Introduction: Eeasily Fix a Nintendo 64 AV Cable With a Bad Connection (For Free!)

I adore my very used, and very loved N64 (which is actually the third one I've owned).  However my N64 is old and cranky and when I recently dragged it out of the dark comfort of it’s storage box, it threw a fit whenever I move it around too much.  The problem was with the AV cable connecting to the console – the connection was shaky because of the old cable and unless the cable was wiggled just right, I wouldn't get any video or audio on the screen.  First couple of times it went out on me I was able to patiently sit by it, slowly wiggling the cable until the connection was finally made.  But eventually that got old, and my dad gave me a great solution which I'm going to share with all my fellow N64 fans.

You Will Need:
-A loved N64
-The offending AV cable
-Q-tips or similar long thin stick-y thing
-Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline or the generic version works fine too)

Step 1: Make Sure the AV Cable Connection Is Actually the Problem

Old consoles can act up for lots of reasons, so first you want to make sure that your problem is actually the AV cable.  This is simple to check.  Just set your N64 up, plug it in and power it up, then answer the following:

-Is the red power light on? If the answer is yes, move on. If not, make sure the N64's on switch is flipped and that the power cord is actually plugged into a working electrical socket. If that still doesn't work, then the problem with your N64 is bigger than the AV cable and I don't currently have an instructable to help you, sorry!

-Is there no video or sound despite the fact the AV cable is plugged in correctly? If the answer is yes, and you get a "no signal" or similar message on your TV, then you can be pretty sure that the problem is the AV cable connection.  If there is sound but no video or vice versa, then it isn't the N64-to-AV cable connection that's wrong and you probably want to check your TV's AV ports or look for a new AV cable completely.

Step 2: Apply the Connector Substance to the AV Port

So we know for sure the problem is that the connection simply isn't being made between the N64 and the AV cable because over time the connection between the two when plugged in gets loosened, hence the hours of wiggling it takes to finally make a connection again (and the ease at which that connection is lost).

But there is a very simple way to make the connection all the time, every time!  We're going to add a connecting substance that will make sure they always connect.  Start by getting a nice swipe of petroleum jelly on your Q-Tip (or other similar device).

Then simply smear the jelly into the AV port on the back of the N64.  You don't really have to stick the Q-Tip inside and don't frost it on like you would a cake - just a nice thin smear around the edges will work (when we plug the AV cable in it will take the jelly into the port with it).

Step 3: Apply the Connector Substance to the AV Cable

For good measure, smear a little petroleum jelly on the AV cable as well - not too much though.

Step 4: Plug in and Test

Now plug the cable into the N64 and hook it back up to your TV.  Switch it on and you should now have both sound and video! 

I first did this fix to my N64 in May of 2012 and haven't had to reapply the jelly since.  I can move the N64 around and knock it without fear of losing the connection.  If you're unplugging the AV cable often you might want to reapply the jelly every so often, but only if the connection seems to be getting fuzzy again (you don't want to cake up your ports with the jelly). 

As far as I'm aware there's no way the jelly can damage your N64, and if you put too much in or want to get it out, use a hair dryer to heat the jelly up and let it drip out. 

Comments

author
NamirP1 (author)2017-07-12

I bought a N64 last week and I was having issues with audio and video. I tried this and it was like magic, worked from the very first try! Thanks for posting this!

author
Dark Kryptonite (author)2017-02-17

Hi dude, i tried this vaseline thing but it didnt work.............. do you think i should put vaseline around the three ports being connected to the tv?

author
DanS340 (author)2017-02-04

Vasoline worked like a charm. Thank you

author
bmstation (author)2017-01-02

Worked for me!! Thanks

author
mike.bradski (author)2014-11-09

Sorry, dude, this did NOT work. Have the same color system and problem, but the pj did nothing.

author

I'm sorry to hear that - it's still working for mine! You may have a more seriously damaged connection that the jelly can't cover. You will probably need a new cable :/

author
BorisH7 (author)CreativeTiffany2016-08-04

I got the same issue! Sound but no picture. So went online bought a new cable for my 64 but still the samw issue :( A little piece of me just died :(

author
JessicaW115 (author)2016-06-09

I had the same issue tried it on both a new TV and old and no video just audio. Bought new cables same issue. Cleaned game and inside console with alcohol and BAM video and audio !!!!!!! So happy. Thanks.

author
KristinaF12 (author)2016-05-11

omg please help it didnt work but i have no idea what going on with my n64, i know its the AV but i did this and its still the same no picture and no audio :(

author
OlaitanF (author)2016-05-09

it worked ! thank you so much

author
MeganNewville (author)2016-04-12

I have a quick question before I attempt this on my N64. Does this work on the power connector as well, and if so, how would I adapt these instructions? I'm tempted to just order another off ebay or something and use the cable that would come with it since I was planning on eventually turning this one into a handhold anyway, but I kinda want to play it before then, and the power connector is particularly loosr :p

author
Jdhsjejsj (author)2016-01-28

Wow I just stumbled on this and tried it and it worked!! Thank you so so much to the original poster of this!! You are a life saver! Not sure if the OP is still reading these but if you are, you are my hero!! And for the person that said it didn't work for them, try doing it a second time with a little more jelly. The first time didn't work for me, so I put on a little bit more a second time and it worked like a charm. So awesome. Thank you again!!!!

author

I'm glad so many people have found this instructable useful! :) I DO read all the comments on my projects though life keeps me from doing much posting nowadays. Thanks for letting me know it helped you! <3

author
N64kid (author)CreativeTiffany2016-02-20

I just commented with some questions, but i also thought I'd add, I've cleaned the games and game slot on the system and everything looks good and clean on the n64, no obvious damage. It looks like it is in great shape :/

author
N64kid (author)2016-02-20

What kind of tv do you use? I'm having the smell issue but i don't know if it's my tv since it's a new LG and 60in... i just got a n64 for my birthday (is the only system i had as a kid and LOVE IT, i lost it in a hurricane when i was 14 and have wanted another one since so it was a gift to myself lol) but it only has a 3 day return policy so i don't want to do to much to it if i have to return it! I connect it and turn it on and get "no signal" on my tv. The light on the system comes on but it makes no noise (i can't hear a fan or a " it's kicking on" noise.) Do you think it's my tv, connection, it the system? I don't want to keep it if it works obviously, but i don't want to return it if i can get it to work either... the seller insist it worked before he mailed it. Any/all advice is welcomed and appreciated!

author
Jesus AlejandroH (author)2016-01-10

It works like a charm. Thank you.!

author
ArthurGloster (author)2015-09-22

Hey, do you know how to fix a bent pin, I have a smaller sibling who bent it by putting in the plug too hard, if you could help that would be awesome...

author
Achortrebla (author)2015-07-04

Found an old n64 at goodwill for twenty bucks, took it home and it didn't work :( googled it and stumbled on this, and it worked perfectly! Much appreciated brotha

author
joegoodman_1 (author)2014-12-24

I just tried this out and it worked 100% for me. Thanks.

author
mike.bradski (author)2014-11-09

Sorry, dude, this did NOT work. Have the same color system and problem, but the pj did nothing.

author
Kezzaroo (author)2014-04-18

Just wanted to say it completely worked for me! I was worried I would have to buy a new cable and wait for it to arrive.. but no thank you muchly!

author
Omnipharious (author)2012-11-27

I like the idea. Sounds like it would be a very nice temporary fix. Your dad mustn't be anything like mine. "Good is good enough for me" has never crossed his lips; if it was my console, he would have me taking apart the whole thing and custom making a new plug for it.

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Bio: I'm a crafty country girl with a slight Star Wars obsession :) I craft, cook, garden, sew, doodle, homestead, crochet, knit, weight lift (obstacle race ... More »
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