Nintendo GameCube opening

Now for something off-topic for this blog, but I’ve been a bit into retro gaming with some of my friends namely on the old Sony PSone (the last, much slimmed down version of the PlayStation 1). Lately I’ve aquired a GameCube with a working GameBoy Player – which apparently seems to be one of the best variants playing GB, GBC and GB Advance games on large screens. Unfortunately the cube was previously owned by a heavy smoker, and electronics exposed to nicotine tends to really smell bad *yuk*. It needed a full cleaning, which required a full teardown and massive cleaning. However…

Tamper-proof

While Sony’s PSOne can be easily disassembled and cleaned using standard Philipps screwdrivers, Nintendo isn’t playing as nice with us. They use special, sometimes even proprietary screws to make their devices tamper proof.  Apparently beyond tamper-proof torx found on some XBox and PlayStation (2/3) consoles, Nintendo doesn’t like us fixing our consoles and uses rare and off-standard screws. Getting these screwdrivers is possible nowadays thanks to Internet, but often cheap screwdriver specially sold as Nintendo screwdriver kits are made of so poor quality that they I read often they were not  worth your time and money.

Tri-Wing(R)

Tri-Wing_screw_and_tool_(TW2)

Nintendo uses Tri-Wing (also TriWing) screws  all over the places like even back to the first GameBoys, even the GameCube controllers have them. At least this is a standards-based screw type, you can get them, but due to its finicky design, the fins of the wings break quickly on the cheap tools.  I needed Y0 and Y1 sizes sometimes which are also found as #0 and #1. If you are into lots of repairs consider a high quality tool like the Wera 375 TRI-WING screwdrivers. Although mine are not from Wera, I do have use some of their screwdrivers and they are of very good and long-lasting build quality.

The “GameBit”

4.5mm_gamebit

When it comes to NES, SNES or the GameCube, Nintendo is doing even better: The main screws to open thee console use a screw  type that is completely non-standard. A smaller, yet similar, one is often found on things like original Gameboy cartridges.  The closest standard screw type could be a called a reverse or inverted Torx screw. Thanks to Nintendos’ wide use of these screw types, they’ve beoame known under the name of GameBit since they are mostly only seen on Nintendo gaming equipment.

The gamebit screws are quite finicky and if the screwdriver bit is of cheap quality, the screws quickly take damage. Unfortunately cheap gamebits tend to be very badly molded or just to weak for longer use. One gamebit kit that I’ve seen getting good reviews (and that I can now confirm) are the gamebits from Rewind Bits.

Happy Nintendo fixing!

P.S. Yes the GameCube mentioned in the beginning has been fully cleaned by now, it still works and luckily almost doesn’t smell anymore.

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September 13, 2013

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