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Thread: SNES Black Screen--connectors and games thoroughly cleaned

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) kjps86's Avatar
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    Default SNES Black Screen--connectors and games thoroughly cleaned

    Greetings! This is my first post on this forum so I apologize if I fail to observe some unspoken rules, and please excuse the lengthy post. I will try to describe the entire situation to the best of my ability.

    I recently picked up a SNES at a local thrift store-console only, no games or cords or anything else. Over the course of about a week I acquired a controller (original SNES), power adapter (original SNES), game (Yoshi's Island), and AV cords (third party). When I had all the parts I hooked it up, turned on the power, and nothing but some momentary interference and then a black screen while the red power LED glowed just like normal. It seems the SNES is outputting this black screen since my TV recognizes an incoming video signal and the input listing disappears.

    Since then I have cleaned the contacts of the game and the 62 pin connector in the system with rubbing alcohol and a Q tip/card+cloth. Nothing. I opened the system up and cleaned out the dust. Nothing. I dismantled the circuit board area to look for any obvious signs of damage to the board (blown fuse, capacitors, or broken traces/solder). Still nothing. Everything looks fine and dandy yet the system will not work. I was lucky enough to be able to take it to a local retro games shop and verify there that the system is the problem as the other components work fine.

    As a last resort I disassembled the unit one last time and cleaned the 62 pin connector with an emory board (i.e. a nail file). It seemed to get some more gunk out but guess what: still more nothing.

    Should I go ahead and write this one off as a loss and start to investigate replacing the board (the case is in really good shape--no yellowing at all), or is it possible I've missed something? Looking through the forums I found other people with the same problem and the generic recommendation was to do a better job of cleaning the contacts. I have done that with no improvement, and I was wondering if anyone has actually managed to resolve the black screen issue in the past.

    If you are wondering why I don't just spend the money and replace it, well that is because I am pretty darned broke right now. I only bought the system because it was fifteen bucks and in decent physical shape. I must confess I somewhat regret the decision now considering how much trouble it has given me, but I'd still like to try to fix it. I'm not really able to replace it at the moment; if you want to tell me I just need to buy a replacement, well thanks for reading and I guess I might eventually. Aside from that all suggestions are greatly appreciated.


    System Info: It is a second generation SNES--non-removable sound module, no cartridge lock, two large chips in sound chip section (rather than one big and one small)

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    Can you get a hold of another game, any game? If the game is dead or not sufficiently cleaned, you get a black screen. Nine times out of ten this is a cleaning issue. If the red led stays on, you can cross off the fuse, power supply, etc. Could be a bad RAM chip.
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    Insert Coin (Level 0) kjps86's Avatar
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    When I took it to the retro game store (a local Play 'N Trade) we tried a few different cartridges but none worked, even ones without the extra bits on the side for the SuperFX chip. We put the game into another system and it booted right up and worked. Hence why I believe it to be an issue with the system.

    I'm considering just buying a badly yellowed/cracked working unit and swapping the internals just to put this behind me. Not positive yet though as I am still hoping for a miracle fix.

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    Perhaps I should also mention that in closely inspecting the cartridge I see that it is missing one of the metal springy things at the bottom (do these actually do anything besides add tension to the pins?). Also, the console the game was tested on was one of the reproductions, not a Nintendo original. Not sure if either of these is important, just putting it out there.

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    Carts only have one metal clip, I've never seen any with two of them. I'm not 100% sure what the clip is for but it's more than just holding pressure for the pins, the outside of the connector in the console is made of metal and this seems to make contact with the clip, which makes contact on the cartridge board as well.

    I would have thought the AV cable could have been the problem as it's 3rd party, but you said it still worked fine when tested with another console.

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    Often this is a stuck reset button.
    Test with a multimeter, see if it's always reading continuity.
    If it is, you could desolder it and see if that fixes the problem.

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    I'm having this exact same problem with my childhood SNES. I've cleaned it extensively to no avail. We never mistreated it growing up. I was really hoping someone on here would know how to fix it. For me, it's just sad to see so many SNES's having problems like this. I had hoped they were tougher than this .

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    I was having this problem so I tried turning the power on and off, none of my games were working until I accidentally forgot to turn the power off and pressed the eject button causing the game to get jammed, I pushed it back down turned it off and on again and it started working. ?
    Last edited by Wombo Combo; 04-16-2015 at 10:00 PM.

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    That sounds like a cart connection problem on yours. Ejecting it while it was on probably put a different stress on the pins and scraped off enough junk to get it working.

    Guessing from what your saying it's a release console with the eject lock to keep it from coming out while on

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