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SNES cart batteries


thanatos
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Not sure if this is unusual and I lucked out, or if it's still common: I fired up my Super Mario World and Super Metrioid carts tonight, and my saves were still on both of them!

 

These are originals that I have owned since they were new. Made me feel quite old when I realized my Super Metroid cart would be old enough to drink this year!

 

Anyway, I used my Retron 5, so I made sure to save them to an SD card. Then backed up the SD card to my file server. My file server gets backed up to the cloud. There's probably no way I could do those damn Star Road levels again!!!

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I know the feeling. When I did Super Metroid many years ago, it used to be "easy" and I was able to get a 100% complete run at under 2 hours. Not too long ago I when I started from the beginning, I found some difficult tricks to get difficult upgrades were harder because my reflex got slower. The peril of getting old is certain things aren't easy to do anymore.

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I know the feeling. When I did Super Metroid many years ago, it used to be "easy" and I was able to get a 100% complete run at under 2 hours. Not too long ago I when I started from the beginning, I found some difficult tricks to get difficult upgrades were harder because my reflex got slower. The peril of getting old is certain things aren't easy to do anymore.

Getting older is only some of it, and IMHO not the biggest factor. Games today are so much more forgiving, with unlimited retries, variable difficulty, and regenerating health bars. Which means to me that going back to play old games is freaking hard! Also factor in that you probably had more time to dedicate to a game like that when you were a kid.

 

On topic, that's great you were able to retrieve an old save like that. Call me old fashioned but I have recently changed almost 20 batteries in NES, and SNES carts of mine. I don't care about wiping out old data, the whole fun is trying to %100 those games anyway. Once that's done it's hard to go back to it. Now I have motivation.

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On topic, that's great you were able to retrieve an old save like that. Call me old fashioned but I have recently changed almost 20 batteries in NES, and SNES carts of mine. I don't care about wiping out old data, the whole fun is trying to %100 those games anyway. Once that's done it's hard to go back to it. Now I have motivation.

 

The battery life seems inconsistient. Just about every Pokemon game (Gameboy and Advance) needed new batteries but I got Zelda that still has factory original battery and still holding after almost 30 years.

 

Seems like the smaller and simpler the SRAM used, the longer the battery lasted. Plus Gameboy and Advance used smaller battery (2016 for GB, I think 1616 for Advance) while NES and most SNES used the larger 2032. Other factor: battery watchdog chip used in later games also drained the battery while NES games used a diode which didn't draw anything when the game wasn't powered on.

 

GBA games that uses RTC drained batteries even faster, and they still used shit-tiny battery for those. 5-10 years for games like Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. :mad: At least my Sapphire used flash ROM for save data so I only lose the timed events until the battery is replaced.

 

If my calculation is correct, SRAM chips can retain data as low as 1.5v and it needs little current to retain data, the available capacity of 2032's, and the game packs isn't exposed to extreme temp or abused in any manner, my Zelda game should still be retaining my save data when I am 6 feet under pushing daisies. :-o

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Any game using RTC (Real Time Clock) will indeed have devoured their batteries by now.

On the other hand, home system carts usually use larger CR2032 cells, many of them doesn't have RTC in them, so the battery life can be expected to last a while. It depends on the carts, SRAM used, etc... But indeed, some NES carts might start to lose their marbles, but other might last longer than some of their owners.

 

Plus, most CR2032 datasheets available are for consumer grade batteries. Game maker of the era would use industrial grade batteries, because they knew that some games might stay shelved for years before being started, so you wouldn't want angry consumers coming back with a brand new game that would refuse to save, of lose save after a mere month of use.

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it all depends on the circuit and the battery management chips used. parts and tolerances can vary, so some chip combinations could use more energy than others. add to that how long the cartridge spends not being connected to console voltage...

 

that said, i think SNES games are better off for this than gameboy cartridges, and even most arcade boards. as technology was getting better, sram chips needed less power than the ones you would find used in the early 80s.

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Getting older is only some of it, and IMHO not the biggest factor. Games today are so much more forgiving, with unlimited retries, variable difficulty, and regenerating health bars. Which means to me that going back to play old games is freaking hard! Also factor in that you probably had more time to dedicate to a game like that when you were a kid.

 

On topic, that's great you were able to retrieve an old save like that. Call me old fashioned but I have recently changed almost 20 batteries in NES, and SNES carts of mine. I don't care about wiping out old data, the whole fun is trying to %100 those games anyway. Once that's done it's hard to go back to it. Now I have motivation.

 

I find that as I age, I have more patience for lesser games that I put-off long ago. On that note, I did just repair a game save battery.

Edited by zylon
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As far as the getting older, I find that I just don't care as much as I did when I was younger. At least, I care about a lot of other things more and it's harder to 'put my all into it'. When I'm focused on just the game every once in a while I find my skill is considerably greater but it's a rare mindset for me to be in. With SNES I've been impressed that I haven't actually had a failed battery yet. (I hope they aren't listening to this and in a contrary mood)

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  • 1 year later...

Batteries early on ranged with the NES. I'm not really even sure what the hell that thing in the original Zelda (first battery save game) was. By the time of the SNES they used tabbed CR2032s and they're well beyond what should still be ticking, yet it's fairly rare to find a dead battery backed SNES game but they do happen and happening by now should increase with time more steadily.

 

Oddly enough my Zelda still has the same battery it was born with and the save still is there. I've never had a game I bought myself drop dead from battery loss, but I have picked up games with dead batteries. I really can't reconcile it if it was good luck of the draw on my part or environmental hazards from heat, cold, humidity, abusive owners, etc.

 

I never did own a RTC clock game though, but if I did I know they'd be dead by now as those batteries I think get killed after just 5-10 years at best as it chews into it. I had to get quite good at doing the small tabbed batteries last year as I ended up with all the Gen2 Pokemon titles, all dead and others. I learned to do it, and I kept Crystal but not the others, and I've since helped someone out on the side doing a multi-battery replacement order through a member of RacketBoy needing help. Now those GB, GBC and GBA games used just 2 types of smaller tabbed cell battery, and those too have a very long life like the larger console cousins with a similar (outside of RTC) low failure rate but they do happen and will increasingly do so.

 

A good tip I can give, get a security bit. Check your battery every once in awhile, or whenever you fire up a game again after a long stretch. You don't want one leaking in there and eating board traces as they can leak or pop.

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