 

 

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Deoxit is recommended if you want an upgrade over isopropyl alchohol.

I would avoid most of the other stuff that has been mentioned.

 

Mitch

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I wouldn't have used varnish remover that's a new one on me.  I could only guess if the combination of stuff did something in somewhere on it.  Boiling should have solved it when nothing else does, and after confirming the correct alignment of the pin connector I'm leaning towards something getting killed and not just dying of old age on its own.

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Sadly I too am coming to the conclusion that I killed it. Here's the condition of the motherboard connector and a cartridge that a disassembled to clean. This time I'm only using alcohol and a piece of cardboard (I read that this is just abrasive enough to polish without damage).

 

1685547706_MBtop.thumb.jpg.394bc6ae54eedef467da21588595e130.jpg 470828980_MBunder.thumb.jpg.18dc37d4f85f42f3011023e868a21859.jpg

 

590597402_carttop.thumb.jpg.f7dc89cae9678cf9d1a62aac53a87ba9.jpg 1480927256_cartunder.thumb.jpg.d8c1b5c0b23c274b41b073e347303445.jpg

 

But what does anyone make of these solder joints on the motherboard?

 

1063809621_possbadjoints.thumb.jpg.67ceffef2ca316848dd6287b03ac3b8a.jpg

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Solder joints are as they are on there, nothing weird.  One thing that stands out but probably isn't it, the green layer that goes over all metals on the board (traces, etc) is pretty exposed up there along the pin connector there with some copper showing beyond the pins.  Did you eat that away with your working on it?  I know it's bizarre enough to point out for what I remember, but is it at all possible something is bridging due to that?  Got any tape, kapton tape or something you can lay over that as a test and fire it up that way?

 

I'm editing this even before hitting post.  That first image I'm seeing even more of the green rotted away left half of the pin array there beyond that line of little circles leading back from there those traces around the 1-5 pins is just gone down to the metal, and below that and right from maybe pin 8-12ish yet again.  If that metal is exposed, and given how the NES sits in there, if any metal is making contact with that you'll have a big problem there at the least not working, if not possibly blowing it out if it got some weird power feedback off it.  That entire bottom board should be a nice smooth uniform green layer to it other than the solder beads anywhere a chip, wire, etc poked through to seal it off.  I'm betting you dissolved far more than you wanted to there.

 

I don't see any obvious cap issues, cracked solder blobs from the outside, or cut or rotted out traces.  You didn't clean it and try using it still wet and blew something?

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Wow, that connector looks rough. Did you do all that, or was it already like that?

 

If you REALLY want to save this NES, you could take a cartridge port off of a Game Genie and solder it on there. I did that once...it kind of worked okay? But after finding out about boiling the ZIF socket, I undid the Game Genie mod and put it back how it's supposed to be.

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19 hours ago, Tanooki said:

Solder joints are as they are on there, nothing weird.  One thing that stands out but probably isn't it, the green layer that goes over all metals on the board (traces, etc) is pretty exposed up there along the pin connector there with some copper showing beyond the pins.  Did you eat that away with your working on it?  I know it's bizarre enough to point out for what I remember, but is it at all possible something is bridging due to that?  Got any tape, kapton tape or something you can lay over that as a test and fire it up that way?

 

I'm editing this even before hitting post.  That first image I'm seeing even more of the green rotted away left half of the pin array there beyond that line of little circles leading back from there those traces around the 1-5 pins is just gone down to the metal, and below that and right from maybe pin 8-12ish yet again.  If that metal is exposed, and given how the NES sits in there, if any metal is making contact with that you'll have a big problem there at the least not working, if not possibly blowing it out if it got some weird power feedback off it.  That entire bottom board should be a nice smooth uniform green layer to it other than the solder beads anywhere a chip, wire, etc poked through to seal it off.  I'm betting you dissolved far more than you wanted to there.

 

I don't see any obvious cap issues, cracked solder blobs from the outside, or cut or rotted out traces.  You didn't clean it and try using it still wet and blew something?

Thanks very much for looking at the details. When I did a continuity test of every motherboard contact to the cartridge connector, I only moved one probe at a time which means I would have noticed if one contact was being bridged to the next one. Does this rule out that issue? I don't see how anything in the NES design when full assembled could bridge those contacts, but I am disappointed in my casual mistake earlier on. I might try running it without the metal shield.

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I have many questions. First: did your NES actually work to begin with? If so...the only thing that needed to be done, if anything, was to clean your games and the connector. Glad you boiled it, too...much better way, as long as your are careful. Cleaning carts and other metal residue, use the highest strength isopropyl alcohol you can buy. But really, if the board is dust free, which can be done with compressed air, leave it alone. Clipping the security chip...not a great idea, especially if you have no need to do so. I noticed a system of mine that started going screwy hy doing that. Probably because by clipping the leg without unsoldering the entire chip first, I put stress on the remaining legs, possibly cracking the solder. Reflow those legs, if you can. Personally, I just leave them alone now...any multicart will allow you to play import roms.

 

And WD40...don't use it. It eventually will corrode metal, and if you get it on plastic, same thing. Just wipe any surface you put it on with isopropyl alcohol and you're good. 

 

Q tips, high power isopropyl alcohol and boiling the 72 pin connector are the only thing I ever do. From there, keep your carts clean and you'll be good. Always, always clean your used carts before putting them in your clean NES. 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

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21 hours ago, Grinllord said:

Thanks very much for looking at the details. When I did a continuity test of every motherboard contact to the cartridge connector, I only moved one probe at a time which means I would have noticed if one contact was being bridged to the next one. Does this rule out that issue? I don't see how anything in the NES design when full assembled could bridge those contacts, but I am disappointed in my casual mistake earlier on. I might try running it without the metal shield.

No you did right, but when it all put together there are metal plates maybe something is lining up right.  You have that large plate in the base, then the obvious top one over the cart slot.  Both sides have large wide (at least inch) spread out flat metal surfaces that may be making contact.  I'm just saying it's possible, and your little test wouldn't show that if you just checked from point A to B, not in between to see if there was open conflict, or did you?  It wouldn't be hard to seal it, even if you did something cheap and lame like colored nail polish some ladies would have in a makeup bag.  Anything to paint over the top, if need be use some masking or electrical tape, something to sheld the exposed spaces where it should be green.

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20 hours ago, atarilovesyou said:

I have many questions. First: did your NES actually work to begin with? If so...the only thing that needed to be done, if anything, was to clean your games and the connector. Glad you boiled it, too...much better way, as long as your are careful. Cleaning carts and other metal residue, use the highest strength isopropyl alcohol you can buy. But really, if the board is dust free, which can be done with compressed air, leave it alone. Clipping the security chip...not a great idea, especially if you have no need to do so. I noticed a system of mine that started going screwy hy doing that. Probably because by clipping the leg without unsoldering the entire chip first, I put stress on the remaining legs, possibly cracking the solder. Reflow those legs, if you can. Personally, I just leave them alone now...any multicart will allow you to play import roms.

 

And WD40...don't use it. It eventually will corrode metal, and if you get it on plastic, same thing. Just wipe any surface you put it on with isopropyl alcohol and you're good. 

 

Q tips, high power isopropyl alcohol and boiling the 72 pin connector are the only thing I ever do. From there, keep your carts clean and you'll be good. Always, always clean your used carts before putting them in your clean NES. 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Thanks for all your ideas and suggestions.

 

Yes my NES worked before I started doing any repairs and cleaning. Game loading varied from nothing to intermittent to ok, but the console definitely worked.

 

Chopping the pin on the 10NES chip was also successful. I had no further problems after doing this, but it was a great relief to not have any blinking red light issues.

 

I didn't ever use traditional WD40 on this NES, but my contact cleaner is made by the same brand.

 

I realise that multicarts are a great way to enjoy the original hardware, but I love owning and collecting the real cartridges.

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Today I tested that the 5 pins for the power / reset buttons were not bridged in any way.

 

Then I applied insulation tape behind the cartridge connector as suggested, and for good measure used a brand new 12v 2a power supply. I have read and seen it confirmed that the NES will accept a broad range of power inputs because the DC rectifier is internal.

 

I tried my previously disassembled and cleaned SMB2 cartridge, and still just a plain grey screen. I even tried the RF output but no change, and then tried two other random cartridges, but still no change.

 

It seems sad to write this off as I've owned it since new.

 

586432131_mbdamageinsulated2.thumb.JPG.2b5ce34b8fb4df5387b78bd220ffcc29.JPG 111726978_mbdamageinsulated1.thumb.JPG.14229bb66f7a7ffc2792446b3df0277b.JPG

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Probably something is dead with the CPU or PPU then most likely or some supporting hardware if you still can't find a break anywhere.  At this rate I'd call it a write off as it'll add up guesstimating which chips to buy off another dead system to see which makes it maybe work again which is costly and just sad.

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