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Your DIY Electronics Repair Resource
Your DIY Electronics Repair Resource
Nintendo Switch Game Card Reading Issues

Nintendo Switch Game Card Reading Issues

This blog post is the third in a series of short posts on common Nintendo Switch problems and what to do about them; that might mean a DIY fix or sending it in to us for a cheap and quick repair. This week we’re going to tackle common issues regarding the console not reading game cards correctly. We’ll look at the different reasons that this might happen: from your game cards being faulty to the game card slot being faulty. Let’s jump right in…

The Game Card Could Not Be Read

Nintendo Switch Game Card Reading Issues

The Nintendo Switch commonly has trouble reading game cards. This problem can be occasional and random with the system only reading games every other time or it can be consistent with the console not reading games at all. The problem can appear in a couple of different ways:

  • A game card is inserted in the Nintendo Switch but the software cannot be started.
  • A game is inserted in the console but a message appears stating “There is nothing inserted in the game card slot.”

This can be caused by a game card being defective or damaged. But it can also be a sign of an issue with the console’s game card reader if it happens with more than one game. Many people suggest trying to fix game card read errors by blowing into the console and on the cartridge (it originates from the NES days.) It’s strongly advised that you don’t blow into the console as the moisture in your breath can cause corrosion on the card and console contact points and eventually lead to permanent damage.

The first thing to try if your console has trouble reading a game card are the following steps:

  1. Ensure your console has the latest system update.
  2. Power off the console and remove the game card.
  3. Verify that the game card is compatible with Nintendo Switch and not a fake.
  4. Make sure that the gold contact points are clean. 
  5. Reinsert the game card and power on the console.
  6. Check for any software updates for the problematic game, then attempt to start the game.
  7. If the issue persists, try using a different game card for Nintendo Switch. If a second game card works, then the non-working game card will need to be repaired or replaced.

If your console won’t read multiple game cards anymore, then it will likely be necessary to repair the Nintendo Switch’s game card slot. Lets look at the outline of a DIY game slot replacement method.

Switch Card Reader Replacement

DIY Nintendo Switch Game Card Slot Replacement

For this repair, you’ll need a replacement game card slot.

First thing’s first, you’ll need to remove the back cover of the Nintendo Switch like we’ve mentioned in previous articles by removing the screws holding the back on the console. You’ll then need to remove the micro SD card screw and pop out the reader from the motherboard. After removing the micro SD reader, you’ll be able to remove the metal back plate. Then be sure to disconnect the battery with a nylon sponger before removing the metal back plate.

To make the process easier, you can then remove the heat sink (or heat tube) by removing the three screws holding it in place and pulling it up with your fingers. Once the plate and heat sink are removed, you’ll be able to see the game card slot. To remove the defective mechanism, you’ll need to unplug the ribbon connecting the slot to the motherboard and a couple of small screws holding the slot in place. The card slot then easily comes out of its motherboard socket. Once the defective card slot is removed, you’ll just need to put the new one in, replace the screws, and reconnect the ribbon. Replace the heat sink, metal plate, and back cover, and you’re done!

This process is advanced and if you don’t feel comfortable with opening up your Nintendo Switch console, it might be easier to let an expert do it for you.

Nintendo Switch Replacement Card Reader

Where to Have it Repaired

While we are not offering this Switch repair service anymore we always recommend ShaneFix The owner of ShaneFix, Shane, was trained by us and is highly skilled and knowledgable when it comes to game console repair. We recommend him for anyone looking for this type of repair. 

DIY Repair Video

Wrap Up

Hopefully we helped explain why your Nintendo Switch won’t read game cards correctly. Now you should know what you can do about them and how to make sure you can keep using your console. Don’t forget to check out our Amazon store for all of your repair supply needs. Next time, we’ll be tackling another round of common Nintendo Switch issues and how to fix them yourselves or with a little bit of our help. Thanks for reading our new series and, once your console is all fixed up, don’t forget to keep playing!

 >>>ShaneFix Can Repair Your Switch

>>>Buy Parts for Your Switch


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