21 September 2014

Today, in "Retro Frustration"... []

I present the 72-pin connector for a Nintendo Entertainment System (front-loader style)...

These things are what cause so much rage, given that when they wear out, you have to load cartridges in just so to avoid the blinking screen of death (console continually resetting because the anti-bootleg chip didn't get the signal) or garbled graphics because something isn't lined up right...no amount of isopropyl alcohol and q-tips can save you when this goes bad.

This right here is actually a replacement one I got off eBay...lasted all of a month. So much for quality.

It's a real pain to have to replace these things too: you need to remove five screws to take off the top, seven screws to take off the metal shield over the cartridge slot, then six more to take off the Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) loader (the springy thing which, despite the name, actually does require a nonzero amount of force). Then you must pull up the motherboard to slide off the pin connector, then slide the new one on, then re-screw all the screws. And if you re-tighten them too tight, the loader will no longer function. 

Also, new 72-pin connectors have a ridiculously tight fit for the first week or so. Takes a firm shove to get the cartridge in and then a jaws-of-life grip to pull it out until you break it in a bit. And then the thing breaks.

Oh, the pain of the retro collector who prefers the original NES over the top-loader.  

EDIT: I should note that it is actually possible to repair these things, so long as they're not actually completely broken. But it's still a pain to take them out, do so, and replace them.


P.S. If you're interested in some awesome Top 5-style videos that also feature more Nintendo than I usually cover, check out 2MooglesGaming on their blog and YouTube.

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