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

Neo Geo MVS 1 Slot (MV1A) Refurbishment:

This is an old repair/refurbishment log from a few years back that I revisited today to sort a couple of things out, which at the time I just didn’t have the correct tools or experience for.

##Please excuse that this log will be presented somewhat out of chronological order to maintain flow!##

Back in early 2017 I purchased a Neo Geo MVS 1 Slot from China for around £30 including shipping.

The listings picture looked like it was in pristine condition and was a 1 slot with a BIOS Socket, however what I ended up receiving was a huge disappointment.

The BIOS was not socketed so a different model was sent, but even worse…
The plastic housing had “CHINA ONLY SALE” gouged deeply into it:

Upon testing it I found that sound was very scratchy (non functional) and games were not able to save any data to the internal memory, but games booted fine.

After taking off the plastic housing to inspect the MVS closer I found out that the capacitors for audio were in very bad shape, leaking electrolytic fluid and heavily corroded:

The Lithium battery was also speckled with rust and had also started to leak:

I also later noticed that the hard DIP switches were not functioning correctly and even had a broken off switch lever on DIP8 which controls CPU Halt:

I contacted the seller who apologized profusely and said if I sent it back she would get a replacement sent out to me (she was just a third party reseller). However, I really didn’t want to deal with sending it back and waiting again for another one.

So I suggested that I would be happy to repair it myself instead if she would give me a small rebate to allow me to purchase the required parts to do so and unexpectedly she agreed as long as I would provide her a receipt for the components purchased:

The first thing I did was recap the MVS.

Neo Geo MV1A Capacitor List:

  • 470µF 16v x4
  • 220µF 16v x1
  •   47µF 16v x1
  •  4.7µF 25v x5

However, at this point I only had a manual de-soldering pump, was really in-experienced at de-soldering and struggled removing them especially the ones that were attached to large ground planes.

What was worse is that the capacitor leg at position AC6 was badly corroded and broke off the original capacitor that was installed while trying to remove it. Leading to part of the capacitor leg getting stuck inside the via.

Luckily this was a ground so I was able to scrape a bit of the top of the ground plane on the top of the PCB away and surface mounted the capacitor to the top for its ground leg:

Briefly fast forwarding to today, I now own a de-soldering gun and thought I would revisit this and attempt to get that stuck in the via corroded leg out:

Success! And now that capacitor is correctly installed:

Replacing these capacitors fixed the audio issues.

And now returning to 2017:

I then removed the original VG2430 3v rechargeable battery and replaced it with a suitable VL2330:

Now the MVS could save slot data again and keep time.

Next was removing the DIP Switch which I really struggled to remove but after a lot of time and effort managed to remove it cleanly:

I was unable to find a matching blue DIP switch replacement, but I did find a suitable red one to solder in its place:

I then test the replacement Hard DIPs in the service menu and they all function correctly:

Jumping forward a little bit again…

About 8 months later, I wanted to finally put a Universe BIOS into this MVS but the BIOS as previously mentioned was not socketed:

I had a bit more experience now along with a Hakko soldering station and a cheap Chinese hot air-station, however the removal didn’t go perfect and one trace was damaged on the removal of the BIOS:

Luckily only the top side of the via was damaged so after soldering in a socket i was able to connect Kyna wire to the correct socket pin on the underside of the PCB:

and then thread it through a via to the top side of the PCB where I was able to reconnect the damaged trace directly to the Motorola 68000 CPU:

At the time I did not yet have a Universal Programmer and bought a Universe BIOS v3.3 from Razoola which I then used in this MVS.

Later I contacted him to email me a binary file of the newly released v4.0 BIOS which I burnt and instead placed into my then newly acquired 2 slot MVS and left this running on v3.3.

Jumping forward in time briefly again:

So while I have this MVS out today I decided I would update the 27C1024 EPROM.

First I read the data on it and saved a backup of my original v3.3 Universe BIOS:

Then I erased the data, wrote and verified the new v4.0 Universe BIOS:

Back to 2017:

Lastly I wanted to deal with the housing and for this I filed out the gouged letters and using black epoxy putty I filled them all in. I then used fine grade linishing paper to sand everything down level:

Then I spray painted the result in matt black and left it to dry:

The final results:

Hope this was an interesting read!
If people are interested I’ll also post up my MVS 2 Slot refurbishment eventually.

8 Likes

Awesome post! Be sure to show us the 2-slot refurb!

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Thank you for the encouragement to post logs up @Danexmurder

I have to admit your own recent thread gave me a bit of a kick up the backside to write up a few more and to get on with some outstanding projects.

Spent roughly two and a half hours writing up the MVS 1slot refurbishment post.

I waste way too long sorting out images, taking photographs for things that I didn’t already or to replace bad quality ones and then to sort out the jumbled mess of information into some sort of coherent and logical time line that can be followed.

Quite surprised in myself that I’ve somehow made it to 18 written up logs already and I could easily get the number up to 30+ with existing and past projects.

I think I also have a few that are hidden away in the Arcade Collectors Thread and perhaps I should move some of them over to here so they are easier to locate?

3 Likes

Really glad to know there’s more where that came from! My mod posts do take quite a bit of time too. Lately I’ve been trying to limit my picture taking to 3 at each step so there’s less to wade through.

Posts like this are a huge service to the community. Not only are they interesting content to any retro gamer but they’re potential help to other people looking for a guide on the subject at some point down the road.

Really glad that my own posts could be a small catalyst. I think we’re in a positive feedback loop! Keep em coming!

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Since the dark cold days of autumn are swiftly approaching, and a second covid lockdown seems right around the corner, it seemed about time to start a desperate hopeless gamegear repair challenge.
I recently obtained it from a junk lot from Japan, and its clear it had been stored for years with batteries inside, upside down. The battery contact themselves are gone. The powerboard, although heavily damaged might be salvageable, although on a first inspection after a round of cleaning reveals a number of soldered pins floating above the pcb.

The main pcb is going to be a real challenge. First round of cleaning with vinegar and alcohol, reveals no obvious major damage expect the pads for on of the buttons having been completely eaten away. A quick first test after cleaning reveals the unit powers on, the backlight circuit is dead, and the lcd shows a flew flickering signs of life. A lot of solder joints look really dull and need to be redone, probably 50% of the board. My only concern is some of the really small through vias that might have been damaged by the corrosion. Next step is removing all caps, known bad components, and slowly start reworking the board.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider Store Display LED mod:

Some of you might have seen this display behind me in some twitch streams and wondered about the story behind it so allow me a moment to go a “little” off topic:

I work in grocery retail and for the release of “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” video game in October 2018 we had a lovely over-sized #TombRaider display setup at the front of our store.

Being a fan of the original game, I really wanted to take this home and I knew after the promotional period the display as per company policy would be destroyed in the cardboard baler.

I also knew the day it was set to be taken off the shop floor and destroyed and I ensured I came into work a little earlier that day to try to save it.

I went up to my department managers and asked if I could take it home but unfortunately they said under no circumstances could I have it and as per policy it was to be destroyed.

Well I really wasn’t happy with this outcome and as I knew I was on very good terms with the store manager who wasn’t going to be in the store for a week or so, I instead got a fellow colleague to help me hide it on the very top shelving in a back corner of the warehouse so as to attempt to try to avoid its disposal.

A week rolled past and no-one else seemed to have noticed what I had done and I got to ask the store manager when he came in and he was happy to grant me permission to take it home:

I however had more plans than to just use it has an ordinary display and I went ahead and bought myself a reel of 5050 SMD 12V Orange LED strip lights:

I also didn’t like the top and piece of the display because on the side it had a huge ugly orange circle advertising my store and the games price and thankfully it could be removed without any damage which also allowed me access to the inside of the display easily from the top:

I then could remove the sun part of the display:

On the reverse of the I applied orange LED strip lights around it to try and simulate a glowing sun effect:

I then threaded the wire through the slits that hold the sun in place and then added a 3.5mm female jack so I could use any generic 12V DC power supply to it:

And the results:

At night, in the dark:

What do you guys think?

Would anyone, like to see another similar project posted up here as well?

6 Likes

Super cool!

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I really wish I had gotten a photograph of this display actually in the store.

I thought maybe because it had the whole #TombRaider and an icon of a camera, that maybe some members of the public may have taken photographs with it and posted them online but I just can not seem to find anything.

It is also quite strange knowing that it may be the only one that still exists today…

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Looking really great. These sorts of displays are rarely ever seen here anymore here in the netherlands. The last two tomb raider games were some of my favourite action adventure titles this generation.

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Finished refurbishing a junk Gameboy pocket with some parts from others that will need new housings, displays, to create at least 1 all original parts console. A very minor blemish on the screen cover bezel top right. Some very minor A/B button wear (haven’t seen a single original one without any). And the back sticker has a few small marks around the edges after 24 years. But I still think it turned out great. Will be up for sale sometime soon. Anyone interested can send me a pm.

The rest of my pockets will be modded with new shells and IPS screens. Can maybe salvage 1 or 2 original displays for a backlight mod with new polarizers if anyone is interested.

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CAPCOM CPS2 X-Men vs Street Fighter “B” Repair:

I had the opportunity to buy a few broken arcade PCB at some good prices recently and snapped a couple up. The first one was a Blue (ETC) X-Men vs Street Fighter:

This was listed as not working and wouldn’t display any image but for £45 I thought it was worth the risk.

It arrived promptly the next day and indeed when paired with my A board it did nothing.

So I needed to open it up using a T15 Security Torx bit, but first I had to remove the original CAPCOM tamper seals to get to the screws:

This implies that this CPS2 “B” board has never been opened up before.

I tested the battery with my multi-meter and it was reading at a completely dead 0v.
Thankfully it did not appear to have leaked at all and no trace damage was present.

I de-soldered the battery which was dated April 1993:

Usually I would now replace the battery with a new LS14250 axial lead battery and then reprogram the security key with my CPS2 InfiniKey as I like to keep everything as original as possible, however I did not have anymore left on hand so instead I soldered in the InfiniKey with the correct jumpers soldered.

Since this is a B-4 board you have there is no header to solder to so an alternative mounting point is used and you have to add two wires for Ground and 5v to power the InfiniKey:

A quick test:

That went well!

Also I love this sticker that is on the case:

3 Likes

Awesome! Every time I put an infinikey in a CPS2 I feel like I’m saving an endangered animal. I live knowing that they’ll be able to keep running for years without threat of a suicide. That reminds me. I’ve been meaning to install one in my 1944 board.

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CAPCOM CPS1 A+B+C Three Wonders Repair:

The second broken PCB I picked up was a complete CAPCOM CPS1 A+B+C Stack “Three Wonders” that was listed as:

The price was £45 and my thinking was that in the worst case scenario I could at least probably do something with the B game ROM board, but it would be nice if I could get another working A or C board.

This is what I received:

It had a note attached to it stating:

I attempted to power up the A+B+C stack up but got a blank screen which was not unexpected.

So I separated all the boards so I could test them out individually.

CPS1 A motherboard PCB:

I got out my Knights of the Round B board, hooked it up to a known good de-suicided B21 C board and attached it to this 10mhz (non Dash) CPS1 A board:

It boots up with no sound and repeated background elements, but the game appears to play fine and sprites display correctly.

Since I had no sound I decided to use my logic probe on the Z80 CPU which is a common cause of loss of sound on CPS1 games and the Yamaha 2151 to check if pin activity matched what would be expected from their schematics and everything checked out okay.

Next just in case I was mistaken I decided to piggy back a known good Z80 and 2151 I had at hand:

No change…

Then I thought I hadn’t even checked the volume pot “VR1” yet. That should have been the first thing!
Straight away I noticed it was a little loose and I could spot a small crack on one of its solder joints underneath so I redid that and now I have audio:

So now I need to look into the Background repeating issues.

Looking at the A board and with a bit of help from the rather confusing schematics that have found their way online, I could isolate the possible issues to a bunch of RAM in the bottom right hand side and to the custom CAPCOM A01 PPU along with a bunch of surface mounted 74LS245.

I’ve highlighted the isolated areas below:

Since the B board covers the top of the A board it is hard to easily probe the components, so I have to resort to turning it over and probed the RAM from the bottom of the board and just reverse the pin outs.

The RAM all appears to be functioning correctly but it is impossible for me to probe the surface mounted A01 PPU and LS245’s. I attempted to power up just the A board without the ROM and security board attached to probe these but since you are missing part of the complete circuit the results won’t be reliable.

I have correct activity on all but 2 of the LS245 which have stuck high outputs, but these are also connected to ram that before had correct pin pulsing that is now also stuck high. So likely there is no issues with them but just for peace of mind I swapped them out with known working ones:

Still no joy.

This sadly leaves me with just the custom CAPCOM A01 PPU being the point of failure and I can’t get a replacement for that outside of taking one from another CPS1 A board.

For good measure I tried using the CPS1 Diagnostics ROM from Jamma Arcade:

But this really just tells me (even though some of the info is missing due to the fault) what I already knew, that the RAM was good as expected.

As a last ditch resort I re-flowed the QFP A01 PPU:

Sadly, nothing improved.

Oh well, this can become a parts board for me.

CPS1 B ROM PCB:

First thing to do here was to confirm if the Program ROM are good and what revision of the game this board is running. I am also little bit concerned if the data is okay on the one EPROM that has an exposed window. The ROM I need to check are 11f (RTE 30A), 12f (not marked) 11h (RTE 35A) & 12h (RTE 36A):

I dump them with my Top3000 programmer and get the following results:

RTE30A CRC: ef5b8b33
RTE31A CRC: 32835e5e
RTE35A CRC: 7d705529
RTE36A CRC: 7637975f

These match the MAME 3wonders.zip which means the data is all good on them and that I have the ETC (World) revision of the game.

Since Three Wonders is one of the CPS1 titles that has a suicide battery, I decide to write four new 27C010 EPROM with the decrypted PROG data from The Dead Battery Society and couple it with my de-suicided B21 C board:

I now try to boot it up using my CPS1 Dash A Board that came with my Street Fighter II Dash Turbo:

We have a fully working game!

CPS1 C Security PCB:

Now I could have stopped here as I had no idea if the B21 on this games C board was working or not.
I could have modified it so it would run “de-suicided” as a generic no Key B21, but I did not want to cut the traces required as instead I wanted to try and keep it original if at all possible.

I removed the battery that was dead (measuring zero volts) from the C board:

Then soldered in a brand new one:

I then decided to order an Arduino Zero and LCD shield so I could attempt to use Arcade Hacker’s CPS1 C board key injector ino script:

I removed my decrypted PROG ROM I had programmed and re-inserted the originals, but covered the exposed window on 12f’s EPROM:

I wired up the C board with Dupont cables originally as per the instructions:

However it just wasn’t working…

After testing everything with my multi-meter in connectivity mode it seems that the dupont cables were making very flaky connections so instead I decided to directly solder wires to my C board and Arduino.

Still no success… I checked online and found that a few people had issues with the C board getting insufficient power during writing so I increased my 5v up to 5.15v and finally it worked:

So I have a working Original C board and B board of “Three Wonders” now!

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Spent some time today finishing up these two today. funnyplaying IPS screens, both have a new case with USB-C port so they can be run from an internal lithium battery once you plug in a truepower board from handheld legens/retrosix.

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I don’t have anything as impressive to share as Suteneko, but I had a small success recently that made me happy.

I’ve been playing a ton of PSOv2 on Dreamcast lately and all of a sudden the right trigger button on an original controller stopped working. I was all set to use it as an excuse to pick up a new DC Striker controller but paused and decided to take it apart and see what was going on.

After poking around a bit, nothing really jumped out at me, so on a whim I decided to spray the contact points with this stuff:

And that’s when the magic happened. Everything is working great now. :slight_smile:

I get a lot of satisfaction keeping old things working and not adding to a landfill, so this ridiculously simple thing really made my day.

4 Likes

Hey, all that matters is that you got a successful repair!

I’m exactly the same and hate seeing things not being recycled, repaired and re-used, just because very few people have the skills or just can’t even be bothered now days.

I live close to my local landfill and every day see the same dodgy people who hop the security fences and scavenge stuff go past my window with bags full of stuff that it is hard to believe anyone would throw away.

One of my neighbors knows a couple of the gypsies that do that and occasionally buys stuff from them which most of the time I end up having to repair, but the upshot is I can ask him to look out for a few things for me which has paid off a couple of times.

Just going to the tip shop (which is closed due to that thing that is happening that shall not be named) horrifies me every time seeing the amount of stuff they send to landfill just because it wont turn on, they don’t have power leads or fails a stupid PAT test…

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SEGA Master System Cartridge ROM Replacement:

@anon8946355 asked on our Discord if anyone could program EPROM as:

So I started to look into this, but unfortunately perhaps as an anti piracy or more likely a price cutting measure SEGA opted to include a Memory Mapper inside the actual Mask ROM of the majority of SMS titles.

Without a Memory Mapper the SEGA Master System can only access 48KB which really isn’t enough for a lot of the games that would benefit from a Mask ROM swap to apply fixes or modifications.

However, a few titles did consistently use an external Memory Mappers and these therefore can have their Mask ROM replaced with an EPROM with capacities higher than 48K of which there are three known variants:

315-5208 - 1Mbit Maximum
315-5235 - 4Mbit Maximum with Battery Backup
315-5365 - 4Mbit Maximum

Here is an example of two different 2MBit SMS cartridges:

The one on the left (Rainbow Islands) has a MMC embedded inside the Mask Rom while the one on the right has an external 315-5235 MMC (Rastan).

If you want to read up more about this check out the Paging Chips document over at SMS Power.

Has a test I decided to try to put the SMS Power Phantasy Star re-translation 2.00 onto my original Phantasy Star cartridge:

Opening up my cartridge you can see in has an external 315-5235 MMC:

Using my De-soldering Gun I de-soldered the Mask Rom:

Mask ROM removed:

Phantasy Star uses a 4Mbit Mask Rom so I needed to find a pin compatible 4Mbit EPROM that matches the pin out below:

27C040

I choose a 27c040:

Using Lunar IPS I patch the Japanese Phantasy Star ROM (CRC:6605D36A):

image

Which results in a patched ROM with a CRC of A04CF71A.
I then write the patched ROM file to a 27c040 using my programmer:

Then I soldered in the 27C040:

Since this will be inside a sealed cartridge there is no need to cover the EPROM window:

Because the Phantasy Star re-translation contains FM audio I decided to test this in my MegaDrive as I don’t have a FM enabled SMS, but I do own a DBElectronics SMS convertor that includes FM Sound:

and it runs perfectly! Even my original saves load up fine:

Sadly a lot of games that would benefit from patches (such as Rainbow Island which has a glitch that crashes the game so it can not be properly completed) do not use an external MMC, so you would have to find an appropriate donor cart which is not something I like to see being done.

As for the original Phantasy Star Mask ROM, I inserted it in the ESD safe tubing that the EPROM originally came in and Blu Tacked it inside the case:

4 Likes

That’s awesome, I’d like to do that to my copy of Phantasy Star too… all I need is an EPROM writer :stuck_out_tongue:

edit: Is that an AMD EPROM? Cool… GPU Accelerated SMS!

2 Likes

Super cool! I’ve been looking into doing some stuff like this as well. In fact I’m planning to do a Gradius 3 SA-1 conversion soon following Voultar’s guide. I also have a copy of Phantasy Star for the SMS. I didn’t even know there was a re-translation for it out there. I may have to do this as well!

1 Like

Awesome work! I love that the original ROM is preserved too.

Thank you for taking an interest in this and doing the research.

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