Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play SOLVED

Discuss hardware-related topics, such as development cartridges, CopyNES, PowerPak, EPROMs, or whatever.

Moderators: B00daW, Moderators

User avatar
pcmantinker
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:03 pm
Location: Columbus, GA
Contact:

Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play SOLVED

Post by pcmantinker » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:52 pm

I disabled my NES lockout chip tonight to try and fix the flashing red light problem I was having. However, now I get a gray screen on most every game that I have. The only games that will play are Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt and Tengen Pac-Man. My Super Mario Bros 2, Super Mario Bros 3, Donkey Kong Classics, Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros Classic Arcade and Home Alone won't boot.

I'm not 100% certain if it's due to the carts not being very clean or if it's some other problem. I've ordered a cleaning kit for my carts to try and see if they need further cleaning. I have done some simple cleaning with rubbing alcohol and Q-Tips, but I haven't been able to get all my games working again.

What are some other suggestions to get my games working again? Is there any reason that cutting pin 4 on the lockout chip would break compatibility? I may need to install another lockout chip if that is the case.
Last edited by pcmantinker on Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Many of life's failures are those who didn't realize how close they were to success when they gave up" - Thomas Alva Edison

User avatar
Jeroen
Posts: 982
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:49 pm

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by Jeroen » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:58 pm

Sounds like you might've cut a line by accident causing certain games not to work.

User avatar
pcmantinker
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:03 pm
Location: Columbus, GA
Contact:

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by pcmantinker » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:07 pm

After a little more in depth cleaning with my rubbing alcohol and Q-Tips, I was able to get a few more games working. I'm glad I didn't damage the internals while cutting pin 4 of my lockout chip. I'll have to wait for my cleaning kit to come in to give my carts a proper cleaning. I'll also look into getting a new cartridge connector that has been cleaned and refurbished. Nintendo Repair Shop sells them for about $10. If it would make my NES run like new again, I'd buy one. Does anyone have experience with these refurbished connectors and their reliability?
"Many of life's failures are those who didn't realize how close they were to success when they gave up" - Thomas Alva Edison

SkinnyV
Posts: 425
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 2:41 pm
Location: Montréal, Canada
Contact:

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by SkinnyV » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:06 pm

I would not buy a new connector and would advice just to fix your current one (I've heard mixed story about them). You just need to bend the pin a little with a needle or something. As for the the issue you are having, I think that either your connector or cart edge pin are dirty. Before the mod, it would flash because the lock-out chip couldn't authenticate the cart because of the dirt, now you get the same issue except that the lockout chip no longer whine about it and the nes display the solid color screen instead.

By the way, did you connect pin four of the CIC to ground? It is advised not to let that pin floating but I doubt it is the cause of your issue,

User avatar
pcmantinker
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:03 pm
Location: Columbus, GA
Contact:

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by pcmantinker » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:15 pm

Thanks for the tips about the new connector. I will look at adjusting my existing connector and seeing if I can get it to work better. I am slightly curious though about how a new connector would work if it is properly cleaned and not a reproduction connector. As far as the mod, I didn't connect pin 4 to ground. I didn't see that part about the mod until after I disconnected the pin from the motherboard. I'm fairly certain that the issue I'm experiencing is due to dirt in the cart edges or connector and not the floating pin 4.
"Many of life's failures are those who didn't realize how close they were to success when they gave up" - Thomas Alva Edison

lidnariq
Posts: 8690
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:12 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by lidnariq » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:07 am

pcmantinker wrote:I disabled my NES lockout chip tonight to try and fix the flashing red light problem I was having. However, now I get a gray screen on most every game that I have.
Just to make sure: did all these other games cease working after you disabled the CIC? Or did they just go from "not working, CIC blinking" to "not working"?
Is there any reason that cutting pin 4 on the lockout chip would break compatibility?
Effectively no. There are threetwo games that require a functional CIC, allboth multicarts: Nintendo World Championships and Nintendo World Cup + Tetris + SMB (Europe only)and Nintendo World Cup + Super Spike V'Ball.

edit: NWC+SSVB patches the games' reset vectors, it doesn't clear the latch
Last edited by lidnariq on Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tepples
Posts: 21706
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:12 pm
Location: NE Indiana, USA (NTSC)
Contact:

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by tepples » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:28 am

lidnariq wrote:There are three games that require a functional CIC, all multicarts: Nintendo World Championships, Nintendo World Cup + Tetris + SMB (Europe only), and Nintendo World Cup + Super Spike V'Ball.

In other words, multicarts with "Nintendo World C"something are the NES's counterpart to SA-1 games on the Super NES.

User avatar
Bregalad
Posts: 7750
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Chexbres, VD, Switzerland

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by Bregalad » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:55 am

Nintendo World Cup + Tetris + SMB (Europe only)

I'm pretty sure I got it running fine with a disabled CIC. I should check to know if it works with a console which does not have any CIC (toploader) though.

User avatar
pcmantinker
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:03 pm
Location: Columbus, GA
Contact:

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by pcmantinker » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:57 am

lidnariq wrote:
pcmantinker wrote:I disabled my NES lockout chip tonight to try and fix the flashing red light problem I was having. However, now I get a gray screen on most every game that I have.
Just to make sure: did all these other games cease working after you disabled the CIC? Or did they just go from "not working, CIC blinking" to "not working"?
Is there any reason that cutting pin 4 on the lockout chip would break compatibility?
Effectively no. There are three games that require a functional CIC, all multicarts: Nintendo World Championships, Nintendo World Cup + Tetris + SMB (Europe only), and Nintendo World Cup + Super Spike V'Ball.

Before I disabled the CIC, I would get flashing white on my TV, but now sometimes I get just a solid white if the game doesn't make a good connection to the cart connector. I'm fairly certain now that the issue is with my carts having dirty edges and my connector being slightly dirty. The only game that doesn't work for me at the moment is Home Alone, but I've always had issues with that cart. I bought it at a Gamestop that had some NES stock left a while back and I know that it's in very used condition. I've only gotten it to boot a few times on my NES. As far as those three games, I'm not too concerned that they won't work without a functional CIC. Most games that I get aren't multicarts if I can help it. I like to get the single carts for expanding my collection further. I'm an avid retro Nintendo collector and have been working on widening my NES game library over the past couple of weeks.
"Many of life's failures are those who didn't realize how close they were to success when they gave up" - Thomas Alva Edison

User avatar
MottZilla
Posts: 2832
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:18 pm

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by MottZilla » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:36 am

One thing to remember is if a game doesn't start when you power it on, try pressing reset rather than powering it off and back on. Sometimes that does help. Other than that, cleaning your carts is probably the most important thing to do. It can take awhile, but I actually cleaned all my cartridges recently. You shouldn't have to clean them very often but it's a safe bet if you've *never* cleaned one of your cartridges that it probably would benefit from a cleaning. The whole lockout chip disabling really doesn't help with getting games to start on the first try. You should only disable your lockout chip if you need to run cartridges with no CIC or another region CIC. It shouldn't be done thinking that is why your games won't start up/red blinking light. While it's true that happens, it's because your cartridge is dirty. It's just a great sign that you should clean your game.

lidnariq
Posts: 8690
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:12 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by lidnariq » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:52 am

Bregalad wrote:I'm pretty sure I got [NWC+SMB+Tetris] running fine with a disabled CIC. I should check to know if it works with a console which does not have any CIC (toploader) though.
It won't go back to the menu with a broken CIC from NWC or SMB when you hit the reset button. I am curious about the behavior with the toploader, though, since no-one has a schematic for it.

User avatar
pcmantinker
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:03 pm
Location: Columbus, GA
Contact:

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play

Post by pcmantinker » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:46 pm

MottZilla wrote:One thing to remember is if a game doesn't start when you power it on, try pressing reset rather than powering it off and back on. Sometimes that does help. Other than that, cleaning your carts is probably the most important thing to do. It can take awhile, but I actually cleaned all my cartridges recently. You shouldn't have to clean them very often but it's a safe bet if you've *never* cleaned one of your cartridges that it probably would benefit from a cleaning. The whole lockout chip disabling really doesn't help with getting games to start on the first try. You should only disable your lockout chip if you need to run cartridges with no CIC or another region CIC. It shouldn't be done thinking that is why your games won't start up/red blinking light. While it's true that happens, it's because your cartridge is dirty. It's just a great sign that you should clean your game.

I may have jumped the gun with disabling my lockout chip, but now I can run any region game, provided it doesn't have the same problems as some of the multicarts mentioned above. I plan to expand my Famicom game library soon too so having my console region free will help.

I have a Tri-Star Super 8 coming some time next week that plays Famicom games, but I'd like to keep my options open. It's a famiclone so not everything will supported. I haven't been able to find a wiki listing the compatible NES/Famicom games on the Tri-Star Super 8, but I plan to compile my findings once my Super 8 arrives. I'm not exactly sure about compatibility with Famicom games on the NES, but it's something worth pursuing too.
"Many of life's failures are those who didn't realize how close they were to success when they gave up" - Thomas Alva Edison

User avatar
MottZilla
Posts: 2832
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:18 pm

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play SO

Post by MottZilla » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:21 am

Famicom games written properly will work fine on the NES. However there are chinese pirate games that will not work on the NES. But licensed games should.

You said "SOLVED", but what was the solution? Were the games infact just dirty?

Suggestion for DIY cleaning, open your cartridges (you'll need a security bit for most) and make sure you're discharged of static electricity. Then take a pink pencil eraser, either on a pencil or one of those block type ones. Rub the edge contacts with it and you'll notice the eraser probably turns black. It'll get alot of nasty stuff off your contacts. Do all pins, both sides. Afterward wipe the debris off the board. If you want you could now use some rubbing alcohol on the contacts but it's probably not necessary. For wiping the board and for using the alcohol just use a paper towel. You can use a QTip for applying the alcohol but for drying I'd use a paper towel. Also I'd try to avoid getting alcohol on anything besides the exposed contacts.

You'll be surprised the difference just a pencil eraser can make when it comes to cartridge reliability. The difference between a dirty cart and one cleaned this way is like going back to a brand new cartridge.

User avatar
Bregalad
Posts: 7750
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Chexbres, VD, Switzerland

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play SO

Post by Bregalad » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:15 am

It won't go back to the menu with a broken CIC from NWC or SMB when you hit the reset button. I am curious about the behavior with the toploader, though, since no-one has a schematic for it.

From what I tested, it resest when you try to play SMB or NWC, but Tetris works perfectly.

User avatar
pcmantinker
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:03 pm
Location: Columbus, GA
Contact:

Re: Disabled NES lockout chip and only certain games play SO

Post by pcmantinker » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:38 am

MottZilla wrote:Famicom games written properly will work fine on the NES. However there are chinese pirate games that will not work on the NES. But licensed games should.

You said "SOLVED", but what was the solution? Were the games infact just dirty?

Suggestion for DIY cleaning, open your cartridges (you'll need a security bit for most) and make sure you're discharged of static electricity. Then take a pink pencil eraser, either on a pencil or one of those block type ones. Rub the edge contacts with it and you'll notice the eraser probably turns black. It'll get alot of nasty stuff off your contacts. Do all pins, both sides. Afterward wipe the debris off the board. If you want you could now use some rubbing alcohol on the contacts but it's probably not necessary. For wiping the board and for using the alcohol just use a paper towel. You can use a QTip for applying the alcohol but for drying I'd use a paper towel. Also I'd try to avoid getting alcohol on anything besides the exposed contacts.

You'll be surprised the difference just a pencil eraser can make when it comes to cartridge reliability. The difference between a dirty cart and one cleaned this way is like going back to a brand new cartridge.

That's good to hear about the Famicom games on the NES. I've read that they're essentially the same system with a 60 pin connector for the Famicom and 72 pin connector for the NES, extra audio support for the Famicom, and a microphone for the Famicom's second controller. I'd need a 60 to 72 pin adapter for playing Famicom games on the NES. Also, I believe some people have modded their NES to support the extra audio channels outputted by some Famicom games like Akumajou Densetsu.

I changed the thread status to "SOLVED" because I have determined that my carts are just dirty after some further troubleshooting. I can get each of my games to boot now, even Home Alone. I did a light cleaning with rubbing alcohol on the carts, but I will be doing a more in depth clean soon. I sometimes have to angle the carts slightly to the left or right to get a good connection (not sure how that makes a better connection than straight in), but that should change after I do a full cleaning on the carts. I ordered a security bit for opening my carts and it should be arriving soon so I'll do a full cleaning of each game shortly. I also cleaned my cart connector and motherboard cart connector edge so that should be much better than before.
"Many of life's failures are those who didn't realize how close they were to success when they gave up" - Thomas Alva Edison

Post Reply