Hacking a PAL SNES to output 50Hz or 60Hz with a single switch


[Derecho] grabbed a PAL format Super Nintendo but wanted to make it play nicely with a 60 Hertz NTSC screen. His hack added a single switch to choose between 50 Hz and 60 Hz.

Take a look at the image above to see his alterations to the mainboard. The jumpers soldered to the two chips at the top are by far the trickiest part of the project. Each of the pins he soldered to needed to first be lifted from the PCB pad so that they no longer make contact with the etched traces. The technique he used involves heating the pin with an iron, then gently lifting it with a pin or a razor knife/blade. If you’ve got some experience populating SMD boards with a handheld iron this shouldn’t prove too difficult. The rest of the hack involves adding a 3-position switch (along with a 2k2 resistor) to choose between output modes based on what format game is being played.


  1. MrX says:

    Love the duct tape soldering technique. Though recently I started using cyanoacrylate glue instead. The principle is simple, first I glue the wire into place. Then with the soldering iron I melt the glue simultaneously with the solder, the molten glue is really good a spreading the heat (kind of solder flux replacement), also isolates the joint from other connections and oxidizer agents. As benefit, the wire will be glued into place.
    The bad things are the fumes (YOU MUST USE A MASK) and the unclean final look of the board.

    PS: This technique also works even better for SMD soldering.

  2. Muzer says:

    I did this myself years ago. I was surprised at how well I’d managed it with such an awful iron. I turned my SNES on to test it, it worked. Satisfied after playing for a few minutes, I reached to turn it off, and knocked the power switch onto the motherboard. There was a spark and that SNES didn’t work any more, funnily enough ;).

    Rookie mistake!

  3. RoadWarrior222 says:

    Seems like I saw this and similar mods booting around the ftp and gopher sites and usenet archives back in the 90s.

  4. daniel says:

    This is the kind of wire to use for repairs like this:

    It’s a lot easier to use! Just make sure you have a sharp wire stripper :)

  5. SkinnyV says:

    If you’re going to try such a mode, might as well program a PIC with SuperCIC and install it to replace the manual switch. Switchless and region free at the same time.

  6. 19RSN007 says:

    I did this to 3 PAL Snes consoles about 5 years ago…works flawlessly !
    Also disabled the CIC so import play was no problem.

    Gonna do the same to my Genesis 2 when I pick it up in a few weeks.
    PAL/NTSC switch and 50/60Hz switch.
    No all I have to do is find a way to disable it’s bios so the thing will play the CDX (import enable device for segaCD) and I can start playing my Night Trap imort again without powering up my PC and emulating

  7. doragasu says:

    I also did the same mod to my SNES several years ago, and also added a second switch to disable the CIC lockout chip (so I can use imports/flashcarts without the need of the T shaped board).

  8. kotlinski says:

    I would love to know why the resistor is there, any ideas? For me it seems to work fine also without it.

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