Author Topic: NES troubleshooting  (Read 14765 times)


  • FitchPitch
« on: August 17, 2006, 06:46:36 PM »
My friend was cleaning out and found an old NES that he wanted to hook up. He acted like he hasn't touched this thing since the late 1990s. Anyway, he plugged it in and it has this flashing purple screen.

Specifically, the screen is a light Easter-egg color purple (you know what shade I mean), it flashes on and off, the light on the front of it blinks with it, and no game will load (he's tried four). He also has a cleaning cartridge (which is probably like the one you clean a VCR with) and that apparently did no good.

Since I'm sure a lot of you have some NES experience, maybe even with fixing stuff, any chance this could be an easy fix? He wants it ready to go in a few days so he can take it to college with him.

Also, if it matters, the system has been hooked up with both the cable box and the jacks in the side.

« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2006, 08:13:46 PM »
I've had an NES for a while, so I'll give this a shot.

I'm sure you've tried this many times, but always blow on the inside of the cartridge before playing. I don't know why, but this usually helps. It won't hurt to try blowing on the inside of the system as well.

Also, with an NES, you sometimes have to try a lot to get the games to function properly, and then others they work perfectly fine.

I've experienced many times a flashing white screen. The POWER button light also flashes with the screen, but I've never seen a purple screen. I'm sure the color of the screen doesn't really matter, but along with some other obvious things, just try fumbling with the cables and such.

If you keep having problems, I'd check some old game stores or something like that for an NES Cleaning Set. It's really easy to use, and it shouldn't be that expensive.

Hope this helps.
Alas! I have returned. (3/22/07)


  • Kansas
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2006, 08:40:25 PM »
Here is the non-fail method of NES workingness.

1. Blow into the game itself.
2. Blow into the system.
3. Hit the game one time, lightly.
4. Smack the NES itself on the top of it.
5. Blow in the game once more.
6. Quickly shove the game into the slot.
7. Power on.
Εὐθύνατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου

« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2006, 08:46:40 PM »
Since Koopaslaya's above advice didn't work for me when I had my NES problem, here's my advice.

I had the exact same problem. My screen flashed blue and black, and the power button on the front flashed accordingly. I heard from most sources that this was the result of a dirty system. I took it apart (the warranty, if it had one, is long gone) and tried taking some rubbing alcohol and rubbing it on the connectors inside the system itself. I eventually got the system to run a game or two for a short while, but at a certain point it would freeze or go back to flashing. I decided it was because of a faulty connector, and I think the only way to fix it is getting a new one. I had help in #tmk pretty much the whole time, so those guys or I can give you the details if you want them.


  • Beside Pacific
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2006, 08:54:18 PM »
All your base are belong to us. You are on the way to destrution!!
Sorry I can't really contribute...
All your dreeeeeeams begiiin to shatterrrrrr~
It's YOUR problem!


  • Kansas
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2006, 10:27:20 PM »
Since Koopaslaya's above advice didn't work for me when I had my NES problem, here's my advice.

Hey, maybe you need the Koopaslaya "magic touch."
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  • FitchPitch
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2006, 10:53:22 PM »
Hopefully he can get this fixed! Thanks for the help everyone!

One more question though, and I thought of it myself. Would compressed air be better than blowing in it using human air? I remember they used to clean out disk drives on school computers with this stuff (it was a good way to distract everyone in the library when they did it, too).

« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2006, 03:30:43 AM »
AB, you are exactly right.  I'm sorry guys, but you're totally wrong about the blowing technique.  It's not good for the carts in the long run.  The moisture in your breathe only accelerates the pins' corrosion.

Sadly, the blinking screen syndrome is a natural part of the NES's design.  If you are interested in making your NES young again, read this article.  It's not necessary to buy a new pin connector when you can refurbish your own.
Today's actually... nobody's birthday!  Quick, hurry up and make a baby!

The Chef

  • Simon Cowell
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2006, 09:45:37 AM »
Dangit! To think, I could've easily done that when instead I forked over 100 dollars for a brand-new one on ebay!

« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2006, 10:44:12 PM »
DeadAwake, that is the exact website and article I used to help me disassmble my NES and attempt to fix my connector. It didn't work. Maybe I didn't tweak the pins enough, but unfortunately that site doesn't really give the best description of how far to move them. I don't know, maybe it will help AbercrombieBaseball, but just saying don't get your hopes up.

« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2006, 12:57:00 AM »
I'm sorry to hear that.  Perhaps if you had more experience, it would have worked out.  Oh, well.  The important thing is that everyone should have a working NES!  I'm glad you're happy with the new connector!

Basically, the operation will work regardless of how far you bend the pins--provided they each touch an inserted cart.  I wouldn't bend them too far, though, as that can change the angle or depth at which the cart must be inserted:  If you look at each pin, they're all slanted.  You want an NES cart's board to come right down on the apex, IIRC.  Raise the pins too high, and that won't happen.  You'll end up having to brace the cart at a different angle, using a Game Genie or a piece of cardboard, etc.  On the other hand, raise the pins too low, and you've effectively done nothing.
Today's actually... nobody's birthday!  Quick, hurry up and make a baby!


  • Beside Pacific
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2006, 10:28:06 AM »
If I had a tiny glasses screwdriver (or could get the NES open with the screwdriver I do have) I would do that immediately. Better bookmark this topic.
All your dreeeeeeams begiiin to shatterrrrrr~
It's YOUR problem!

« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2006, 05:43:12 PM »
Actually, the tiny glasses screwdriver isn't used for opening the NES.  In fact, it isn't even used for screwing, so feel free to use anything.  Come to think of it, it's probably be better to use something that's not metal and scratchy...
Today's actually... nobody's birthday!  Quick, hurry up and make a baby!


  • FitchPitch
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2006, 12:26:14 AM »
Thanks for all the responses. He should be fine with the NES and getting it fixed but if not I'll let you guys know. I think it will be worked on tomorrow.


  • FitchPitch
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2006, 11:13:37 PM »
If two posts in a row is bad, I apologize.

But I am happy to report that he fixed his NES. Had to align his pins. Also, I've been told to not buy replacement pin heads at a store called "The Exchange" (don't know if it's a local chain or not, but I know they sell lots of old stuff like records).

A big thank you goes out to all of you who responded here.

« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2006, 01:19:17 AM »
I will vouch for the article that DeadAwake linked. It is by far the best means of fixing those old NES with blinking screens and I have personally seen it work on 2/2 NES with problems.

« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2006, 07:26:41 PM »
Hm. Maybe I should bust out the ol' NES and go for another shot. The problem was they wouldn't budge, but I guess I'll give it another try.

« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2006, 08:24:19 AM »
I've heard about the non-budging pin problem before--never in real life, though, so it's not something I can look at... I think people may be trying to tug the pins in the wrong place.  It shouldn't be difficult at all.  Keep in mind that, naturally, the pins have to connect back to the main board, so there are a lot of opportunities for sticking the screwdriver in a place that won't work.

Here's my tip:  When you take the top cover off the NES, stick a cartridge into the connector and observe where it makes contact.  See where the bottom row of metal pins is touching (or, perhaps in this case, almost touching) the cartridge connectors?  Each tiny pin has a thin, black, plastic wall separating it from the next.  You need to gently wedge the screwdriver between this wall and the pin, and nudge it up.

Of course, I could be way off the mark, and your pins are made of titanium.  I dunno.  The important thing is to get a working NES!  So, try this out right away!  Congrats for your friend, AB.
Today's actually... nobody's birthday!  Quick, hurry up and make a baby!

« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2006, 06:09:39 PM »
Hm. I've been trying to fit the screwdriver underneath the pin in between the pin and the motherboard, and use the screwdriver as a lever to lift it up. I'll probably try your method, since mine doesn't seem to be working.

Should I tweak the top connectors too?

(Sorry for taking over your help thread, AB)

« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2006, 06:43:02 AM »
I'm embarassed to say I've never even thought about tweaking the top ones... Are they even spring-loaded?  I'm trying to remember what the inside looks like... There must be some reason why I never considered it before.
Today's actually... nobody's birthday!  Quick, hurry up and make a baby!

« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2006, 09:50:52 PM »
I don't doubt that they are spring loaded... I didn't take the time to take off the cover and carefully examine how the cart works in the NES, but since the whole thing moves down when you press it, they must have SOME importance.


  • Totally Not Banned
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2006, 06:03:52 PM »
The top ones are the ones you restore in the first place, Dimwit!
Kick! Punch! It's all in the mind!

« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2006, 07:38:07 PM »
I'm going to assume you're talking to me, in which case I don't appreciate your post. Not only does it not help me, it also doesn't make much sense. If you're going to replace pins, wouldn't you replace ALL of them (by getting a new 72-pin connector), instead of just the top ones? Your insult doesn't make things much better, either. If you were talking to DeadAwake, I'm sure he wouldn't like being insulted, but I can't speak for him.
Sorry. Bad day.

Anyway, thanks for all the help, DeadAwake and others, I'll be sure to post here if and when I give it another go.