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Picture of How to Repair Nintendo NES System
Chances are if you've ever owned or played a Nintendo NES, you've experienced the blinking screen or have had trouble playing your games. The cause for all these problems is bad electrical connections between your game cartridges and the NES console caused by a worn out 72 pin connector, dirt and corrosion.

With a little patience, you can repair your NES and games to a like-new condition. This guide will help you disassemble your console and show you the areas you need to focus on when cleaning and repairing your Nintendo NES. No electronics skills are needed to follow this guide. The only caution I would advise is to take it slow and make sure not to pull too hard on PCB boards or connector wires.

Looking for a detailed walkthrough on cleaning your NES Cartridges?
 
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Step 1: Nintendo NES System Repair Video

Step 3: NES System Console Disassembly

Picture of NES System Console Disassembly
Turn your NES upside down. Remove the 6 screws indicated by the red arrows in the picture. Once the screws are loose, flip your console over again and you should be able to pull the top half of the case up. Be careful not to loose any screws!

Step 4: Remove NES System RF Shield

Picture of Remove NES System RF Shield
With the top half of the case off, remove the RF shield. This is the big metal thing that covers most of the NES internals. Remove the 7 screws and you will be able to pull it up.

Step 5: Remove the Nintendo NES System Motherboard

Picture of Remove the Nintendo NES System Motherboard
Remove the 8 screws holding the NES mainboard down and pull it out of the case. Be careful not to pull it too far because there are connectors still attached to the mainboard.

Step 6: Remove the NES Controller and Reset Button Connectors

Picture of Remove the NES Controller and Reset Button Connectors
Remove the 3 connectors for the controllers and switch assembly. You will then be able to remove the mainboard completely out of the case. With the mainboard out, you can remove the lower RF shield.

Step 7: Remove the Old NES 72 Pin Connector from the NES Motherboard

Picture of Remove the Old NES 72 Pin Connector from the NES Motherboard
Remove the worn out 72 Pin cartridge connector from the mainboard. It might require a little force to get it out. You can toss the old 72 Pin NES Connector away as it likely is worn out past being usable.

Step 8: Cleaning the NES Motherboard Contacts

The contacts connecting the 72 pin connector often get dirty and corroded which prevents the connector from making good electrical connection to the mainboard. We can ensure our new NES Connector 72 pin Nintendo Repair Part will make good contact by cleaning the contacts with our Nintendo NES Repair Cleaning Paste and our Non-Static Cleaning Pads. I highly recommend using our cleaning paste to clean the contacts, it will get rid of all the dirt and corrosion and bring back the contact to a smooth shiny surface. Using the paste, apply a small amount on a Non-Static Cleaning Pad and scrub both the top and bottom side of the motherboard connector. You should see a lot of black dirt and corrosion coming up from the connector - This will continue to come up for quite some time, however in our experience you only need to continue cleaning until both sides of the motherboard connector appear clear of dirt and corrosion. After the Nintendo NES Repair Cleaning Paste has been successfully applied, BE SURE to wipe the motherboard connectors totally clean with a Non-Static Cleaning Pad and some Nintendo NES Repair Cleaning Rinse. Make sure you remove any left over residue from the cleaning paste, and remember to clean and rinse both sides of the contacts by flipping the mainboard over and repeating the process (if you haven't already). Once both sides have been cleaned and rinsed, dry with an unused cleaning cloth.

Step 9: Replacing the Nintendo NES 72 Pin Connector

Picture of Replacing the Nintendo NES 72 Pin Connector
In the same way that you took off the old 72 Pin NES Connector, slide the new NES Connector 72 pin Nintendo Repair Part onto the now clean AND DRY Nintendo motherboard contacts. Again, the 72 Pin NES Connector will be a tight fit, so make sure to push it on all the way or it won't make proper contact. From this point, just reverse order and put it all back together. One important note is to make sure the plastic tab at the front of the spring loader snaps in place, underneath the motherboard. If not, you will notice that the spring loader will either become stuck in the locked down position, or will not lock down at all. In any case I recommend testing the unit out with a game to make sure everything works before putting the casing and RF Shield back on.

Still not having luck playing your favorite game? Remember, your NES cartridges need to be cleaned as well!

Step 10: Other NES Repair Options

he Nintendo Repair Shop Inc.'s Mail-In NES Repair has been the signature service since its inception. Through our Mail-in NES Repair Service, we have fixed hundreds of Nintnedo Entertainment Systems - add that number to those fixed with the help of our NES Total Repair Kit, and we have helped thousands of customers to re-experience their video game playing youth. Don't wait, place your order today!
GameV84 years ago
I smell spam... But I see a good instructable so it must be my imagination. :) Very Good: 5 stars
nintendorepair (author)  GameV84 years ago
Game V8, Thanks for not sending us to the graveyard for having links in there. Yes, we are definitely running a business, however we really have our customers best interests in mind. We take a great deal of care in picking out the best manufacturers and the best parts so our customers don't have to worry about getting quality parts, everything we sell is high quality. Also, we do offer some really helpful nintendo repair guides and even nintendo repair videos for free on our site's Nintendo Repair Center and our youtube channel.

Thanks for taking a look at our guide. More to follow shortly, and let us know if we can ever help you out with one of the classic systems, or any games or accessories. Happy gaming!
brian.beccia6 months ago

This was extremely helpful and informative, but I've noticed a problem after completing the replacement of the connector. My controller inputs are no longer being read by individual button presses, instead now everything seems bound to the 'A' button. Not sure why or how this happened, or how to correct it anymore :( Advice?

I am only guessing, but maybe a component became damaged from static while you took it apart. Or possibly when you put it back together, something got in the way and is shorting something. I would advise to take it apart and put it back together again.

One time I took my desktop apart to clean the dust out and put it back and it didn't work. I was sunk! I thought I just destroyed my computer. But I wiggled all the connectors and tried again and it turned out it was only the power connector to the mainboard had been loose.

nikosent7 months ago

I'm not able to remove the reset and controller connectors. Is there anything I'm doing wrong?

talkirsten1 year ago
I am trying to fix the sound on my NES. It still makes noise but it doesn't make the sounds it's supposed to when playing the games it only makes the bzzz sound. How do I fix this? Thank you.
I just now saw this, but am still very grateful for having found nintendorepairshop.com a few years back (2007 I think?). Anyway, the instructions provided on the website helped me immensely for replacing the 72-pin connector and cleaning the contacts on the motherboard. I've since used that knowledge to clean others and of course a plethora of cartridges. I used the full cartridge and console kit that's on their site, along with both of the screwdriver bits, and still use them to this day. VERY useful, and thanks for also posting up this instructable as well. To any wondering, they are a great company with great, fast and efficient service as well!
ehanrahan3 years ago
MY NES wont turn on no power or anythin im in australia and got it from canada it was turning on for when i got then i came back and it stopped working
I know I'm late on the topic, but if it sounds the way i think it is, you bought a NES that was made for Canada (120V 60Hz) and you live in Australia (240V 50Hz) so you fried a fuse somewhere...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country
look here before you purchase electronics from other countries, but desktop Computers are fine because they have switches on the back (red switch says 110,240v)

Again this is just for your education...
jcontrerasv3 years ago
Hello evreryone, i have a problem with my NES, i was palying final fantasy when the tv screen going black with a soung like stereo. i dont know whats wrong with my nes if somebody know please let me know. note i was playing in a plasma screen, i have replaced the 72 pin connector and nothin more than black screen. thank for your help
I think I've bought a 72 pin connector from you guys. It's still functioning great nice product. When I switch them out I don't hassle myself with taking the mobo out it's simpler just to slide it off while it's in the case. I guess you do that so you can get easy access to clean the contacts tho.
whyexactly4 years ago
Any tips for cleaning them? I received one for free but it needs a new power cord, and it was owned by a longtime smoker so the controllers are a bit off-colour. Suggestions?
nintendorepair (author)  whyexactly4 years ago
We also have replacement NES AC adapters and refurbished original nes controllers available (looks like I may have misread the original message about discoloration). 
nintendorepair (author)  whyexactly4 years ago
Unfortunately, you really can't change the color of the plastic. Some of the systems were made with a specific kind of plastic that fades and discolors over time. Unfortunately the only solution is to replace the portions of the case that are discolored. We actually have replacement nes case shells that are not discolored available for purchase on our site. Hopefully that helps.
ndnet4 years ago
This feels like how traffic generation should be done. Definitely an advert, but there's enough useful information here to be applied more generally without necessarily buying the product. Good job.
nintendorepair (author)  ndnet4 years ago
Hey thanks for the positive feedback. Yeah, clearly we run a business, but every dollar we make is generated from performing a needed service for folks that have issues with their systems. We think we do a better job serving this market than anyone else, and we want to spread the word. We have a few more useful guides already developed that we will be posting shortly. Also have a few more underway.

If you are working on a nintendo repair project, also check out our youtube page. We just uploaded 7 or 8 videos on how to fix NES, clean games, repair DS, etc.