NES 72 Pins Replacement

Formerly gameitworks store at wix retro-game-manuals
Formerly gameitworks store at wix retro-game-manuals

The Original Nintendo (NES) “Side Loading” Console

  • This game console was released in 1985.
  • Common Issues – Red Blinking Light
  • Common Solutions – The Red Blinking Light was an indicator that the game was either not insert correctly or the pins in the NES had gone bad.  Replacing the NES 72 pins with a new replacement part often fixes issues with Game Cartridges not loading, poor audio and video. This is also a cheap repair option.

Where Are The 72 Pins Replacement Instructions

Common 72 Pins Replacement Issues

  • The pins are really tight
  • Cartridges are hard to put in and remove

The original Nintendo Entertainment System consoles were made with tight slots and pins. You probably either do not remember it, or may not have even been born when Nintendo Released their original NES.

The tight slot helped keep the cartridges in the correct position and from damaging the pins.  Unlike the later released Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64, the NES was new technology, but for those of us living today, it was ancient technology.  The pins loosened up over time and so did the slot insertion and removal, but even years later, an old original pins NES slot can still be rather tight for insertion and removal, often requiring them to have to be yanked out.

Below are some recommendations for your new 72 Pins replacement.


  • Recheck your work to make sure you got the pins inserted correctly.
  • Clean the game cartridges plastic with some rubbing alcohol and a lint free cloth
  • Loosen the screws a little that hold that hold down the cartridge tray.
  • Try inserting an authentic NES game cartridge made by Nintendo.  Some of the third party made game cartridges are slightly larger and may be more difficult to insert.
  • Leave a game cartridge in the NES slot when you are not playing it. Then can help loosen the pins up faster also.

When you replace your NES pins, you want them to be tight.  They will begin to “break-in” and loosen up over time.  The more often you play your NES the looser it should become.  On average, it can take up to around 50 cartridge insertions before you begin to notice the pins loosening and the cartridges becoming to insert and remove, but even over time, the cartridges will take some effort to insert and remove, which is normal for this first generation of cartridge based game consoles.

Most of my game cartridges are working, but a few are not. 

  • Clean the pins of the game cartridge.  You can use a little rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab and rub it repeatedly with light to medium pressure to clean the cartridges internal pins.  This will work with most game cartridges.  DO NOT use sandpaper or a rubber eraser, as these may damage the pins.
  • Some cartridges may need a stronger cleaning method the first time, if they are old, dirty and do not work after a basic alcohol cleaning.  In this situation, you will want to open the case using a security pin, use a lint free cloth, re-clean with 70% alcohol.
  • Make sure your Nintendo Console Internal Pins are actually working with other games before trying this last result for game cartridges that won’t work after double-cleaning. Usually it’s a game cartridge that goes bad, but if your consoles internal pins are bad, it won’t be able to read some of your game cartridges anyway. As a last result to save a non-working game cartridge, you can wipe the pins with some Brasso Metal Cleaner lightly, for a few seconds only, and then wipe off the Brasso.  Next, using a clean area of the lint free cloth, wipe the pins with some alcohol. NOTE: Brasso is very abrasive so only use light pressure and only enough to clean off dirt and light rust. Using Brasso is more of a last resort for games that will not otherwise work after the basic cleaning steps above and should not be the first option, since over use, to much pressure could damage the pins. If you’ve got nothing left to lose, use the Brasso.
  • If these steps do not work, there may be a bad battery in the game case, or some other unknown issue with the game cartridge.  Replacing a dead battery may help, but replacing the game cartridge may be necessary. If possible, try the cartridge in a friends NES game console to see if it works.