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My son recently had is grandmother purchase him an old N64 console. Seeing that we don't have any CRT TVs, I purchased a composite to VGA converter box. It connected it up to his PC monitor (Dell 23 inch flat screen) and it does not work. So, I tried the PS2 that he has and it DID work. This tells me that the converter box is fine.

So I tried cleaning all of the contacts on the cartridges and on the N64. I start to get jumbled video and then nothing. Is my issue more than likely the N64 or could it still be the converter box / monitor combination? I don't want to spend money trying to find the rare CRT TV for this if the N64 is bad.

Thoughts?

  • It might also just be the cartridge. Without a cartridge inserted, the N64 does absolutely nothing. I think it's safe to rule out the monitor-converter combo. Since composite and VGA are both analog, it's unlikely the PS2 is outputting signals that the N64 can't. I'm not an expert in this field, though, so I wouldn't take my comment at face value. – Nolonar Apr 15 '15 at 22:33
  • I wondered about that. We have two games and they both do the same. However, maybe I can find another one to try. – fkm71 Apr 16 '15 at 0:02
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    Most flat panel TVs have composite video inputs, so you should be able to test the Nintendo 64 with a TV. – user86571 Apr 16 '15 at 0:20
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OK. I found the issue. It was the AV cable. When we tried it on another friend's TV, it worked but had what looked like an issue related to a short in the cable. So I purchased a new cable off of Amazon and it works like a charm through the converter box now.

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One problem with the N64 is that many of the later games required a special memory cartridge which went into the top of the system. There should be a little hatch there, and inside should either be a red-topped "Expansion Pak" or a black "Jumper Pak" (also known as a "Terminator Pak"). If there is nothing in that slot the 64 will not function.

Expansion Pak:

Expansion Pak

Location of Hatch:

Hatch Location

Comparing Paks:

Pak Comparison

The "Jumper Pak" was a dummy device which terminates the memory bus without adding additional memory. It was shipped with the N64 originally.

  • Would the Expansion Pak fixed the problem explained in the OP's question? (the jumbled and/or no image when the console is connected to the VGA converter box when the PS2 works fine with it) – Memor-X Apr 21 '15 at 23:13
  • If there is no image, that would account for it. It has been a long time since I touched an N64 but I do remember that if there is no pak in there, the system will not work. I don't remember if powering it on gave any video output at all, however. – Josh Warren Apr 21 '15 at 23:16
  • I will check this evening when I get home. I do believe there is a pak in there. Thankfully a friend of his has an older TV that we are going to hook the N64 up to this weekend. What we have seen so far is that it looks like it tries to work (signal frequency off maybe??) then it goes blank. We even get a little sound to. If the friend's TV shows that it works I will update this post. Thx. – fkm71 Apr 22 '15 at 13:00

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