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Cleaning or Replacing SNES Connector

3/3/14
We often get asked what can be done to repair an SNES console that doesn't play games, where you get a black screen, or scrambled graphics, or some other odd appearance.

The FIRST step, of course, and THE most common reason, for SNES games not playing, or getting a black screen, is that the games need to be cleaned with our #1 Nintendo Game Cleaning Kit. The old cleaning methods such as a Qtip or Windex or rubbing alcohol that you can read about online, worked to freshen a game that was just a few years old, but they don't cut 20+ years of oxidation buildup. Our kit is much more effective.

Assuming you've done that, and that you get power to your console (you get a red power light and are using an AC adapter that supplies the correct current level), and that you have a good TV hookup, these are the next steps to take.

Cleaning your 62 Pin Connector

There are two methods we recommend (below). What we do NOT recommend is using any kind of cloth or paper towel, etc., wrapped around a credit card, or anything foreign inserted into the 62 pin connector. You can read these ideas online, but they usually do more harm than good, leaving bits of fiber caught in the pins, or stretching the pins out of shape.

1) If you are lucky enough to own or find a Nintendo brand SNES control deck cleaner cartridge, model SNS-011, you use this to clean your 62 pin connector. It is dark gray, and looks just like a regular game cartridge, but has a piece of stiff slightly abrasive felt in place of a game circuit board. Power off the console, use it dry, insert like a game, push it down, eject it with the eject button, about a dozen times. Repeat if necessary. We sell them when we have them in stock, but they are becoming rare. If we don't have any listed on our site, you can sometimes find them on eBay or at a yard sale.

Nintendo SNES control deck 62 pin cleaner cartridge SNS-011

2) If you don't have access to a deck cleaner cartridge, or that didn't work, you can use an aerosol spray can of electronic contact cleaner to clean your 62 pin connector. This can be purchased at auto supply stores, or good electronics stores. Get one labeled safe for use on PCBs (plastic circuit boards). We don't recommend using rubbing alcohol (it's 30% water). You will need our 4.5mm system security bit to remove the 6 special screws on the bottom to open the console. It is important to discharge the SNES console before opening it. Unplug the AC adapter, then slide the power button to the on position. You may see a red flash of that power light. Now it's safe to open the console. Once inside, remove the 2 screws that are at each end of the 62 pin connector.

There are two kinds of 62 pin connector in SNES consoles. One is soldered in. We used to be able to buy these new, but as far as I know, no one is making them any more. The other kind just plugs in, and you can lift it off. If you have this kind, remove the 62 pin connector, hold it over old rags or paper towels, and spray it thoroughly with the electronic contact cleaner. Now shake it out, tap it out, blow it dry with a can of compressed air. Do NOT insert anything into the connector other than a game cartridge or that deck cleaner cartridge.

If you have the solder-in type of connector, you will have to clean it in place with the spray. Just be careful to not douse the entire motherboard, and get the motherboard dry as quickly as possible.

Now try clean games on your SNES!

Replacing the 62 pin SNES connector

If clean games and cleaning the 62 pin connector didn't help, you can try replacing it if you can find one, and that might help. Again, there are two types of 62 pin connector: I don't know of a reliable way to know which type you have without opening the console. You can read on the internet that if you have such and such a serial # .... but I have seen systems that broke that rule.

if you have the solder-in type, I don't know of any source to find those. We used to be able to get new ones, but that source dried up about 5 years ago.

If you have the plug-in type, we sometimes have extras for sale on our website. Key 62 pin in our search box. These are used, salvaged from SNES with unrepairable motherboards. We test them on good motherboards. You would again need the 4.5mm bit to open the console, and you'd want to discharge it first per instructions above. Then screw it in at each end, and re-assemble your SNES. You can test it without completing the re-assembly if you wish.

Replacing the 62 pin connector does not repair an SNES nearly as often as replacing a 72 pin connector does in an NES. We've had maybe a 33-50% cure rate at most, compared to 95-98% for an NES. That is disappointing, we'd all like a magic fix for SNES. In light of this, and since the good plug-in type 62 pin connectors are rare, we will allow a return on this part if it doesn't cure your SNES. We will deduct a small restocking fee, since we will have to re-test it to make sure you sent us back the good one!

With SNES, the problem sometimes is a bad chipset on the motherboard. We often get asked if we can repair a bad SNES motherboard, one that doesn't get color, or where the sprites don't appear or move, or where a good working 62 pin connector didn't solve a pixellated graphics problem, for example. There are chipsets for some of those functions, or it could be damaged circuits. The problem is identifying them. When Nintendo stopped supporting SNES, they didn't release the schematics. You can find schematics out there on the internet if you google around long enough, which may or may not be totally accurate. If the price of the SNES console goes up high enough, this might be worth several hours of labor, but we sell working consoles for $49.99. At that price, it isn't worth several hours of the kind of skilled labor it might take to work on these problems, especially when you still might not be able to identify and repair the problem on the motherboard.. It's sad, I know, to not be able to repair every SNES, but we no longer can offer this service.

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