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NES Blinking Light Win? (toaster referbishing)


Gentlegamer
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Years ago, I replaced my original NES 72 pin connector with an after market one. It produced the 'death grip' on carts, and works... but is still spotty.

I've been thinking of trying the Blinking Light Win, but see mixed reports of effectiveness. Does it work or is it a false hope?

I still have the original connector, but haven't tried any of the home remedies on it.

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I backed the Blinking Light Win back when it was on Kickstarter, so I've had once since the very beginning.  I like the solution for two main reasons.  First, it works.  I've never had a cart not work since installing it.  Second, it can be removed and you can put your NES back to original at any time you want.  I'm not a big fan of permanent solutions, especially when they require cutting holes in things.  That doesn't happen with the Blinking Light Win.

Downsides?  The early versions have a pretty tight grip.  I've heard that has gotten better, but I've only ever used mine, so I can't say for sure.  I leave my Everdrive in mine pretty much all of the time, so the tight grip doesn't really matter for me.  

For what I paid, it's absolutely worth it in my opinion.  Aftermarket 72 pin connectors are made pretty cheaply these days and they seem to only be a temporary solution since they tend to fail after a pretty short period of time.  If I wasn't going to use the Blinking Light Win, I would try to clean and fix my original 72 pin connector before buying an aftermarket one.  

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I got one outside of the Kickstarter and while it still has a fairly firm grip, it's not nearly as crazy as third party connectors and, as @TDIRunner said, it just works every time.  I believe you're supposed to mess around with resetting the system so many times when you first hook it up in order to set the onboard region chip (which can be reset later on, if you want), then play as you will.  The weirdest thing to get used to with it is not pushing down on the game, but once you've messed that up a couple of times you start remembering.  It's also extremely firm, so there's no danger if (when, really) you forget not to push down.  Definitely the best third party option available at this point and well worth the purchase.

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One note regarding the crappy third party 72-pin connectors that not everybody is aware of.  Even though they've got a death grip, every one I've ever tried will work first try, every time if you put the game in but don't push it down.  They're still a pain to get out afterward, but it seems like they only malfunction on me when you try to lock a game in like you're normally supposed to.  Still a better idea to use a Blinking Light Win, but in the interim, the crappy connectors aren't quite as totally unusable as lots of folks claim, FYI.

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Personally I'm not a fan, but just don't see the point as I boil pins if I ever have a problem as I feel the OEM stuff is still best to use, when it is cleaned after properly being re-lifted/aligned.  Seems the boiling gets all the funk out while the heat seems to restore the tension on the things to factory if not better.  I've had cases where boiling allowed the games to pop on fine without locking it down.

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2 hours ago, Tanooki said:

I feel the OEM stuff is still best to use

As I mentioned, if I wasn't going to use the BLW, I would fix and repair the original equipment as my second choice.  With that said, I think it's unfair to say that the OEM is the best to use when it's such an inherently poor design. The only reason they used a ZIF connector was to differentiate it from a "video game system" and make it more like an "entertainment system."  While there were many reasons for Nintendo to go in this direction, it ultimately lead to a very flawed design, and "best" is never a word I would use to describe it.  The BLW is what the original design of the NES should have been in the first place.  

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3 hours ago, Tanooki said:

Personally I'm not a fan, but just don't see the point as I boil pins if I ever have a problem as I feel the OEM stuff is still best to use, when it is cleaned after properly being re-lifted/aligned.  Seems the boiling gets all the funk out while the heat seems to restore the tension on the things to factory if not better.  I've had cases where boiling allowed the games to pop on fine without locking it down.

i bought a blw pin. ive used it for what feels like a couple years.... i few months ago i put the og pin back on my toaster. nothing like the real thing.

that said. its a solid aftermarket pin.

and i have one for sale 🙂 lol

Edited by docile tapeworm
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I will say, the BLW is a great piece of hardware and works extremely well.  That being said, I had to go back to my original NES with the original pins, because when I didn't press down on a game after inserting it, something was missing.  I realized that I NEED to press the cart down after I insert it before I press power.  It's kind of like how I NEED to put a quarter in my arcade games before I play them; I know I could put them all on free play, but I NEED to put a quarter in first.  And I'm the same way with the good ol' NES - I gotta pop that sucka down!*

*I do realize that the OEM design requires regular cleaning and maintenance, but I accept that as part of the deal.

 

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7 hours ago, Pendragonx said:

I got one a few years ago -- best thing I've ever done for that NES. It works flawlessly now. Definitely recommend.

 

Same here.  I tried one, and can't imagine going back.  Since that first, I've picked up nearly 10 more, for a few of my spare NES consoles, and to upgrade friends' machines.

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52 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

*I do realize that the OEM design requires regular cleaning and maintenance, but I accept that as part of the deal.

Same here.  When I was speaking of 'best' the OEM one, BLW exclusive to that since it's radically redesigned, it is best compared to now over a decade or so of cheap chinese crap with brittle metals, weak metals, overly tight death grip, they're garbage that wear out and aren't optimal.  Given the choice, personally I'd take the original.  I've had to clean and use kits or whatever since the late 80s early 90s, so I really don't care.  I'd rather use what works, than use some kickstarter hatchet job that bypasses the entire mechanism.  I get some people prefer it and why, but that's a choice.

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3 hours ago, Dr. Morbis said:

I realized that I NEED to press the cart down after I insert it before I press power.  It's kind of like how I NEED to put a quarter in my arcade games before I play them; I know I could put them all on free play, but I NEED to put a quarter in first.  And I'm the same way with the good ol' NES - I gotta pop that sucka down!*

Just so long as you admit that it's a totally irrational, emotional need. But then again, we are collectors of plastic squares. 😛

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