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Reviving old gamesharks

 
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bmw
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 PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reviving old gamesharks Reply with quote Back to top

I had a stash of 3 gamesharks buried in my closet that I had marked as not working. I vaguely recall that none of them would boot up no matter what games I put in them.

Today out of curiosity I took one apart. Turns out the connectors were VERY corroded. So I used a trick that works great on NES games as long as you use stuff that is fine instead of coarse and don't go crazy with it - STEEL WOOL. The steel wool really loosened the corrosion to the point where rubbing alcohol took it right off (whereas rubbing alcohol by itself only took off a fraction of the corrosion). Put the game shark in and BAM - it fired right up.

So I tore my other 2 gamesharks apart - same corrosion. Same fix. And now all 3 fire up first try every time!

The issue with gameshark connectors is that unlike NES and even N64 games - they don't have a copper coating. Instead of copper color - they're more like silver or steel color (I'm guessing cheap steel). So they're far more prone to corrosion. These things were built so cheaply, right down to the connectors.

I'm happy to get them all working since now they're somewhat of a collector's item - fetching upwards of $35 used if they're confirmed tested and working.
 
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MRKane
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 PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Hey I'll have to give that a crack! Mine died a while back (although buying an Everdrive rather resolved that issue) getting it going again would still be handy!
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bmw
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Joined: 04 Jan 2006
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Location: Michigan

 PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I'm actually thinking about throwing one of mine up on ebay with all 8 of my hacked goldeneye levels pre-loaded (about 2,000 lines of code altogether at 250 per level) and see what it would bring in an auction.

It's funny today looking back at some of the code hacking I did 10 years ago - I wouldn't have the slightest clue how to do that today. I'm sure I could figure it out again looking through all the notes wreck sent me via PM but it's amazing how easily you forget how to do that kind of stuff when you don't do it for so long.
 
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Wreck
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 PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Funny you mention steel wool. I casted up a resin bust for my brother while I was away using bronze powder. You need to buff it with steel wool afterward to bring out the shine, and then rub black shoe polish on it to fill in crevices and get those lines darkened up to balance with the shiney high points.
 
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goldeneye106
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 PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Reviving old gamesharks Reply with quote Back to top

bmw wrote:
I had a stash of 3 gamesharks buried in my closet that I had marked as not working. I vaguely recall that none of them would boot up no matter what games I put in them.

Today out of curiosity I took one apart. Turns out the connectors were VERY corroded. So I used a trick that works great on NES games as long as you use stuff that is fine instead of coarse and don't go crazy with it - STEEL WOOL. The steel wool really loosened the corrosion to the point where rubbing alcohol took it right off (whereas rubbing alcohol by itself only took off a fraction of the corrosion). Put the game shark in and BAM - it fired right up.

So I tore my other 2 gamesharks apart - same corrosion. Same fix. And now all 3 fire up first try every time!

The issue with gameshark connectors is that unlike NES and even N64 games - they don't have a copper coating. Instead of copper color - they're more like silver or steel color (I'm guessing cheap steel). So they're far more prone to corrosion. These things were built so cheaply, right down to the connectors.

I'm happy to get them all working since now they're somewhat of a collector's item - fetching upwards of $35 used if they're confirmed tested and working.


I realize this is an older post, but would you mind posting a tutorial for how you did this?

I own a v3.2 and a 1 v3.3 N64 gamesharks that do not work. The v3.2's displays a number 7 whenever I try booting it with one of my games, the V3.3 displays the number 8, so it's possible that as a kid, I accidentally set them to a key code for a game, which I do not own.

A 3rd gameshark I purchased at a used game store (v3.3) never had a working red LED, but did boot when I tested it at the store. I got it to run for a few hours with goldeneye and beetle adventure racing before it stopped working.

Would love to know how I can rescue my old gamesharks and see if your method can work for mine too.

Thanks so much you guys for putting your collective expertise out there for all of us to read!
 
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bmw
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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Cleaning them is pretty easy - all you need is a philips screwdriver and some super-fine steel wool. The unit comes apart easily giving you easy access to the pins that plug into the console. I just use a small piece of steel wool, like the size of a penny, and using my thumb I scrub the connector pins (on both sides). 15 seconds or so of scrubbing should be plenty. You can use a little bit of force but don't go too crazy. Once that's done, just use some rubbing alcohol on a cloth (preferably not a paper towel) and use the same method to clean the pins, but this time with the alcohol. Then by the time you get it re-assembled it should be dry and ready to go.

If you're seeing a "8" on a v3.3, then you have one of the rare v3.3s with a working parallel port. But in my case, cleaning got rid of the 8 and made it boot.

I'm not familiar with the error 7 code. If that was a matter of you entering a keycode and bricking the thing, you might be able to reset that with a WORKING gameshark of the same version (ie, you cannot mix a 3.2 and a 3.3). This video shows how - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5RwtGqI2vo
 
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goldeneye106
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 PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

bmw wrote:
Cleaning them is pretty easy - all you need is a philips screwdriver and some super-fine steel wool. The unit comes apart easily giving you easy access to the pins that plug into the console. I just use a small piece of steel wool, like the size of a penny, and using my thumb I scrub the connector pins (on both sides). 15 seconds or so of scrubbing should be plenty. You can use a little bit of force but don't go too crazy. Once that's done, just use some rubbing alcohol on a cloth (preferably not a paper towel) and use the same method to clean the pins, but this time with the alcohol. Then by the time you get it re-assembled it should be dry and ready to go.

If you're seeing a "8" on a v3.3, then you have one of the rare v3.3s with a working parallel port. But in my case, cleaning got rid of the 8 and made it boot.

I'm not familiar with the error 7 code. If that was a matter of you entering a keycode and bricking the thing, you might be able to reset that with a WORKING gameshark of the same version (ie, you cannot mix a 3.2 and a 3.3). This video shows how - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5RwtGqI2vo


I have watched Bowser64's videos multiple times over the last several years. The N64 console was my first to own, so it has a lot of nostalgia value for me, especially using the gameshark. If I can fix them, it would make me very happy.

I have looked a fair amount on google and am surprised there aren't a lot of good tutorials out there for fixing gamesharks. You guys seemed like the best ones to go to.

Typically before I try to clean or take something apart, I like to watch tutorial videos or read old forum posts to learn from others.

Did you ever post a tutorial about your cleaning method in video or picture form? If not, do you have any pictures you could post? Do you remember what thread size of stainless steel wool you used? Did you buy some from amazon? What type of cloth would you recommend using? Lint-free, for example?

Thanks for telling me that you can't piggyback v3.2 and v3.3 gamesharks. I read so much anecdotal evidence on retro forums through google that's it difficult for me to know what to believe. Have you tried to do that yourself and wind up bricking both gamesharks?

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it. I'm hungry to learn more about how to fix and then take care of my gamesharks as long as possible.
 
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Mantorok
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 PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I'd suggest using a fibreglass scratch brush instead of steel wool. Something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0058EDPZU/
 
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dugg
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 PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2022 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Good thread and I'm sure I'll be revisiting it.

I bought a bunch of "broken" n64 gamesharks that I am going to attempt to revive.

First method will be key code checks.
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HackBond
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 PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2022 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

dugg wrote:
Good thread and I'm sure I'll be revisiting it.

I bought a bunch of "broken" n64 gamesharks that I am going to attempt to revive.

First method will be key code checks.


Good luck on reviving them.
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dugg
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 PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2022 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

HackBond wrote:
dugg wrote:
Good thread and I'm sure I'll be revisiting it.

I bought a bunch of "broken" n64 gamesharks that I am going to attempt to revive.

First method will be key code checks.


Good luck on reviving them.


Received 5 this week.

2x 3.3
1x 3.2
2x 2.0

The 2x 2.0's were revived by daisy chaining a working 2.0.

A 3.3 was revived by taking apart and scrubbing the board clean.
(99% Isopropyl)

The other two require more work, possibly using an old PC that I plan on acquiring tomorrow. But I'll have to study the how-to.
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