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Can't get that old game or console to work? Help is at hand - here we will provide info and tips on common problems you might encounter. All repairs are at your own risk.

What are the problems I might have?

Getting that old console or computer to work can be tricky business. Heres a list of things to check:

1: Is the power supply working or of the correct voltage? Usually easy to tell as most consoles have a LED indicating when it is switched on. You should always use the official power supply that came with the system. If not available, there are many third-party replacements available just check the voltage levels etc. For regional differences check here.

2: Is the television channel tuned in correctly? We're all used to SCARTs nowadays, so when you plug in the Megadrive remember that it needs a dedicated channel tuning in on the TV. Not all consoles will tune into the same frequency, that said most do. Most consoles are on UHF36. On modern LCD, plasma TVs set the tuner to analogue TV auto search while the console is connected and turned on. Auto tune will pick up uhf 36 channel. If you are getting any kind of signal at all (such as a blank or flashing screen) then it's probably something else. Not sure what to hook up where? Check out our video section here.

3: Do the leads you are using work? A lot of times a problem can simply be down to a duff RF lead, they often break due to being wound up repeatedly. Replacements are easy to come by and most PAL systems will accept the same RF lead. Lack of sound is almost always due to the aerial lead not pushed into the back of the console tightly.

4: If you have rolling, black and white picture, then its possible that the console does not output in a standard accepted by your TV, ie NTSC. Converters are available to change a NTSC signal to a PAL one but these are quite expensive at around £15-£30.

5: Dirt is the killer of Video Games and is probably the cause of 90% of the problems you will have with cartridges. It is, however, relatively easy to fix, although not getting dirt in the console in the first place is the best way to ensure your console stays working. Check the section on cleaning carts below.

Cartridge Maintenance, cleaning and replacing batteries.

For many older consoles such as the Atari, NES, SNES or the Megadrive games came on cartridges. These are usually very sturdy and dont often break. This is mainly due to the fact that there are no moving parts involved and are usually well protected by the casing.

However, the most common problem you will encounter is dust and dirt. Luckily the solution is relatively easy, you simply need to clean the contacts of the cart using whatever is at hand. For best results we have found official NES cleaning kits are the best for this job. They contain a small two ended cleaning device. Simply dampen one end and clean off any dirt or grime on the edge connector and dry it with the other end.

This picture shows the inside of a SNES cart and the connectors which need cleaning. Its not necessary to take the cart apart unless it is really dirty then it can help in getting better access. This is a simple procedure as long as you have the necessary security screw bit. We stock several types to fit mosts carts and indeed consoles if required.

If you cant find a cleaning kit nearly anything will do, we have had good results simply with a piece of soft cardboard, cue tip or cloth.

Several SNES games have battery backup for game saves, estimates as to the life span of these varies from around 2-10 years. Battery carts usually weigh over 80g, those without batteries under 80g. If you cant save game files anymore then chances are you just need to replace the battery. You will need a security screw bit to remove the two screws on snes carts These can be purchased from our SNES section. Batteries are sometimes soldered in place which doesnt make it any easier.

We also stock replacement batteries at £3 each or 2 for £5. Model CR2032 are required for most games. These batteries can also be used for Neo Geo Pocket, Dreamcast VMU's, Saturn internal memory, Pocketstations and other electronic games. Why not change your PC battery at the same time?

MegaCD consoles (I+II) use a slim 3V rechargeable batttery (ML2032) soldered in place for internal RAM. The manual recommends using the console for 6 hrs a month to keep it charged otherwise your lovely Sonic CD won't want to play :( Here's an article on bodging out your old battery if you can't afford a SegaCD RAM cart (pic). PS we got a MCDI with the battery showing 2.6V. It took 3 days to charge it up to 2.95V but it still wouldn't format the RAM!


You should always consult the user manual before attempting DIY repairs. We assume absolutely no responsibility whatsoever for any sort of damages incurred doing anything with this information.