Repairing your NES

May 21, 2003

The vast majority of people I know begun their journey into the foray of gaming on a little console we like to call the NES. The NES was not my first console, that would have been the Atari 2600, but I would have to say that it has still had the biggest influence on me gaming wise. It was in those early years that Nintendo shaped the future of gaming for years to come. Now, some 15+ years later, many of you still have the original NES that you had when you were kids. If that is you, then you are more than familiar with the blinking screen problem. You probably had your own way of fixing the blinking screen as well, blowing into the cartridges or even banging your hand on the NES.

My NES has been sitting for quite some time now and about 2 years ago I went on a shopping spree and bought up every original NES game that I always wanted but couldn’t have back in the day. I had no way to play these games as both of my NESs had seemingly died. I was fully aware that the vast majority of the problems could be fixed by simply replacing the 72 Pin connector inside the NES, but I never bothered to look into the procedure. Your other alternative is to purchase one of the coveted Top Loading NES systems which go for a premium on Ebay. I am newlywed so money isn’t freely flowing so I opted for the replacement part. Upon doing a little research I found the standard silver connector connecter as well as a connecter with high grade gold pins. The prices for each connecter were $5 and $9 respectively so I figured the $4 extra was not a huge deal. The gold connecters from this particular person were also backed by a 1 year warranty.

So lets say you want to embark on the journey of repairing your Nintendo, what would you need to do…

The first thing you need to do is email Rob Langan at rob.langan AT (Don’t want to get him signed up for tons of spam!) and tell him that Snowcone here at Snackbar Games sent you to buy a gold 72 pin NES connector. Once you purchase the connector from Rob then you can proceed with the installation.

The only tool you should need for installation is a Philips screwdriver and a clean place to work.

  1. Your first step is going to be to flip the NES upside down and remove the 6 philips screws. I have taken the liberty of circling the screws in the following picture. After you remove the screws you will want to flip the NES back over and remove the top cover.

    Remove 6 screws from bottom

  2. Your will next want to remove the large silver cover by removing the 7 screws holding it in place. Again the screws are located in the red circles.

    Remove silver cover

  3. After having removed the silver cover, you are going to need to remove the cartridge slot. In order to do this you will need to raise the motherboard out of the deck casing a bit. To do this, I removed all 6 screws holding the cartridge slot as well as the 2 screws holding the RF module down. All screws are circled again. Once you remove all the screws then lift the motherboard out of the casing and slide the cartridge slot out towards the front of the console. Make sure you pay attention to how it goes on as you will be putting it back on during reassembly.

    Remove cartridge slot

  4. Next, simply pull the 72 pin connector off the motherboard. Mine was pretty snug and I had to tug a little hard to get it off. Obviously it slides off towards the back of the motherboard. Now connect the new connector to the motherboard. Make sure you pay attention to how the connector goes on (the side with the two rows of matching silver connectors are what slide onto the motherboard).

    Replace connector

Before reassembling the NES, make sure the cartridge slot will click down into place when putting a game in. If it doesn’t, loosen the screws and then pull the cartridge slot forward just a little. The front edge of the slot needs to hook under the motherboard in order to fit properly.


  1. Slide the cartridge slot back onto the 72 pin connector.
  2. Ease the motherboard back down into its original position and screw the cartridge slot and RF module back down (8 screws)
  3. Attach the silver cover (7 screws)
  4. Attach the top half of the NES deck casing and turn the NES onto its top and screw it together (6 screws)

There are a few things you need to be made aware of and the first one is that this is not a 100% guaranteed fix for your NES. You may have damaged something else during use a while back. The second thing is that you are trying this on your own and I, in no way, shape, or form, am liable if you bunk up your NES even more than it was before. My NES currently works and on occasion it has a tad bit of trouble reading the games. Rob recommended that you clean each of the games prior to playing them in the “new” system. He recommended using water and a Q-tip. I have also heard that rubbing alcohol will work.

I do hope that some of you will get a chance to repair your NES and revisit some childhood memories. If you have questions or comments then feel free to post them in the forum like always or email me.