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Common Video Game Repairs

Ok, so I want to play Sega's F-16 fighting falcon and I have to pull out the Master System because the power base converter doesn't handle the second joystick. Blah blah, but the first player joystick will not go up or down. No problem, I have had to repair this before. The solder joints popped of the pads. I take the system apart, get out my old low wattage soldering iron and re-solder the joints. Still not working. Hmm. Out comes the trusty Simpson 260 voltmeter. Measure continuity between the joystick connector post and the closest solder point and sure enough, two pins are open. Out comes the jumper wires and two new wires are added. And we have another repaired video game. Let me show you a pic of a Sega Genesis joystick connector.

DO NOT try this at home unless you know what you are doing. You do this at your own risk and I can and will not be responsible for your actions or inactions or inability to fix it because it just might not be fixable. This is advice only.

I have seen this problem with just about every system that takes this 9 pin standard joystick. Starting with the Atari on up to the Genesis. Sometimes the joints just pop. So simply re-soldering point A or point D would do the trick. Sometimes they break the metal that is stuck to the circuit board. For example, you should have continuity between points A and B. Or D and C. If the contact pad breaks sometimes a little extra solder will do the trick  but that will always break again. If you don't have continuity between A and B just take a little piece of wire and solder one on A and one on B. Be very careful if you had to solder between points C and D. If you see something like point C. Make sure to solder carefully onto these surface mount components. The green coating is designed to repel solder. You can scrape through it and reveal bare copper. But be careful what you scrape. Also the little holes are there to continue the trace on the other side of the board. Sometimes these holes can be a convenient place to solder a wire.

This same principal can be applied to power switches and power connector plugs. Video games sitting on a floor can get stepped on. The little power connector can have a trace pop just like the joystick. The RF connector is also another area subject to lots of stress. The female RCA or Phone jack can have problems. If the connector spins around it has lost it's soldering seat and quite possibly the connection inside to the center post.

You need a higher wattage iron or soldering gun to generate the heat to reconnect one of these. Or some power connectors that use large solder pads. Be very careful as these generate much more heat and can unsolder delicate surface mount components instantly.

So the easiest things to fix are joysticks that don't work in certain directions. Always confirm this with multiple joysticks though :)  Poor video or no video. Power that won't come on.

Some systems are just plain dead. Like the Sega I used for the pic above. That is my original Genesis. And it is dead. Powers up, no screen or sound or anything. No composite or RF. It is DEAD. Since it is the first model I keep it for parts because they are better than the second rev of the model 1.

Please email me if you would like assistance with repairing a game. The first response is free. Any additional info you need will cost you.  :)  Get out your PayPal or trade me something I want :)

P.S. I plan on adding some more pics to illustrate later.

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