Repair or improve your NES

There’s a warm place in our hearts for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s too bad we don’t have that hardware sitting around anymore. But if you do there’s a chance it needs some TLC and there’s always room for a blue LED mod. [Raph] has a wonderful collection of NES hardware repairs and hacks that you should take a look at. These include replacing the power supply, fixing the cartridge connector, monkeying with the CIC chip, adding a reset button on the controller, converting the audio from mono to stereo, and yes, swapping in a blue LED. Oh, and as a side note, [Raph] gets a bit of extra hacker ‘cred for including “coded manually using VIM” at the bottom of his page. Classic.


  1. Ryan says:

    What, no arduino powering that blue LED?

  2. TJ says:

    My Arduino has a NES system powering its blue LED

  3. kshade says:

    All of these are nice modifications except for the LED. Seriously, get over blue LEDs, especially if they don’t fit the styling of what you’re modding one bit.

  4. CodeAsm says:

    Wow, I just got my NES from ebay.
    and hacked and mod it thanks to his website. Funny to see it here again. Maybe I should post the websites I visit before someone else do.

    Great website, It got me thinking of making my own NES cardrige and GB cardrige.
    Nice belgian trick for another “Gamebit”

  5. Skitchin says:

    @CodeAsm: Thanks for that link, I was just going to say I really liked the bit about making your own tool for opening cartridges.

  6. Stephen says:

    Hmm, I have 2 of these just sitting in the closet, and both work perfectly. Love the old Zelda.

  7. daniel says:

    I could buy a snes for as low as 50 USD. Hacking this would be much more fun than hacking an xbox or ps3. I hate that the new technology gets more and more complicated so only bitbrains can understand it anymore. Its no more fun to hack new phones and consoles not to mention to try to repair them, we rather throw them into the trash.

    SNES,C64 and the others should release all their specifications for these abandonware hws with as much details that everyone could build one from scratch.

  8. smoker_dave says:


    C64 specification was always public. Get hold of a copy of “Commodore 64 Programmer’s reference guide” from 1983.

    You will love full hardware/software descriptions and even the fold out schematic diagram.

    My copy sits next to my original machine I have owned since the early 90’s. It just needed a new PSU building up a few years ago as the Commodore units were pretty crap.

  9. Curtman says:

    “I did not install a button at the other end, I just touch the wires together.”

    For a reset button??? That’s going to be terrible 5 hours into metroid when the cat steps on them.

  10. Rat says:

    Everyone who uses blue leds for their mods needs to have their eyes stabbed out. blue leds are the equivalent of putting neon strips under your ricer car. you destroy the aesthetics by putting in something so glaring and unnecessary.

  11. Spork says:

    Blue LED’s are very aesthetically pleasing if done correctly. Personally, I run them on a low voltage with frosted plastic to give a nice soft blue glow, not the BRIGHT color they make when you run them around 3.2v.

    Why oh why do you make me tear apart everything dear to me? I know most things end in pure awesome, but still…

    Does anyone else really want to add the cartridge hardware directly to the console with a larger chip and a flashing circuit built in? I’m thinking it would be a fun project to have a very original looking NES with perfect functionality… and not have to replace the game slot every few years.

  12. EvilNCarnate says:

    Bet he still has to blow the cartridges out and wiggle it a little bit to get some games to play.

  13. TheMan says:

    shutup about the arduino already – there are too many crappy projects using it posted on Hackaday anyways.

  14. aj says:


    Thanks for the tip. Might pick a copy of the book up just for interest.

  15. Circuitmage says:


    Like it. Blue LEDs are still cool.
    Case mod is needed tho…

  16. says:

    I’m sure you can use a different color LED and still follow his instructions LOL. Get over it. Some people like blue leds.

  17. jim says:

    the blue LED is a matter of taste, but the it’s/its confusion is brain hurting

  18. Ray says:

    Ben Heck did this a long time ago. He called a “super” Nintendo.

  19. dddanmar says:

    Raphnet is fantastic, I’ve used his articles many many times in the past for projects.

    Also, that article has been around for some – its nothing new he has posted there, and I think there are some much better articles on his site, such as the lovely re programmable NES cart:

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