Old NES Not Working? Signs It Needs a New 72-Pin Connector and How to Keep the New One in Good Shape

Did you pull your old NES out of storage to have some fun playing the video games you liked to play as a child or show your son or daughter what video games were like when you were a child only to realize the system is not working correctly? As with any old electronic item, your NES could be having one of many issues, but a common problem with old NES systems is that the 72-pin connector has simply gone bad. Read on to learn how to determine if your 72-pin connector has gone bad, what to do if it has, and how to keep your new one in great shape. 

Is the Problem the 72-Pin Connector? 

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to determine whether the problem with your NES is a bad 72-pin connector. The first step is thinking back to how you handled your cartridges and NES system when you were a child. Did you often have problems getting cartridges to load, and did you often blow on the cartridges to "fix" the problem? If you did, then that may have helped you temporarily, but it likely took a toll on your 72-pin connector over time. 

Why? Every time you blew on those cartridges, you slightly moistened them with the water vapor that makes everyone's breath moist. Then, when you inserted the cartridge, this moisture was transferred to your 72 pin connector. As you likely know, electronics and water don't mix very well, and this moisture likely corroded your pins over time. 

If you don't remember blowing on your cartridges or just obtained a second-hand old NES with an unknown history, then you can still figure out whether the connector has gone bad just by noting how the NES responds when you attempt to insert a game. If your machine is powering up and connecting to your television, but it just won't load a game after you insert it and instead just seems to "act like" nothing is inside of it, then this is a sign that you simply have a bad 72-pin connector. 

How Do You Fix the Problem?

If you have determined that your NES 72-pin connector has likely gone back, then this may sound like bad news. However, it may actually be better news than you expect because you can buy a new NES 72-pin connector and easily replace the damaged one. Since this is niche item, you will likely need to purchase it online, since you are unlikely to find it at any electronic store today that sells new electronics only. 

Once you receive your new connector, you can replace it yourself by following these step-by-step instructions. The only tools you need are a small #2 flat-head screwdriver and a #2 Philip's head screwdriver.

Once you have taken the system apart to replace the connector, it is a good idea to have a can of compressed air handy to blow off any dust you see inside of your old system; you may be surprised what you find inside of it after all of these years!

 How Do You Avoid Another Replacement?

Once you have the new 72-pin connector in place, hook your system back up to the television and insert a game. If the connector was your only problem, then your system should begin functioning just like it did when you were a child!

To avoid having to replace the connector again, don't blow on those cartridges before inserting them! Also, insert them gently and keep your them clean. Remember that any dust or debris that accumulates on your NES cartridges will transfer to the connector pins when you insert the cartridge into your NES and could cause problems in the future. 

Follow these tips to find out whether a bad 72-pin connector is the cause of your NES problem, fix your system if it is, and make sure you don't have to replace the connector again. You can then look forward to many years of fun playing those old games you played as a child!

Check out a company like Culsams Original NES Store to get any replacement parts you need.