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    Solderless Battery Replacement FAQ by DarkBubble

    Version: V. 1.1 | Updated: 06/16/06 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                          Solderless Battery Replacement
                                For NES Cartridges
                                       V. 1
                                By:  DarkBubble
                            (dbfaqs at gmail dot com)
    Table of Contents
    1.)  Introduction
    2.)  Disclaimer
    3.)  What You Need
         3a.)  Tools
         3b.)  Material
    4.)  Preparing the Patient
    5.)  The Operation
         5a.)  How it SHOULD be done.
         5b.)  How I did it.
    6.)  IT'S ALIVE!
    7.)  Attempts/Successes On My Part
    8.)  Alternatives
    9.)  To Do
    10.)  Thanks
    11.)  Contact Info
    12.)  Personal Note
    13.)  Version History
    14.)  Copyright Information
    1.)  Introduction
    So, you've been bitten by the nostalgia bug or the retro bandwagon has run
    over you at full speed.  You've got a NES in front of you, and shiny, yet
    scuffed, copy of The Legend of Zelda in your hands.  You pop the cartridge
    in, play for a few hours, save, and shut down.  After going about your 
    business, you turn the NES back on, only to find 3 blank save spaces.  
    Everything is gone.  EVERYTHING.
    So, what do you do?  The last I'd heard, Nintendo no longer replaces 
    batteries in NES cartridges.  And what if you're not a wiz with a soldering 
    iron or have never touched one in your life?  No problem, you won't need
    one.  The process that I'm about to lay out for you will require only a 
    small amount of parts and time.
    2.)  Disclaimer
    The information that follows is based upon my own, personal experience.
    I am in no way responsible for any damage to your cartridge, system,
    property, person, or those around you.  You perform the following procedure
    explained in this FAQ at your own risk.
    At the time of this document's writing, I have used this procedure once.
    The attempt was performed on a Legend of Zelda cartridge, which I have been
    the original owner of since 1988.  The attempt was successful and this FAQ
    is written from the knowledge which I have gained from it.
    3.)  Tools and Material
    3a.)  Tools
    -Precision screwdrivers
    -Side-cutters (Preferrably small, but sharp.)
    -Crimper for small-gauge wire (Needlenose pliers can be used.  See 5.)
    -Needlenose pliers
    3b.)  Material
    -Small-gauge wire, stranded, approximately 2' (You won't need it all.)
    -Crimp-on female disconnects
    -Electrical tape
    -Battery holder for CR2032 battery (Preferably surface-mount.)
    -CR2032 battery
    -Game cartridge
    4.)  Preparing the Patient
    As with any electronics project, you'll want a clean, clutter-free
    workspace.  As there are few tools and material involved, this shouldn't be
    difficult.  However, for smaller parts, such as the cartridges screws, I'd
    recommend using an old pill bottle cap for storage.  While sticking them in
    one half of the empty cartridge case is fine, at some point, you will be
    reassembling the game.
    NatashaQuick of the GameFAQs Message Boards recommends using a small magnet
    to hold loose screws during the process.  Thanks, Natasha!
    (Author's paranoia at work:  Don't keep the magnet near the battery.  I'm 
    not sure about lithium batteries, but magnets drain alkalines.
    I'd also recommend not leaving the screws attached to the magnet for days
    on end, as the screws will eventually become magnetized themselves.)
    5.)  The Operation
    5a.)  How it SHOULD be done.
    Begin by removing the screws, setting them somewhere safe.  Open the case
    and either set the whole thing aside, or use one half to keep your project
    all in one spot.
    Looking at the board with the contacts facing toward you, take note of
    where the terminals contact both the battery and the board.  The contact
    that is soldered to the top of the battery and the right side of the board
    is the positive (+).  The contact on the bottom of the battery, soldered
    closer to the center of the board, is the negative (-).  Make yourself a
    note or a diagram.
    With a flat screwdriver, gently pry the positive terminal up and away from
    the battery.  Don't try to brute-force it off of the battery.  Though it
    can probably be broken free, you won't be needing all of the terminal and
    you don't want to damage the negative terminal.  Once you've got enough
    room, snip the terminal at or below the bend with the side-cutters, leaving
    yourself at least  1/4".  Repeat the process with the negative terminal.
    Now, you'll need to prepare your wire and disconnects.  I would recommend
    a length of about 6" per wire, though you could probably get by with less.
    Strip the ends about 1/4"-3/8".  Slide the disconnect over the wire, until
    the exposed wire starts to come up through.  Using your crimpers, squeeze
    the plastic end of the disconnect until you're sure that the wire will no
    longer be able to come loose.  Once you've gotten two on each wire, you're
    almost done.
    Slide one end of each wire onto the battery terminals.  Though they may
    fit perfectly snug, they may still need a bit of tightening.  If you
    couldn't find the most narrow disconnects available, they may require A LOT
    of tightening.  This is not a major issue, and one that's easily remedied
    with a set of needlenose pliers.  While attached to the terminal, grab the
    metal end of the disconnect widthwise and gently squeeze it tight.  There's
    no need to go ultra-tight.  Just make sure that it fits snug enough that 
    something as simple as a fall will not jar it loose from the terminal.
    For the battery holder, perform everything the same as above.  The battery
    holder I used was a surface-mount piece, which provided the terminals with
    which I could connect the disconnects to with no problem.  If you didn't
    get the narrowest disconnects, it could lead to later problems with closing
    the game's case.  Without modification and bending, the larger disconnects
    sit at a more extreme angle.  The smaller disconnects make the job as a
    whole much easier.
    Before trying to close the case, you'll need to do two things:  wrap the
    disconnects with tape and fold the terminals down.  Again, this is easy,
    but don't be brutish.  The reason for the wrapping is just to prevent any
    shorting that could occur due.  In my case, it was probably more necessary.
    After you've covered the exposed metal of the disconnects, fold the
    negative terminal down, angling it a bit to the left or right of it's
    original position.  Doing so will allow for more room for the positive
    to do fit.  Repeat with the positive, angling in the direction opposite of
    the negative.
    From here, all you need to do is put in your battery and close up the case.
    Once your battery is in, fit the cartridge into it's usual spot.  As far as
    the battery holder, you can either tape it to the inside of the case, above
    the board, or let it sit free.  I would recommend taping it.  Close your
    case and you're ready to breathe new life into your once-dead game.
    5b.)  How I did it.
    A hasty hand and an anxious mind wreak havok and leave you without pictures
    of the battle.  So now I'm kicking myself for not being able to put a photo
    essay/tutorial up.  That's okay, I'm sure I'll be doing this again in the
    near future.
    Okay, I have everything prepped.  For my wire, I used a Cat 6 patch cable.
    Unbeknownst to me, it was made using solid wire, rather than stranded.
    This is no big deal, as long as you're careful, but it can be a pain.
    Solid wire will break after much fewer bends and is stiffer than stranded.
    Also, it was a 24-gauge wire, which is a few gauges smaller than the
    disconnects allow for.  This is no problem.  It just requires a little
    more care.  When it came time to crimp on the disconnects, I simply made
    sure that I stripped around 3/4" off the end of the wire, and folded it over
    on itself.
    Another issue I had was that I had lost track of my crimper.  Not to be
    put off, I used needlenose pliers.  They worked fine, but again, it took
    more time and effort.  The result was that the plastic sleeve over the
    crimp end came loose.  So, I just let it slide off of the wire, crimped
    the metal (which was more like getting it's seam to seperate, and rolling
    it over itself), and it was on.  This lead to a problem, though, with the
    second crimp on each wire.  While I was able to remove one sleeve before
    putting it on the wire, I usually ended up twisting the terminal end off
    completely or bending it into a mess.  Trial and error.  So, I crimped it
    on and cut the sleeve from around the wire, careful not to cut the wire
    itself.  Needless to say, before I try this particular replacement again, 
    I'm going to make sure I have all of my tools handy.
    Having lost the sleeves from the disconnects, covering the disconnects
    became all the more important.  I didn't know what I'd done with all of
    my electrical tape, but I did have self-fusing silicone splicing tape.
    Granted, it won't leave a mess like electrical tape, but it costs about
    10x more ($0.65 as opposed to $6.50 or higher).  So, unless you plan on
    removing the tape repeatedly, stick with electrical tape.
    I'm also not completely happy with my choice of battery holder.  It fit,
    but just barely.  I'm sure I could have done more to make it fit better,
    but we'll just have to see.
    6.)  IT'S ALIVE!
    Now, you've got your battery installed, your case closed, and you're ready
    to play.  Pop that sucker into your NES and power up.  Things should be
    perfectly fine, assuming you've kept your positives and negatives straight
    and made sure that there were no possibilities of shorting out in the cart.
    If you want peace of mind, you might want to take a deep breath, fire up
    the game, play long enough to save, shut it down, pull the cart, and let
    it sit for a while.  Personally, I'm a patient person and had plenty to
    keep me busy, so I didn't get to make sure it held the save for a full two
    So, now that you know all is well, pat yourself on the back and go play!
    7.)  Attempts/Successes On My Part
    Attempt #1:  The Legend of Zelda
    Status:  Success
    -24 AWG solid-conductor wire (taken from Cat 6 networking patch cable)
    -3M self-fusing silicone splicing tape (part # unknown at this time)
    -Crimp-on female disconnects (part # unknown at this time)
    -CR2032 battery holder
    Manufacturer:  Keystone;  Part #:  1061
    Purchased from:  Allied Electonics (alliedelec.com);  Stock #:  839-1061
    Price:  $1.27 ea
    Personal Critique:
    Functionally, everything is fine.  I set out to see if I could perform
    a solderless battery replacement without modifying the game's case, using 
    what was available to me.  To that end, I succeeded.
    I had really planned on taking photos and making an easy-to-follow visual
    tutorial, but got in too big of a hurry.  My haste also made the job turn
    out perhaps not as clean as I would have preferred.  Really, though, with
    what I had on hand, I can't say that it would have looked much better.
    In the end, the cartridge retains saves and doesn't have a battery pack
    hanging off of it's back, so I'm happy.
    Future attempts will be better planned and result in cleaner work, but the
    overall procedure will remain the same.  That is, until I've gotten my
    soldering skills back up to snuff.
    8.)  Alternatives
    -Female Disconnects
    In lieu of the disconnects, you could simply try punching holes through the
    existing battery terminals, leaving you with holes on both the board and
    the battery holder that you could run your wire through, twisting and taping
    it in place.  However, I really would not recommend trying.  Punching the
    holes could prove not only awkward, but could potentially destroy the game
    you're trying to resurrect, or worse, you could end up with a nice sharp
    object through your hand.
    Unless you're going to move up to soldering, I'd advise you to stick with
    the disconnects.
    As long as you've got something preventing your terminals/leads from hitting
    making contact with those of other components, you're safe.  There are
    female disconnects that are fully insulated, from the crimp end, all the way
    to the connection end.  While these would be great for the board side of
    your wire, the plastic is rather thick and is molded so that it's not very
    close to the connection end, making it difficult to attach to the battery
    holder's terminals.  The fully insulated disconnects could also prevent the
    battery holder from fitting in the cartridge.  As you'll be positioning
    the battery holder away from anything conductive, you shouldn't need to
    insulate the battery end of the wires.
    I've recommended the use of stranded wire.  You can find a small-gauge
    hook-up wire at Radio Shack for relatively little cash.  I wouldn't use
    anything heavier than 18 gauge, and even that may be a bit much.  I'm no
    electronics expert, so I'm not sure if there would be any extra added
    resistance for using a thicker wire than I used.
    Whereas solid wire is a single piece of copper, stranded wire consists
    of multiple strands of wire up to a particular gauge.  Solid wire will be
    used in instances where movement is not a factor.  Stranded wire is used
    in items such as power cords, extension cables, and networking patch cords.
    Stranded wire withstands more bending and is much less rigid than solid
    I only recommend stranded because it can save you some possible headaches.
    -Battery Holder
    There are always alternatives.  Taping the wires directly to the battery
    is fine and would provide for much less of a space concern.  Simply
    stripping the ends about half an inch, touching them to the appropriate
    side, and wrapping the whole battery a few times with electrical tape
    would work fine.  Of course, you may need to clean the wires when it's
    time to change the batteries out, but that's a concern that would only
    come up every few years.
    (While anyone who's had some experience goofing off with batteries, wire,
    and motors or lights could have come up with the above solution, the use
    of tape to connect the battery was previously covered in a FAQ by
    Kirby Freak101.  Kirby Freak101's SNES Battery Replacement FAQ is located 
    in the SNES Hardware FAQ section at www.gamefaqs.com.)
    My own choice of battery holder was out of asthetics and what was out there.
    Having done some extra research, I've found another battery holder which
    would most likely hold the battery in place just as well, not to mention
    costing $1 less and taking up less space in the cartridge.  In fact, the
    placement of the surface-mount soldering lugs on them would allow for the
    disconnects to seat flat, rather than at the angle that they did on the
    model that I used.
    So, for later attempts or where space is a concern, I'm going to try this:
    Manufacturer:  Keystone;  Manufacturer's Part #:  3002
    Purchased from:  Allied Electonics (alliedelec.com);  Stock #:  839-0385
    Price:  $0.25 ea
    9.)  To Do
    -Gather remaining part #s.
    -Buy a few more games that use battery-backed saves and repeat the process.
    -Create ASCII diagrams of parts and as visual representation of the process.
    -Expand into the use of AAA batteries, soldering, and case modifications.
    10.)  Thanks
    -All of those who aren't afraid to modify, repair, or otherwise Frankenstein
    their gaming equipment for the sake of fun and enjoyment.
    -www.gamefaqs.com:  There's a lot of knowledge to be had.
    -www.byoac.com:  Even if you don't want to build an arcade cabinet or
    gaming control panel, there's plenty to learn that can be applied elsewhere.
    The community that surrounds this site is unparalleled in cooperation,
    assitance, and kindness.
    -The H2SB:  For constantly reminding me how old I am and being a great
    bunch of misfits.
    -NatashaQuick:  With your informative and helpful posts, you've quickly 
    become one of my favorite cohabitants on the GameFAQs boards.  
    11.)  Contact Info
    In regards to this FAQ or any other FAQs I may write in the future, I can
    be reached at the following e-mail address, with the proper items replaced
    and spaces removed:
    dbfaqs at gmail dot com
    In order to keep things easy for me, please include this as your subject:
    Solderless Battery Replacement FAQ
    Do not use subjects such as "OMG, puhleeze hep meeee!!!", as these will
    most likely be deleted.  Demands or general rudeness and/or impatience will
    also result in deletion and no reply from me.
    I have done my best to make sure that the information provided has resulted
    from my own work.  The procedure which I devised and implimented was my own
    and was not taken from anyone elses work or suggestion.  One recommended
    alternative resembled that of a previously posted work, therefore credit
    was given to the author of said work.  If any other item such as this
    remains uncredited, please feel free to contact me.
    Feedback, questions, and constructive critisism are always welcome.  If you
    have anything to add, don't hesitate to share.  However, if it's an
    entirely different process, rather than just a helpful tip, I suggest that
    you write a FAQ yourself and get the full credit that you deserve.  
    12.)  Personal Note
    This is my first FAQ and I think I did okay.  Could I have streamlined it a
    bit?  Probably.  Personally, I like to provide as much info as I can in
    a manner that is comfortable and almost conversational.  I've read some
    FAQs and tutorials that get so focused on trying to sound professional
    that they actually end up leaving out some details.  You'd expect a
    beginner who is following the directions to miss a step, but not the
    author.  When you have to print 3 different FAQs to accomplish one task,
    nobody wins.  
    I want this FAQ to be easy to read and understand, and above all, I want 
    it to be helpful.  A little electronics knowledge can go a long way,
    but not everyone has that.  If I've helped anyone who has only a
    handful of tools and no soldering iron skills, then it's worth it.
    13.)  Version History
    V. 1
    -Began February 6, 2006.
    -Created contact e-mail address specifically for FAQs and contribution
    questions and issues.
    -Flow, layout, and 75% of content completed February 6, 2006.
    -Content completed February 7, 2006.
    -Submitted February 7, 2006.
    V. 1.1
    -Began update (after putting it off for months) on June 15, 2006.
    -Updated Section 4. Preparing the Patient with a tip from NatashaQuick
    of the GameFAQs Message Boards.
    -Updated Section 9. To Do.
    -Updated Section 10. Thanks, adding NatashaQuick.
    -Updated Section 11. Contact Info.  No update to pertinent info, just
    more jabbering on my part.
    -Updated Section 13. Copyright Information, adding neoseeker.com to
    the list of sites with permission to host this FAQ.  This FAQ should
    be available on that site shortly.  Useage info was also tweaked to
    sound less awkward.
    -Changed Section 12 to Section 13, Section 13 to Section 14, created
    a new Section 12 "Personal Note", altered Table of Contents to reflect
    all changes.
    14.)  Copyright Information
    This FAQ is Copyright (C) 2006 DarkBubble.
    Permission to host this FAQ is granted to the following site(s):
    This guide is for personal use only and may not be republished
    elsewhere in any form without expressed permission of the author.

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