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AuthorTopic: NES frustration  (Read 1615 times)

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Offline bbond007

NES frustration
« on: April 04, 2013, 12:23:54 AM »
I inherited a NES system with a lot of games (many the same titles unfortunately), 6 controllers a few light guns and some really retro looking infrared wireless controllers. I also have a lot of manuals for games(unfortunately many for games I don't have). It also came with a contact cleaner kit for the cartridge slot.

this NES had difficulty working at all but if I messed with the cartridge and slot enough it would eventually start working. Typically it would have corrupt graphics or a flashing power light or both. When it works, it works fine until the next time you insert new game then its the same thing over again.

I read on the internet and diagnosed this to be a faulty cartridge connector inside unit. I ordered a new one of those off ebay and really optimistic the problem would be fixed as I could tell there was a lot more resistance when inserting a cartridge. After that I would typically get flashing power light and sometimes corrupt graphics. After endless fooling with the cleaner thing and cleaning the cartridge contacts with electrical cleaner and q-tip it would work... until you change the cartridge.

Reading some more I was convinced that I needed to disable the nintendo lockout chip, so I did that following this guide:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Portable-Game-System/step16/Disabling-the-Lockout-Chip/

I tried to bend up the pin to make it easier to solder a wire to but it broke off.

Reading on, grounding the pin was optional so I still OK... or so I thought.

Now the thing behaves about the same but instead of the flashing light I just get a grey screen or corrupt graphics. Eventually it works, but its not any more consistent than when I originally got it.

So, what is the deal? Are the cartridges all shot? Maybe thats why I have so many duplicates. Or maybe the connector I got from ebay is no good although everyone else seemed to have good luck with this vendor and it looked new to me. something else?

any ideas would be appreciated.
 

Offline CritAnime

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Re: NES frustration
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2013, 12:45:15 AM »
Replacing the 72 pin connector can sort it however you will find if your getting grey or garbled graphics it's probably crud on the carts. Best thing to do is buy a cleaning kit off the net that contains two solutions. One is white and removes the built up crud the second is a weak alcohol that removes the white stuff and any remaining crud. You will also need to a special bit to remove the screws in the cart case.
 
When openening the carts pay special attention to how the PCB fits in the plastic case. You need to make sure it goes back in the right way.
 
Also the new 72 pin connector can be tight when first used. It is reccomended to start with cleaned newer carts before using some of the older, launch titles. the older carts used a thicker pcb that could wreck the new 72 pin connector. It rare for it to happen but it's best to start with newer carts because the pcb is thinner and helps break in the 72 pin connector. Also don't leave carts in over night because undue stress on the connectors can cause damage over time.

Offline XDelusion

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2013, 12:45:21 AM »
Hmmm, replacing the cartridge connector usually does the trick. I assume you cleaned the contacts on the cart with a 50/50 water alcohol solution as well?
Earth has a lot of things other folks might want... like the whole planet. And maybe these folks would like a few changes made, like more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and room for their way of life. - William S. Burroughs
 

Offline bbond007

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 12:48:05 AM »
Quote from: XDelusion;731189
Hmmm, replacing the cartridge connector usually does the trick. I assume you cleaned the contacts on the cart with a 50/50 water alcohol solution as well?

I was using radio shack electrical cleaner in an aresol can. I was just spraying a little bit on a q-tip. Maybe I should not use that...

Quote from: CritAnime;731188
Replacing the 72 pin connector can sort it however you will find if your getting grey or garbled graphics it's probably crud on the carts. Best thing to do is buy a cleaning kit off the net that contains two solutions. One is white and removes the built up crud the second is a weak alcohol that removes the white stuff and any remaining crud. You will also need to a special bit to remove the screws in the cart case. .

Good idea. I'll see if I have the screwdrivers. I know I have a screwdriver with bunch of odball bits I use to work on my apple stuff.

thanks.

I'll report back once I try. You guys are probably right that my cartridges are just really bad.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 12:58:59 AM by bbond007 »
 

Offline XDelusion

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 12:50:41 AM »
Quote from: bbond007;731193
I was using radio shack electrical cleaner in an aresol can. I was just spraying a little bit on a q-tip. Maybe I should not use that...


Not sure, never used that before. I figure if it is getting the gunk off the carts and you are blowing on them and allowing them to dry before you try to use them again that there shouldn't be any damaging effects with what you are using.
Earth has a lot of things other folks might want... like the whole planet. And maybe these folks would like a few changes made, like more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and room for their way of life. - William S. Burroughs
 

Offline CritAnime

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Re: NES frustration
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 12:54:10 AM »
the 50/50 solution doesn't work for all carts. Some carts have lots of corrosion on them that need almost polishing in order to get working. Trust me I spent weeks cleaning my bloody carts with 50/50 and then for some to do the exact same thing. I got a cleaning kit off the net and now even the ones that refused to work now work perfectly.
 
http://www.nintendorepairshop.com/products/78-1-Nintendo-NES-Total-Repair-Kit/
 
This is what I bought.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 12:58:57 AM by CritAnime »
 

Offline mrknight

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 12:55:06 AM »
Grey screen or flashing power happened all too often when I was a kid. When it happened, I just took the game out and blew in the cartridge. Most often it was all it took to get it to work.

From what I know now, it was probably a bad idea to blow at the connector in the cartridge with your mouth; warm moist air, perfect for corroding metal. I think it would be better to clean the connector with isopropyl alcohol. If you have changed the cartridge connector in the console, I recommend you to clean the connectors on the game.
 

Offline spaceman88

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 01:04:53 AM »
Hi,
I used to be an authorized Nintendo tech. back in the 1990's. The security chip only comes into play with "illegal" games like a 72 in 1 cart. 99% of the time it's the 72 pin connector and the games. The best way to clean the games is to take them apart and scrub the gold contacts with chrome polish (Nintendo recommended "Turtle Wax" brand) then wipe them off with wet paper towel. Do not blow in the cart.. A dirty game will quickly contaminate a new connector, sometimes the first time you put it in. If you have a good connector cleaner you should be able to bring it back, use alcohol to clean with.
 

Offline bbond007

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 01:10:21 AM »
Quote from: mrknight;731196
Grey screen or flashing power happened all too often when I was a kid. When it happened, I just took the game out and blew in the cartridge. Most often it was all it took to get it to work.

From what I know now, it was probably a bad idea to blow at the connector in the cartridge with your mouth; warm moist air, perfect for corroding metal. I think it would be better to clean the connector with isopropyl alcohol. If you have changed the cartridge connector in the console, I recommend you to clean the connectors on the game.

Haha, yes I did that too... First thing I did :)

And it has had about the same success rate as anything else I have tried in that if you do it long enough it eventually works.

Another vote that I'm not doing enough on the carts.

Now that I think of it, I'm also not utilizing a consistent methodology for testing/cleaning the games. With up to 3 of the same ones, perhaps I'm not even trying/cleaning the same ones... maybe I'm even transferring gunk into my 72 pin connector.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 03:08:25 AM by bbond007 »
 

Offline bbond007

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2013, 01:17:42 AM »
Quote from: spaceman88;731197
Hi,
I used to be an authorized Nintendo tech. back in the 1990's. The security chip only comes into play with "illegal" games like a I was just thinking that could be possible the way I was just trying random carts. Now that you say that happens, I'm pretty sure that may be what is going on...
. 99% of the time it's the 72 pin connector and the games. The best way to clean the games is to take them apart and scrub the gold contacts with chrome polish (Nintendo recommended "Turtle Wax" brand) then wipe them off with wet paper towel. Do not blow in the cart.. A dirty game will quickly contaminate a new connector, sometimes the first time you put it in. If you have a good connector cleaner you should be able to bring it back, use alcohol to clean with.


I was just thinking that could be possible the way I was just trying random carts. Now that you confirm that happens, I'm pretty sure that may at least part of what is going on.

I did not know they made a 71 in one cart. Maybe I should just get one of those and forget about these old carts :)
 

Offline CritAnime

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Re: NES frustration
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 01:41:50 AM »
The 71 in one carts are usually pirate carts and only a hand full of games on it will be unique games. The rest might be rom hacks and name changes. Best sticking to normal carts rather than the pirate ones.

Offline bbond007

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2013, 02:07:43 AM »
Quote from: CritAnime;731200
The 71 in one carts are usually pirate carts and only a hand full of games on it will be unique games. The rest might be rom hacks and name changes. Best sticking to normal carts rather than the pirate ones.


too bad this is a little expensive :)

http://www.retrousb.com/product_info.php?products_id=34
 

Offline spaceman88

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2013, 02:11:42 AM »
Quote from: CritAnime;731200
The 71 in one carts are usually pirate carts and only a hand full of games on it will be unique games. The rest might be rom hacks and name changes. Best sticking to normal carts rather than the pirate ones.


Yes, some had pirated games others were just crappy unlicensed games. They would use hacks to get around Nintendo's security chip, but Nintendo kept changing the code in the chip to shut them down. So a pirate cartridge might play on an older NES deck but not a newer deck.
 

Offline XDelusion

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2013, 02:12:02 AM »
Here's the ultimate solution. I NES that was designed correctly in the first place. ;)

Anyhow, it looks like some people on here's advice and knowledge on the subject of cleaning carts far surpasses my general user knowledge.
Earth has a lot of things other folks might want... like the whole planet. And maybe these folks would like a few changes made, like more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and room for their way of life. - William S. Burroughs
 

Offline bbond007

Re: NES frustration
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 02:34:30 AM »
Quote from: XDelusion;731206
Here's the ultimate solution. I NES that was designed correctly in the first place. ;)

yeah, I know... or run the emulator :)

Just this NES was mine from when I was a kid and it was traded for something or another now its finally comes back to me 25 years later. It picked up a bunch of controllers, extra power brick, games, and various other peripherals along the way.  gold zelda cartridge too :)

its the same unit though, same huge scratch in the top. Now that I think about it, it always like to do the power thing when from when I first got it - second hand from hillbilllies.

amazingly durable, this stuff was not packed at all and just thrown in a box all loose and shipped to me UPS. There was an protective holding case(for your units, carts and whatnot) as well, but it was shattered.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 02:37:22 AM by bbond007 »