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My Super NES is Mode 7 Impaired

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:58 am
by ArugulaZ
A couple of months ago, I got a Super NES from Shopgoodwill. It was a pretty good deal; just ten dollars with an extra eleven for shipping (since shipping is always so damn high at SGW). However, a problem quickly presented itself while I tested the system with Super Mario World. Everything seemed fine for the first few stages, but when I opened the door to Iggy's inner chamber, this is what I found behind it...


Uh, Super Nintendo, are you feeling okay?

I wasn't sure if it was just the cartridge, so I went out and bought another game, 2020 Super Baseball. I wanted to get something cheap with a lot of the Super NES's trademark razzle-dazzle, and this fit the bill. (Hal's Hole In One Golf would have been even better, but you take what you can get.) I took the game home, stuck it into my system, and this is what popped up after a couple of seconds.


Gosh, you really aren't feeling well, are you?

It's pretty clear at this point that my Super NES has Mode 7 dysfunction. The question is, how do I fix this problem? I've heard that this has been happening to a lot of Super NES systems due to their age, and that the picture processing units are generally the problem. I've also heard that cleaning the motherboard with isopropyl alcohol usually does the trick, although with some machines, you have to clean between the pins of the PPU to remove rust and/or solder in wires to repair damaged traces. Has anyone attempted to fix a Super NES with these issues? If so, any advice you can provide would be welcome. I'd also like to know how to reassemble the Super NES after it's been torn apart, since I've heard the spring for the reset button can be tough to put back in place, especially if you've only got two hands.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Re: My Super NES is Mode 7 Impaired

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:35 am
by Xeogred
Yeah, Link to the Past, Act Raiser, or Secret of Mana's etc world maps are good tests too. Unfortunately I think I've seen this topic pop up a few times over the years and never really seen a solution. Granted maybe some new ideas have popped up nowadays, but I just had to accept my original SNES was on its way out because of this.

Re: My Super NES is Mode 7 Impaired

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:59 pm
by Gunstar Green
Like you already said, cleaning up any corrosion around the PPU chips is a start and doing some soldering would be the next step. If that doesn't work the fault may lie with the chips themselves and outside of replacing those chips from another SNES there's nothing else you can do since they're custom hardware.

I'm not very technically minded but if you search around you can find some youtube videos that might help.

Re: My Super NES is Mode 7 Impaired

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:32 pm
by ArugulaZ

So I worked up the courage to disassemble my Super NES. The motherboard under the RF shield looked clean, which means the damage is likely internal. It also means I'm screwed, because there's no way I'd be able to desolder the old PPU chip and replace it with another one. I suspect you'd need professional equipment (and talent beyond my own) to swap the chips, with their tiny and numerous pins. I did clean the chips and the motherboard with isopropyl, but I was pretty sure it would a waste of time, and testing the system proved me right.

In short, UGH. The most time and cost-effective way of dealing with this Super NES is getting a new one. Alternately, I could just play 2D games on it, but yanno, scaling and rotation is kind of the Super Nintendo's shtick.