Nintendo SNES / Super Famicom

From Repair Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The second major console from Nintendo (Super Famicom in Japan, Super Nintendo in Europe and the USA), is the successor of the Famicom or Nintendo Entertainment System. It uses roughly the same hardware architecture as its predecessor, yet slightly improved.

This article is based on the PAL and NTSC-J(Japanese) versions of the device. Some details in this article may be different for the NTSC(US) version

Points to note[edit | edit source]

  • Before you do anything on the device, it is wise to have a quick visual inspection around the board. Are there any signs of liquid damaged, corrosion, scratches, burn marks, or leaked capacitors? Also read the Visual Inspection page.
  • If this guide talks about replacing one of the bigger chips (PPU/CPU/WRAM), the chip can be replaced with any version of that chip. Multiple versions of the CPU, PPU1, PPU2, and WRAM chips have been made and these can be mixed and matched without issues. None of these chips are still in production so they will have to be salvaged from a donating device.
  • It helps tremendously if you can get your hands on a SNES Burn-In Test Cart. Unofficial ones can be bought through various channels like Amazon or AliExpress for cheap. They can test various hardware issues.
  • The power smoothing capacitor inside the device holds quite a charge after the device has been turned off (because the power switch is positioned between the rectifier and caps and the rest of the device). Make sure you discharge this capacitor before you work on the machine's insides. This can be done by turning on the device using the power switch while there is no power supply plugged in. The power LED will flash shortly if you do this.
  • There are basically two major architectures for the device. The multi-chip, and the single-chip (1CHIP) versions. The latter is the latest version and combines multiple chips (CPU and PPU) into one. The number printed on the PCB should clearly show if it's a 1CHIP version.

Problemshooting[edit | edit source]

Problem Solution

No Power (LED not turning on)

  • Make sure that none of the peripherals short the power rail. The power LED should light when you turn on the device even if there is no game cartridge, no AV cable, no RF cable, and no controller connected.
  • Check output voltage of the power adapter. This should be either 9V DC or AC.
  • If a DC power supply is used, check the correct polarization of the barrel jack of the Power Adapter. The (Japanese) Super Famicom uses a central Ground pin with a positive (9V) outer shell while the USA and European Super Nintendo uses a central positive (9V) pin and the barrel as ground. 9V AC should also work as the device rectifies the AC internally
  • Check continuity of the fuse (top left side of the board, near the power connector. The fuse is floating inside a cutout of the PCB.
  • Check output of the 7805 (located on the left side, attached to the heat sink)
  • Check that the input suppression choke (coil) has a low impedance.

No video signal at all

  • Check that the AV connector is clean
  • Check if the capacitors (you need to remove the heatsink) near the AV connector have not leaked

No video (signal, but black screen)

  • Make sure there is a working game cartridge that matches the region of the device is inserted properly (yes, sometimes problems are this simpel)
  • Make sure the cartridge slot is clean
  • Optically inspect the cartridge slot to make sure it has no bent pins. All pins should be identical.
  • Check that the /RESET line (pin 10 on the CIC chip (U8), 34 on PPU2 (U3)) is high after turning the device on (with a cartridge in). If it is not, the CIC chip may hold the RESET line low because it cannot communicate with the cartridge properly. Try cleaning the cartridge slot or try a different cartridge.
  • Check that the /RESOUT0 line (pin 33 on the PPU2 (U3)) and /RESOUT1 line (pin 28 on the PPU2 (U3)) are high after turning the device on (with a cartridge in). If they are low, while the /RESET line (see above) from the CIC chip (U8) is high), replace the PPU2 chip.
  • Check activity on the PPU2. Check if signals are output through the RGB and CSYNC output pins 95, 96, 97, and 100 of the PPU2 (U3). If there is no data, replace PPU2. If there is data, replace S-ENC (U7).

No audio

  • Check that the AV connector is clean
  • Check if the capacitors (you need to remove the heatsink) near the AV connector have not leaked

Garbled sprites

  • Replace PPU2.

Some sprites (like Mario in Super Mario World) don't show up while game plays perfectly.

  • This is an issue with the object overlay of the PPU1 chip. Replace the PPU1 chip. Using a burn-in test cartridge probably shows failures on OAM and/or OBJ L OVER. See table below.

A horizontal noise bar moves across the video output

  • Ground the shield of the RF output to a proper ground/earth and see if it disappears.
  • Place a 470uF cap across the G and O pins of the 7805 to filter out power supply noise.
  • If the device is powered using a non-original power supply, replace with a proper power supply

Left audio not working

Bodge wire to fix missing Left audio channel (if trace corroded away by leaking cap)
  • Check if the trace (on the top side of the board) that runs underneath the C59 and C60 silk labels is corroded. Check its continuity between the vias. If it is not conducting, run a bodge wire on the bottom side of the board from R70 straight to a test point that is connected to C66 (see picture). Replace C59 with a 10uF/50V non-polarized electrolytic cap. The problem is caused by a leaking cap C59 that has eaten away the trace. On old boards, they designed in the wrong cap type. C59 and its neighbor C60 are used to provide +12V on the AV connector for peripherals that use power. Some AV-to-hdmi adapters use it. Leaving out C59 will only remove the 12V power from the AV connector and should not have side-effects.

RF output not working

  • RF output should be around 55.55MHz for PAL and 91.35MHz for NTSC-J.
  • Check with an oscilloscope if there is a signal on pin 7 of the S-ENC chip (U7).
  • If there is not a signal, check if U7 has 5V power on pin 5, and a clock signal on pin 14. If both signals are okay, U7 may be broken. replace U7 (S-ENC).
  • If U7 puts out a signal on its pin 7, check continuity between pin 7 of U7 and pin 2 of the RF module. The resistor R30 should also be connected to pin 7 on U7 and to pin 2 of the RF module. Check if C59 has leaked (see "Left audio not working" solution). Run a bodgewire from R30 to pin 2 of the RF module. R30 is at the bottom of the PCB. For the PAL version R30 is at the front side of the device, and you should use the side that is closest to the edge of the PCB. For the Japanese, R30 is at the back of the device, near the RF module's pins, and use the side that is farthest away from the edge of the PCB. It is best to check continuity to pin 7 of U7, just to be sure you have the correct side.

RESET button not working

  • Test if the reset switch properly bridges the front two pins when pushed. There are markings of 2 and 6 on top of the switch for above pins. Pushing the switch should lower the resistance to practically zero. If the contacts don't get bridged properly or if there is still resistance, spray some contact spray inside the switch from the top. If this does not help, replace the switch. Use a high powered soldering iron because the switch is connected to both the GND and the VCC plane which takes away a lot of the heat.

Incorrect colors - banding on the image

Image issues that occur when S-ENC (U7) chip fails on a Super Nintendo / Super Famicom
  • If incorrect colors are shown (a tinted image, not a grayscale image. A grayscale image is most likely a different issue), and there are horizontal lines across the overall image, the S-ENC (U7) chip needs replacing. There are two major types of S-ENC (U7) chips. They are identical in functionality but the supporting circuitry is different so they are not interchangeable without changing the circuitry around them too. There is a Nintendo branded S-ENC (9xxx) that is mostly used in PAL devices and some of the older NTSC devices, and the BA6592F chip that is used in most NTSC devices. The BA6592F doesn't bare the Nintendo logo, and you might be able to find those online, sometimes even new old stock.

Burn-in cartridge faults[edit | edit source]

The following table can be used if you use the Burn-in test cartridge.

Problem Solution


Replace CPU.

Horizontal/Vertical sync timing used by some games and accessories (like the scope).


Replace PPU1.

Object Attribute Memory, part of PPU1.


Replace PPU1.

Object overlay. /OVER signal is part of PPU1.

Disassembly and reassembly[edit | edit source]

When disassembling and reassembling, keep in mind the Tips for Reassembling page.

Way to place the metal inserts into the case

Metal inserts in case[edit | edit source]

At the bottom of the case, there are two metal inserts underneath the PCB. On the Super Famicom the front one is shaped slightly different because of the size of the board. These inserts have to be in the right orientation for external devices (like the SatellaView) to be screwed onto the console. The thread has to be facing downwards (see picture).

Screws[edit | edit source]

Five types of screws are used in the assembly. All but one are Phillips Head screws. The outer case screw has a security head and disassembly will require a special screwdriver.

All screw types used in the Super Nintendo and Super Famicom
Screw types on the SNES/SFC
Code Purpose
C Case screw: Used for the outside of the case. These are security screws. Throughout production, two materials have been used for these case screws. Some are silver and some are bronze colored.
S Short: Used for holding the PCB on the case, apart from the places where the long (L) screws are used
L Long: Used on both sides of the cartridge game connector, and on the gray plastic for the back connectors
H Heat Sink: Used to hold the heat sink onto the PCB
V Voltage Regulator: Holds the 7805 voltage regulator onto the heat sink
R RF Module screw. Holds the RF module onto the board (which is also soldered onto the board via its 4 pins)
Location of screws on a SNES (SNSP-CPU-01 board)

Screw placement[edit | edit source]

Some models have different locations for the screws, but the general idea of which screw goes where still counts (silvery long screws only for cart connector and connector plastic at the back). Keep attention to the correct angle of the screws. Especially if the case has been discolored, the plastic may be very brittle. Try to keep the screw at the proper angle when screwing them back in. Also use the technique to find the old thread as mentioned in the Tips for Reassembling page.

There is one screws on the top part of the case, holding the mechanism that grabs the cartridge when power is turned on. This is a short screw (S) and uses a, rather big in comparison, white plastic washer.

Detailed technical sources[edit | edit source]

Check the following links for more information: