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CRTGAMER
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Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by CRTGAMER Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:30 am

Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

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The published article is here: http://www.racketboy.com/retro/hacks/20 ... guide.html

A related article: NES LOCKOUT CHIP DISABLE IMPORT MOD GUIDE

A thread dealing with identifying Gyromite game carts with Famicom import adapter. Once in a while the inside of the Gyromite game cart has Japanese Gyromite game PCB with a 60 pin to 72 pin U.S. NES adapter. A novelty but also a useful function. Idea is you can swap in any Japanese game PCB to work on your U.S. NES.

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External Famicom to NES adapters can be found online. One disadvantage of the external adapters is an extra plug connection; two "carts" that can wiggle causing a game freeze. At least going the Gyromite adapter approach, the Famicom PCB can be locked down with screws inside the large NES game cart case.

Playing Famicom bootleg carts in your NES allow for discovering uncommon expensive out of print games and imports. Notable is playing the recalled game TENGEN TETRIS! Expensive in the original cart, but very common in most Famicom bootleg compilations.

I reviewed a bootleg cart with TENGEN TETRIS here:
http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=446878#p446878

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First off the an older post from Video Game Finds. Lot of good info from Ziggy and Hobie !
http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=286385#p286385
Ziggy587 wrote:Today, I got lucky, and now I finally have something to post about!

I checked every copy of Gyromite they had, then all the 5 screw carts, then finally came across a Gyromite that was out of place which turned out to be the winner.
Hobie-wan wrote:
Ziggy587 wrote:As far as I can tell, there are no outward differences. You CAN tell by the weight, but I wouldn't rely on that alone. It weighs just under an ounce more with the adapter inside. But you can tell by looking at the pins. Comparing the weight to another cart just confirms it.
It's pretty hard to tell, but the printing of the purple on the label is a little different color too. I have 2 adapter Gyromite carts, but no normal one and I can't remember which type is more blue and which more purple. It's hard to tell though.
Ziggy587 wrote:You're right. The ROB robot icon in the lower left corner is definitely a different shade of purple. I have two other copies that don't have adapters, so I just compared it. Still, I think the easiest way to identify it is by looking at the pins.
Bwah Ha Ha Ha! Got mine today! NES Gyromite with adaptor for $4.99. :mrgreen:

Got it from my local Retro store:
http://www.lunavideogames.com/

Sales clerk at Luna Games very helpful, took time to find a good cart.
Brought out the eight carts he had and compared weights.
We both agreed that one of the carts did feel slightly heavier.

Okay got the cart home and from the older post and research, here is what I found out so far.

1. Cart is slightly heavier, a scale will prove exact difference. 3.5 vs 4.5 ounces.
2. Cart balance also could be a factor, more balanced towards the center.
3. Gyromite contacts are individual unlike most other NES game carts.
4. Gyromites have five screws not three unlike most NES carts.
5. This particular cart has slotted screws not Game bit screws.
6. The R.O.B. color label too hard to tell even a close look, not a good indicator.

All the carts at the store were purple, including my Import adaptor purple label cart. Dark Blue is supposed to be the adaptor version, not in this case though.

Gamebit socket, not needed for Gyromite.
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For the balance method, put you Finger right on the back label on the word "CAUTION" at the underline. A regular cart will tip off. The Gyromite will stay balanced.

Three screw cart, no adaptor in here!
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Stack Up Carts might have the import adaptor.
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A very good article, Good info about this mystery:
http://www.vintagecomputing.com/index.php/archives/23
Vintage Computing wrote:It’s not a myth if it’s true. Yes, Mario, there might be a Famicom to NES adapter in your copy of Gyromite. In fact, there might be an adapter in other early NES games, but so far, Gyromite is the only game cart I have personally found adapters in.

Perhaps Stack-Up carts have the adaptor too?
http://balduin.wordpress.com/2007/01/27/famicom-to-nes-converter/
Balduin Wordpress wrote:Finally I got my Stack-Up NES cartridge from eBay. And yes, there’s almost 100% chance that in these cartridges are Famicom converters inside. When Nintendo released Stack-Up and Gyromite for America, they were in hurry to sell american systems, so they didn’t manufactered independently NES cartridges, and put these 60 to 72 pin converters inside the NES cartridges. Some other games had these converters too, but the chance to find one is smaller than in Stack-Up cartridges.

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Ziggy587 wrote:Take a look at the pins. You can see that the one with out the adapter has the little line dead center of each pin, while the one with the adapter has the little line to the side of each contact.

From what I've read, and experienced, if you find a 5 screw NES cart and the lines on the contacts are NOT centered, then 100% of the time it has an adapter inside. This is not limited to just Gyromite carts, but any 5 screw cart that was a launch game.

The very edge of the connector has the "points" on one side of each pin. This is the best way with a bright light and magnifying glass.

Uncle Jenkins wrote:I just want to warn people that while there are other games besides Gyromite with adapters (I got mine in a copy of Pinball), they're strictly limited to the early Black Box titles. You might find a copy of a "silver box" game like Metroid or Kid Icarus that has 5 screws and off-center contacts, but it will NOT have an adapter. I found that out myself recently.

Here is a comparison of the Silver and Black Label carts. I never noticed the background before on the five screw non hinged NES carts.

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Note the Metroid PCB at the right in the pic below. The contacts have the pins to one side just like a Nintendo Import Adaptor.

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How to spot the difference
The Metroid PCB has extra chips and is heavier then most NES carts. It is as heavy NES import adaptor game cart. Strange that there are two solder pads made for a CR2032 battery, perhaps the same PCB is used on other games.

On the Metroid cart PCB, the end edge contact (at the bottom left of the pic below) has the pin point in the center of the edge of the contact. It is the little tip right on the end of the connector contact of the PCB. The Nintendo Import Adaptor has the pin point at one side on all the edges of the contacts.

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The Import Adaptor hunt list, the launch titles:
Wiki wrote: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_vi ... ent_System

U.S. launch: October 18, 1985

10-Yard Fight
Baseball
Clu Clu Land
Donkey Kong Jr. Math
Duck Hunt
Excitebike
Golf
Gyromite
Hogan's Alley
Ice Climber
Kung Fu
Mach Rider
Pinball
Stack-Up
Super Mario Bros.
Tennis
Wild Gunman
Wrecking Crew

A difficult cart to find
I just picked up another Gyromite Cart with an Import Adapter. One thing I noticed is the tips are hard to see when the cart edge is worn down or has dirty contacts. A magnifying glass helps, but then too obvious indicating a serious collector buyer. This might end up as a raise in prices, even if the seller is unaware of the Import Adapter.

Note the 10NES chip location: Adaptor on the left and the game PCB on the right

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Gyromite Cart Inside Compare.jpg
Gyromite Cart Inside Compare.jpg (165.89 KiB) Viewed 14996 times
I confirmed that all non hinge cases with either the Import Adaptor inside or a newer NES game PCB are interchangeable. This can lead to confusion of what is inside if the original case has been traded to another case.

Cart Weights
The weighing or center of balance check is a guesstimate without a proper scale. At under an ounce difference, might be hard to spot. Some game titles have extra chips inside that sometimes throws this off.

I weighed these game carts with a postal scale:
Import Adaptor Gyromite Cart: 4.30 Ounces
Regular Gyromite Cart: 3.50 ounces
Regular Metroid Cart: 3.90 Ounces
Regular Mario Duck Hunt Cart: 3.00 Ounces
Super 66 Games Bootleg Cart: 4.15 Ounces
110 Games Bootleg Cart: 4.50 Ounces

ROB Robot Icon on the Cart Label
The Gyromite Import Adapter cart Label ROB Icon has a slightly darker blue color, but not always an accurate assessment. Both types of Gyromite carts have to be on hand to spot the difference. This does not always work, especially when some labels are more faded then others. Also the fact that cart cases can be swapped.

Import adapter with slighter darker blue ROB Icon on the left

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Another Label Method
I don't know why I never noticed this before, maybe because it is so small and easy to miss? Look at the Gyromite text, notice how both Gyromite carts have a blue TM Trademark logo? Now look at the Yellow Entertainment System text below the Gyromite title. The Import Adapter Cart has no yellow TM, the newer Gyromite game without the Import Adapter has the yellow TM logo! Not an absolute since there might be a chance of different labels, but a very solid indicator.

If a Yellow "TM" logo then very likely no Import Adaptor inside.

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The Robot Icon color difference is hard to spot on the carts. Is it Blue or Purple or something between? The bottom left is a cart without an Import adaptor, it has a tiny yellow TM Logo.

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A purchased complete Gyromite Manual, Game Cart and Box. Interesting that the manual and box have a purple ROB icon while the cart with an Import Adapter inside is blue.

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All my Gyromite Import Adapter carts do not have a Yellow TM Logo.

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Indicators to Watch
1. Black background label indicates a Launch game cart, only some carts have the adapter.

2. All Launch games are five screw, but later ones are five screw or three screw hinged.

3. Gyromite carts with no Yellow TM logo on the label, a good sign of an Import Adaptor.

4. The best method for a confirm, ALL Contact Tips to one side, check first and last pins.
Hobie-wan wrote:Here's the adapter I made from a Gyromite cart with a Famicom cart stuck in it.

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Related Stories

I finally get to try my R.O.B out, now have complete a complete NES set!
http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=275280#p275280
Thanks to Corn619 for selling me the NES, and local Veterans Surplus store.

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A tease for noiseredux
Did this ever come out?
http://gameboy.ign.com/articles/600/600417p1.html

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http://portable.0catch.com/famicom.html

Famicom to NES converter FAQ v.06

The following games are known to have the adapters: (number denotes total carts with adapter that I found personally)

Duck Hunt (3)
Excite Bike (2)
Gyromite (5)
Hogan's Alley (2)
Metroid
Pinball (3)
Slalom
Stackup (2)
Volleyball (1) (? a bit odd since Volleyball is a bit newer than rest and weren't exactly a must have title.

The following list is based on the release date (10/85) and may or may not have the adapter

10- Yard Fight
Baseball
Clu Clu Land
Golf
Kung Fu
Mach Rider
Super Mario Bros.
Tennis
Wild Gunmen
Wrecking Crew

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Attachments
Gyromite Cart Compare.JPG
Gyromite Cart Compare.JPG (106.01 KiB) Viewed 15080 times
Gyromite Label Compare.jpg
Gyromite Label Compare.jpg (140.6 KiB) Viewed 15166 times
Last edited by CRTGAMER on Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:09 am, edited 36 times in total.
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Re: Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by Ziggy587 Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:07 pm

Pretty funny... I missed this thread when you posted it, but I just found it on a Google search!

Easiest way to find a cart that has the converter inside: Looking at the contacts. You can make it out a little in the picture you have of the two Gyromite carts side by side. Gyromite carts withOUT the convert, and most (if not all) other NES games have a little line coming out of each contact. The line is dead center of each contact. Carts that have the converter inside, the little lines are to one side of each contact (and not in the center). Kinda hard to explain unless pointing it out in a picture (or in person).

But as far as I'm concerned, it's the easiest and fastest way to tell. And you wont be a weirdo bringing a postal scale into the game store, or trying to balance it weird, or asking to open up all the Gyromite carts.

Here's what I do. First, I identify a 5 screw cart. This is really easy to do because they don't have the hinges on the top of the cart. So most stores store the carts with the top label facing out, so it's easy to pick out the no hinged carts. So I'll take a look at each 5 screw cart and check the contacts. And if you stumble upon a 5 screw cart with the tell-tale sign of the contacts, you will probably also notice the extra weight to ultra confirm it.
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Re: Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by CRTGAMER Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:43 am

Ziggy587 wrote:Pretty funny... I missed this thread when you posted it, but I just found it on a Google search!

Easiest way to find a cart that has the converter inside: Looking at the contacts. You can make it out a little in the picture you have of the two Gyromite carts side by side. Gyromite carts withOUT the convert, and most (if not all) other NES games have a little line coming out of each contact. The line is dead center of each contact. Carts that have the converter inside, the little lines are to one side of each contact (and not in the center). Kinda hard to explain unless pointing it out in a picture (or in person).

But as far as I'm concerned, it's the easiest and fastest way to tell. And you wont be a weirdo bringing a postal scale into the game store, or trying to balance it weird, or asking to open up all the Gyromite carts.

Here's what I do. First, I identify a 5 screw cart. This is really easy to do because they don't have the hinges on the top of the cart. So most stores store the carts with the top label facing out, so it's easy to pick out the no hinged carts. So I'll take a look at each 5 screw cart and check the contacts. And if you stumble upon a 5 screw cart with the tell-tale sign of the contacts, you will probably also notice the extra weight to ultra confirm it.
Ah, some great pointers! Yeah, that postal scale would be extreme and arouse suspicion. I can see the difference right at the green above the contacts. A pen light instead can be explained away as just verifying the condition of the contacts.
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Re: Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by Ziggy587 Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:59 pm

I'm a pretty paranoid person, but I just feel like if the shop owner knew why you were weighing the carts, they would want to find carts with the adapter inside to mark them up in price. Leave them clueless so that we can find these carts in the wild for normal price! Like you said, if you're only checking the contacts it looks like you're just checking out the condition of the cart. A very normal thing to be doing, nothing suspicious at all :D

I'm gonna take a few pics to post here of the difference on the contacts.
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Re: Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by jfe2 Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:32 pm

Great topic! The postal scale discussion actually reminded me of a time when I was searching for a "32-pin" Sega Saturn at a flea market and brought a screw driver with me to see if vendors would allow me to open up the cases before I purchased them...
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Re: Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by Ziggy587 Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:32 pm

Here's a picture of a Gyromite cart with out the adapter inside:

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And here is a pic of the cart with the adapter:

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So take a look at the pins. You can see that the one with out the adapter has the little line dead center of each pin, while the one with the adapter has the little line to the side of each contact.

From what I've read, and experienced, if you find a 5 screw NES cart and the lines on the contacts are NOT centered, then 100% of the time it has an adapter inside. This is not limited to just Gyromite carts, but any 5 screw cart that was a launch game.
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Re: Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by CRTGAMER Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:06 am

Ziggy587 wrote:So take a look at the pins. You can see that the one with out the adapter has the little line dead center of each pin, while the one with the adapter has the little line to the side of each contact.

From what I've read, and experienced, if you find a 5 screw NES cart and the lines on the contacts are NOT centered, then 100% of the time it has an adapter inside. This is not limited to just Gyromite carts, but any 5 screw cart that was a launch game.

Good info! The immediate difference I see is part of the wide shiny contact is covered with PCB green sealer on non-adaptor carts.

The 5 screw Gyromite adaptor cart I found had regular phillips not gamebit screws.
Are all 5 screw carts (even non adaptor carts) like this?

EDIT
Ziggy587 wrote:Here's what I do. First, I identify a 5 screw cart. This is really easy to do because they don't have the hinges on the top of the cart. So most stores store the carts with the top label facing out, so it's easy to pick out the no hinged carts. So I'll take a look at each 5 screw cart and check the contacts. And if you stumble upon a 5 screw cart with the tell-tale sign of the contacts, you will probably also notice the extra weight to ultra confirm it.

I added a couple more pics showing how to spot the non hinge five screw adapter carts.
Attachments
NES Hinge Identification.jpg
NES Hinge Identification.jpg (133.64 KiB) Viewed 13818 times
NES Gyromite NES Adaptor Comparioson.jpg
NES Gyromite NES Adaptor Comparioson.jpg (142.46 KiB) Viewed 13814 times
Last edited by CRTGAMER on Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by Hobie-wan Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:25 am

CRTGAMER wrote:The 5 screw Gyromite adaptor cart I found had regular phillips not gamebit screws.
Are all 5 screw carts (even non adaptor carts) like this?


No, I've come across plenty of 5 screw carts that had no adapter. I had a store let me open all of their carts up. Only got 1 Gyromite with adapter out of the lot. Nintendo switched to the 3 screw shells before they switched from the flathead with divot to the security screws. I know for certain my gold Zelda is 3 screw flathead, as is one that Sevin just picked up. I might have another cart like that but I can't remember right this second.
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Re: Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by csgx1 Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:05 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:Pretty funny... I missed this thread when you posted it, but I just found it on a Google search!

Easiest way to find a cart that has the converter inside: Looking at the contacts. You can make it out a little in the picture you have of the two Gyromite carts side by side. Gyromite carts withOUT the convert, and most (if not all) other NES games have a little line coming out of each contact. The line is dead center of each contact. Carts that have the converter inside, the little lines are to one side of each contact (and not in the center). Kinda hard to explain unless pointing it out in a picture (or in person).




LOL, that is the same technique that I use about 8 years ago when Funcoland sold NES games and Gyromites were $1. I probably looked through 20 to 30 Gyromites at different stores and yield only 3 with converters. Fun times back then.

Didn't know about the purple color difference. Good to know.
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Re: Gyromite NES Import Adaptor Guide

by flamepanther Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:12 pm

It's also possible to use the adapter without removing the PCB from your Famicom game carts.
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