Tuesday, September 20, 2011

NES: Repairing / Replacing a 72 Pin Connector (blinking screen issue)

It has happened to a large majority of us...

You get excited to play a recent NES game that you had purchased, only to pop it in your system to get bombarded by blinking screens. The reason for the blinking screens is that the pins of the 72 Pin Connector aren't making a proper connection between your game and the NES motherboard anymore.

The pins of your 72 Pin Connector over time will become bent from repeated insertion and removal of NES carts. The pins can also become dirty if you are inserting games that have a fair amount of dust and debris on them.

This is the step-by-step method I have been using for years with continued success.

We have the original NES in our possession:

Step 1: Take the system and and flip it over to reveal six screws in the bottom of it (three on the top half, and three on the bottom half).

- Remove the screws and place them somewhere safe (I usually use three small plastic cups to keep all of the sets of screws separated while working on an NES).

- Separate the top from the bottom, and continue to the next step.

Step 2: Now that the system's shell is separated, you can now see the RF shield that is covering the loading tray.

- The RF shield has seven screws that need to be taken out to remove it from the rest of the system.

- Carefully remove the RF shield and continue on to the next step.

Step 3: Now that the RF shield is removed, it is time to remove the loading tray from the system.

- There are six screws keeping the loading tray screwed onto the motherboard, but it is important to watch out because you will have two screws that are a different length than what you have been dealing with so far.

(The red arrows are the two long screws)

- After you take the screws out, remove the loading tray.

Step 4: Now that the loading tray is removed, you will be looking at the 72 Pin Connector, and the motherboard of the NES.

(The black plastic piece with the silver connections is the 72 Pin Connector)

- Before you remove the 72 Pin Connector from the system, you should disconnect three sets of wires that are keeping the motherboard attached to the NES.

(The two smaller sets of wires are for controller port 1 and 2, while the bigger blue set of wires are connected to the system's power/reset buttons)

- After you disconnect the three sets of wires, you can now freely take the motherboard out of the system.

- Carefully pull on the 72 Pin Connector until it comes off of the motherboard, but make sure not to pull with a lot of force. Take your time with it.

- Now that the 72 Pin Connector is free, you have two options:
  1. Go through each pin with a precision flat head screwdriver and bend all of the pins back into place. You should also clean the pins in a soapy solution and leave out to dry.

  2. The "easier" method is to buy a new 72 Pin Connector and replace the old one outright. The only problem with this is that you are using a generic 72 Pin Connector, and not the type that was originally put into your NES. However, most of these generic connectors do hold up relatively well, so it is up to you whether or not you want to refurbish the original, or go ahead with the generic 72 Pin Connector.
Step 5: Now that you have removed the motherboard and have either refurbished, or replaced the 72 Pin Connector, you have easy access to the bottom of the system for a good cleaning.

- Make sure to use a Q-tip to get into the all of the little crevices.

Step 6: After you give your NES a good cleaning, it is time to put all of it back together.

- Remember to connect the three sets of wires back into the board, and properly screw back in all of the screws for each section. Improper placement (or over tightening) of screws may result in problems with the loading tray not being able to stay in its pushed down, locked position.

After it is all put back together, it's time to hook it up and test it out! Hopefully this tutorial has helped you to fix your NES and its blinking screen issue.

(If you have a problem with your NES continuously looping every few seconds from the title screen, that is a problem usually associated with the 10NES chip on the motherboard. This usually has nothing to do with your 72 Pin Connector.)


Starc Brandam said...

Its pleasure to read :)