Nintendo Entertainment System Troubleshooting

Game Console Does Not Register Game Cartridge ¶ 

Your NES turns on, but the game does not register.

Dusty 72-PIN Connector ¶ 

After a few years, your 72-PIN connector inside of the NES will get dusty and the pins will corrode. A dusty 72-PIN connector causes an incomplete connection from the game cartridge to the game console. They must be cleaned in order to function properly. In order to clean, follow our directions on Removing the 72-PIN Connector. Once removed, use sand paper to rub the pins.

If your console still does not register the game cartridge, a new 72-PIN connector must be purchased. Click here to purchase online. Follow our step by step instructions on Installing Nintendo Entertainment System 72-PIN Connector to help complete this process.

Dusty Game Cartridge ¶ 

The spokes inside of your game cartridges may be dirty or corroded, so it is important to clean these. A common belief is that blowing on the bottom of the cartridge will help, but you do not want to rely on this routine. Blowing into the cartridge increases the moisture on the pins, causing them to corrode faster and leading to quicker long-term damage. You can purchase an NES cleaning kit here.

Dusty Game Console ¶ 

Your console may be dusty, which may cause your game console to not register the game cartridge. This problem can be solved by simple cleaning of the system. Refer to our guide on Installing Nintendo Entertainment System Motherboard. Remove sticky residue on the motherboard by using a brush dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Note: Be sure the motherboard is completely dry before reassembling your game console.

Game Console Will Not Eject Game Cartridge ¶ 

Your game will not eject from the game console.

Springs Not Properly Mounted ¶ 

If your game cartridge does not eject, it could be that the springs are not properly mounted. You can solve this problem by following our guide on Installing Nintendo Entertainment System Springs Not Properly Mounted on Cartridge Tray.

Springs Worn Out ¶ 

If you notice that your springs are no longer functioning properly, you will need to replace them. Spring loaded pens might be a good source for springs this small, but if not, you can find possible replacements here. Once you purchase new springs, follow our guide on Installing Nintendo Entertainment System Game Cartridge Tray Springs.

Controllers Will Not Register ¶ 

Your system registers the game, but you cannot start playing.

Plastic Controller Harness Defective ¶ 

If your controllers are plugged in, but you are not able to control the game console through the controllers, then your plastic controller harnesses are defective. Purchase a new plastic controller harness. Once you have purchased a new plastic controller harness, follow our guide on Installing Nintendo Entertainment System Controller Outlet.

Game Console has Flashing Red Light ¶ 

Your NES has a flashing red light next to the power button.

Dusty 72-PIN Connector ¶ 

If your power light is flashing red, there is a problem with the 72-PIN connector. This problem may be caused by dust. A dusty connection leads to the game not being able to register. If the 72-PIN connector is clean, yet still not working properly, it can be faulty which will require you to purchase a new one. To fix this problem, go to our repair guide on Installing Nintendo Entertainment System 72-PIN Connector. To clean the 72-PIN connector, use sand paper to lightly scrub the pins. Then, use thin sand paper to clean the pins that are attached to the motherboard. If your game console is still flashing a red light, refer to Dusty Game Cartridge.

Dusty Game Cartridge ¶ 

Each game cartridge has pins that connect to the 72-PIN connector and over time, the pins on the game get dusty. Use steel wool to clean the pins. If your 72-PIN connector and your game cartridge is clean, but your game console still flashes red, then you will need to replace the 72-PIN connector. You can purchase an NES cleaning kit here.

Television Has Blinking Black and White Screen ¶ 

Your television has a blinking black and white screen.

Worn out 72-PIN connector ¶ 

The reason why your television has a blinking black and white screen is probably because you have a worn out 72-PIN connector. In order to fix this problem, purchase a new 72-PIN connector and follow our steps on Installing Nintendo Entertainment System 72-PIN Connector.

Bad RF Modulator ¶ 

You know that your DC-in board is bad when the game console will not power on. The only way to resolve this problem is to replace the RF Modulator.

18 Comments

ihave this problem only red light is on game doesent start why?

Rami Nieminen - Reply

The problem I'm having is that I can't play 2 player games n I know both controllers work and the 72 PIN is new can someone help me with the answer?

ledgernicholas - Reply

try opening the nes and disconnecting the plastic controller harnesses. connect player 2 harness where player 1 goes on the motherboard. turn the nes on and check if it works. if it doesnt, you have to change it.

Nicolas Novalic -

I just replaced the 72 pin connector and now the cartridge goes in very tight and I have to nearly pry the cartridge to get it out. After the replacement, the first game worked and after I took the cartridge out and put in another one, I can't get any to work including the first one. What gives?

topflitecop21 - Reply

Mine does the same

shawn -

Ever get it figured out?

shawn -

Same - It takes me about 20 goes to get any game to load, but other than that I have the flashing redlight/black and white screen combo!

James Bridges -

this happened to me when i got a bunch of old games. first game i tried worked. then tried some others and none worked. not even the first one, not even the ones that i had worked before. probably because dirt on the games. when i cleaned the first game i tried of that bunch, it was really dirty. my suggestion is:

1) get a 3.8mm screwdriver security bit (aliexpress for around 2 usd) and open all the games that you have. clean them the best you can. for cleaning i suggest: get a pencil rubber and rub the contacts (the part that connects to the 72 pin connector) a lot. get some brasso and an old cotton sock and clean the contacts a lot (try to have good light and you will see how the color of the metal changes), when you are finished, get a paper towel and keep rubbing the contacts until you feel it's completely dry and clean. now close your games back.

....continues...

Nicolas Novalic -

2) if you've got a chinese 72 pin connector replacement, you mostly will have to dispose it. the pins are made of cheap metal materials which are no real solution. here you have two options: one is trying to fix your old original 72 pin connector. other is buying a blinking light win from arcadeworks. if you have your old original 72 pin connector, you can boil it on water (search youtube for tutorials) and also CAREFULLY bend the pins up a bit - not too much!. As for boiling, I dont really like the boiling thing - I've tried it and I don't like the idea of submerging something that has metal components into water. I rather bend the pins a bit. If you are going to bend the pins, check some youtube tutorial or something, but really, be careful, you must not bend them to the sides or too far up. also, get an old tootbrush, clean it well, submerge it on alcohol (the more % the better, i got 96% alcohol but anything above 70 would be fine) and clean the connector on both ends (carts and motherboard. continues---

Nicolas Novalic -

3) also, you must clean very carefully the motherboard contacts (where the connector goes). i suggest the pencil rubber and brasso as well. but before doing this, get some soft brush and clean the motherboard out of any dust. blow some compressed air into it if you have something to do so. also clean everything on the nes, the plastic inside and outside, the metal covers, etc. the connections are really sensitive.

it takes a lot of patience sometimes, depending on the state of the unit.

Nicolas Novalic -

Get the blinking light win at https://www.arcadeworks.net

davids - Reply

Only Black and White Screen ??already change the 72pin connector and buy a new cinch cabel ? Any Help ?

ssstr - Reply

can i get somwon to fix it for me?

springertiana - Reply

I have a dark green screen when I turn my nes on. My daughter dropped it about 2 ft....is there a way to fix this??

Amanda Braly - Reply

did it work well before it was dropped? was it unplayed for a long time before it was dropped? it's very hard to know what's wrong without seeing it. i had the problem of a dark green screen because the connections were dirty/bad, the nes worked well. i'd recommend to clean the games and the unit (i replied some suggestions to someone above here)

Nicolas Novalic -

I just replaced my 72 pin connector on my nes. Now all I can see on my television is blue green and red colours you can kind of see the image but it's very distorted and it's impossible to play on. If anyone has any other fixes for this please help me out.

Cam - Reply

clean all the games, clean the motherboard... check my replies on some previous comments for some suggestions

Nicolas Novalic -

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