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Offline RichterB

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N64 Hardware Mystery Problem...w/ Solution?
« on: September 26, 2013, 11:40:31 AM »
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Well, I've had a problem with my N64 for the last few years now. When you start it up, sometimes it starts resetting a few times in a row or in a loop. And, sometimes you play the game for like 15 minutes to an hour, and it randomly starts resetting. I've seen online that this is a common problem with aging N64s, but that there is not one answer. So I began to troubleshoot it...

1.) I checked the power supply to see if it was loose. While this seems to be the problem a few times, it's not the main one, as I jiggled the system and it didn't reset, and I also locked the power supply in place firmer, and it still reset after about 15 minutes of play on Castlevania 64.

2.) I opened up the expansion port, removed the expansion pak, and cleared out a fair amount of dust (did not use alcohol to clean it out, but perhaps I should have?). Just dusting it didn't solve the problem.

3.) I cleaned the game's pins with alcohol, though since the problem started while playing Majora's Mask, this was a long shot and didn't help.

4.) I replaced the expansion pak with the original jumper pak...and I was able to play without any resetting so far (played an hour or more, I think).

5.) PS: The reset button is in fine shape, so that's not it either.

What do I assume from this? It's the expansion pak, right? Is the expansion pak dirty and I need to clean it with alcohol (is it safe to do so?), or is it just bad RAM in that expansion pak? Why would the old-school jumper pak work after not being used since, I think, 2000.

Any advice is appreciated.

(As an aside, I foolishly tried to blow open the wall in Castle Center without removing the seal for the first time...which resulted in me having to do the nitro quest more than necessary. That nitro quest wouldn't be so bad if I was playing with the save checkpoints, but I was trying to get from the end of the villa to the Tower of Execution without saving points, and eventually succeeded).
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 11:42:16 AM by RichterB »

Offline Ratty

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Re: N64 Hardware Mystery Problem...w/ Solution?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2013, 11:45:13 AM »
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Sounds like your expansion pak is just wearing out? Too bad if they're starting to flake out already, I was hoping to get one sometime to see how Legacy of Darkness looks with the enhancements. I love N64 graphics but don't play the system much because LoD is one of my favorite games, and I wanna save the brittle controllers for future replays of the N64vanias.

Offline RichterB

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Re: N64 Hardware Mystery Problem...w/ Solution?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2013, 09:26:47 PM »
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Sounds like your expansion pak is just wearing out? Too bad if they're starting to flake out already, I was hoping to get one sometime to see how Legacy of Darkness looks with the enhancements. I love N64 graphics but don't play the system much because LoD is one of my favorite games, and I wanna save the brittle controllers for future replays of the N64vanias.

Well, maybe not. Not fully knowing what I was doing, but having read some others' experiences, I took the risk of cleaning the Expansion Pak's underside/pins very thoroughly today with alcohol, and it ran perfectly. So it may just be that after a long time, Expansion Paks need cleaning. I was surprised by how much dust had built up in the sealed port for the Expansion Pak. Dust must have either gotten on the contacts or caused overheating. I'm assuming the problem's fixed, but I won't know unless I play a few more times.

Honestly, I've had A LOT more problems with my Gamecube controllers' C-stick than the N64 controllers, though I know what you're talking about. However, I permanently damaged the C-sticks on both of my Gamecube controllers from playing the Metroid Prime games (and probably Resident Evil 4, as well). They seem to be the weakest Nintendo controllers.

Offline Ratty

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Re: N64 Hardware Mystery Problem...w/ Solution?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2013, 06:47:35 AM »
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Well, maybe not. Not fully knowing what I was doing, but having read some others' experiences, I took the risk of cleaning the Expansion Pak's underside/pins very thoroughly today with alcohol, and it ran perfectly. So it may just be that after a long time, Expansion Paks need cleaning. I was surprised by how much dust had built up in the sealed port for the Expansion Pak. Dust must have either gotten on the contacts or caused overheating. I'm assuming the problem's fixed, but I won't know unless I play a few more times.

Honestly, I've had A LOT more problems with my Gamecube controllers' C-stick than the N64 controllers, though I know what you're talking about. However, I permanently damaged the C-sticks on both of my Gamecube controllers from playing the Metroid Prime games (and probably Resident Evil 4, as well). They seem to be the weakest Nintendo controllers.

Yeah no kidding, I got my gamecube a few years ago and the controller was already worn out. 3rd party ones break almost as soon as you've got them out of the box and new official ones sell for more than the console is worth. Thankfully I've found I can just use a converter to play the Gamecube with a Dual Shock 2. Which I prefer for its larger and infinitely better placed D-Pad anyway, since I mostly use the GCN to play GB/GBA games.

Anyway good to hear the only problem was some needed contact cleaning.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 06:55:09 AM by Ratty »

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