Nintendo 64 troubleshooting question

Don’t :rolleyes: darnit. Yes, it’s an older game, but the price was right, as in free-found during apartment cleanout. Two controllers, two cartridges for the main console, and a memory enhancement cartridge that sticks in the bottom of either controller.

The RF interface had the male F connector whip torn loose, but I opened up the box and reinstalled the whip-soldered the center conductor to the board and crimped the shield. Air antenna plays through the interface, so my repair is valid, but I can’t get the unit to do bupkis.

Power light on-try channels 3 and 4, but Mario is still hiding inside. Lacking the original manual, and having no idea of how the thing is supposed to work (haven’t done video games since Pong) I turn to the teeming millions™. :wink:

Why are you using the coax instead of the RCA cables? Using RCA’s been standard since at least that generation of consoles and should give a better picture anyway. I’d try that before I started trying to get the old coax stuff to work.

IIRC, the RCA requires a special adapter (the deck doesn’t have RCA out). I think the style matches the SNES, but I can’t find either our SNES or N64 so…

The N64 has a small panel on the top of the console near the front for a memory expansion module. There needs to be either a memory module or a cheap plastic pass-through dummy module there, without which the deck might do what you’re describing.

Haven’t played in a long time though, so YMMV. If I find the thing I’ll see if I can reproduce your results.

If your N64 has just been sitting around collecting dust, you might try cleaning the contact strip in the cartridges and contact slot in the main unit.

From what I was able to learn online, output was either 75 ohm coax or RCA. I only have the coax output mod.

Okay, fair enough. It just seemed like an odd choice otherwise.

Yeah, try blowing out the cartridges and the slot in the unit.

Nanoda, I’m assuming you’re talking about the memory expansion that came bundled with one of the games (wasn’t it Donkey Kong 64?). What game are you trying to play, danceswithcats? I don’t think there were a lot of games that needed the expansion pack, but you might be trying to play one.

The N64, like the SNES before it and the Gamecube after it, has a Nintendo A/V port. The standard configuration is a cable with composite video and audio RCA plugs on the other end. Unlike the SNES, you have to use an adapter to convert the A/V port to the RCA RF jack before you plug in the RF modulator (The SNES has an A/V port and a RCA jack for the RF adapter built-in). Turning on the deck is supposed to automatically switch Nintendo-branded modulators from antenna to line.

Check the memory expansion module as Nanoda indicated.

When a deck and games sit unused for a while, they get dirty, and you have to clean the edge connectors (cf. “blowing out the cartridge”). The male cartridge connector can be easily cleaned with a q-tip and alcohol, but cleaning the female deck connector will be harder. Nintendo made a cleaning kit that was basically a handle shaped like an N64 cartrigde with a piece of soft fiberboard in place of the male connector. You can also try repeateadly removing and inserting a cartridge, as this usually wears through enough dirt on the contacts to make a sufficient connection, but obviously this doesn’t actually get rid of said dirt and should be avoided

It’s supposed to boot instantly, but it may take a short time before a game starts up. Try turning the deck off and on or wiggling the cartridge in the slot if it still doesn’t do anything

Overall, unless your TV doesn’t have composite video jacks, you should go to your local game or toy store and get the A/V cable. It’s the same one used for the Gamecube. Also, if you have access to a known-good Gamecube, you can test the RF modulator and RF adapter on it.

Update-there’s a little red hoosit front center top. I pull it out and it’s labeled RAM expander for use with N64 games. Reinstalled same.

I haven’t tried cleaning cartridge board connectors or game receptor. Will do.

TV has coax and composite inputs-I use coax for air antenna (no cable in catville) and VHS, as the VCR is my tuner, and composite for DVD.

Only cartridges found with the game are Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64. The memory expander module mentioned doesn’t have the metal clip to go into the main console, but it will mate with the underside of either red or blue game controller. I may have to bump this next weekend when I get back home. Thanks.

The memory modules you mention are usually called “controller paks.” They are for storing game data like savegames or customized content. They were mostly used by sports and racing games. They are not integral to the system’s overall function, and of the games you have, only Mario Kart 64 supports their use for optional use (MK64 lets you save a “ghost” of a time trial run, which is a recording of the route taken for the best time so far).

Slight diversion…

When you get it up and running, hit a pawn shop and invest in GoldenEye. You may never leave home again.


As an aside, I have trouble with “dirty” cartridges. 2nd hand games, from EBay, 2nd hand stores, even from a retailer, they all seem to take a few tries to get working. Sometimes I need to put in a game bought new to get the N64 working and then switch off and pop the old game back in. Try cleaning before any more soldering :slight_smile:

…thirded. Banquet Bear, Master of the famed “Apollo Maneuver”.

Rubbing alcohol and Q-tips: not just for first aid any more.