Why Does Your Nintendo 64 Say “No Signal”?

Nintendo 64 was more powerful than PS1 and had one of the most interesting controller designs ever. Three handles, an analog joystick, and the ability to accept a wide range of accessories (Rumble Pak, Controller Pak, etc.). However, the console is over 2 decades old at this point and has quite a few issues while connecting to modern televisions.

Why does your Nintendo 64 say “No Signal”? You may be using the incorrect AV cables to connect your N64 to the TV or have selected the wrong input option within your TV menu. The “No Signal” error can also be caused by a missing Jumper Pak/ Expansion Pak, which will prevent your N64 from booting up.

If you plugged your N64 into the TV and there is no video signal, it might be one of two things. Either your N64 isn’t turned on due to a missing Jumper Pak, or there is an issue with the AV output. You should also check the AC adapter at the rear to make sure it’s in contact with the pins on your N64, otherwise, the console won’t get any power.

Why Does Your Nintendo 64 Say “No Signal”?

The issue can be caused by a faulty N64 or a damaged AV cable. First, you need to make sure that your N64 is receiving power from the wall. It has a dark-grey AC adaptor at the back that plugs into a set of pins.

Remove the adapter, and check for signs of blockage. If there is dirt or grime on the pins, use a can of compressed air and some cotton swabs to clean it out. Then, press the AC adapter firmly into the rear of the console to ensure good contact between the pins.

Plug the adapter into the wall, and your N64 should now be ready to receive power. Now, all that’s left to be done is insert a cartridge so your N64 can display stuff when you turn on the power switch. But wait- there is one more check to be made.

Every N64 has a slot on the top, where the Jumper Pak goes. If it’s a used N64 and that top slot is empty, you were probably swindled. Either find a Jumper Pak or grab another N64.

Because the console won’t turn on without a Jumper Pak or memory expansion in that slot. In the absence of a memory expansion (red cover with holes), the Jumper Pak (black cover) terminates the Rambus data bus. You can also source an Expansion Pak; it replaces the Jumper Pak and makes your N64 more powerful.

Once your console is ready to go, you must check the AV cables. If you’re using the yellow, red, and white cables (composite) you must plug them into the corresponding input ports on your TV. A TV that has component input (5 pins) won’t work with these cables.

You can also buy a composite to HDMI adapter, which lets you play your N64 on modern TVs. These are active converters, so they require a USB power supply. Depending on which input format you’re using (HDMI/ composite), you must select the corresponding option within your TV menu.

What Is The Lifespan Of A N64?

N64s are built like tanks and can last forever with basic maintenance. Just blow some compressed air into the cartridge slots every couple of years. And play the console on a flat surface with ample free room so it can vent out the heat.

Unlike modern consoles, N64 has no active cooling thanks to its 100MHz NEC VR4300 processor which has a TDP of just 1.8W. An aluminum heat spreader combined with a steel heatsink is all this console needs to stay warm. There is no disc drive either, as N64 uses cartridges.

What I’m trying to get at is that this console has zero moving parts. The only way it dies is if some solder joint breaks, or if a capacitor/ transistor dies on the motherboard. You should be more worried about the battery in your Controller Pak/ game cartridge dying (even those are replaceable).

Even today, thousands of N64s work perfectly well despite being used regularly since 1996. Used N64s are cheap and plentiful, but make sure you’re buying one with a Jumper Pak/ Expansion Pak. Otherwise, your console won’t boot up (that top slot shouldn’t be empty).

Does Nintendo Still Support N64?

Because N64 was first released in 1996, I’ll let you guess this one. The answer is – no. Nintendo discontinued aftersales support for N64 soon after GameCube launched in 2001.

It makes no financial sense to support a console that old, because next to nobody is playing it anymore. Resources are better utilized for design revisions and firmware patches for the current console. Once the manufacturing lines stop for a last-gen console, maintaining a stock of spare parts becomes extremely difficult.

That’s why companies usually cease aftersales support soon after the manufacturing lines go dead. They have no reliable way of honoring warranty claims due to a lack of spare parts and technicians. And support for N64 stopped back in 2002.

How Do I Get My Nintendo 64 To Work On My TV?

Most modern TVs don’t support analog input and those that do have only component ports. N64 only supports composite and S-Video, it has no component cables. Hence, your best bet is to purchase an HDMI adapter so you can play your N64 on a modern TV.

What Does The Reset Button On N64 Do?

Cartridge-based systems like NES, SNES, Genesis, etc. have a “Reset” button that brings the game back to its initial state. These old consoles have no hard drive and progress is often saved to the cartridge. Hence, reset buttons are a quick way to get back into the main menu or the start of a level.

Reset buttons bring the cartridge back to the state it was in when you first turned on the power. This function is especially useful if you encounter a freeze or crash. And if you use a cheat device like the Game Shark, Reset can be beneficial to jump between game states.

Sometimes, this Reset button on N64 will get stuck. And you might have to open up your console to fix it. If you don’t fix the stuck Reset button, your N64 won’t play any games.

How Do I Fix My Nintendo 64 Stick?

N64 is the first mainstream console to feature an analog stick on its controller. Granted, it didn’t look very pretty and was far from ergonomic with that central location. However, it paved the way for the gaming industry and showcased how useful an analog stick can be within 3D games.

But being the first in anything often involves teething issues. Analog sticks on N64 controllers are infamous for breaking down within a few years (depending on how frequently you play the console).

If your N64 controller has a faulty joystick you can either replace it with an aftermarket stick or fix it. If you use an aftermarket part, you may not get the same feedback as the OEM stick. Here’s a DIY guide for those who want to fix the joystick instead of replacing it entirely.


I hope this article helped you understand why your N64 is showing a “No Signal” error. Since these consoles are practically indestructible, it’s usually an issue with the AV cable. Could also be a poor connection between the AC adapter brick and your console, so make sure that thing is seated firmly.

Finally, check the top of your console for a Jumper Pak/ Expansion Pak. If there is nothing in that top slot, your console won’t boot up. You can also invest in an HDMI adapter if you’re trying to play N64 on a modern TV.


As long as I can remember myself I always enjoyed video games. I had amazing moments playing them and that's why I became a game developer, to create amazing experiences for the players. Read More About Me

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