Restoring and testing a Nintendo R.O.B.

May 12, 2021

A while ago I was asked to try to repair a Nintendo ROB. I was quite excited to get to work on this, as I had never even used one of these. One thing that was immediatly obvious, was just how dirty the poor thing was. It was absolutely covered in dust as well as that typical orange-brown grease that's often on items that came from a smokers house. After inserting some batteries, it did not turn on, at all. Time to get to work!

Cleaning, Cleaning, Cleaning...

To clean it, I used my usual methods. Window cleaner, soft paper towels, Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol for tough spots. I cannot understate how much work it was to clean this ROB. It has a lot of grooves and shapes and things for stuff to get stuck in. In the end, though, I think it came out looking much better than before.

Getting ROB to turn on again

Actually, this was a very simple fix. The battery contacts were corroded due to age. After giving them a good scrub with a toothbrush and isopropyl alcohol, ROB turned on just fine once again.

3D printing the hands

ROB needs little claw-hands in order to grab the gyros (spinning tops). Unfortunately, this ROB was missing said hands. Fortunately though, someone has uploaded 3D-printable models of these on Thingiverse. I printed them on my Creality Ender 3 with an infill density of 100% and with supports. They came out nicely.

Wrapping up and thoughts

All that was left to do now was to test him out. I decided to make it a video, as you probably saw at the top of the page. I'm glad to report this ROB is working like a charm!

Since this was my first time using one of these I thought I'd write down some of my thoughts about it. If you didn't know yet, ROB the Robot was essentially Nintendo's 'Trojan Horse' for getting into the American video game market. The marketing strategy worked but ROB was quickly overshadowed by other games and accessories. The general reason for this seems to be this: People thought ROB looked cool, and was fun to play with for a while, but due to how slow he was it started to become boring quickly. After trying it out for myself I can only agree with this. While it is a cool novelty and fun to play with once, I can't see myself using it a lot either. Still though, I really enjoyed breathing new life into this ROB. If you ever get the chance to try one out, be sure to do so!