How To Change An SNES Game-Save Battery

 Every Super Nintendo game owner will run into a dead battery at some point, especially since the dates on many game batteries expire around this year, or in the case of games like Mario World, have already expired. That doesn’t mean they are 100% dead, but chances are, they are almost dead.

When a battery dies, you will lose all your gave saves and high scores and will not be able to save any data again until you replace the battery. So maybe you should stock up on batteries and do your renovations now.

I found these instructions via CheapAssGamer (and added some modifications), so i thought I would share them as an easy reference. If you are the original author (this has been passed down a few times), let me know so I can give you credit! Also, if you have any additions and/or corrections, please let me know so I can update this.

DISCLAIMERS: YOU WILL LOSE YOUR SAVES WHILE DOING THIS, NO MATTER WHAT! I take no responsibility for your messed up games– this is a risky procedure — you should practice on something cheap and easy to find(like Super Mario World which is at just about every pawnshop) before you go and up that pristine copy of Chrono Trigger ;-) This procedure is risky like a cheap ass hooker.

What You Need:

  • 3.88 mm security bit. You need this to unscrew the funky hexagon-shaped bolts on SNES carts.
  • A SNES Game Battery (aka an CR2032)
  • A basic soldering iron, nothing fancy. I bought a kit at radioshack for $8, came with a 45-watt iron. (You COULD also just tape the battery in instead of soldering)
  • An X-Acto knife, or some kind of scraping razor. It justneeds to be a VERY thin knife, one you don’t mind getting stained up. A kit with a variety of blades can also be found at Radioshack, Wal-Mart or craft stores, for around $4.
  • Some Electrical tape.

SNES Game Battery Swap Walkthrough

  1. Get The Best SNES Video Quality With the SNES S-Video CableClean your hands thoroughly first.
  2. With your SNES cart lying face-side up on a table, you’ll see the two hexagon bolts on the bottom two corners. Use your 3.88 mm security bit to remove these bolts.
  3. Lift the cart’s front cover by pulling up, toward you. You’ll see thebackside of the game’s board. Lift the board out. Try not to touch anythingbut the edges any more than you have to.
  4. On the other side of the board, you’ll see the battery on the top left corner, a silver circle about the size of a nickel. The battery is soldered onto connectors above and below, at two points on each connector. The next step is to break these solder points (carefully!) (Edit: I have found that my copy of Final Fantasy 3 has 4 solder points on each side, but all my Nintendo made games have only 2. YMMV.)
  5. If you plan on soldering for the best connection (otherwise, skip to part 8), plug in your soldering iron, wait for it to heat up(it’ll change color when it’s done.) Set your razor against it, for a minute or 2. Slide the hot razor between the battery the top connector, push it against the first solder point. You will need to find a safe and comfortable position to push from– you will need a bit of leverage, but also be careful of your fingers and chips on the game. Be VERY patient– with enough reheating, pushing, and some cutting, the first point will come loose.
  6. You have two choices– either repeat the process on the second point, or attempt to “wiggle” it loose. If you choose to wiggle it, be very careful not to snap off the connector or bend it completely out of shape. A little bending is fine.
  7. For the bottom connection, cut the first connection the same way you did the first. For the second connection, wiggling is less risky since it’s the last one, but still be very aware of what you are doing and be patient. Each game is soldered differently, so make your best judgement call.
  8. Either solder the New battery back on if you know how or tape it into place. To tape it, take a 2 inch piece of tape and place it under the bottom connector. Place the battery in between the two connectors and wrap the tape around it as tight as possible. You can even double up the tape, to make sure the battery won’t go any where.
  9. Turn the board back over (battery-side down) replace it into the back cover of the cart. The slots it fits into are arranged so you won’t be able to re-insert it upside down, so if you’re having trouble putting it back in, turn it over!
  10. Place the front cover of the cart over this. Remember the hooks that slide into the back cover? They make it so you have to angle the back cover down & away from yourself. Replace the 2 hexagon bolts. If the board still rattles, you might need to tighten the bolts down a bit more. If you taped the battery in, it’ll probably be a snug fit.
  11. Pop the game into your SNES, play long enough to save. Turn the machine off, take the game out and throw it around. Tap it on a table, drop it, rattle it, be rought with it but don’t break it! This is just to test how secure your battery is in there. If you plug it back in and still have your save, congrats. Chances are, your battery is secure for the next 10 years.

Related Posts:
Wireless NES and SNES Controllers
Will Our Consoles Die Soon?
Play SNES Games On Your Gameboy Advance
SNES Emulator for PSP
Ben Heck – Console Hacker Extraordinare

Similar Posts From These Categories:
, ,

55 Comments

  1. Kiki says:

    This is good for collectors; however — I think I’ll take my chances with ROMs & Wii VC instead, if you know what I mean.

    *waves good-bye to his level 99 Secret of Mana characters*

  2. *weeps for kiki‘s Secret of Mana characters*

  3. Commando says:

    How about an article next week for actually backing up those cartridge saves.. THEN changing the battery?

  4. Anonymous says:

    would this work for a pokemon gold/silver game battery as well?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yea man im so mad my pokemon silver got erased and i cant save it at all now. Someone tell me how i can restore it or be able to save again. Does this happen to all games? Even the DS? How long do they last and can they saves be backed up first?

  6. racketboy says:

    I don’t think most DS games have batteries anymore — I think they are stored in the flash memory that the game is stored on. That should last much longer.

    But most older games do rely on batteries that will die.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Me and My sister tried with NHL 95 and it worked fine even if we put tape on the battery and all around the cartridge. Thank you for the tip!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Me and My sister tried with NHL 95 and it worked fine even if we put tape on the battery and all around the cartridge. Thank you for the tip!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Racketboy:

    So is this only for pokemon or all gameboy color games? Because SNES games were made long ago while Gameboy Color games were made much after. So do you think my Gameboy Color games will last abother 5 years or so?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Will this same method work on GBA games? Also what bettery would a GBA game use?

  11. racketboy says:

    I think its pretty similar, but I’m not sure what type of battery it would take — I assume it would be smaller.

    You might want to ask around in the forum.

  12. ab says:

    hi,i would like to know how to replace the battery in my gba games?, and what battery is needed to replaced in the gba games,please!

  13. ......... says:

    GBA games don’t use a battery. If they do, then that means your cart is pirated.

  14. Asher says:

    GBA doesn’t have batery back-up? Then explain why my copies of PokeMon Ruby & Sapphire (which I legally bought while stationed in California) has batteries in them… ?

    If anybody knows how to change the batteries on GBA games (mainly, where to get replacement battries), shoot me an email.

  15. naydine says:

    canyou send me pictures of how to do it so i wont mess up i like all my games theyr all hard to find

  16. Shane says:

    OKAY, So I’m in a bit of a pissed of stress point here. I have taken care of all of my games, Especially chrono trigger, now aside from a dead battery, (there isn’t anything wrong with the system, all other games work fine) I have a copy of chrono trigger that I cannot get to work anymore. Everytime I set the cartridge in the system, and turn it on, the little copyright information comes up, but then the pendulum swings, and its distorted, like swinging way off the bottom of the screen, and no matter when I press or do anything, I can’t get to the menu. Help me PLEASE! It’s too soon to lay chrono trigger to rest.

  17. racketboy says:

    Sounds more like an issue with tha cartridge itself…
    Is it dirty?

  18. TOMIMOTO says:

    Would original Gameboy games be handled the same way? None of my GB games hold a save anymore. As soon as I turn the GB off the save is gone.

  19. racketboy says:

    I believe it would be similar, but I’m not sure what type of batteries they use…

  20. Ethan says:

    Were To Purchase The 3.88mm Socket?

  21. Justin says:

    I got the bit, but when I go to replace the screws they won’t go back on. Any idea why?

  22. aRdii says:

    Yeah…..Can someone tell us how to replace the battery inside my GBA cassette….

  23. Belial says:

    Changing the battery in a gameboy cart is basically the same, except for the fact that the battery inside of it is on the top of the game board instead of the bottom, so all you have to do is remove the cover.

    In place of actually spending around 7$ to get a 3.88 bit, I used a pair of nail clippers to open my gameboy cartridges (and I don’t mean traditional nail clippers, I mean the kind that are built like scissors. The blades on them are small enough to fit inside the hole in the plastic and grip the screw.)

    Most pokemon gold/silver/crystal games have batteries that will be expiring soon, and some of the first generation pokemon games (reb/blue/yellow) are even starting to die off. I expect this is goin to become a very popular topic in the following months.

  24. Belial says:

    The nail clippers that are built like sciccors can be found at wal-mart in the cosmetics section. Pokemon games are dieing out faster than other games because they have more data to save (your name, your number of badges, all your pokemon, each individual pokemon’s stats, etc.) Other gameboy games that save data (other RPGs or games that have high scores) don’t have near as much data to save. Games that aren’t pokemon could still last for a few years. Games that aren’t RPGs could last even longer.

  25. Anon says:

    It’s not that hard to replace GBA batteries. All you gotta do, is open the cartridge by unscrewing it, then look at the battery. Go to a hardware store and buy the same model of lithium battery. Next, pop the old one out, and the new one in.

    There IS a way to back up your saves too. You can use either a flash reader (kind of expensive), or a gameshark/ProAction Replay device with a computer link-cable, and export your game saves to your PC.

  26. AyeSee says:

    To those who prone Roms…. Roms, roms roms…. its not the same.
    1. its not on a tv
    2. cannot play with the SNES controller
    3. difficulty playing multiplayer
    4. say your playing the game on your pc from time to time.. its not the kind of thing you remember about backing up… pc’s need often reformats

    + its illegal…
    Virtual Console is good, yet it doesnt have all games… far from it… in fact they release alot of trash. i wanna see more rare games, more nintendo games (Although its pretty satisfying), more square games! please square!! chrono trigger, secret of mana, FF1 FF2 FF3 super mario RPG and much more

  27. Cameron says:

    I am so glad somebody pointed me to this. My Ogre Battle save battery died a year or two ago, and won’t keep saves any longer than two weeks now. I was almost done with the game when it died too.

  28. debbie says:

    how do you save a game? what do u push on controller?
    we just got it and we forgot, its been along time-lol

  29. racketboy says:

    It’s usually an option in the game itself. Not every game can save.

  30. Brynna says:

    so i tried changing the battery, and i believe i did a good job. but see..the problem is still the same. i still can’t save. i changed the battery step by step. do you think the electronic is the problem, and not the connection? i did check all the connections (i should test them but i don’t have one of those fancy little machines) but they all look awesome and new. what do i do?

  31. racketboy says:

    Personally, I’m not that good at troubleshooting that stuff. You might want to ask in the forum…

  32. Jon says:

    I can tell you from experience that a coin cell battery will drop dead very quickly if it’s exposed to soldering iron heat for much more than a second or two. Plus the typical warnings about exposing batteries to high temperature apply. The best repair would be to find some new CR2032 cells with legs already tack-welded on (they ARE out there) for a more drop in replacement. Besides that, a tight wrap of electrical tape is probably the safest bet. Best of luck!

  33. Ryan says:

    [[AyeSee said…

    To those who prone Roms…. Roms, roms roms…. its not the same.
    1. its not on a tv
    2. cannot play with the SNES controller
    3. difficulty playing multiplayer
    4. say your playing the game on your pc from time to time.. its not the kind of thing you remember about backing up… pc’s need often reformats

    + its illegal…]]
    1. No, it’s on a computer screen with which you can control the size of the visible area of the game. Plus, there are no connection compatibility issues.
    2. Instead, you can play with an additional controller for a few dollars with the same button setup as a PS. And you don’t need to buy a SNES and controller and the games for, if you’re lucky, $30 + $5-20 per game. You download the games free and can get as many as you want, no matter how rare.
    3. Multiplayer is important for some games, yes, but with an additional controller, it isn’t difficult to have another USB port. It’s exactly as accessible as a SNES, except emulators have the benefit of, sometimes, having online play.
    4. If you are using a PC correctly, frequent reformats are unnecessary. If you have any important files that you back up, you can put the save file there and back up the directory.
    And with a ROM, you don’t need the repairs and difficulty that a SNES and its games pose.
    Regarding legality, it depends on your area.

    And regarding the battery replacement, I found it easier to lift all of the metal surrounding the soldering points, instead of chopping from one direction. If you will change a Pokemon battery, you’ll want a CR2025 instead of a CR2032. The former fit better, so if you want the best fit, take it. The latter last longer, though it’s a tight fit.

  34. furrykef says:

    “Regarding legality, it depends on your area.”

    Umm… international copyright law is international. There aren’t terribly many places where it’d be considered legal.

  35. Gustave says:

    Random comment:

    I used to hate emulators as a practical way of playing classics, until I got an xbox1 and softmodded it. I threw nes snes and gensis emus w/ my selected games on the stock hdd and I must say it is incredible since it knows exactly what your working with. Snes emu actually better than playing on the actual system. The emu even upscales to 1080i or 720p depending on your preference on hdtvs. Only drawback is no snes controller, but Im converted.

  36. Ryan says:

    And yet, there are some places of legality. It’s about as legal as downloading music, anyway.

    Anyone have a good video on how to solder the new battery onto the connector, without damaging the battery? It would really help more than the electrical tape trick.

  37. Jackie says:

    ok ..i dont know what my problem is exactly…it could be the battery but im not sure..ill be in the middle of playing a superNES game on my FC TWIN and something will lightly tap the game system the screen goes black and i turn it back on and my saves are all erased!!…is it the battery in the game or is it my system? its done it with two different games so far..i donno what to do

  38. West says:

    I have heard of that before. I happened with my friend’s copy of phantasy star 2 for sega genny. I don’t know what causes it exactly but my bet educated guess would be that if you randomly cause a flux in power to the game cart it would be kind of like running a battery one quick swipe over a cassette. But the only difference would be that all you need is some value to be corrupted for the data to be totally corrupted or unreadable. I know that there are warning on the boxes of original nes games that save saving to not rapidly power on and off the system of rapidly reset the system because it will damage the cart. That may be your issue, I am just taking a stab in the dark. At this point I would guess that you may want to consider changing out the battery, because what are you going to lose? It won’t save anyway. If is a rare game then just be extra especially careful. If that doesn’t fix it then you may have to consider buying it again. I game that is supposed to save and can’t is worthless anyway. As far as the whole Rom’s vs vintage thing goes… who cares? Roms are illegal anywhere (if you don’t already own the game) I have a large collection, but I also have roms. There is no reason you can’t have bother. Roms and music downloads are both illegal, but I have both. Stick it to the man. I prefer the feel of the vintage controller in my hand, but if I want to play a rare game and don’t have the money to plunk down on it then I play on my pc, it’s as easy as that. Roms, VC, vintage, we’re all nerds…

  39. Ben says:

    The same thing happened to me Jackie. Unfortunately it happened to my copy of Chrono Trigger. I’m going to try and install a new batter in it and clean up the cartridge so I’ll let you know if that fixes the problem.

  40. TT says:

    I have successfully soldered battery holders directly to the circuit boards where the old battery with the spot welded tabs was located in the following games: (2) NES games: Shadowgate and Uninvited & (3) SNES games: Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, and Donkey Kong Country 2.
    They all save game information now with a replaceable CR2032 battery and there was NO clearance problems when putting the cartridge back together.
    This requires desoldering the old battery tabs cleanly and soldering the new holder in place.

    Tools & supplies required:
    (Small, thin, flathead screwdriver)
    (Needle nose pliers)
    (Low wattage soldering iron and solder)
    (Desoldering bulb or braid)
    (3.8mm bit to open the cartridge, available at nintendorepairshop.com.)
    (Battery holder, available at microbattery.com, part# BH-2032-CH7410LF.)
    (CR2032 battery, purchased just about anywhere)

    The battery holder listed above fit perfectly on the circuit boards of the above mentioned games where the old battery with the spot welded tabs was located. It did require bending the solder tabs on the holder downward to insert into the circuit board. You will understand better once you actually see the battery holder if you order them, it’s hard to tell from the picture on the website.
    First, open the cartridge and make note of how the circuit board is installed so you install it correctly when putting it back together, it will only fit one way properly.
    Next, make note of which side is positive and which side is negative for the battery polarity on the circuit board. The larger tab is positive and the smaller tab is negative.
    Now desolder the battery tabs from the back side of the circuit board and remove the old battery and make sure the holes on the circuit board are free from solder so you have room to insert the new battery holder.
    Bend the solder tabs on the battery holder downward to go through the circuit board. (I used a pair of needle nose pliers on the positive tab to bend it down and slid a small, thin, flathead screwdriver under the negative tab to get it started and then finished bending it down with the needle nose pliers.) The smaller negative tab is longer than the larger positive tab once they are bent downward but this is not a problem. The larger tab on the battery holder will insert through the larger hole on the circuit board, which is the positive side, and the smaller tab will insert through the smaller hole, which is the negative side. As mentioned, the smaller negative tab is longer and protrudes through the other side of the circuit board, simply bend the tab over towards the holder, not away from it, to help keep the holder in place. The larger positive tab goes through the circuit board but not enough to bend over but still plenty to solder to. Before soldering anything, make sure the battery holder is flush and flat against the circuit board.
    Now solder the tabs on the opposite side from where the holder is, the side where you bent the negative tab to keep it in place. The positive tab comes through the circuit board more than enough to get a good solder joint on it. Install any CR2032 battery positive side up, put your cartridge back together, and now you should be able to save your game information again and if the battery ever goes out, you can simply install a new one.
    (Note: I did have to take a small file and file just a bit of the negative tab on one of the holders to fit in my NES Shadowgate game. For whatever reason the smaller negative hole on the circuit board seemed to be angled.)
    This may sound like a lot of work for a battery that may last 5-20 years but it would be very frustrating if you went through the process of soldering in a battery with the spot welded tabs and found out the battery was dead and have to do it again, yes, the odds are slim, but if you’re taking the time to solder, why not use a battery holder so you can replace the battery if need be and only have to solder once!

  41. racketboy says:

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing!

  42. WeirdAlDuke says:

    Hey TT, I used your method (or at least a rendition of it) to change batteries and uploaded it to YouTube. I hope it’s helpful to the rest of you all:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqkBPgMg0TI

  43. Mike Lurk says:

    Nice tutorial, what would be helpful if you recommended a reputable store to get the 3.88 mm security bit – thanks for the battery place.

    I searched myself and after trial and error found a place does not sell those undeveloped bits with broken or worn teeth. If yall need this place then check out newelectronx

    http://www.newelectronx.com/proddetail.php?prod=gamebit

    so far the best 3.88 mm security bit i have found.

    this will help make this battery change easy and painless. one extra note if you see those dark colored 3.88 mm bits being sold then stay away from those (black, dark brownish). Those are the worse ones. get the ones that are shiny, or silver looking. those are the ones that are made with quality. or just try by trial and error like i did. LOL

  44. laylamcmahon says:

    Thanks for this information. My husbands game Inindo: Way of the Ninja wouldn’t save and this did the trick! Much appreciated! FYI you can get the batteries at Walgreens.

  45. Clessy says:

    A guide like this without pictures is probably the dumbest thing ever. Just saying.

  46. ClintonNeal says:

    Having said that if you can easlily learn to eat right and make certain triactol changes, you should just find your the odds of getting cancer reduced or eliminated and placing yourself around the position where you can easlily lower, greatly, the chance of you getting breast cancer. Most experts recommend women aged 20 and older, should undergo a routine check once a month through week following their menstrual period. After 40, a thorough examination about the breasts must be conducted a minimum once every 2- 3 years since the key to eliminating this disease is by catching it early.
    http://www.braingym-northeast.org.uk/main/members/bjohnson/activity/11297

  47. Sonny Wildrick says:

    Most important thing to be kept in mind when working with soldering iron is not to touch the tip of the iron as it is extremely hot. Soldering material used for the purpose is an alloy of tin and lead and is called flux. Before you put solder over the required area, heat up the surface to be soldered by touching the tip of the hot iron. Application of the solder is called “tinning”since percentage of tin is more in the flux. However, flux can be of various types depending upon the things to be soldered. ^

    My personal web portal
    <="http://www.caramoan.ph/caramoan-weather/

  48. Sarge says:

    From personal experience, you want the pre-soldered tabs on your batteries. Getting the solder to adhere to a CR2032 is a pain, the heat will reduce the battery life, and in the worst case scenario, blow the battery up (we won’t talk about that).

    Much easier to go online and get them pre-tabbed, hit your solder points, and be done with it. Or be cheesy and use electrical tape or something. It works, and that’s all that matters in the end.

  49. The very best method would be to buy a CR2032 socket, like those found on PC motherboards. I believe the cartridge will fit together with the socket in there, but not 100% sure.

  50. Ben says:

    So I recently took the battery out of my copy of Super Mario World and before replacing with a new battery I decided to go ahead and pop it in and see what happens. and lo and behold the game (which with a battery in was not holding a save) is now holding a save with no battery whatsoever inside it…. how is this possible and why?