Introduction: Non Volatile RAM Upgrade for SNES & SFC Cartridges

Picture of Non Volatile RAM Upgrade for SNES & SFC Cartridges

At its peak, Game cartridges used RAM and a backup battery to save game advances and player profiles. Over time those batteries tend to run out and leak hazardous materials that may cause personal injuries, data loss and permanent damage to the cartridge.

With this upgrade you can solve all those problems by replacing the original RAM chip for a Non Volatile Memory (NVRAM) that does not require a battery to save your data, it means no more batteries, no more cartridges damaged by battery leaking, no more game records lost!

Q: How can I choose the proper upgrade kit?
A: Identify your ram chip onboard your cartridge following this tutorial.

Q: How can I get this kit?

A: You can get it at www.customretrostuff.com

Step 1: Open Your Cartridge.

Picture of Open Your Cartridge.

You may need a 3.8mm security bit.

Visually inspect the circuit board and if there's no leaking around the battery, you can remove and dispose it accordingly to your local regulations. Clean, repair or discard the cartridge as needed if there are any chemicals leaking from the battery over the PCB.

Step 2: How to Identify SNES/SFC Onboard RAM Memory Sizes.

Picture of How to Identify SNES/SFC Onboard RAM Memory Sizes.

On SNES & SFC cartridges RAM memory chips are used to store user information and game advances or profiles, to save this information when power is off it uses a battery mounted inside the cartridge.

For 2 Kbyte Ram: It is a 24 pin chip, 16Kx8 ram. Usually labeled as “16K RAM”, “16K SRAM” or "16K WRAM”, it may be confusing because it’s noted in Kilobits. Read the label on top of the chip, it must have a 4 digit code ending with 16 (XX16). Ignore other characters, they only indicates manufacturer and date codes. The following are Known chips used by Nintendo: 5116, 6216 and 6116.

For 8 Kbyte Ram: it's a 28 pin chip, 64Kx8 ram. Usually labeled as “64k RAM”, “64K SRAM” or "64K WRAM", again, it’s noted in Kilobits. Read the label on top of the chip, it must have a 4 digit code ending with 64, 65 or 68 (XX64, XX65 or XX68). Ignore other characters, they only indicates manufacturer and date codes. The following are Known chips used by Nintendo: 2465, 4464, 5164, 5268, 6264 and 6265

For 32kByte SMD Ram: It's a 28 pin SMD chip, in some boards it’s labeled as “256K RAM”, noted in Kilobits. Read the label on top of the chip, it must have a 5 digit code ending with 256 (XX256). Ignore the rest of the characters, they only indicates manufacturer and date codes. The following are Known chips used by Nintendo: 52256 and 62256 Additional note: uses the same kit as the 32kbyte Game Boy cartridges.

You can find pictures for most SNES & SFC cartridge PCBs here, it will help you to identify onboard RAM if you can not open your cart or if you want to do your own research for compatible titles (highly recommended).

For more detailed information about NVRAM upgrade options or other consoles or configurations visit customretrostuf.com

Step 3: Remove the Battery and the Old Ram Chip.

Picture of Remove the Battery and the Old Ram Chip.

Remove the battery and dispose according to your local regulations. Do not attempt the next step without removing the battery, fail to do so may lead to personal injury.

Identify RAM size and remove the original chip. If you can’t identify the ram chip or memory size, see the last step.

It's important to identify memory size to put the right non volatile ram replacement chip.

Step 4: Install Replacement Chip.

Picture of Install Replacement Chip.

Install the new Non Volatile RAM (NVRAM) chip, it is a direct replacement, check the right chip position for pin number 1. Use a sharp soldering iron for better results.

Close the cartridge and enjoy, you will never need a backup battery again!

Thank you for reading!

Comments

Xaranar (author)2017-03-17

Doesn't work on 256kb SRAM chips unfortunately. I tried it with Yoshi's Island and Super Mario RPG with a drop-in replacement - FM18W08 - and both of those games now crash on boot.

baecker03 (author)2017-02-26

never could figure out why my game saves would disappear... thanks!

williamcoral (author)2017-02-25

wooow its amazing !!!

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Bio: Engineer, hardware designer and self teaching enthusiast.
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