Attempting To Restore My Old SNES - Inside & Out

AlphaQup

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12/29/20022 EDIT: REAL RROGRESS OF THE REBULD/FAILURE BEGINS HERE:



Disclaimer: Like any good build thread, I decided to document it after I'd already started taking it apart :D. What good build thread has any forethought anyway...

I had a really yellowed SNES as part of my retro-setup, and rather then pay the silly price for a "good looking one" off eBay, lets instead do some DIY and see how well I can restore this guy!

This is where it used to sit:

20221120_213345.jpg


Technically, this SNES still works. It's recently started not reading carts without a small amount of pressure applied to the top of the cart pushing it towards the rear of the console (release that pressure and it'd corrupt). I didn't want to start wedging paper or something mailable in with the cart, so I decided to take it apart... and keep taking it apart. Fuck it, lets restore this guy the best I can.

I'll be honest, my backup is buying a different one and also doing a chassis swap into this guy, but hey, lets see if I can avoid that until I want to do that.

I did have to buy the security bit in order to get the initial 6 chassis screws out.

Between the larger special bit (of the 2 pictured below), and a standard Philips bit (fat as far as PC components go) disassembly was a breeze. There's only 2 different sized screws inside the console, very obvious which is used where.

Disassembled pics;

Top:
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This was simple, just push tabs for the most part, a couple Phillips screws.

Bottom:
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Removing the covers (plus the sound card on the right 2 pics above):
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IMO: the money shots!
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(it's always a relief to see a smooth-topped cap...)
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Now she's all disassembled, it's bath time for the plastics (most parts pictured):
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All prepped and drying now, ready for the real fun that starts tomorrow after work (y)

I'll be making a flavor of RetroBright out of OxiClean, Hydrogen Peroxide and 40 Volume Hair Developer: (its additional Hydrogen Peroxide in a gel-form, which helps it "slather" better, more on this tomorrow when I mix). All cleaning agents pictured was $20 as Walgreens, but I do have some more costs to come.

The current plan is to slather RetroBright on all the exterior/discolored plastic's surfaces, plastic wrap the pieces tightly, place in 2 large BBQ aluminum tray and sun-bake them in the living room for at least 2 days, rotating as needed (since we get so little light atm, this might be dicey, but hey, big old south-facing windows might come in handy here).

Also in the plan for this console is a good cleaning with Isopropyl Alcohol and a children's toothbrush on all of the electrical components.

More to come soon!

EDIT: this is interesting about Heat vs UV:


This might change my approach a bit.
 
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AlphaQup

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Money shot, indeed. That board is so clean. Even the placement of the vias is sexy. Or I may just have fetish for holes.
For being as old as it is, I was honestly really surprised how clean it is right out of the gate. I've got a feeling the ispropyl won't do much more then knock the dust off of it lol.
 

AlphaQup

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Good luck.

I’ve only done cleanup and restoration to my sisters GBA (it is an even more amazing handheld with a crisp new IPS screen, let me tell you) and my Dreamcast.

https://store.analogue.co/#super-nt

If you still have issues with the cart reading, these apparently won’t be made anymore.
Appreciate it man, thanks.

OMG, I had totally forgotten about this store! I have a buddy who's a big Sega fan (and who naturally gives me shit that I like the inferior console :p) that has the Mega SG - USA model and it really is something else. Thanks for giving my wallet yet another reason to hate me, I've always wanted the SNES one for the living room setup. Those Analog Pockets looks amazing too btw...
 
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AlphaQup

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Monday PM Update!

We were ready to get started (Ganon didn't help at all... but he sure was nosey throughout the process):
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After reading more and more online about the different ways to mix this crap... I decided to wing it.

I did 1.5 scoops of Oxi, what I felt like was a good amount of 40 Volume (this was the gel version), maybe half the container, and I diluted the 40 with HP as I saw fit.

I ended up with the consistency of mildly gritty gelatinous whipped cream... It wasn't the creamy gel I had in mind or saw online:

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I decided to proceed anyway, lets see what we get. This stuff is so cheap, I'll go back to the wife's hairdresser and get more V40 if I need it (might go with only this next time if this doesn't pan out and forgo the Oxi).

She wanted to take a turn lathering it on (the paint brush didn't work out that well, the hands on approach was much better):

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Ended up getting all parts sufficiently lathered and set in their aluminum backing sheets + covered for what I hope will increase the temps as best I can. I'm in Iowa, and the best I can do for UV / high temp right is just inside my kitchen patio sliding door:

Chassis:
20221121_201405.jpg


Smaller plastics:
20221121_201409.jpg

I'll bust out the Isopropyl alcohol tomorrow and get to scrubbing the electrical components, I made a huge mess in my kitchen doing the above and got to spend my time cleaning that up tonight.

Also, serious note, I should have included eye-wear into the PPE list amongst rubber gloves, especially when blending all this crap... these chemicals are nasty.

Lastly, what better music to listen to while having fun with this little project this evening:

20221121_211110.jpg


More to come tomorrow!
 
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JustinCorrigible

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Appreciate it man, thanks.

OMG, I had totally forgotten about this store! I have a buddy who's a big Sega fan (and who naturally gives me shit that I liking the inferior console :p) that has the Mega SG - USA model and it really is something else. Thanks for giving my wallet yet another reason to hate me. Those Analog Pockets looks amazing btw...
I got a Super Nt preordered and own the Mega SG (using one of those Krikkz(sp?) multi carts). There’s also… I think AVS has an NES fpga but it’s gone up a lot in price and pretty backordered. My wallet already hates me, it’s mutual.
 

AlphaQup

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I got a Super Nt preordered and own the Mega SG (using one of those Krikkz(sp?) multi carts). There’s also… I think AVS has an NES fpga but it’s gone up a lot in price and pretty backordered. My wallet already hates me, it’s mutual.
I do have the FXPAK Pro for my original SNES (equivalent to the multi-cart you mention for SG), and I'm not going to lie, I'm so glad I bought it. Originally I snagged it for ALTTP randomizers and SMW Kaizo hacks, but with the market going silly for these rare carts, I'm more glad then ever I bought one. Shit, that multi-cart costs the same as a Megaman X3 cart alone right now lol (let alone X2 which I also do not own currently). Money well spent IMO.

You were right btw: https://krikzz.com/ Great stuff, pretty sure my buddy has one of these as well.
 

AlphaQup

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Welp... this round is a wash, it's back to the drawing board!

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This was a huge fail, 0 change :banghead:. I was hoping for at the worst a tiger-patern, but NOPE. Nada my dudes.

I've got a feeling temp was the main factor in the failure. Temps were cold on the bottom of the trays. Per the 8-bit guy video above, temp seems more important than UV, I'm down to try agin.

Restock and reload, I ain't done :D

Next up is a warm mix (150-160*F) bath in a diluted water/volume40 mixture of sorts.

I have an idea of using a ~10-20gal fishtank, some foil tape, some higher wattage light bulbs and submerging the external-facing pieces only in the mixture above.
 

Comixbooks

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Yeah my SNES is Yellow like that I read something about a chemical restore kit years ago.some restore videos on YouTube would help. Thing is the slot cover doesn't yellow.
 
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Westwood

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What about heat? The black plastics on my truck, like the bed rails and the door handles, I hit with a propane torch for a quick second and it came right back to black. it was weird. long shot. /shrug
 

Youn

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It looks a little better when you do a side-by-side of the photos. Obviously could be just the lighting.

Anyways, good luck!
 

AlphaQup

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Yeah my SNES is Yellow like that I read something about a chemical restore kit years ago.some restore videos on YouTube would help. Thing is the slot cover doesn't yellow.
Exactly what I attempted to do, tried a couple different flavors of retr0bright to varying degrees of success... more on that in a sec...
What about heat? The black plastics on my truck, like the bed rails and the door handles, I hit with a propane torch for a quick second and it came right back to black. it was weird. long shot. /shrug
Funny you mentioned heat... it didn't end well in my case :(
It looks a little better when you do a side-by-side of the photos. Obviously could be just the lighting.

Anyways, good luck!
I think that's just the white LED lights in the kitchen in some of the pics. This house has so many lights for its square footage. A fair amount of them are original to the house and for some reason do not like the Sylvania bulbs that I use in all the newer fixtures (it's like the thread of the new bulbs doesn't allow the bulb to make contact at the bottom), so I end up with a bit of a mixture of yellow/white bulbs throughout the place.

Thank you though, I'll take that luck at reassembly time!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday Update: (I was too pissed to post that night)

It was time to try heat like the video I posted in my OP. ABS plastics melt around 200*F, the video showed a 150-160*F target temp, so that's what I set out to recreate using only boiling water and Volume40 (the hydrogen peroxide concentrate, 12%).

I took my time, went nice and slow, allowed everything to heat-soak/stabilize for 10-20+ minutes before dunking the top chassis in (just like the old [H] cooler/AIO testing methodology taught me to).

Just water, after 10+ minutes:
20221126_201904.jpg


Looking good so far.

Added my slightly-generous amount of Volume40 (in comparison to the video in the OP, which honestly wasn't much).

Waited another 10+ minutes after adding the Volume40, temps rose and stabilized at 160*F. I bumped the burner down a hair.

Waited another 10+ minutes, checked and we came in at 155*F. Even better, wanted to error on the safe side.

Submerged and tested again, still looking great:

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In the video, the guy said he waited about 4 hours then checked his results. Perfect, I just got Watchmen in 4k BR for the HT setup, what better movie to pass almost the exact amount of time I needed with. The wife and I headed down to the living room and I let it set.

Decided to check on it after ~1hour, see how we're doing.

Tested the water again... 180* temps, and my chassis had a sickly/bleached look to it. Ok, that's not so bad I thought, I did want to mess around with attempting to paint it if this didn't pan out.

Nope, no point in painting a warped as fuck chassis lid...

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I'm keeping my eye out for another possibly broken SNES console I can take apart and try my hand at this once again someday soon. Maybe keep some spare parts around for my current SNES that still functions, or luck out and find a working one for a reasonable price... but yeah.... lesson learned! And it only cost me about 40 bucks, most of which are just good things to keep around a house anyway. I'm really out nothing but an OG SNES shell (which does hurt) and my time.

I went ahead and bought this guy to replace our fallen comrade: https://retrogamerestore.com/store/snes_shell/

Should look pretty cool, might look into the LED mod you can do to these too (ice blue or white personally, match the rest of my comp setup that's right next door):

2022-11-29 18_30_00-Window.jpg

(screenshot taken from a random Tiki Vod, he's a MegaMan X Speedrunner I enjoy watching on occasion) He's the one who recommend the store above to me. Great fitment, no issues on his end, and its guaranteed to work with my SHVC-CPU-01 console.

I'm prolly a week+ away from receiving it, but before then, I do want to further clean my chipset and other electronic components with Isopropyl and the sweet snowboarder (children's) toothbrush I snagged from the pharmacy.

More on that later though, I'm still pissed those temps crept up on my like they did :banghead: I suspect water circulation pretty much stopped once I dropped the chassis in there, got some hotspots. A bigger container next time....
 
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Ebernanut

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More on that later though, I'm still pissed those temps crept up on my like they did :banghead: I suspect water circulation pretty much stopped once I dropped the chassis in there, got some hotspots. A bigger container next time....
If you used one of the BBQ thermometers with a separate probe that's meant to stay in you could set the alarm to let you know if it gets hotter than you want, the one I use has a wireless unit you can have with you in another room.
 

AlphaQup

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Ebernanut That would have been a solid idea! My dad's got those for his smoker I could have borrowed for this little project. Hindsight is rough night now.

UPDATE: I can't get Tiawon tracking numbers to work, I can't really post an ETA on when this is shit show of a thread will finally deliver, lol.

My chassis will just arrive some random day....
 

AlphaQup

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UPDATE: It's finally go time!

My transparent case arrived from Taiwan, as did a couple of my reproduction game boxes for my retro shelf (sorry, I'm not paying more for the OEM ~25y/o box then the game). Donkey Kong is in German, but hey, what can ya do:

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Finally, this beauty:

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This thing feels so good in your hands. Everything lines up perfectly and seats together just nice, and it has every single little contour of the old shell. I'm excited to start reassembling tonight!

More updates here in a bit as I begin cleaning the system boards and reassembling.
 

Starfalcon

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That looks nice, sadly my SNES has also started to yellow, but only the bottom half of it. The top is still normal color, so must have been from two different plastic production runs.
 

AlphaQup

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That looks nice, sadly my SNES has also started to yellow, but only the bottom half of it. The top is still normal color, so must have been from two different plastic production runs.
I really can't explain it either. Mine was yellowed top and bottom, but my cousin's (he passed a few y ears ago and left me a lot of SNES/NES things) and his consoles are only yellowed on top, they've been in storage for 10-15+ years. My Aunt gave em to me in tote they've been in for that long, the sunlight thing is kind of out the window on these.

I was actually contemplating swapping his purple POWER and RESET buttons onto what I just did below....
 

AlphaQup

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I am so thankful... She booted right up after all the work below, I can finally bring this build thread to a close!

Prep/Assembly: (Isopropyl + an awesome children's toothbrush with snowboarders on it), just to give everything a super clean wipe down:
20221228_195442.jpg

View attachment 537908

View attachment 537910

Now its assembly time.... I'm not going to lie, I re-put thing together 5+ times because I kept forgetting pieces. I originally tore this this thing down like 2 months ago or so.

Reassembly:

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(not going to lie, I was frustrated and didn't take many pics of the reassemble...

Of all the videos I watched, none were 1:1 with this project (I left all shielding out of my build), but if I had to recommend one that I followed, it was this one:



FINAL PRODUCT!!!

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SHE LIVES! (both FXPAK and traditional carts, first try too!)

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Sigma's going down once again :D
 

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Armenius

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I really can't explain it either. Mine was yellowed top and bottom, but my cousin's (he passed a few y ears ago and left me a lot of SNES/NES things) and his consoles are only yellowed on top, they've been in storage for 10-15+ years. My Aunt gave em to me in tote they've been in for that long, the sunlight thing is kind of out the window on these.

I was actually contemplating swapping his purple POWER and RESET buttons onto what I just did below....
Mine is still grey, though not as grey as it was when it was brand new in 1991. To be honest this thread is the first I've heard about SNES consoles having a yellowing issue.
 

AlphaQup

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Mine is still grey, though not as grey as it was when it was brand new in 1991. To be honest this thread is the first I've heard about SNES consoles having a yellowing issue.
It's really strange what decides to yellow and what doesn't, ands to the extremes some of these get. Yours only slightly less grey, compared to the one in the video I linked/my cousins which is almost a deep mustard yellow/brown color, but the center cart area still is nice and grey.

https://nintendotoday.com/why-do-snes-consoles-turn-yellow/
"In short, the type of plastic that Nintendo used to make the SNES is the reason it becomes that gross yellow color over time. A type of plastic called ABS, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, was used to make the SNES and other electronics of the time. Because ABS is combustible, manufacturers mix a variety of flame retardant chemicals into the mix to help reduce the chances of catching fire. Bromine is the chemical most often used and it has a naturally brown color.

The problem starts when bromine is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, which is found in natural and artificial sources of light. The reaction breaks bonds that were created in the manufacturing process which causes oxidation. The oxidation of these free bromine particles is what results in that sickly yellow color appearing on your console.

That certainly doesn’t explain why pieces age and color differently on the same console. One hypothesis is that Nintendo didn’t get the mix of ABS and flame retardant right the first time around, resulting in the yellowing color you see on the console today."

The how part is pretty straightforward, it's the Bromine in the ABS that reacts with UV, but why they react so differently from one console to another is still out there.
 

gvx64

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Your transparent case looks really good.

It's too bad about the chassis warping. That said, the heated solution did appear to do quite a bit to to reduce the discoloration. Do you think a lower temp (eg. 130F) for longer period of time might have done the trick without warping?
 

AlphaQup

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Your transparent case looks really good.

It's too bad about the chassis warping. That said, the heated solution did appear to do quite a bit to to reduce the discoloration. Do you think a lower temp (eg. 130F) for longer period of time might have done the trick without warping?

Thanks man. I absolutely do think I went to aggressive with the temps to start out with :mad: I had plenty of product to try again if I attempted it at to low of a temp too. Now I had to pitch the top half of my chassis and have all this leftover hair product that'll never get used! lol.

Or maybe I get my cousins out and do round 2.... :p

This was an awesome to follow! On a side note I have the same electronics screw driver set!!
Thanks, appreciate it :D It was a rollercoaster of emotions, but overall I couldn't be happier with the ultimate end-result.

Best like ~$10? set off Amazon, I love it.
 
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deaedius

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Thanks man. I absolutely do think I went to aggressive with the temps to start out with :mad: I had plenty of product to try again if I attempted it at too low of a temp too. Now I had to pitch the top half of my chassis and have all this leftover hair product that'll never get used! lol.

Or maybe I get my cousins out and do round 2.... :p


Thanks, appreciate it :D It was a rollercoaster of emotions, but overall I couldn't be happier with the ultimate end-result.

Best like ~$10? set off Amazon, I love it.
I bet it was, looked like a hell of a project but that clear case is MONEY.

Yeah its like 10 bucks and a sweet lil kit thats a life saver!
 

FrEaKy

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Damn fine project thread. Sorry the yellowing repair didn't work, but the clear case ended up being WAY better IMO. See if you find a way to add a blue LED into that case too, would look dope.
 

AlphaQup

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Damn fine project thread. Sorry the yellowing repair didn't work, but the clear case ended up being WAY better IMO. See if you find a way to add a blue LED into that case too, would look dope.
Thank you! And I do want to get an RGB LED in there of some sorts... preferably in a way that doesn't involve soldering (something I've only done once or twice years and years ago). There's gotta be a kit out there I can utilize.
 

rhkcommander959

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Thank you! And I do want to get an RGB LED in there of some sorts... preferably in a way that doesn't involve soldering (something I've only done once or twice years and years ago). There's gotta be a kit out there I can utilize.
RGB is 12V, addressable RGB is 5V and can be powered by a USB like this:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0796TLP4S

Love the case and the box art, makes me want to bust my snes out again. It lives next to the PS2
 
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