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.

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55 Comments

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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. ^

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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.

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.

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?

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