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Retro repair and refurbishment

Ninja Doctor

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33 minutes ago, Ninja Doctor said:

Torx security bolts have a pin in the middle of the recess so the tool end looks like a hollow star. 

A really small, flat head screwdriver usually helps to snap those sodding pins out if you don't have the recess in your Torx equivalent bit ;)


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1 hour ago, Pistol said:

I had the rubber go on an Xbox one thumb stick recently, found out that Nintendo switch thumb stick grips fit nicely over the bare Xbox stick top if you strip the old rubber all the way off.


Nice, that's a handy tip to know, shall deploy that in future for sure :)


Today, I discovered that the analog stick in a Nun Chuck fits nicely inside a Gamecube pad, as the Xbox one I'd tried first didn't fit and the one from a knock off GC pad was too proud to let the stick actually move once the cap was put back on, meant destroying a nun chuck, but better than a dead official GC pad :)

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Speaking of controllers, I opened up a NES controller to give it a clean due to unresponsive buttons to find that it was beyond gross inside and the silicon pads were disintegrating.


I'd had one of these replacements lying around for years so I cleaned the board and plastic then put it in! The difference it makes. It's like using a new controller!


Gonna buy more and refresh my Famicom controllers next.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Started cleaning my GC last week and got carried away- ended up installing my GCLoader and SD2SP2 as well, using the LaserBear SD card extender for the former. It was such an easy mod- I didn't even look at the instructions and ended up going memories of a half-remembered YouTube video I watched last year.


Frustratingly it seems that my lovely indigo Cube has faded to a dark blue in storage though. I'm in two minds about retrobriting it with cream as I don't want it to go streaky, so I may end up going for the full bath in a plastic tub treatment under UV to ensure even coverage.

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I RGB modded a toploader NES last Sept and in Dec, it started acting intermittently weird, then always weird. I FINALLY got around to doing something about it over the past few days, I thought it was a trace that I'd pulled while removing the PPU, but it was a few solder joints that needed some attention. You can tell from the patterns as I progress, that it's a lookup into VRAM that wasn't quite right.


What I was faced with, if the game started at all (depended on mapper used in cart)



Fixing address lines... getting there... 


Boom! Sorry for the widescreen, Retrotink2x SCART doesn't handle that and I didn't want to set it on the monitor for testing...



Back where it belongs. Who knows what'll go wrong with it next, I was going to sell it on, but would feel bad doing that now and am a bit attached to it.


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Well, today’s task was to pop a micro usb into a gba micro, as the charging port was knackered and had been long since removed


i started with a USB to DIP board, trimmed it down to fit, scaled away at the traces to reveal them, soldered the pos and beg wires to the board, tacked the usb down on to the mounting posts as they conveniently lined up, attached the wires to the board and plugged it in.... nothing!stripped it all the way down to the board, tested the fuses, they were fine, looked at the power switch and low and behold, it would appear that I’d previously ( badly ) swapped it out, as it was probably faulty.

sorted that, and then set about doing the mod again, this time better.

I attached the mini pcb again, but this tine I ran the wires around the top of the gba’s pcb, instead of having them sandwiched between the two boards, and well, as you can see, it looks alright :) oh, and it works :sealclap:




















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  • 3 weeks later...

So I dug out my old Green Gameboy Micro and want to fix a scratch on the faceplate that runs across the screen.


What's the best stuff to get to try and clean it off? I have a couple spare unofficial plates I can test on first so I don't completely crap it up!



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I think I killed a SNES 101 I was working on, normally I'm so careful with ESD, but I had to rush out of the room to get something and when I came back in, I picked up the motherboard and felt a zap.


Tested it out after and games don't work on it anymore.


I was adding an RGB amp, but hadn't gone beyond adding some wires to vias to tap RGB. I inspected the soldering and traces in the vicinity and all looks well, so I don't think it's that.


Fuck, I got this one in great nick for cheaper than normal so I was gonna make a nice few bob selling it. 

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If it makes you feel better I completely ballsed up a Gameboy Pocket screen last night and had to chuck it. Ended up with vertical lines after removing the foil and polariser. Damaged the ribbon cable whilst doing it. Tbf for the price I paid I’m happy just for the main board to put an IPS screen on. It might have already been broken but didn’t check before I started. Doh!


Poor quality photo from eBay listing 


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Any recommendations for good quality tools? I'm hunting for a decent tri-wing screwdriver to open up a GameCube memory card and a Wavebird receiver. Everything I've seen so far looks rather cheap and I'd rather not strip any screws.

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So far I have spent since 5pm working on 10 3DS XL's ( one I had on the shelf, the other 9 came as a job lot for just under £300 ).

3 of them turn out to be USA region, 2 of those work, the other needs work

2 are dead, Black screen, tinkered with the WiFi chips, nothing, so they're done for.

the other 5, 3 are together and working, one needs a lower screen, which are on order and on route from China and the fifth I'm now about to check, after letting the ribbon connector soak in some white vinegar for a while.


My back aches, the place is covered in screws and bits of 3DS's and it's gone 10, urggghhh, one last push before home time :p

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23 hours ago, Colonel Panic said:

I bought a set from Console5.com, but they come from the US and you need to buy a few bits and pieces to make the shipping worth your while.

Thanks- had a look and came to the same conclusion. Luckily I found some tri-wing bits hidden away in an old tool kit that I used to use while servicing consoles about 10-15 years ago and had forgotten about, like a complete boob. They're just the right size.

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I popped into a game shop today and they had a large cabinet of ‘spares and repairs’. This stuff was dirt cheap, NESs for £10, PS2s £5 etc. I picked up a GBAsp with a non working screen for £12 and two DMG game boys, one wasn’t turning on the other had horizontal lines for £10 each.


GBA just needed the ribbon cable reinserting. One DMG just has dirty contacts and works fine. The other I’ll just fit with an IPS screen and have a go at fixing a horizontal line and see what the fuss is about. 


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My second backlight/bivert this time with a white LED backlight. Urrrhg, this one was frustrating. I did the bivert chip in a few minutes but the bloody polarising filter!! The previous kit I used from Deadpan robot had a filter that had two layers of protective film that needed peeling, neither side sticky. This one from China had a sticky side! God knows what I was meant to do with it but it looked god awful on the screen, like a really bubbly screen protector. I went through a second filter but faired no better until I opted to only take only one side of film off, the non sticky side. This seems to work fine. Hopefully the next will be quicker!


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More adventures in gameboy modding:


First one went well with a backlight/bivert and although it turned on I hadn’t checked it with a game! After the mod I tried to boot up some games and only got garbled Nintendo logos. I almost gave up on it but persevered with isopropyl alcohol applied with a toothbrush, which did nothing, then I doused it in vinegar with much scrubbing, still nothing. Finally resorted to sandpaper which appears to have brought it back to life.


Second was another backlight but I tried it on one of my nicer condition consoles. This time the backlight seemed quite uneven in lighting so I tried another which still wasn’t perfect. Anyway, done now and moving on. Got the mod process down to less than one hour provided no issues.


Another question for veteran modders, the backlight in my previous post showing Mario 2 is super nice, the others I’ve done (from the same batch of backlights and bivert chips) don’t seem quite as clear. Is there anything that might cause this such as having the polarising filter flipped the wrong side or maybe one of the solder points on the bivert chip hasn’t been properly flooded?





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Let’s do Dreamcast clock battery and whilst we’re there replace the controller board fuse and swap out the LED. 

So here’s what we’ll be working on:


the offending article is the soldered on rechargeable coin cell. Well it was rechargeable back in 1998. Fire up the soldering iron a heat up the three solder points underneath. We will be replacing it with a coin cell battery holder. 

tada! Slots right in the empty holes almost like they’re made to some standard. 

well that was easy enough so whilst we’re here let’s remove the fuse F1 and put a lovely resettable poly fuse in its place, it’s the thing that looks like a blue resistor in picture two above near the ribbon connector. Finally we’ll swap the old orange LED with a blue one so it matches the swirl. This is solely cosmetic. 

finished board back in the Dreamcast and with the ML2032 coin cell installed:


lovely blue light :)


the coin cell holder kits are available on eBay, just make sure you get a ML2032 coin cell. Difficulty, probably a 3/10 as long as you know which end of a soldering iron not to touch. 

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Having problems with my Saturn. It's a PAL VA0 I bought off some crowd in the UK 15 years ago.


When I retrieved it from storage when the last Irish lockdown ended, it was the only console that wasn't working. It would play audio tracks, but not games.


So, I tried tweaking the laser - no luck, got another 20 pin CD ROM drive - no luck. I'd also ordered a 20 pin Fenrir which won't work either.


So I got in touch with Ced about the Fenrir and he's given me some troubleshooting tips.


Opened the Saturn to find this mess...




I'll so some troubleshooting but fucking hell, using epoxy is just the WORST! 


I'd bought a Japanese model on eBay and it just happens to be a VA0 model as well so at least I can confirm the Fenrir works, but I bought this so I'd have a CD ROM-based Saturn to hand for my originals.

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