I received an original Nintendo for Christmas many years ago, but after several years it stopped working. I think most people with a Nintendo were familiar with the blinking screen, and usually this could be fixed by blowing on the cartridge. Eventually even this failed to work to fix the blinking screen, so my Nintendo just sat around broken for the last 20 years.
On a recent trip to visit my parents, I cleaned out a lot of childhood things from their house, and I found my old Nintendo and a few games. I only had a few games total, but all that’s left is Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt, Super Mario 3 (my all time favorite) and Tetris. Rather than throwing everything away, I decided to bring it back to my house and see if it could be fixed. I figured I could search online for a solution, attempt to fix it, and if I couldn’t, I would finally get rid of it.
I found several useful You Tube videos and web postings on fixing the original Nintendo system and learned which parts need to be taken off to get to the actual piece of hardware that reads the games. The main problem with broken and blinking screen Nintendo is that the game cartridges are read by a connector with lots of metal pins, and over time they get worn down and also covered in grime. Sometimes the whole part–the 72 pin connector–needs to be taken off and replaced (less than $10 to buy a new one–so much cheaper than a Wii, and 1000% more awesome), but I decided to first try just to clean it really well.
I finally made time to work on this project this weekend, and start to finish I probably spent 45 minutes on it–and that includes taking it back apart again since the game slot wouldn’t click into place when I reassembled it all, so I had to loosen a few things to fix that. I also cleaned the cartridges themselves really well with rubbing alcohol and Q-tips.
Here are the steps I followed:
Take off the cover.
Take off the metal shield.
Remove the game cartridge holder.
Clean the metal pins with rubbing alcohol, a toothbrush and Q-tips. I didn’t remove the 72 pin connector, just cleaned it in place. If it does need to be removed for more cleaning or to replace it, it just slides off–but I did read it might be on there pretty tight.
My Facebook friends got a sneak peek of this since I was so excited I had to take photos with my phone and post them immediately. But I wanted to turn it into a blog post since it wasn’t all that hard to fix, and it actually worked.
Guess what we’re doing for my 30th birthday party? On the same trip home, I found my New Kids on the Block, Vanilla Ice and Debbie Gibson cassette tapes—soundtrack? Check! Entertainment? Check!