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Tips for Buying EarthBound

July 14th, 2012 | EarthBound, Uncommon Knowledge

EarthBound was released about this time 17 years ago, so many of the game batteries are probably dead or dying by now. If you want to save your game, you need a working battery, but how do you replace the battery? You can either do it yourself or have someone do it for you.

Do it yourself
If you want to do it yourself, this article has always been the go-to resource it seems. You’ll need a couple cheap tools and some basic soldering skills.

Personally, I suck at soldering and I’m worried I’ll end up blowing up the battery with the soldering iron or something. If you’re in the same boat, you can have someone do it for you.

Have someone do it for you
There are a number of places online that will replace your game’s battery for you. You’ll want to do your homework before sending your cart to anyone, of course.

There are probably other service providers too, so if you know of any good ones, let me know!


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12 Comments to Replacing an EarthBound Battery

MasterGamin said on Jul. 14, 2012

Thank you Mato for responding to me by posting this! Just in case anybody is wondering, I actually sent my EB cart to eStarland back in April. They’re not a rip-off. They did a very good job at replacing the battery. I don’t know about the other websites, though.

Mikage-kun said on Jul. 14, 2012

Not that I need to replace my battery, I’d rather just play an emulated version of the game (please let’s not get into the legality of that, I do own a legitimate copy of the game).

However, your post did bring this idea to my attention: Do these batteries corrode? I’d hate to think the backup batteries, long dead in my game collection, are really leaking battery acid all over the game circuit boards beneath the gray plastic casing. 🙁

KingMike said on Jul. 14, 2012

Never really got around to replacing the battery in my Lufia cart (been pretty much dead since I got it over a decade ago) and it didn’t seem to be leaking last I opened it (a couple years ago).

Crav said on Jul. 14, 2012

A few years back, I actually replaced the batteries in most of my SNES games.
There’s a soldering-free method I used that some of you might be a little more comfortable with if you want to try yourself.

Basicly, just take a nice sharp knife with a thin blade (I used a box cutter) slip it between the old battery and the contacts and gently but firmly saw away at it until the old solder points give way.

Then just tightly bind the new battery to the contacts with electrical tape. Works like a charm and it’ll make it easier to change again if you ever need to some years down the road.

Zinco said on Jul. 14, 2012

Oh! Support eStarland if you can. They’re a little business near where I used to live in Virginia and they’re good folk.

16bitKaiju said on Jul. 15, 2012

My dad is an expert at replacing game batteries (he replaced lots of pokemon and snes game batteries). Fortunately my earthbound’s battery still works but who knows when it’s going to die.

Skye said on Jul. 15, 2012

If you’re wondering why the save bit of a cartridge needs a battery, here’s the answer:

“Static random-access memory (SRAM) is a type of semiconductor memory that uses bistable latching circuitry to store each bit. The term static differentiates it from dynamic RAM (DRAM) which must be periodically refreshed. SRAM exhibits data remanence, but is still volatile in the conventional sense that data is eventually lost when the memory is not powered.”


Tony said on Jul. 16, 2012

This happened to me two weeks ago when I was in the middle of a playthrough. I did mind losing the playthrough I was in the middle of, but man was I depressed to lose the first save I had of the game (back when I first played it and was 8 or so).

Anyway, don’t fear soldering it yourself! I’ve done it with a Final Fantasy III (US) cartridge and it was a breeze. My only recommendation is to get a battery that already has the leads on it to make it a bit easier. The whole process took me < 10 minutes and that was my first one. Then again, if you don't have a soldering iron, by the time you buy one, the tool to open the cartridge, and the replacement battery you might as well send it away if they're just charging you $6.

zoogelio said on Jul. 23, 2012

Last spring, I checked the state of the batteries of games I had since their original retail purchase on the SNES & Gameboy. Out of 2 dozen games with batteries, all but 1 had their save files intact. The 1 that didn’t (Metroid II) had the game itself corrupted and unplayable. So, from my experience of 1990-1996 batteries, all batteries were intact. If that isn’t unusual, then most Earthbound batteries should still be intact, not “many” dead or dying.

Chewy said on Jul. 23, 2012

So, just to share a heart pounding moment. While I was at a local videogame store and purchasing some items, the clerk goes: do you need any new games or anything else?
I say: sure if you have earthbound I’ll take it.
He says: I think we do have it, or had it, and then he asks another person.
The other person goes into the back and brings out the cartridge. He says: I’ve tried everything but it does not want to turn on.
I was just in awe to see an actual card and saddened of course. We looked at the inside and everything seemed ok but the cartridge just did not turn on.

neonix said on Jul. 31, 2012

For the record, you can get these batteries (CR2032) for MUCH CHEAPER than the link in the post. Coin cell batteries (like any specialty battery) are generally sold at extreme markups.

You can get 5 CR2032’s for a couple bucks flat from sites like Amazon or Dealetxreme:

And if you’re iffy on the generics (which I’m sure the ones sold on eStarland are also), you can even get authentic Energizers for $1 a piece or less: http://www.amazon.com/Energizer-Electronic-Batteries-batteries-Lithium/dp/B0002DSVS8/

And you should be able to find the energizer ones for the same price in any local pharmacy, supermarket, gas station, etc.

Don’t let yourself get ripped off for these things! 😉

neonix said on Jul. 31, 2012

Hm, my mistake. I somehow read the post wrong, and realize the link on eStarland is for a battery replacement SERVICE. In that case, not a bad deal if you’re scared of putting your cart under the knife :p

Still, the links I posted should be helpful. They are the cheapest deals around!


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