The Serpent

// Cursing the Internet since 1998

Reviving the Old NES

It turns out that attempting to revive old electronics from your childhood can be somewhat therapeutic. With that in mind, I decided to rescue the old NES that had been collecting dust in the garage for many years and see if it would still boot. Unfortunately… It did not.

But that presented a challenge! After giving the board a good clean with some rubbing alcohol and a good burst of compressed air, we got some life. The device now started doing its famous ‘blinking red light’ – indicating that the board couldn’t read from the cartridge. This was progress.

I’m not sure why back in 1983 someone decided to create 72 pins for access to the NES Game Pak, but they did. I’m sure there was a good explanation at the time, but today it just means that there’s a large surface area prone to failure, and the 72-pin connector needed a vigorous clean.

Not dead, but not quite alive yet either.

NES 72-pin connector.

Disassembling the NES is quite easy, there’s a lot of screws accessed from the bottom and then the top comes right off. Once removing the cartridge cage, the board can be unscrewed and the 72-pin connector removed, revealing a lot of decay and rust across the pins. Once this got a good clean, things got a little better – but not perfect.

Finally, the device was somewhat random in the time between blinks. There’s still no output yet, but it’s slowly getting better with each attempt of revival. Stay tuned for some more details on how to bring this old time classic back to life, if you’re struggling to get one going!