Fix My Gamecube
June 4, 2005 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Just bought a used Gamecube and basically every time I try to play it, the device freezes. If I leave it off for a long period of time, I can play for longer before it freezes. I suppose that means it's an overheating issue. I can see some dust inside, but can't get in to clean and check it out because I don't have a Nintendo security bit. Also, right around the time it freezes, the graphics corrupt. Any ideas on how to remedy the problem?
posted by JPowers to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
How "used" is it? If the Cube is less than a year old then Nintendo will fix it for free. Otherwise they will still fix it, but for a $50 fee.

Here's the repair form:

Since new Cubes are $99 (and usually you get a game with it now) it may be more conveinient to buy a brand new one or return the used one to the store and see about trading it for another since it's not working. If you didn't buy at a store then you're probably stuck with it.

As far as fixing it yourself, the only thing I can think of without opening the case is to hold it up sideways and try to shake some dust out of the side vents. Not the best idea in terms of effect though.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:25 PM on June 4, 2005

I would try to return it, even if you bought it on eBay or something. It certainly never hurts to ask and some dealers will repair a damaged good.
posted by caddis at 6:00 PM on June 4, 2005

Maybe blow it out with some compressed air?
posted by odinsdream at 6:02 PM on June 4, 2005

i'd be surprised if a bit of dust was causing it to overheat, especially if it happens quickly. however, according to comments here, overheating does seem to be an issue. more interestingly, someone mentions replacing a fan - so it sounds like they have a fan inside. if that's the case, i bet the fan has failed. if you can get the case open you may be able to replace the fan if it's a standard size (there are at least three sizes that are very common - those used in power supplies, cooling cpus, and cooling graphics card chipsets). or you might try this add-on fan (personally i doubt it will be sufficient to replace a failed internal fan, but it's pretty cheap so might be worth a try).
posted by andrew cooke at 6:23 PM on June 4, 2005

Follow up:

I have observed that the fan (the one that is visible from the outside of the cube when looking at the side vent) is turning and seems to be displacing air. What is more, I have discovered that if I get past the introduction sequence (which I can do by leaving it off for 3 to 4 hours) and get into the game, i can successfully load and play games as long as it is a certain part of the game, example: In "Paper Mario" I can get to the menu where you choose your saved file to load from (and can stay there for as long as i wish, I have even left the Game Cube on while on that menu for 2 hours and it worked fine afterwards) it is only when you get into the game (where you can move around and play as the character and what not) that the game begins to corrupt, the graphics look barely visible and it begins to slow down into unplayable glitches for about 10 seconds before totally freezing.

My thought is that my ability to stay in the menu for as long as I want without corruption rules out the possibility of it being an overheating issue. I Now think that it has something to do with the graphics processor, something in there is sick =/
posted by JPowers at 7:40 PM on June 4, 2005

there may be more than one fan - computer graphics cards have small fans on some chips, so the gamecube may be similar. and different chips can get hot depending on what the machine is doing. a graphics processor will stay cool if there's no graphics processing to do (ie not much animation).

despite what i said earlier about dust, it still sounds more like overheating than anything else. have you tried setting a hairdryer (set to cold air) to blow into the case?
posted by andrew cooke at 8:06 PM on June 4, 2005

(as extra cooling, not to clean dust out)
posted by andrew cooke at 8:16 PM on June 4, 2005

I don't have a GameCube, but yours is obviously overheating.

Just get the tool and open it up and clean it out.
posted by intermod at 8:34 PM on June 4, 2005

If it's relatively new, take it back and get a new one. There's no reason to be screwing around inside a brand new device, and you could be voiding your warranty.
posted by knave at 1:47 AM on June 5, 2005

First step is try to contact the seller and get them to repair it or replace it with a working one. If that fails, call Nintendo of America. Honestly I have found their warranty service to be *exceptional*. I had a GBA SP that I broke the LCD screen on (not covered by warranty but within the first year that I owned it), and they offered to fix it at a reduced price or send me a refurbished one at a slightly higher price. The turn around time from when they recieved it to when it was mailed back to me was under 24 hours (about 4 days total turnaround) and the entire transaction was hands down the most painless I have ever encountered. Try calling customer service and asking, there is a good chance that you can get them to repair it (or replace it) at a lower price than their website indicates.
posted by hindmost at 3:15 AM on June 5, 2005

Where did you buy it? If it was from an EB or GameStop, they guarantee that the used stuff they sell works, and you can exchange it for another. (Even if you bought it online, you can return it to a physical store.)
posted by Sibrax at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2005

it's voided on warranty, i bought it used and the store I bought it from isn't offering repairs or replacements. I have ordered a refurbished one but I still just want to fix this one. I sure appreciate everyones help with this, thank you guys very much, you especially Andrew Cooke.

I ran a fan right next to the machine and am not getting any difference, though I am still fairly certain that it is a overheating problem. If it isn't an overheating problem it is likely to be a VPU (video processing unit) issue.
posted by JPowers at 12:32 PM on June 5, 2005

Pick up an air duster can and spray into any open area on the cube, a lot of dust will fly out, and it may fix your problem.
posted by borkencode at 3:43 PM on June 5, 2005

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