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EEVblog #1334 – Mystery Dumpster Teardown

Mystery dumpster teardown time! With the most amazing mechanical mains power switch you’ll ever see! ...


  1. Careful 2 sided layout
    wave soldered TQFP CPU and GPU !

    That’s the good old days :))

    And curved traces ! Now that’s retro, isn’t it ?
    or is it ?
    perhaps it will come back soon :

  2. Nestor Correa Sr.

    do you have done anything relate to in home Stream video, ?? am interesting if is posible make one, if you have the way how, tks


  3. The security screws are called “System Zero”. They were in use at least since the Super NES and you can still find them on the power supply of the WiiU.

  4. Apparently some people didn’t give up playing with this console and created a way to store games using flash cards.


  5. You didn’t tear down the memory expansion cartridge!

    And yes, they use security screws because kids being kids will do all sorts of teardowns on their own, and naturally, they usually fail to put it back together again such that it works. Imagine being the parent who has to now take it back for repair only to be told that the warranty was voided because it was opened and all that. Meanwhile, the kids are screaming and crying to get their video game working. It’s not a pretty sight.

    The same goes for pretty much any consumer electronics, really. The smaller it is, the more likelihood people will tear it apart and most will fail to put it back properly. Hence the warranty stickers, security screws and the like. Someone at the repair desk can probably detail the horror stories of telling people their claim was denied while the customer is arguing that they never did a thing (despite obvious attempts to using crude tools or the fact that well, it’s in pieces).

  6. Dave,

    those security screws (which are actually standardized and called “External Torx”) have been in use by Nintendo ever since the times of the Super Nintendo (released in 1990) and I am pretty sure they are used, together with the fact that the power supply is external, in order to get the video game console certified as a “toy” which was not the case for any of the video game consoles made by the competition, both the PlayStation 1+2 and the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast had internal power supplies and hence did not carry the “electrical toy” compliance mark (I think that was especially important for Germany).

    Also, I do not think the N64 was broken, they never broke even if you jumped onto them. Unless someone fried it with over voltage, the N64 still works. And it’s really no surprise the console doesn’t work without a ROM cartridge *AND* the RAMBUS jumper pack installed which was required for memory termination when no additional RAM was installed.

    Speaking of RAMBUS, the reason the RAMBUS has a heat sink is the relatively high clock for that time. Normal memory was clocked at much lower speeds back then but had wide busses. RAMBUS, however, had a high clock rate and all RAMBUS modules I have ever seen, including the ones in Pentium 4 mainboards, had heat sinks.

    And, no, Nintendo certainly didn’t want to scrap off extra money by selling the 4MB memory expansion separately. RAMBUS RAM was incredibly expensive in 1996 when the console was released in Japan so it’s not a surprise at all they fitted the N64 with just 4MB and kept the option for an additonal 4MB.

    The connector on the bottom was actually later used for the 64DD external disk drive which was never sold outside Japan, I have one however.


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