NES Top Loader

NES Top Loader Information:

Introduction to the Top Loader
NES-101 Power Research
NES-101 Heat Research


The Hi-Def NES HDMI 1080p mod kit from Kevtris is here!

I talked Kevin in to making us an HDMI mod kit for the nes consoles since he already had most of it figured out on his Zimba 3000 system.

For sale in my SHOP!

Initial announcement video:

Kevin’s 720p video capture:
Hi-Def NES Super Mario 2 demo

There are a lot more vids, just check our channels.
There are also links to the forums threads in the description of the announcement video, this is the best way to see updates as links to new vids will be posted there as well.

Not a clone system!
Uses the nintendo’s cpu and ppu.
Fully HDMI standards compliant, tested with an HDMI analyzer.

No frame buffer so NO LAG between controller and monitor.

Using ntsc cpu/ppu: 480p, 720p, 1080p
Using pal cpu/ppu: 567p, 720p, 1080p
Kit will auto detect which chips it’s connected to.
EDID will allow only as high a res as the monitor will handle, but there is the option to turn it off and force higher res.

Aspect ratio will be user adjustable in the menu, seen as horizontal stretch in the menu.

Multiple palettes and a black & white mode will be user selectable in the menu.

Over clocking with hot keys with option to have it not mess up the sound pitch by following ppu clock instead of cpu.

User can reconfigure all hot keys.

Hot keys can be set to be read on either controller 1 or 2.

Long and short console reset via controller hot keys.

Updating firmware will be done via an “.nes” file, via flashcart etc, if necessary.

All audio is generated in the kit, so it will be %100 digital and theoretically noise free.
User will be able to control each audio source volume independently.
User will be able to pan between left and right output of each source independently.
All expansion audio chips are programmed in to the kit, simply turn the one you need on or off.
The cart or rom you’re playing does not need the actual hardware for this to work!

5 scaling options are included: HQ2X, HQ3X, HQ4X, scale 2X, and scale 3X.
Plus a bonus x-ray mode.

Several scanlines options: none, nes, 2x, 3x, 4x, and 5x.
Optional 4x insead of 4.5x 1080p modes to help with scanlines as well.

A built in CopyNES is coming soon.

Easy install, desolder the cpu and ppu, add a couple wires for power, and cut out a hole using an included template .

Tested with some known problem carts, multi carts, powerpak, and everdrive.

Kit will cost $120 and installation under $100.

A couple reviews of the Hi-Def NES kit have been posted online:

Hi-Def NES

Here is a list of modders I trust to do a great job for you!

Here are the installation guides I put together.

Terminology of the parts of the kits

Hi-Def NES FAQs page

Hi-Def NES Troubleshooting guide


RGB and YPbPr mods!


More Info:
Link to the nesrgb page.
Link to the shmups thread where we’re all posting about it, tons of info and pics here.

Youtube videos of me testing and installing the NESRGB kit:

Old rgb options:

I’ve done 30 or more rgb consoles using the rgb ppu from a playchoice 10, but it’s rather expensive compared to the new kit from Tim.

If you get a hold of a Playchoice 10 arcade board or certain VS’s boards or games you can steal the RGB PPU and use it in an NES and have RGB out or component(YPbPr) and even s-video if wanted. The color palette is not %100 the same so there will be minor differences. There also seems to be minor glitches here and there, like just a short line of pixels acting up, but it’s not every game and not every scene on games that do show it. Also the jailbars are nearly impossible to get rid of, but not near the level of top loader rf output.

Here are some youtube videos I made of some of the testing I did with different rgb amps etc.
NES-101 Nintendo top loader – RGB – NJM2667 vs NCS2553 amps PLUS Component!
NES-101 Nintendo top loader – RGB – comparison of NJM2267 and CXA2075M amps on a SONY PVM-2030
NES-101 Nintendo top loader – RGB – AV multi out connector pt.1
NES-101 Nintendo top loader – ncs2553 RGB amp – more testing – working component video output!
NES-101 Nintendo top loader – RGB – AV multi out connector pt.2
NES-101 Nintendo Top Loader – RGB to Component – BA6592F Final


Composite Video Mods:

From the factory the top loader only had an r/f hookup and its video quality is poor, that is why I mod these units with rca jack type composite outputs. You will never worry about the r/f switch going bad and being able to replace it, and history already speaks for itself! I have been modding these units since 2003! 🙂 I’ve had many people ask if the lines on the tv screen, common with the top loaders, are improved with this mod and YES they are nonexistent Also, the overall picture quality is as near to a front loaders video output as it gets, they’re hard to distinguish in side by side comparison. The composite output is better than the original r/f as it doesn’t have to go through rf modulation or a crappy rf switch, just straight from the top loader’s source video output to the tv input or whatever input you hook it up to!

The r/f output is not wired back up to keep the video output from picking up more interference, but if you want to hook it up to an old tv you can buy an r/f modulator that accepts composite video and stereo audio inputs and outputs through a coax cable to your tv’s antenna input.

The picture below contains (poor) video capture of nes-001 composite output on the left, nes-101 a/v modded output in the middle, and nes-101 unmodded r/f output on the right.


Outputs are color coded rca jacks for easy hookup. Audio right and left are wired mono since the machine is not capable of true stereo without another serious mod (read below), but both were installed for easy hook up to a home theater. I’ve also found an alternate method of audio/video output, instead of 3 rca jacks, I found a headphone style TRRS connector that will do the same job and fit into the r/f jack hole. This means the shell will not have to have the sticker removed and 3 holes drilled in it! Plus you will not be able to tell right away that it’s even been modded. It does require a special cord, but I will supply it if this is the kind of mod you desire. There is no difference in video quality between the TRRS and 3 RCA versions of the AV mods.


DIY kits are now available through Stoneage Gamer!

LED Power Indicator:

The top loader did not originally have a power LED and some owners have complained it’s easy to accidentally leave the console on and not realize it. I mod the unit with a red LED light under the power slide switch that makes the slider glow when turned on, you’ll never again mistakenly leave the unit on when you’re done playing. If you want a different color it should be placed somewhere else, but I can put it where ever you like.

Youtube videos of different composite and LED mods:

NES-101 Nintendo top loader – AV and LED mods start to finish walk through
NES-101 Nintendo top loader – 3.5mm TRRS AV connector mod walk through
NES-101 Nintendo Top Loader – Blue LED final


I have sold MANY units to UK customers, they say because of the a/v mod it works perfectly with their tv playing both US and UK games. Also have sold lots of modded consoles worldwide, same story, works great!

Click here to see a map of where I’ve sold modded top loaders.

Stereo and Overclock:

I also do the true stereo mod. The NES and NES2 have the same chip for audio out and that chip has two audio output channels and thats what the mod exploits, it may not sound right on every game, but I have mods that allow you to mix or switch it all the way back to dual mono for games that don’t sound right. Its supposed to be great for Zelda and many others, i’m trying to find a list of what works and doesn’t.
I actually have 3 versions of this mod. First uses a potentiometer, turn the knob all the way one way for full stereo and all the way the other for full mono and in-between to your preference.
What I found was most people don’t really use it for in between, so why not replace that pot with a switch! So that’s the second version. It allows us to change between stereo and dual mono, but also leaves the RF jack hole open so we can instal the TRRS version of the AV mod!
Lastly, I can wire it up for full stereo all the time. This will allow us to instal the overclock and TRRS AV mods!

The over-clock mod is just like over-clocking computers, it makes the processor run faster, in this case only 32% faster. This is useful for games that slow down when there is a lot going on in the game. The mod does have a down side, the audio is also affected, it’s like listening to it in fast forward, but it’s just a pitch increase. I install a switch to change between normal and over-clock modes in the 3-4 channel select hole and since its such a little increase its usually easily changed from normal to over-clock and back while the game is running without it crashing! Since the processor runs faster you might think the games go faster, but I timed SMB and it took 2 minutes and 40 seconds for 400 units of time in the game to run out in both normal and over-clocked.

Youtube videos of the stereo and over-clock mods:

NES-101 Nintendo top loader – full walk through of overclock and true stereo mods

NES-101 Nintendo Top Loader – how overclock and stereo mods affects audio output

This pic shows the stereo mixing knob mounted in the hole the r/f out jack used and the over-clock switch mounted in what was the 3-4 channel select switch hole.


Remote Reset:

This mod is now obsolete! There are save state mappers for the PowerPak that accomplish game and console reset in a similar fashion as the mod explained below, however it is still available for those that play a lot of multi-carts.

This mod will make it possible to reset the console by pushing 4 buttons on the controller at the same time, A+B+Start+Select.
This will be mostly useful on multi-carts since you have to reset the console to reboot the cart in order to play a different game.
Also useful for the PowerPak which works in a similar manner.
It does not affect the way PowerPak saves game or the way save state mappers function!
Its super small and mostly surface mount parts so really hard to solder so if I sell it as a DIY kit it will be in complete ready to solder in form only.
Price for DIY kit should be around $50, $55 if you send your top loader to me to solder it in.

Youtube video of the remote reset mod:

NES-101 Nintendo Top Loader – remote reset mod

PowerPak Compatibility:

The PowerPak is awesome, but it doesn’t always work with a modded top loader because of one chip, the 74LS373.
If you replace that chip with the HC373 version it will work fine.
Usually only a problem with pc10 rgb/component modded consoles, not an issue with the nesrgb kit.
It’s only happened a couple times, but i’ve had it not work with composite modded top loaders as well, but I test all the nes consoles I work on with a powerpak and if it doesn’t work i’ll let you know it needs this mod as well.

Youtube video proof of the problem:

NES-101 Nintendo Top Loader – gettin the PowerPak to work correctly – 74HC373

PowerPak Mods – Famicom Expansion Audio:

Some roms have extra sound that can’t be heard unless the PowerPak and your NES-101 are modded.

Youtube video proof of the mods:
NES-101 Nintendo Top Loader – expansion audio trials – 1
NES-101 Nintendo Top Loader – expansion audio trials 2
NES-101 Nintendo Top Loader – expansion audio trials – castlevania 3 US vs JP

Preventative Maintenance:

The are 5 electrolytic caps in the nes-101, but only two have ever caused problems on the dozens of broken units i’ve fixed.
One is used for the reset circuit and rarely causes problems.
The main problem cap is in the power circuit, i’ve replaced at least 50 of these over the years.
It’s going to fail eventually, they are not made to last forever and caps in the power circuit get worked hard at higher temps.

This is the cheapest insurance that your top loader will last another 25 years!

Here is a pic of what the image on the tv will look like when the power cap fails:


Youtube video proof of the problem and repair:

NES-101 Nintendo Top Loader – 36 console lot – bad cap easy fix

NES Accessory Mods:

Youtube video of the Dogbone LEDs mod in action:

Nes Dogbone with A & B button press indicator LEDs.


I’ve done over 800 composite mods since 2003!
Since starting them in early 2012, i’ve done over 50 pc-10 rgb or component NES consoles!

Recent customer review:

It used to be that you can either have the better picture of the NES front loader or the ease/convenience of the top loader; you couldn’t have both. But now with my new AV modded NES top loader, I can have the best of both worlds! The picture is so crystal clear on our Sharp Aquos HDTV and the red LED light is a nice touch too. I now can’t imagine playing NES games any other way. I highly recommend his NES top loaders and no serious NES gamer should be without one.

Another customer’s full review write up.

Another customer’s write up.

Also check the comments sections of each video of the mods to see more feedback, my YouTube ID = GameTechUS.
I also have some feedback on Nintendo Age, ID = Game-Tech-US.
Or if you want to dig back far enough you can see some feedback on my ebay ID game-tech-us.