SNES Repair and Restoration

I picked up a SNES that was discolored with a broken AC port. It powered up and was able to play the included cartridge, NBA Give ‘N Go. However, when I arrived at home, the SNES was unable to play any other games. I assumed the cartridge port to be dirty.


This SNES is a model SNS-001 with a 1993 SNS-CPU-GPM-02. This motherboard differs slightly from the previous SNES that I restored here. After complete disassembly, including removal of the cart port from the mobo, I removed the dust and debris. I cleaned the port and connector pins with isopropyl and reassembled for testing. Shazam! My other carts work!

I found a video to guide me through desoldering and removing the old AC port:

Desoldering video

I’m a soldering novice, but the process wasn’t difficult. I was surprised by how long I had to apply heat to the old solder to get it to flow into the wick. I was also surprised at the amount of 30 year old flux still on the board from the factory.

It looks good because it is blurry

The replacement part was a nice color match. After reassembly, soldering, and testing, I was just waiting for the Retrobrite to finish…

I finished tearing down the outer case and Retrobrited the top case half and controller port bezel. For some reason, on this unit, only the top half was discolored. I’ve read this has to do with different batches of plastic having varying consistencies, which is why some units yellow faster than others.

Another interesting discoloration on this unit is on the (normally) purple power and reset buttons. They both have yellowed, causing a browning tint to them. You can see from the picture that this is again from sunlight, as the bottoms of the buttons are still the original color. I did some searching and could not come up with a definitive answer as to whether or not Retrobrite would ruin or restore the purple buttons. I found lots of speculation on Reddit (Reddit is  good for that), but no proof.

Let’s Find Out

Here you can see the top of the button versus the color that it should be underneath.


I Retrobrited the buttons alongside the case. The result:


It definitely bleached the brown out. And most of the purple along with it. Well, hopefully the case turned out better…

Splotchy. I blame this one on myself. I didn’t quite follow the directions and left the Retrobrite on for over a day. I think it dried in to the plastic, causing the splotchy appearance.

Two final notes of interest:

This unit had a straight hinge bar for the eject button without the normal ‘L’ at the end:

Weird hinge bar

I also noticed that this unit and another both had the cartridge “lock” bar missing. I’m not sure if previous owners removed these or Nintendo stopped putting them in. Funny that the unit had the warning sticker, as if it had once been present:


  • Don’t Retrobrite the colored buttons
  • Follow the Retrobrite directions: rinse and reapply after 4 hours
  • SNES repair blog I found along the way:

Leave a Reply