When your games go on the fritz - Suteneko's repair & mod thread.

Oh no!

Booooo! Sorry to hear it!

Replacing Japanese SEGA Mega Drive Backup Save Batteries:

I’ve had a few Japanese SEGA Mega Drive games that contain CR2032 batteries for Backup Save Data for quite a while now and decided it is time to check/replace the batteries if necessary:

Unfortunately Japanese Mega Drive Carts have the main label going from the from of the cart over to the half of the carts shell:

and worse the screws to open the cartridges are covered by a label:

After a bit of experimentation I have found a relatively safe way to remove the label to get into the Japanese cartridges with little damage caused.

First set a hot air station to it’s lowest temperature, which for me was 100°C and medium airflow:

We then want to direct the hot air at the rear label at a distance of about 2" above it doing a circular motion, trying not to concentrate in any one spot for too long and NEVER over the top of the plastic casing:

After a few minutes you may notice where the screw holes are under the label pop up a little:

If not just keep going with the circular motion and from time to time check by using your fingertips to feel if the entire label feels warm and once it is we are ready to start attempting to remove the label.

Get some flat tipped but rounded tweezers to try to gently push under the top right hand corner at the same time as pointing you hot air station at that point and after a little while you should manage to get under it:

Gently keep pushing the tweezers under until you have enough that you can grip with your fingers:

Now you need to be patient and whilst still heating the label with your hot air station just under where you are pulling up slowly work around the label starting across the top and the finally pulling it down and across.

You can either completely remove the label as such:

Leaving the back of the cartridge clean:

OR just pull up the label enough to access the screws:

Some Japanese Mega Drive cartridges use regular Phillips Screws but other also use Gamebit Screws.

To remove the PCB without damaging the main label you only want to open the cart just enough while it is face down to lift up and out the PCB:

Leaving you with this result:

I only change batteries IF they are leaking or the voltage is lower than 3.1v which in the case of this Phantasy Star cartridge was reading 3.04v, so it was removed.

IMPORTANT: I have noticed a fair few replacement batteries are not lasting no where near as long as the originals so please ensure you use only high quality branded batteries!

I also check the 16v 47µF capacitor inside the cartridges for capacitance and ESR values.

If the ESR value is higher than 0.8Ω or its capacitance is outside of a 15% tolerance in either direction then it needs replacing.

For this Phantasy Star cartridge both read bad:

Both original battery and capacitor removed:

and replaced:

Whilst the cartridge is open it is wise to check the contact pins:

They will likely be a little dirty as above, so just gently use a white rubber eraser to clean them up on both sides of the pcb and finish up with some Isopropyl alcohol if necessary:

You then need to re-assemble the cartridge and then stick back down the label:

If there is not enough stickiness left it may start to lift after a little while so I’d advise getting some non-solvent based paper glue stick such as Pritt Stick to add back some extra adhesion prior to re-application of the rear label.

Now if everything went well at worst you may only be able to observe a very slight bit of label crease damage to the top right hand corner of the rear label:

PLEASE NOTE: If you want to keep your saves you will have to wire up a second battery in parallel before you remove the original battery to keep power going to the SRAM IC or any saves will be lost.

In my case the only saves I wanted to keep were on the Ys III cartridge but its battery was measuring at 3.22v so did not need replacing yet.

7 Likes

Really clean job considering the difficulty of those labels. Nice work.

2 Likes

Awesome write up! Love the detailed shots!

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Game Genie for SEGA Game Gear Repair:

I bought a non functioning Game Genie for Game Gear because it was very cheap, though unfortunately it is missing its mini code book and the flap that held it inside the Game Genie.:

To open it up to see what is going on we need to remove two screws at the top on the front of Game Genie:

Then remove the 6 identical sized screws from the rear of the Game Genie around the edges:

Then finally remove two shorter screws from the cartridge:

You can then lift the front off the Game Genie (but be careful not to lose the button):

Flip it over and then remove the rear of the case (again be careful not to lose the button):

Leaving:

You can now lift up and out the cartridge PCB as it is connected just by a socket:

Flipping it back over we now need to remove the clear plastic piece that is connected to the cartridge connector with two more screws:

Once that is lifted off everything is now free:

And you can lift off the main PCB:

Leaving:

Which is actually two separate pieces of plastic:

I removed the single 47uf 10v Capacitor:

Testing it in my ESR meter showed me that its ESR was very bad:

So I replaced it with a new one:

Then I cleaned the cartridge contacts and the the contact pads for both buttons.

After re-assembling it, I tested it again and it came back to life:

Only 10 more logs to post until I hit 50…

5 Likes

Awesome! Glad it was such a simple fix.

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Yet another Game Gear Repair:

I got my hands on another Game Gear from my local tip and saved it from landfill.

This time on testing it powers up but audio was almost non-existent and the screen displayed garbage:

I had never seen a screen like this before so :crossed_fingers: maybe the original screen might work?

Unfortunately the case of this Game Gear is not in the best shape and is broken around the D-Pad:

So as usual went about a full recap:

I usually replace all the Audio PCB capacitors with identical SMD mount capacitors but this time I was one short, so instead had to solder in a single regular through hole capacitor:

The Power PCB was recapped as well:

And the moment of truth:

For a change I actually have a working original screen!

@Gravitone was kind enough to send me an original good condition case from the first production run of Japanese Game Gear’s that had a flat plastic lens (Thank you so much!):

So I was able to do a case swap:

Leaving me with a very lovely condition all original Game Gear:

6 Likes

This thread is just wonderful, thank you for sharing.

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Man that brings back memories. I haven’t played a GG since the 90s. It’s the one console from my childhood I haven’t kept around.

2 Likes

Great work/write-up as usual!

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Two More PS2 Slim Not Powering Up Repairs:

These are a couple of repairs I previously never got around to writing up, but ran across the photographs earlier today so decided to post them up.

PS2 Slim (1):

First up another rather typical issue I’ve come across on these awful models:

Solder joints on the power connector broken, which is a really simple re-solder fix:

Back to working fine:

PS2 Slim (2):

This PS2 Slim also would not power up so needed to be taken apart.

The case screws hidden under plastic covers that can be easily pried off with a flat headed screwdriver:

Naked PS2 Slim:

For a change the power jack connector was not the issue here.

Instead if you look closely over the PS2 Slim motherboard there are lots of tiny little green coloured SMD fuses littered across it, a couple of which I have circled a couple below:

After testing them all using the conductivity test of my Multi-Meter I discovered that fuse at location PS17 was broken, so as I didn’t have any appropriate replacement fuses to replace it I bridged the connection:

Re-assembled and re-tested:

6 Likes

Playstation (SCPH-9002) Player 1 Controller Port Not Functioning Repair:

A friend saved this SCPH-9002 PS1 from being thrown away because Player 1 controller inputs were not working and passed it over to me to have a look at today:

After some easy disassembly I have the controller ports removed:

Hmm can you see what might be the problem here:

After trimming off the broken traces I epoxy bond the contact back down to the PCB:

Using a Fibreglass Pen I exposed the Copper on the broken tracks:

With a bit of Kyna wire the tracks are re-connected.
Please excuse the poor workmanship as I’m doing this as a freebie ASAP repair :

Re-assembled:

And working again:

7 Likes

How would only one pin get pushed out like that? Must have jammed in a controller that had a bent pin or something.

1 Like

looks good to me!

:smile:

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Game Gear Va0 Refurbishment - Power Shorting to Ground Repair:

I currently have a Game Gear that needs a replacement cartridge slot and found a junk Game Gear for sale at £10 as a potential donor.

However, on initial testing the screen display was mostly black with a few thin white horizontal lines on it which was very similar to a previous Game Gear that ended up having an original functioning screen.

This changed my mind and instead I decided to recap it and see if the original screen was salvageable.

So I re-capped it as usual and afterwards the Game Gear just does not turn on at all.

The power board is known to be good but as soon as it is attached to this Game Gear the power vanishes…

After getting out my Multi-Meter I find that the 5v power lines coming directly into the Game Gear are shorted to ground and I have no power coming into this Game Gear.

While testing around the front side of the PCB I find that the Q3 & Q4 transistors are shorting to ground:

I also eventually find out that capacitors C1, C3, C5, C19, C31, C50, C81 and resistors R38, R51 are also shorting out:

To make testing easier I de-soldered the power cable and removed to square transformer:

The removal of the transformer stopped transistors Q3 and Q4 from shorting so they could be eliminated as not being the problem.

With the assistance of @Gravitone and the help of some badly scanned official hand drawn schematics, we slowly worked around the board looking for possible causes of the short circuits, beginning from where the power initially comes into the board:

One by one potentially problematic components are tested and any components that are short circuiting are taken out of circuit to eliminate them and to see if the short circuit persists.

Eventually we end up at the power input for the Z80 CPU:

image

Where I find that the removal of the tiny 0.1µF SMD capacitor solves all the short circuit issues:

I then found a working replacement SMD capacitor from my spares to replace it and then soldered back in everything else that had been removed:

Time to test:

Sadly during the PCB cleaning process I accidentally got some cleaning fluids behind the screen which I noticed as soon as I saw the original screen come back to life:

So I carefully had to remove the already damaged plastic bracket from the screen:

Thankfully I have a spare:

After cleaning away the fluid everything is re-assembled:

Finally after way too much work this Game Gear lives!

To think the whole problem for this Game Gear was just this tiny SMD Capacitor:

If not for @Gravitone’s assistance I am not sure I would have gotten this far any time soon, as it felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall for hours making zero progress, only finding more potential issues. Many thanks man!

7 Likes

Great work guys!

1 Like

Team work makes the dream work!

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SEGA System 16b 171-5797 ROM Board Repair:

This is a follow up to a previous “repair” where I found this E-Swat 171-5797 ROM board to be faulty:

Any time this ROM board was inserted into a working SEGA System 16b Motherboard you would get a black blank screen and no sound.

While looking around the board originally I had discovered that the axial salmon coloured non-polarized capacitor at C109 had a small crack across it and when pressed very lightly broke away:

I couldn’t find anywhere to buy replacements for this sort of capacitor and put it to one side to look at properly some other time.

Recently I was salvaging parts from some old spare junk VCR PCB’s and lo and behold noticed they were using the same type of capacitors which jogged my memory about this ROM board and de-soldered a bunch of them, of which a fair few were the exact same banding as the one I needed to replace:

I didn’t expect this to be the end of the problems and sadly that was the case the board was still dead.

I decided to test the 4 470µF and 1 x 4.7µF capacitors and while their capacitance measured fine their ESR while not bad enough to stop them working was a little high so I replaced them all anyway:

Again as expected this didn’t change anything and the board was still not working.

So I got at my logic probe set to TTL level and started probing around the board while it was turned on to see if I could discover what was going on.

I had correct activity on all the SOUND and Graphics ROM, however I was getting zero activity on any of the input and output pins on the Program ROM :

These Program ROM are 27C2001 EPROM and to test farther I needed to check if they were getting power and connected correctly to ground:

image

VCC is the 5v power input pin which is on pin 32
VSS is the Ground pin which is on pin 16.

For those curious VPP is for the re-programming voltage input and can be ignored here.

Using my multi-meter I was able to confirm 5v was present and the ground was also connected properly.

These Program ROM are connected to two custom QFP SEGA IC (a SEGA 315-5250 and a SEGA 315-5248 on the solder side of the board) and a HD74HC139P 74xxxx Series TTL Logic IC.

The solder on the custom SEGA IC didn’t look the greatest but had no visible continuity issues.
Regardless I re-flowed their solder just to be on the safe side:

No change, so I de-soldered the HD74HC139P and went to test it in my Universal Programmer:

test1

It tested good so got soldered back onto the PCB.

So now I either have a bad custom SEGA IC which can not be replaced or a broken trace somewhere.

I start to have a much closer look all over the PCB under magnification and eventually notice this:

Unfortunately the 3 traces go underneath the IC2 located Program ROM so I had to remove the EPROM and the socket to be able to test these 3 traces properly:

Using the continuity mode of my multi-meter I discover that the top 2 traces are still fine however the trace that connects to PIN 2 of the Program ROM (Address line 16) is broken.

Usually here I would scrape away the solder mask a little around the break and re-connect the trace with some thin gauge wire, however at present I don’t have a fibreglass pen at hand so I had to resort to a bodge wire which i placed on the underside of the ROM board:

And working again:

image

Since this is a repaired ROM board and because I already have a working E-Swat ROM Board I am tempted to convert this into another game (possibly Golden Axe) in the future.

4 Likes

Awesome write up! I always love seeing how you go about your repairs. I need to pick your brain about my Raiden Fighters Jet board that doesn’t have any sound. The amp works… But no sound.

2 Likes