Boil vs Bending - Will Boiling The NES 72Pin Really Work?

Is your NES failing to read games? Blame the 72pin connector.

For many years the most common way to clean and adjust the NES 72 pin connector was manually bending the pins back to position. This method is still very useful and valid in certain situations. You can view my older article here. which also describes how to disassemble the NES and remove the connector.

To my surprise there is a new and improved way of adjusting the 72pin.

Honestly I first heard about this method a few years ago. I gave it a try on the worst 72pin in my collection. Boiling did not fix the connector during that first test.  I immediately figured the boiling method was hype and never revisited the process.

Skip ahead a few years and I decided to try the boiling process again.  It worked beautifully!  To my surprise the boiling process offers more than cleaning and breaking loose dirt & oil from the metal. The heat relaxes the metal and allows it to more closely assume its original shape.

In my opinion this is the main advantage with boiling, the pins assume the original spacing set from the factory.  This is very difficult when manually bending pins as seen in my photo above.  Often the pins are too tight after manual adjustment.  Boiling brings the NES back to factory specs and is easy to do and difficult  to mess up.

Manually bending the pins may be needed after boiling, so far I have encountered that.

How to Boil:
  1. Place the connector in clean preferably stainless steel pot. I would suggest using a pot that is not used for cooking. It is a good practice to keep mad scientist projects and food separate.
  2. Add enough water to fully submerge the connector. I suggest placing it front side down, the force of  boiling bubbles will be directed inside the pins. Don't worry, the plastic will not melt.  
  3. Turn the burner on high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Let the connector boil for 30mins.  
  4. Allow to cool, rinse and fully dry before installing.  A hair dryer can speed up the drying process.

I have experimented with adding a small amount of baking soda to the water.  Theoretically this will increase the cleaning ability during the boiling process. Baking Soda is a great natural cleaner and is proven to remove corrosion from the inner pins and hard to reach areas.  I would not advise this method with the cheap aftermarket 72pins.  Aftermarket pins are often made of aluminum which will tarnish in baking soda water = not good.

I hope this article was helpful to my readers.  If you have any questions, comments or want to share your experiences with cleaning these 72pins please share below.


  1. I never tried this either up until this morning, never had to do it as I never had a pin so bad. I did as of a NES I bought yesterday, and in this case I did it a little different with a 5min dip, then you run a NES cart into the slot like 20x to scrape the loosened funk away, then another 5min dip again. It still came back with funk so I did a 3rd dip (most people say 2 work) and well it works. The only oddity is that now games work not being locked down, and if locked they don't. But if you just slide it in, it works 100%. I did the pin bending before doing the process too as I tried that first along with alcohol (91%) with the nes cleaning kit first which failed.

    1. Thanks for the tips. I have tried this with 20 connectors so far. All have worked perfectly after a 20min boil. Thanks for the tips I will try it.

    2. bending the pins first is why your games are tight now, if you have any tengen games just put one in and push it down for a couple days. it should be back to normal after that.

  2. Does this work on 3rd party connectors also?

    1. I wouldn't advise you do this, since they are made of cheap material.

  3. The upper pins on the 72 pin connector that I am working on now, two of them are WAY too bent, they spike up too much, they have been driving me crazy. So I am currently trying the boiling method, and I'll see if it works, if it does, I'll reply. Hopefully the boiling will make the pins pliable enough to bend, even though they are in contact with the edges of the connector.

    P.S. Nintendo seriously should have put screws or something on the connector to make it possible to take it apart and put it back together, I mean seriously :P


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