I’ve been working on mods and repairs for our awesome community here at Retro Game Boards for a little while now. I Thought it would be fun to have a thread dedicated to it here. I’ve been learning a lot and having a blast getting to work on these projects for you guys. Let me know what you think about it and what you’d like to see in the future. Enjoy!
First up is my recent mod work for @Sapiens. He sent me a minty-fresh Japanese Mega Drive to recap and bypass.
The first step was to crack open the Mega Drive and pull all the old caps.
The next step was to prep the board for the Insurrection Industries triple bypass board.
This involves lifting a few pins on the SKA2195D chip as well as removing resistors at R72 and R73 and bridging the contacts. I also like to remove resistors at R22 and R24 and prep pads there as it lets me keep most of my wire runs to the bottom side of the board. Once all that is done I trim contacts near the AV out to prep for the bypass board.
At this stage I bridge all appropriate jumpers on the bypass board and weld in place.
This Mega Drive was a VA0 revision. Interestingly I couldn’t find any pictures of this exact board online anywhere. The cap layout was slightly different than others. It also didn’t use plated through-holes. Most vias were only plated on one side. I also had to scrape solder mask away from the RGB vias in order to run my RGB lines. I’ve never had to do that before! I was able to run all my lines to the appropriate places and finish things up like any other Genesis/MD2 board.
I think the results were great! I tried it out on my BVM/PVM/OLED set ups and it looked and sounded great on everything. No video noise at all even in flat blue areas. I can’t wait for this to get back to @Sapiens so I can see what he thinks.
This was my first time working with a Mega Drive and it was so cool to see one in person and get to trick this one out.
Awesome thread. I also just sent @Danexmurder another console to mod - keep an eye on this thread in a few weeks - it’s a weird and unique one.
It’s great to have some quality mods and repairs so well documented on this board.
Thanks! I sure appreciate it. If folks are interested I’m happy to re-post earlier work in here so we can see it all in one place.
I’m new here but I’d love to see them.
Haven’t modded anything since back in the PS1 / Xbox days so I could play emulators on them.
Ha, reminds me on the Xbox I used a mod that you could enable on boot because MS would ban you from Live if modding was detected. Went through the trouble and then one day a buddy of mine was drunk and went online with it enabled and my machine was banned. Ha, ah well. It was more funny than anything at the time.
Oh no! Got the ban hammer! Glad we don’t have to worry about that with our retro consoles.
I’ll get some pics posted up soon. I’m going to try to start doing some videos too and see how that goes.
Great thread. @Danexmurder does good work. He installed new screens in my Nomad and GB Pocket, and repaired my av fami, all of which work beautifully. Highly recommend his work.
I sure appreciate you trusting me to work on your gear! Speaking of which here’s that video I took of your AV Fami shortly after resurrection.
The issue turned out to be a bad voltage regulator. I could see 16v coming in to the regulator but nothing coming out. It should have read 5v. After swapping it out for a slightly better replacement and recapping the rest of the board this was the result!
Here are a couple of progress shots of the recap.
Something I didn’t know about the AV fami when I started this is that the cap at C14 on the board wasn’t rated high enough. This was the case on earlier AV famis. Down the road they replaced the 1uf cap with a 47uf cap. I did that on this board to make sure it would be good to go for the future.
Great thread @Danexmurder and oh, you also bought the same Duratool de-soldering gun as me?
Hope you added the Lightgun fix to that AV Famicom while it was opened up!
Hey, thanks! And yeah, it’s a great little desoldering station. I’ve been using it for over a year now and it is still going strong. I had to pull the gun apart for a cleaning once but that has been the only maintenance needed. I think mine is branded under the unpronounceable name “Aoyue.” Probably has the same guts.
This is the first I’ve heard of the light gun fix. What’s up with it?
I just looked it up. It’s so simple! Would have taken me a couple of minutes. If @GraveyardDuck decides he wants anything else done I’ll be sure to enable it. Good lookin out. Learning more all the time!
I got inspired tonight and decided to install one of the NES expansion audio boards in my RGB NES. After hearing how good Graveyard Duck’s AV Fami sounded I decided I couldn’t live without expansion audio on my NES.
NES RGB was the first big mod I ever did and have learned a lot since then. It was cool to crack this open and look at my old work. There are certainly some things I’d do differently today but overall it think the work was solid.
First step was to unscrew the cover and pull the Blinking Light Win.
After that I unscrewed the motherboard and detached all wiring harnesses.
Getting at the expansion audio port on the RGB board was tricky since this was already wired up. I pulled the whole board up so I could weld it from the bottom.
Once the expansion line was soldered in I plugged the RGB board back into place and flipped the board over to prep for the expansion board install. The exp board was slightly too big at the edges to fit between the pins so I had to file it down a little bit.
Once the board was in place I welded it to the pins and attached the audio line.
Then it was time to put it back in the case, reattach the blinking light win, put the av port, palette switch, and j-tag port back in place and close it up. I thought you guys would appreciate my solution for holding the j-tag adapter in place. Can anyone identify what that piece of plastic is from?
After closing it all back up it was time to mod my cartridge adapter. I got mine from Console5.com. This is a pretty simple mod. You just need 30g wire and a steady hand. It’s easy to burn up the cover on a wire that small. It’s also easy to get too much solder on the pin but a little solder wick solves that easily. After a few minutes it was ready to go.
All put back together.
Time to test it out! I’m pretty stoked on the results. What do you guys think?
Just incredible documentation. Forums are the best for scroll browsing pics.
Any chance you can document the 32x recap? I have one on the way and I’d love to see your take on it as your work is always really clean.
I’ve seen conflicting reports about the Kevtris noise fix (I think console5 include it) - I’m gaming on a CRT so I’m tempted to leave it as is.
Will do! Curious, what’d you hear about the noise fix?
While waiting on some parts to come in for a project I’m currently working on a big box of stuff came in today from console5.com. I wanted an easy project to do while I wait and thought it would be fun to give one of my SNES controllers a tune up.
This one is pretty ancient and crusty and it was just feeling a little less than responsive. First thing I did was unscrew the back.
Then I removed the cord from the PCB. And removed it from the shell.
I was surprised to discover that one of my shoulder buttons was broken. Fortunately it doesn’t effect anything and I decided to leave it as is for now.
Next I removed all the buttons and thoroughly cleaned everything. I scrubbed the PCB with 99% isopropyl and hit it with some contact cleaner for good measure.
Next up it was time to put in the new silicone pads.
Then I just had to place the PCB back in, hook up the cord, and close it all back up.
It feels like a brand new controller! Fun way to burn and hour and make sure this controller will keep on playing for years to come. If you are interested in learning how to service your own equipment this is a great place to start!
I replace the rubber in controllers when the button feel has become very stiff or if they have torn but I find it can affect the feel more than I like.
If you weren’t already aware, often just giving them a quick cleaning can make a surprising difference. You don’t want to go too far but a bit of isopropyl on the carbon pads can make button press go from too much force needed to gentle press is all it takes.
What’s that cable tidy thing you have on it?
Yep! I’ve just cleaned them out without replacements before in the past. This was basically an experiment to see if I liked the way these replacements feel to see if I’d like to grab any more of these kits in the future. I honestly really like the way these feel. I’ll need to do a side by side comparison with a cleaned up one without replacements and see what I think.
That’s just a small cable cuff pro from Home Depot. I buy a handful every time I go there. I always need a couple more. They are awesome for cable management in general but they’re super handy if you are using wire racks for your gear. You can use them to secure wires to the rack as well as manage cable length. I also love to use them for my conctrollers.