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NES Game Tray Wont Lock

Recently, on our Ask NES Questions blog article, a poster asked if we could help them fix the issue where the NES game tray will not stay locked in the down position. If you have repaired more than a handful of Nintendo NES systems, chances are you have run into this problem. Fortunately, in almost every case the game tray issue is simple to solve, although a bit tricky to understand. A picture is worth a thousand words, so courtesy of our own NES Repair Resources page, check out the NES System Repair video below at 3 minutes 15 seconds for a full demonstration of the correct method for reinserting the NES game tray.

For those of you with flash issues, I'll spell it out. The 'NES system game tray' is the springy thing you press down on to load and unload your NES games. If you remove this game tray from your system and look at the underside you will notice a small black tab about 1/2 an inch wide on the front/loader side. If you pay attention to this black tab when reinstalling the game tray, you will notice one of two things; it either rests on top of the green motherboard (BAD), or it snaps down underneath (GOOD!). When it rests on top, the game tray becomes warped slightly and often will not stay locked down, until you fix it by making sure the black tab snaps underneath the motherboard.

Hopefully this is helpful for you do-it-yourselfers. If so, be sure to check out our NES Total Repair Kit (has everything you need to fix your NES on your own). For those of you not interested in the finer points of NES repair, you can always have us fix your NES system for you.


Finally fixed after 20 years! (4/14/2012 4/21/2019 2:03:00 AM)
My NES game tray stopped locking down 20 years ago. I was told, by a local video game repair shop, that it was a broken spring and I needed to replace it. Well I didn't take their offer and just jammed another game on top of the game tray when down. That worked for a while. Flash forward 20 years, I come across your site and this blog. I grabbed my NES from the garage, and opened it up. As it turns out, it was the small black tab and the bottom of the game tray. It had somehow slipped out of place. I easily slipped it back under the motherboard and put the NES back together. I loaded The Legend of Zelda in to the slot and pushed the game tray down. It locked! I turned the system on and was immediately welcomed with the Zelda theme song!!! The kid in me rejoiced! I haven't put the NES back in the garage since. In fact, my kids want to play it now more than the Wii or Xbox Kinect! Thank you!

Nathan - Idaho, USA
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