My parents just sent me my old SNES and all the original cables, games, etc., so I'm trying to hook it up to a TV for my wife. I already had tried (and failed) to hook up her SNES to our TVs and just assumed the console was busted, but now I'm not so sure.

Here is the list of parts that I have tried (every combination of them I can think of):

  • Two SNES consoles, both first-generation, both thought to be in working condition.
  • Two different models of LCD television, one about 3 yrs old, one about 6 mos old.
  • Two original RF adapters - one from a NES, one from an SNES - that connect to the RF output on the SNES and the coax input on a TV.
  • One aftermarket RF adapter for the SNES/Gamecube that connects to the Multi A/V port on the SNES and the coax input on a TV.
  • One original (possibly a Gamecube) A/V cable that connects from the Multi A/V port on the SNES to the composite (yellow/red/white) or S-Video inputs on a TV.
  • Four separate games that I believe to be working correctly.

I have hooked up both SNES consoles using all 4 adapters, to both televisions, and I get the exact same behavior every time. The signal that comes across on the TV are thick bands of solid colors scrolling very slowly down the screen (mostly a big green bar that takes up 1/2 the screen with scattered bands of other colors) and an annoying hum from the speakers.

This doesn't seem to match the behavior I have seen reported when things start to go bad. I don't get a black screen, or static, or a somewhat garbled but identifiable signal -- I get this "test pattern" signal on every game I try, no matter what I do. This makes me suspect I have something hooked up wrong or configured wrong on the TV, but I can't figure out what.



Some additional information here.

  • The Composite video cable actually has an S-Video output as well; One of the TVs I am trying to took up to has an S-Video input, and it produces the same result. (And it's possible that this cable came from a Gamecube, as my GC isn't currently hooked up to anything, but I've been told that the SNES and GC use the same MultiA/V output hardware.)
  • The first TV I'm trying to use is a Vizio VA26LHDTV10T; the manual for it is online, and there's not much it can do in the way of manually adjusting the input signal.
  • When I switch the TV input source to AV, the screen tells me that the incoming signal is 480p SD. Does that sound right? Is the SNES really putting out a 480p signal and not a 240i?

  • This is the connector I'm using: Cable

  • This is what I'm connecting it to on my TV: TV Inputs

  • This is what happens when I turn on the SNES: Signal

  • Do newer TVs still have an Antenna/Cable setting for their RF in? That made a difference with either the VHF or UHF channels (2-13 vs. 13+), but forgot which. Not that those channels exist anymore...
    – Nick T
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 19:16
  • +1 for lots of description! I was expecting a lot worse from this question.
    – Mana
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 19:17
  • 2
    I'd completely forgotten about RF adapters, wow. Did you make sure that it was on Channel 3 or Channel 4? Also, what are the Brands of the TV sets. Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 19:43
  • Yes, the channels are very important on this one! I had the same problem when hooking up a SNES earlier in the year :D
    – Sorean
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 20:02
  • 1
    "Multi A/V port on the SNES to the component (yellow/red/white) inputs on a TV" is incorrect. The term is not component (as component video has a different meaning). Those yellow/red/white RCA plugs should be connected to the A/V input. Yellow is composite video, and red/white are audio channels. Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 20:29

4 Answers 4


Just so this question will have an answer, for future reference:

The problem was the A/C adapter I was using. It was the only component I didn't have two of, so the real answer is, when you're trying to eliminate the source of the problem, never skip any parts that could be the source of the problem :)

Not sure what was wrong with the adapter but it got really hot just sitting plugged in, with the SNES off, overnight. When I dug up another adapter with the same in and out voltages and swapped that last part, I got a clean signal (on every TV, every connection, etc.)

  • Yea, had I been thinking I would have mentioned that in all the years I've had my SNES that is the only component I've ever had go bad (twice in 18 years about).
    – Xantec
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 14:29
  • 2
    Hey, don't forget mark this one as accepted, as this is the actual solution to your problem. Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 20:47
  • 1
    Also... I'd remove the "solution" from your edit in your question (leave the question with only the question), and leave the solution as an answer (like you did), and mark it as accepted. Answering and accepting your own answer is okay: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/12513/… Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 20:57
  • Yeah but it makes you wait 24 hours before you can do so :)
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 17:32
  • 1
    I just went through the same thing, tested on regular TVs as well as several LCDs - same symptoms (but no color on the bands). Turns out I was using the one AC adapter out of the 4 I own that didn't work, I mixed it up with one of the ones that did work *_*
    – user9366
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 17:03

If you have one of the original SNES units you should be able to use the same multi-A/V port Composite + S-video cables that the N64 and Gamecube used, although they may be a little on the difficult side to find now.

I do know that the SNES will work with modern LCD montiors as mine is hooked up right now with a set of Gamecube Composite A/V cables and it works fine.

  • I didn't realize the Gamecube and SNES used the same cables; I'll have to give this a try of I ever dig my SNES out of storage.
    – Ben Blank
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 4:38
  • The aftermarket cable I bought actually says Gamecube on it, but pretty much every third-party coable is sold as a SNES/N64/GC cable, so I'm assuming they all use the same MultiA/V output. But I totally forgot my LCD monitor could do composite video, I'm gonna try that!
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 13:29

Disclaimer: I don't have a SNES, and I don't have a LCD television. But this is what I would try:

First, I would try using a simple composite video cable, which should be connected to A/V input of the TV (supposing it has such input). The colors are yellow for the video signal, and red+white for audio channels. If the input seems garbled or with wrong colors, I'd adjust NTSC/PAL setting on the TV. Maybe the TV is expecting PAL signal, but SNES is sending NTSC? I'd also disable progressive-scan or any other "new" feature that didn't exist at the time of SNES.

Of course, composite video does not give the best image, so I'd also try other methods.

If I had a S-video cable I'd also try that. That cable has no audio channel, though.

Finally, I'd try RGB component video cable, but I'm not sure if that cable exists or if it would work. CyberSkull points out there is no such cable, as SNES came before RGB cables. I assume there might have been one because of the SNES video port pinout.

If all else fails and I was required to use one of those RF adapters, then I would make sure the TV is using VHF, and if it had a setting of TV/CATV, I'd try setting it to TV (if CATV didn't work). And I'd try channels 3 or 4 (but maybe even channel 2). I have bad memories about those RF adapters, so I'd prefer to avoid them if possible. :)

If after all of this you can't make it work... then try posting a photo of all available connections from your TV, and also a photo of your cable.

Well, good luck! As I said, I don't have a new TV, but this is what I'd try to do.


  • There is an S-Video adapter for the SNES that includes the Red/White audio cables. There is no RGB component compatibility for the SNES (it came out years before the RGB cable).
    – CyberSkull
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 6:27
  • Actually, the cable I have includes both composite and S-video, but only one of my TVs has an S-Video input. I tried that, no luck :(
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 13:28

A J-SCART cable will pull RGB out of a SNES. The Jap SNES is NTSC as is the US SNES. SO a J-SCART will output the RGB signal. The trick is finding a TV that will accept an SCART in the states. This why many people use one of the XRGB scan units to connect to their screen which allows a screen connection through a 15 pin RGB cable.

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