News Article

Weirdness: You Can Fix Your NES 72-Pin Cartridge Connector By Boiling It

Posted by Damien McFerran

You learn something new every day

The NES was really popular, and that means there are lots of consoles out there right now either sitting unused in cupboards or (preferably) still providing entertainment almost three decades after the western release of the system.

However, it's a simple fact that the older a device is, the more chance there is of it developing a fault and not working as it should. In the case of the NES, with it's temperamental spring-loaded cartridge slot, that is likely to happen sooner rather than later. In fact, many NES consoles developed problems with the 72-pin connector back in the '80s — the "toaster" design might have seemed unique when the console was first released, but it's prone to failure.

Thankfully, NES lover and one-time Nintendo Life contributor Joe Walker has the solution: you can boil the 72-pin connector to make it work again.

Needless to say, before attempting this rather unusual fix, you should be aware that you do so at your own risk.

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User Comments (43)



daveh30 said:

OR... you could do it properly a drop it in a sonic bath. Boiling is a (stupid) short-term fix, and will speed up any corrosion. Since the original connectors were very prone to corrosion, your best bet is to order a new one off ebay for about $5. You can get new ones that are made differently and don't corrode as readily.



unrandomsam said:

I think my retro consoles will end up working properly for longer than my 3DS XL.

I suspect my Gamecube will last longer than my Wii's as well.



Sir_JBizzle said:

How do you go about getting ideas like that in your head? Does it just pop in like, "Hmmm I wonder what happens if I boil my NES 72-pin connector?"



Mr_Nose said:

I'll have the NES 72 pin lightly boiled, with two pieces of toast, and a cup of coffee please.



gurtifus said:

At the end, I noticed something weird :
How come he has just to push the cardridge to play the NES ?
In mine, you have to press it down after pushing it in the NES.



SpaceKappa said:

@gurtifus I mentioned it in the video, but by bending the pins back to their original position you don't need to press the cartridge down in order to make a connection. By not pushing it down, you don't bend the pins, which saves you from starting the cycle all over again.



AugustusOxy said:

Nope, can't do this, kids will see this video and try it, better ban it. In-fact, lets ban stoves all together because they are a safety hazard for children.



1080ike said:

I did this about a week ago, and now my NES works perfectly! Although I screwed up putting the connecter back on the board, and now one of the pins is a bit twisted. Word to the wise: don't be like me.



retro_player_22 said:

Cool idea but I am not gonna try it though, I like seeing the blinking red light and knows how to handle it to make it work my own way.



gurtifus said:

@ SpaceKappa Sorry, I just had a quick look. Thanks for your explanation, I thought it was some different NES version...



remlapgamer said:

Excellent video my friend, nothing cleans like very hot water, I will be digging mine out of the basement this weekend and have myself a good-ole retro throw back/flashback of childhood memories. Thanks for the info.



Marioman64 said:

um, the 72 pin connector uses spring-based pins that wear down their tension over time and thus lose contact. this boiling method implies all he's doing is cleaning it, which won't fix it. i just ended up buying a new 72 pin connector for my NES 3 years ago and it worked great



Asaki said:

This is really old news, but I'm glad it's getting more exposure.
I tried this a while back on what I thought was a completely dead NES, and it worked like new!
Also, I shouldn't have to say this, but clean out all your cartridges with alcohol and q-tips (or an actual cleaning kit, if you have one), and never blow in them.



MegaWatts said:

@Asaki Yes! Thank you for saying this because EVERYONE seems to think blowing on to the connectors is the best thing since sliced bread.



DaveGX said:

What in the world..... is this article a joke? Boiling cartridges? Because water and electronics don't mix. This sounds like the same thing people said about removing scratches or whatever to fix a CD, and it never worked for me. As for blowing on the connectors, hey sometimes it removes dust, it helped me a little bit.



SpaceKappa said:

@DaveGX No joke, my man! I'm not boiling cartridges, it's the pin connector that gets the treatment. The type of metal used in the pin connector doesn't rust, and boiling it removes all the dirt and grime that's built up on it over the past 20-some odd years. I thought it was crazy until I tried it myself, but the results speak for themselves.



Asaki said:

@DaveGX Blowing in your cartridges doesn't remove the dust (maybe hairs and debris, though), it's the moisture from your breath that makes the game work. Water is a conductor, so it temporarily improves the connection...of course, if you keep doing this, all that moisture is going to corrode the contacts, and just make the problem much worse.



Gso said:

@Trikeboy corrosion is the dark stuff on the connector and carts. Rust might have been the wrong word.



Onion said:

Buying a new Pin Connector is obviously the better option, but since I have spare parts laying around, I may try this just to see how it works. My current pin connector needs replacing anyway so if I mess it up, it's no loss. They go straight in the trash anyway.



tanookisuit said:

@Onion I know this is a very dated article I'm replying to but it came up easy on a google search.

Buying a new connector unless you find an OEM Nintendo made supplier is a really bad idea. The old Nintendo made parts use a higher quality non-rusting, non-brittle very sturdy metal. The modern stuff use cheap metals that are brittle and lose their tension very quickly depending on usage. You can go through a modern one in a few months or a year or two while an original will work for decades.

It sounds insane, but boiling works. I've done it. What it does is heat up the metal to where it bubbles loose all the gray funk from your dirty cart pins and dust in general and loosens it incredibly so. When you remove it and slot a game in/out like 20x on the thing all that gray goo gets pulled off and onto the game. Run a q-tip over the board, you'll see decades of funk that the NES cleaning kit had no prayer of removing. The last one I did I had to give it a triple dip to get it clean, oddly the heated metal also tensed up a lot to where the games work in the upright (non-locked) position 100%.

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