How do I fix a faulty GameCube, and is it worth it?
February 28, 2004 7:57 PM   Subscribe

My nephew's beloved Nintendo GameCube has started malfunctioning. It will play normally for "some period of time" and then stop, unable to read the disc. This happens regardless of the game. How do I get it fixed? Do I get it fixed - or is this a case of just replacing-is-cheaper-than-reparing? Does it go back to Nintendo, or do I have to try and remember where the damned thing came from?
posted by JollyWanker to Technology (11 answers total)
How old is it? Unless it's still within the store's 30-day (or whatever) policy, you probably have to send it back to nintendo. I had a similar experience with a PS2, and found that cost nearly $100 just for them to look at it. Ninentendo might do things differently, but I doubt it. GameCubes are so cheap these days, it's almost certainly cheaper to replace.
posted by jpoulos at 9:01 PM on February 28, 2004

If you can figure out where you bought it, depending on the store, you might be able to try to get it fixed or replaced. Some stores (Costco comes to mind) will let you return practically anything, other stores might give you some store credit to trade-in the broken machine to use towards the purchase of a not-broken one.

We had a similar issue to what jpoulos said with our Xbox and it was also going to cost $100-ish to have it repaired since it was after the 90-day manufacturer warranty. It cost less to go to Electronics Boutique and buy a used one with a year-warranty ($11) which states that the store will fix or replace it should anything happen to it during this time, plus you can renew the warranty yearly if you're so inclined (I only got the $11 warranty in case the used one was broken so I could get a working one).
posted by catfood at 9:19 PM on February 28, 2004

Mine (Xmas vintage) seems to have a tendency to over heat and not read a disc until it cools down. This has happened two or three times since I got it (2 months). Make sure it has good ventilation, yours may be more prone to this or has become more prone over the time.
If it is something real going wrong though, I would just get a new one if warranty is gone. Check pawn shops, an acquaintance of mine use to own one and always had nicely kept consoles in stock at great prices. Make sure it is a reputable one that will allow a return and some will even give you 90 days.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 11:26 PM on February 28, 2004

If the Gamecube is less than a year old, it's still covered by Nintendo's warranty, and they'll repair it for free.

Nintendo has really good customer service. The GC has a serial number that's scanned at the point of purchase, so Nintendo already has your warranty info. If you call them and tell them the trouble, they'll send you an e-mail with a barcode that will allow you to FedEx the Cube to their repair center at no cost--they'll repair it and ship it back to you within a few business days.
posted by Prospero at 6:37 AM on February 29, 2004

I'll second Nintendo's great customer service. Back in the day we sent in a malfunctioning SNES, with a very similar problem in that it couldn't read games half of the time. They sent us a functional one to replace it. I can't remember if it was under warranty and was free, or if it was out of warranty and was just a cheap charge to repair/replace.
posted by angry modem at 7:25 AM on February 29, 2004

Wow, that's good to know. I've been thinking of picking up a GC to sit along side my xbox (which also has trouble reading discs). That may have just clinched it.
posted by jpoulos at 8:18 AM on February 29, 2004

The problem could be as simple as a dirty laser lens (or whatever they call it). I had this problem with my Bose wave radio, though it refused to read any disc at all.

A q-tip with some rubbing alcohol gently wiped on the lens fixed the problem for me. Might be worth a try, only takes a few seconds.

Good luck!
posted by beth at 8:52 AM on February 29, 2004

once his gc is fixed or replaced remind him to keep it unplugged when not in use. it says right in the set up instructions to do so; all the folks i know who have had probs with their cubes ignored that.

*runs off to go play godzilla destroy all monsters melee*
posted by t r a c y at 9:19 AM on February 29, 2004

keep it unplugged when not in use

*returns from unplugging GC* Thanks for that!
posted by biscotti at 10:25 AM on February 29, 2004

Response by poster: Follow up...

Cotton-swab-cleaning seems to have had no effect. The unit was a 2002 Christmas present - so it's out of warranty. I think all things being considered (I'm trying to help with this from 1,000 miles away), I guess I'll get him a replacement for his birthday. Thanks to all for your help.
posted by JollyWanker at 5:27 AM on March 1, 2004

Thanks for the follow-up.

Gamecubes currently retail for $99 (versus the $199 I paid for mine at the launch date), so replacement's probably best.

You could even think about throwing in a game if you're getting the Cube for your nephew's birthday, since a large number of top-quality GC games retail for $20-$30 these days. (Bombastic, Beyond Good and Evil, and Metal Arms: Glitch in the System are three excellent games I've recently purchased in that price range.)
posted by Prospero at 6:34 AM on March 1, 2004

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