Replacing 72-Pin On A NES

Project Details:

I'll show you how to fix that blue screen on your NES.  You ever have to wiggle your game just right to get your NES working?  Maybe it doesn't read games at all anymore?  Well the good news is that it made it 36 years which means it was a good investment, but you don't have to give up on it yet!  These consoles are incredibly simple even for someone who doesn't work on electronics and you can have the part that reads your games replaced in 30 minutes.  The after-market part often costs $10 to $15 and can be found on ebay or amazon easily.

Tools You Will Need:

NES, Screwdriver, 72-Pin Connector Replacement

Time Required for Project:

30 Minutes

Step 1

First you'll need to gather your tools.  All you'll need is a screwdriver.  I got a magnetic one and a smaller one to make things easier.

You might get one of those wrist-bands for working on electronics but I didn't use one.


Step 2

Next thing you need is the replacement 72-pin connector.  I've pointed out that these are incredibly easy to find on ebay and amazon or anywhere really. Just do a search. You should definitley find one for $10 or less.

Part: 72-Pin Connector

72 pin connector

Step 3

Flip the console over and take a look at these 6 holes.  There is a screw in each one of them securing the case.  Loosen and remove these screws and set them aside in a safe place.

nes bottom

Step 4

Flip the console back over and remove the top half of the case.  You'll see a metal shell over the cartridge loader and circuit boards.  

Remove the 7 highlighted screws.

nes hardware

Step 5

Remove the metal shell and marvel at the simple hardware.  If you've ever opened up a newer console you'll notice this is incredibly simple and much less stressful.  Remember to place the screws somewhere safe.  I like to use the top of the NES case.

nes opened

Step 6

Next remove the following circled screws.  There are 6 in total and some of them are different.  Make sure to remember where the screws go and how many you got from each area.  You don't want to get done and have extra screws.

cartridge popper

Step 7

Slide the cartridge popper down as seen in the picture.  It may be a tight fit, but it will come out with some wiggling.

Step 8

Next unscrew these two screws by the little AV connection port.  This will give you some wiggle room for getting the 72-Pin connector out.  It could also be a great time to blow out the console with a can of air.

Step 9

Here's where we actually replace the old pin connector.  It might feel pretty stuck but you should be able to brace your fingers against the circuit board around it and push on each side of the connector evenly so that it comes off the board.  Be gentle though.  These 30+ year old circuits boards can get brittle and you don't want to break it.  

Step 10

Once you've got the old one out, set it aside and open the new one.  Make sure you're putting it in the same way as before.  

Position it was in when it came out.

Step 11

Slide the new one over the teeth.  It's going to be a much tighter fit then before.  Again, be patient so you don't damage anything.

There!  You've replaced the 72-Pin Connector!

Step 12

Now all you have to do is put it back together in reverse.  Work your way back through these step.

Please note that there are 2 screws from Step 6 that are longer than the others.  

If you didn't notice, this is where they go.