Troubleshooting games that don't work on your Retron 5

Discussion and listing of Retron 5 cartridge compatibility.
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Troubleshooting games that don't work on your Retron 5

Postby dashv » September 19th, 2014, 12:05 am

So you've checked the compatibility list.

Relocated one of your childhood favorites or curiosities and got them home.

You cheerily plug it into your Retron 5 and you get...

A big digital "efff you".

There are many possible reasons. Let's go through them in the order of their likelyhood:

#1 the cart is dirty

NEVER put cartridges into your systems that haven't ever been cleaned by you personally. Once your system is gunked up. It can be hard to ungunk it without damaging the pins.

Sometimes the dirt is not obvious. The pins may look perfectly clean.

Some popular methods of cleaning carts:

1) dampen a q-tip with rubbing alcohol and scrub the connectors with it. Repeat as many times as it takes until you can have a q-tip come back clean. Some of my dirtier garage sale pickups have taken 6!!! Q-tips to clean!

2) open the cartridge up and rub the contacts with a pencil eraser. (I have never done this. But some swear by it)

Important: Unless you have one of the earlier 5 screw NES cartridges don't try to open your games without the proper tools or you may damage them! You can get a decent pair of security bits that cover: GB, Sega, Nes, and Snes on Amazone here (with free shipping for Prime members): ... UTF8&psc=1

This is the exact set I use.

3) open the cartridge and clean the contacts with deoxit. A bit expensive but great stuff: ... rds=deoxit

It's especially good for cleaning up contacts that have turned black with dirt or green with corrosion. Clean any green off with a soft bristled tooth brush and deoxit. Then wipe clean with a paper towel. The deoxit cleans, enhances conductivity, and reseals to prevent further corrosion. It even very slightly lubricates although you should wipe the contacts to be as dry as you can after cleaning.

This has restored a couple non-working games in my collection.

4) open the cartridge and crinkle up a wad of aluminum foil. Scrub the contacts with the foil. You can be aggressive because the foil is less dense than the connector and will not scratch it. Afterwards clean thoroughly using method 1 (rubbing alcohol dampened q tips). MAKE SURE TO CLEAN OFF EVERY SPECK OF TIN FOIL FROM THE CONNECTORS!

I've used all of the above methods except for method 2.

The tin foil method helped me save a Contra cart I was ready to give up on.

#2 the game is broken

Frustrated by 2 games that worked in my nes but not in my Retron 5 (Kirby's Adventure and the Legend of Zelda) I opened the carts to try methods 3 or 4 only to discover my carts were actually broken!


Look carefully and you'll see the plastic tab on the left is broken.

These games work in my front loading nes but not in my Retron 5 (without some wiggling).

After I took a look at a good cart side by side I immediately saw what was going on...

There are supposed to be two plastic tabs inside the cart shell that hold the board in place:


If either tab breaks like pictured above your cart will seem to be fine. The board is no longer stable but the amount it can move is practically undetectable until you open the cart. If it broke while in your possession you might hear the plastic rattling around in the cartridge. If it broke while owned by someone else they might have opened the cart up thrown the broken tab away and sold it off! (This was the case with my Kirby cart.)

The nes front loading mechanism either doesn't push the board out of place or the connector might simply be more forgiving about how the pins need to line up.

On a top loader like the Retron 5 however the board will almost always slant like shown in the picture. This slant is enough to misalign the pins causing your game to not get detected properly or consistently causing voltage and "error dumping rom" messages.

Sometimes the problem is not so obvious.

I have a Disney's Tailspin cart that refuses to work in my Genesis Model 1 & 2 as well as my Retron 5. Black screen. But it loads first time every time and plays fine on my Retro Duo Portable v2.0. Go figure.

#3 the Retron 5's pins have become damaged
Some folks have had real problems with this. I've used the hell out of both my systems and have yet to have any problems. It's easy enough to check if your affected. Simply look in the slot and see what you find. All the ins should look normal and uniform.

If this is your problem call Hyperkin support right away!
Todo: I should add Hyperkin support contact info.

#4 The list is wrong
We do our best but it does happen. Check what firmware we verified with. If it's higher than the version you are running try upgrading your firmware.

If it's lower it's possible a bug in a newer firmware broke your game! If you believe this to be the case you can ask us (in the forums) to re-verify that game with the newest firmware and we'll update the list appropriately.

If it turns out there is a bug in the new firmware that's broken a previously working game contact Retron Tech on Facebook and provide as much detail as you can. That said. If we verified it's broken we've probably already contacted him and are already helping him test a fix. :)

#5 the cart is a revision that is not accounted for

While this is technically possible I have yet to encounter this scenario in reality.

If it was a slight revision the more likely scenario would be that the game would come up as "Unknown Game" but still play.
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Re: Why does my game work in my nes but not my Retron 5?

Postby Necrobot20XX » September 19th, 2014, 8:27 am

I just opened up the games of mine that do not work and tried the foil thing as it was the only thing I hadn't tried yet. I checked for broken parts and just to be safe, swapped the boards into carts that were working for other games. I still can't get those two games to work on the Retron 5.
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Re: Troubleshooting games that don't work on your Retron 5

Postby mzupeman » December 29th, 2014, 2:10 pm

Strange. Had Oracle of Seasons, which I purchased from a store I know cleans everything that comes in, and it wouldn't load in the Retron 5. If it did load, it didn't recognize the Rom and I would get a white screen. Brought the game back to the shop, and it worked fine in two different legit Gameboy SP's.

Out of curiosity, bought a different copy of the same game to try... And it works beautifully.

Any idea what could be going on there? Is there something wonky on the board that the Retron 5 doesn't like, but the Gameboy is fine with? I mean, if it's clean and the battery is new and the Gameboy can read it, and the game doesn't have known compatibility issues, shouldn't that original cart have worked?
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Re: Troubleshooting games that don't work on your Retron 5

Postby shanafan » January 21st, 2015, 9:22 am

The q-tip or eraser method can work, but my Super Mario Bros. 3 cart had a black mark on it that neither of these methods could clean.

I watched this video - - and it cleaned the black mark, and made the cart looking great! It's a process using Brasso metal cleaner (bought mine at Wal-Mart) and rubbing alcohol.
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Re: Troubleshooting games that don't work on your Retron 5

Postby Protege385 » March 5th, 2015, 11:26 pm

My Retron still works fine, but after 2 weeks the pin connectors are taking a beating. I don't know if they are bent or popping out or what, but 2 pins on the genesis port, 4 on the snes, and 8 on the nes have been affected. I havent used the famicom port yet, so not sure how that will hold up. Is there anything I can do to fix the affected pins? Ive been taking the games out using the method in the hyperkin youtube video but they still seem to get ruined.

Im worried the retron will stop working eventually.
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Re: Troubleshooting games that don't work on your Retron 5

Postby dustbuster » March 8th, 2015, 12:14 am

Happened to me. My famicom port stopped working. Took it back to microplay and they gave me a new one. This new one i got is different (my first one did not have plugs for thw controller ports for example) hope this helps .
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Re: Troubleshooting games that don't work on your Retron 5

Postby Jinx » November 1st, 2017, 1:33 am

Hello, hope someone can help me.
I'm having trouble with Airwolf (Nintendo version)
every game I buy no matter where I personally clean it very carefully before I insert in my retron 5,
When I insert the Airwolf cartridge I get the message- can't drop rom or unknown cartridge, I'm not sure if is a compatibility issue or the cartridge is damage.
Of all my games this is the only one I'm having trouble with

I contacted hyperkin but no help so far

Please help me figure out

Thanks in advance
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