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Much like in my Ultimate guide to buying, restoring and modding the NES article were going to take a look at The Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Unlike that article though the scope of this one is going to be much smaller. There are a few reasons for this. first is that the cleaning procedures are largely the same as they were with the NES so we need not go over that ground again, just refer to the previous link. Second is the Modifications that can be done to the SNES are slightly more complex then those for the NES. the pins on the chips are much much smaller then the chip pins in the NES thus I prefer to pay a modest fee to have someone more qualified perform these things. In this article we will go over two very simple modifications though those being the tab removal to allow Japanese Super Nintendo games to be played as well as a simple LED light change.

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Like the NES I used in a previous article I picked this SNES up at a Goodwill for $14.99. I didn’t find a power adapter with it but it did come with a controller. The condition is typical for a used SNES with some marker marks, some yellowing of the plastic and what appeared to be a few paint drops.

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After a go over with the magic erasure.

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The small blobs of white paint I gently scratched away with an Xacto knife and as for the top section of the SNES I removed it and thoroughly washed it with soap and water followed by the Retrobright treatment that I went over in my NES article.

If you want to play European games on more accurately any games from PAL territories (Europe, Australia, New Zealand and others) your going to need to do a few modifications I’m not going to go over here but a very simple modification does allow the playing of Japanese Super Nintendo or Super Famicom games. Since both the USA and Japan use the same NTSC video standard the lockout in place to prevent you from playing JP territory games is a simple physical lockout in the form of a few tabs in the cartridge slot.

snesg4Here we have the four tabs that will need to be removed.

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Simple cutters and pliers that can be found at any hardware store, Walmart or dads garage are all that’s needed. Just cut away and twist off the sections of the SNES that have the tabs. I recommend doing this with the top part removed.

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Very simple. With these tabs removed you should have no issues playing any Japanese games you wish.

Next we need to do the LED change. The red LED looks fine but I prefer blue, unfortunately I did not have any blue LED’s on me so I’ve used a green one here. The SNES does not use standard screws like the NES so your going to need a 4.55mm gambit screwdriver for this. I got mine cheap off eBay. There are six screws you will need to remove from the bottom of the console.

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Here’s what your going to initially see. The white power strip connecting the PCB on the controller and the motherboard should easily disconnect with a few gentle tugs. You should now be able to remove the PCB with the LED light on it but if you want to take a look at the motherboard and perhaps clean it of dust or dead (hopefully dead) bugs the eject assembly should also easily come out. The metal RF shield will need to be unscrewed and removed. It used regular Phillips head screws. You will also need to unscrew the power switch on the left.

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Here’s the PCB that as the LED as well as controller ports attached. your going to need to remove the green PCB board from the controller ports so first thing you want to do is desolder all 14 of the controller solder points. Once that is done you can squeeze the plastic tabs and it should easily come apart into two parts.

I recommend one of these for this job.

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Its a solder remover and it works great for unobstructed pins. While squeezing the bulb you just place the tip on the pins and it melts the solder on it. Then let go of the bulb and it sucks the melted solder away.

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At this point take notice of the LED and how it is oriented. Desolder the two points on the rear of the PCB and remove the old LED and replace it with any LED of 5mm and 3.7 volt .

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Here’s my green LED after being soldered onto the board. Now simply solder the PCB back to the controller ports. make sure you reattach the power strip correctly between the ports section with your LED and the SNES motherboard and power it up. Make sure to reconnect and test to see if the new LED comes on as well as if your controllers are working before completely reassembling. Sometimes if your not getting the LED to come on or the controller is unresponsive you may need to resolder and make sure you have a good connections on the solder points and that the solder is not touching adjacent points.

These simple mods should cost you nearly nothing and take an hour at most to preform. Again if you want to play some great games from PAL territories that never made it to the US I would recommend paying an experienced modder but if you have a pile of SNES systems around or feel your good with a soldering iron there are plenty of great guides available via a Google search with further advanced modding instructions. Enjoy.

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Yhea, I did forget to clean that eject button…….

If you would like to read about what I think is the best revision of the SNES console continue reading here.

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3 Comments

  1. As an keen gamer fan, I just needed to pop you a
    quuick note to ssay thanks for placing this article up.

  2. Your site is really helpful! Can you do more mods on the SNES and other old consoles? I love how detailed everything is.

    • unfortunately I’m not the handiest guy with a soldering iron so any complicated mods I usually pay other more capable people to do. I do plan on trying to do some more console related stuff in the future though.


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