Is this as simple as it seems? Find a matching game that uses same boot chip and swap it over to a seemingly dead board? Or do the opposite and move the game ROM chip over to a board with a working boot chip?

Is there a way to test the pins of the current installed chip to verify if it is bad or not?

I believe that the boot chip I have is CIC-NUS-6102. It's for killer instinct gold. I've gotten three bad ones in a row now and i'm going to fix at least one of them. Can't have a flaky game in the collection :)

I figured someone here may have done this before.

  • 2
    It's hard to hell what you're asking here; this sounds more like a hardware question than gaming.
    – Frank
    Aug 7, 2012 at 3:47
  • 6
    @fbueckert Questions about gaming hardware are on-topic here.
    – Wipqozn
    Aug 7, 2012 at 10:09
  • Unless you have a good chip you have nothing to compare it too. I check to see if there are any shorts, the Ohm and Farads are all correct.
    – Ramhound
    Aug 7, 2012 at 11:46
  • Are there infosheets about these chips out in the public domain? Since they are manufactured directly for Nintendo by Sharp I figured that this would be protected knowledge. In my googling's i've not found a datasheet yet. That would tell me what each pin does, where it routes inside the chip, and what the ohm values should be so I can check it.
    – TWood
    Sep 26, 2012 at 22:01

2 Answers 2


Sorry it's an old post, but I'm sure other folks are curious.

The main symptom of CIC failure is the console resets during play or stays on a black screen at boot. Even if this is true, usually it's a smaller problem of cleaning all of the PCB contacts. (Too many products and techniques to go into and doesn't address the OP's other questions.)

A Logic Analyzer is the best tool to determine if the CIC is working. N64 Game PCB Image The linked image shows a nice clean trace coming from pin 43 (next to the 44) that goes to the far side of the CIC chip. It's hard to say exactly which CIC pin but there aren't many CIC pins actually used. Pretty much any kind of a digital signal on this pin would suggest it's working. Probably good to compare the same signal on a known working game, for example if there is a group of 64 Hi/Lo changes on the good cart and only 32 Hi/Lo changes on the bad cart it could still be a CIC issue.

For reference the CIC is actually a Sharp SM5 4-bit Microcontroller that was customized for Nintendo.

All of the CIC 6102 chips should be interchangeable. There are some CIC 6102A that should work but I wouldn't promise it.

Also since this was first posted, an Ultra CIC has been created that can be used to replace a CIC, this may affect the collecting aspects of a cartridge, but could be a good solution for a player.

  • Amazing answer! Thank you for this information! :D
    – NBN-Alex
    Sep 14, 2018 at 9:01

The problem you are going to run into is one of electronics. Rather how they are built. Those chips are set on the board so that pins protrude on the other side, and then soldered in place. If you are reasonably competent at soldering, and you have the right tools. (A solder sucker and a soldering iron btw) then it should just be a matter of trial and error. But if you don't it is going to be a nightmare, not to mention not electronically safe.

Check around with electricians and electrical repair places. You might be able to find someone that can help you out.

Edit: Downvote all you want. this is the answer. "Sure you can swap around boot chips for boot chips and ROM chips for ROM chips... HOWEVER, you will not be able to successfully do that. Expert electricians have difficulty accomplishing this task. The boards are designed and built specifically to make doing what you want to, difficult if not impossible." even if you managed to get all of that worked out. even the slightest arcing or even static shock... and you have now destroyed the chip and or board...

  • 1
    Their problem isn't the physical swap. They're asking if the components can be swapped and still have it operate correctly after. Aug 6, 2013 at 7:43
  • No, their problem is exactly the physical swap. Physically swaping a ram chip to a board that has a working boot chip. or Physically swapping a boot chip to a board that has a working ram chip. both of those are covered by my answer. the problem is not "will they work" because yes. that is how electronics and circutry work. you have two working chips on a working board then it will work. the issue is physically changing out the chips and the pins. ...for all the reasons i gave. pffff
    – Bob
    May 19, 2015 at 18:57
  • ROM* chip, whatever...
    – Bob
    May 19, 2015 at 19:04
  • 1
    Your edit added the important answering-the-question part that was missing before (the "yes it can be done in theory" part). Thank you. May 19, 2015 at 19:26
  • Soldering isn't too hard. Just because something needs soldering, doesn't mean you can't do it.
    – user253751
    Dec 19, 2017 at 8:39

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