Introduction: Resurrect Your Gamecube
Picture this; You wake up in the morning, and you try to turn on your gamecube; you push the button, and you hear a whirring noise, but nothing else happens. NOOOOOO! the guys are coming over to play Super Smash Bros. in a couple of hours, and the gamecube doesn't work! Before you launch into a bunch of "that's what you get for buying a gamecube. loser!'", I know, I don't want to hear it. For those of you who love your cube, though, I hope this helps.
Step 1: What Went Wrong?
If there has recently been a power surge where you live, that may be responsible for the problem you are having. The symptoms are as follows: the external power supply functions normally, but when you plug in the cube and push the power button, the fan turns on, but nothing else happens; no light, no video, no spinning disc, nothing. Nothing you do changes this condition. So what's wrong? is the gamecube fried? The Nintendo maintenance procedure for fixing this problem is to replace the entire board, which, obviously, is expensive and wasteful; the only part that's fried, as it turns out, is the fuse, which, for reasons I will never understand, Nintendo went out of its way to hide deep inside the system. I'm going to tell you how to take the system apart and replace the fuse with a cheap, equivalent fuse from radio shack or another electronic parts supplier.
Step 2: Parts and Tools
You will need;
A fuse; it must be a 5 amp, fast acting fuse (I don't know if you could safely use slow-blow). Any fuse rated lower will blow, and any fuse rated higher will fry the system. A pack of five of these costs about $5.00 U.S. at radio shack, and probably less elsewhere.
Some wire; nothing special, but I found some thin, stranded wire to be very cooperative.
Something to open the Nintendo screws with; this can be either an official Nintendo screwdriver or a cheap Bic pen (more on this later).
A phillip's head screwdriver; you should probably have several, to guarantee the right size.
A soldering iron and solder; optional, but very helpful; if you don't already know how to solder, I highly recommend you learn; it's easy and effective.
A multimeter; not necessary, but useful if you want to be absolutely sure what the problem is.
Some electrical tape, wire cutters, and a TV to test it on.
Step 3: Opening the Cube, Part 1.
Many people seem hesitant to open up the gamecube; I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's because the screws that hold it together are kind of hidden. Here's how to find them. Turn the cube over so you're looking at its underside. You should see four round wells, one at each corner. At the bottom of each, there is a hex-headed Nintendo screw. These four screws are all that is holding the top and bottom halves of the cube together. Remove them; that should be simple enough with an official Nintendo screwdriver. If you don't have one, pull the Ink tube out of one of those cheap Bic pens, and that will fit nicely over the head of the screw, allowing you to turn it out. You have to push down a bit. Don't use an old pen; the plastic will be too degraded. Fortunately, new ones cost only a dollar a pack. With all four screws removed, turn the cube back over, and gently lift the upper shell off. Then proceed to the next step.
Step 4: Opening the Cube, Part 2.
With the top off, you should see mostly metal Faraday shielding. Find the port where the power brick plugs into the cube. It should be mounted on a small plastic assembly that includes the fan and power button. Take off the screws that hold it into place (there are only philip's head screws on the inside) and lift the assembly off ( it will still be hanging from a wire; don't pull that off!). Now remove all the screws around the edge of the metal shielding, including the four small screws above the memory card slots (you can remove the controller port assembly by pushing in two plastic tabs at its sides and pulling it up and forward as necessary. It is plugged into the system by a flat cable that can be easily plugged back in again later). Once all the screws are out, lift off the Faraday shielding, together with the disc drive (which, like the controller port assembly, is merely plugged into the board, and can be easily plugged back in again later). You should now be looking at the bare board.
Step 5: Finding and Testing.
So where is the fuse? Look at the corner of the board , where the wire from the power assembly enters the actual heart of the system. Right next to this connection, you should see a small, white component with metal caps on both ends, and the letters "KOAC 5A" written on it. This is the fuse, and the part we suspect is blown. You can check it with a continuity meter. If the fuse is good, there should be zero resistance. My fuse had some conductivity, but was clearly blown. If you want more proof, plug in the power brick, push the power button, and do the following; put the black probe of your multimeter on the grounding strip that goes all the way around the board, and the red probe on the end of the fuse closest to the power connector; you should read about 12 volts. Now check the other end of the fuse; if it were working, you would get 12 volts there too. If it's blown, you'll get no power at all. Now you've identified the problem, it's time to fix it.
Step 6: Installing the New Fuse.
First, solder or otherwise affix wires to both ends of the old fuse. This can be tricky, but be persistent. You could de-solder it and replace it with an identical one, but there's no point; this works just as well. Now attach the other ends of the wires to the ends of the new fuse; I used small metal fuse clamps, but you could just wrap the wires around the ends of the fuse and tape them in place, or even solder them on. Wrap the fuse in tape so it won't short out against anything, and place it in a convenient spot on the circuit board where it won't roll around too much. Make sure all your connections are secure (polarity doesn't matter, as a fuse is essentially a wire), and close the cube back up again; plug everything back in, snap[ and screw all the assemblies bakc on, et cetera, et cetera. Putting it back together is easy once you've taken it apart.
Step 7: Testing and Troubleshooting.
Now that you have it closed up, plug it in, and try to turn it on. It should function normally. If it doesn't turn on, you may have a bad connection. If it turns of for a second, and then blows out again, you used the wrong fuse, despite my warning. Open it back up and replace it with the right one. If it powers up normally, congratulations! You now have a working gamecube! To ensure the fuse doesn't blow again if there's another power surge, you should probably plug the system into a surge protector.