Fixing up a Game Gear

r0jaws

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I was recently gifted a Sega Game Gear and was not surprised to find that it wasn't exactly in tip top shape.

The capacitors on these are approaching 20 years old, and apparently the Game Gear shipped with a complete set of dodgy, cheap caps. Consequently the sound and video are now suffering.

If you have one and can only see an image after it has been switched on for a while, and then only from a strange angle, and if the sound if very low or scratchy the chances are your caps are at the end of their life and need replacing.

Mine was exhibiting these exact symptoms.

This was after I had it switched on for about 5 mins and viewed from a 30 degree angle. If you looked at it from any other angle, it ghosts out completely. (n) The sound is also very faint even on full power, but is fine when using a headset.

SegaGameGearsmall.jpg


A video of it booting up, prior to my fixing it up.

Game Gear Before Cap replacement

Popping the case open is fairly straightforward, there are only 6 screws and one "security screw". I had to remove this with needle nose pliers, but once they are all out the case comes apart very easily.

GameGearcapacitorreplacement0.jpg


Next is unplugging the 3 cables that join the top and bottom half of the casing. They come out quite easily with no problem.

Once the case is seperated, it is fairly straight forward to start replacing the capacitors. I noticed a couple of mine had started to leak, so I was careful to mop up and clean any residue.


GameGearcapacitorreplacement1.jpg


This is the first Cap I removed, just to the right of the blue cable connection. The caps are lightly glued to the surface but break away quite easily with minimum force and the use of a pair of pliers. Once the contacts are desoldered, a quick clean and both pads primed with some fresh solder. Trimming the new cap legs down to a usable length it takes a few seconds to solder them in, being careful of course to keep the correct polarity. As a clue, the longer leg is positive.

GameGearcapacitorreplacement2.jpg


For my motherboard revision there was a total of 11 caps to replace which didn't take too long TBH. Although I did have to do a little further manoeuvering and trimming a bit later on so that I could close the case.

GameGearcapacitorreplacement3.jpg


I also wanted to replace the capacitor responsible for the sound. This is on the upper part of the shell and was a little trickier.

GameGearcapacitorreplacement5.jpg


Once this is all completed, it was then only a job of a few minutes to put the case back together again, replace the screws and get ready for a test.

Game Gear after Cap replacement

I think that is what is called a result. :D

I had a good half hour playing Outrun, and whilst it's not exactly Arcade quality, it's a fun little system and comfortable and simple to play.
Battery life is the killer though, but luckily the PSU lead is about 6 feet long!

I love it when a plan comes together.
 
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RedDaemonFox

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Well, i have one that picks up interference, I need to go ahead and replace the audio cap. Is it normal for the screen to turn green as you tone the backlight down?
 

r0jaws

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Mine doesn't, but that doesn't mean that others may not do that. It's not something I have come across yet.
 

Zetr0

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@r0jaws

Well done indeed!!!!

An EPIC result!!!!


Its been a treat today - with Hardware pr0n a-plenty and Hardware Pr0n movies too!!!!

Nice restoration project my friend.. well worthy of a sticky... infact... I think we need a restoration sub-forum and a hackery forum LOL...
 

imnogeek

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Nice on r0jaws, I have 2 of these beasts with a tv tuner too, one was working till I left it for a few years with the batteries in and one is in pieces for spares (I think it had a sound problem??)

All I need to do now is negotiate with a reputable repair man to make a good one :mrgreen:
 

SkydivinGirl

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Simply amazing! Very well done. :) I think this will be one of my next projects since I have 4 or 5 of these. More soldering practice. :wink:

Heather
 

rkauer

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I detected high levels of WIN in this thread!

Well done, mate.(y)
 

SkydivinGirl

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@r0jaws

I was revisiting this thread because I've got about ten Game Gears now and they pretty much all need the caps replaced! I tried looking at your videos but the web site is asking for a password to view the videos. :( Could we get the password?

Thanks!

Heather
 

r0jaws

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I'll sort that out later on, but the video only shows the GG working after I had finished it.
Do you need some more detail on the fixes?
 

SkydivinGirl

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Thanks! I'd still like to see the video of the finished project. :)

I noticed you switched from the square capacitors to the round ones. Were the square ones just unavailable? Also, do the square capacitors have the same information on them as the round ones? I need to be able to determine the new ones that I need. :)

Thanks!

Heather
 

Witcher1979

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I'll sort that out later on, but the video only shows the GG working after I had finished it.
Do you need some more detail on the fixes?

I think I may have a game gear somewhere with a mashed screen. Might need caps replacing, if I do still have it do you want it FOC just whatever it costs to post? You might be able to save another one or use it as spares. Again I need to look for it first if you do want it.

Cheers

EDIT found it, even has the master gear converter if you are interested.
 

Jazzmarazz

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I got hold of a VG resale store's damaged stock of GGs so I have about 5 or 6 that all need their caps replaced and Ill have more the next time I see the guy. I even got a solid black one which is apparently not as common as the load of greys. I can freely come and go from the Engineering dept. at Uni now so after the holiday break Ill probably fix them all one after the other. Sadly for me, there is a music making homebrew and I have no donor carts that don't have a glop-top....

Thanks! I'd still like to see the video of the finished project. :)

I noticed you switched from the square capacitors to the round ones. Were the square ones just unavailable? Also, do the square capacitors have the same information on them as the round ones? I need to be able to determine the new ones that I need. :)

Thanks!

Heather

I believe that the square ones are not as readily available as round ones these days. They are both electorlytic caps but the ones in a GG have a square plastic enclosure that probably allows for them to sit more comfortably and may have been easier for machines to place on the board ... but that is just my guess. As for the farads and voltages, yes, the info is on the square ones but is sometimes hard to read and since there are several different versions of GGs, you will want to make sure you have them all written down before removing them. Im sure you knew that since you have so many.
It could also be helpful if you took down the different versions you have and make a list of the caps you need for each. I know of a few online Game modding stores that try to put together cap-replacement-kits and the GG kit is very sought after.
 

SkydivinGirl

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Sadly for me, there is a music making homebrew and I have no donor carts that don't have a glop-top....
I probably have around 100 GG carts. I didn't realize they used glops on the chips inside a lot of them. I guess I'll have to open them up to see if any of them can be used for the music homebrew scene. :)

It could also be helpful if you took down the different versions you have and make a list of the caps you need for each. I know of a few online Game modding stores that try to put together cap-replacement-kits and the GG kit is very sought after.
I'll certainly make some lists of the different board revisions and the caps that go along with them. I'll then have to order a bunch of caps since I would like to fix all of them. Most, if not all, of mine have the white screen issue.

Heather
 

AtariJay

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Game Gear Hackery

Game Gear Hackery

Im loving the ggear, naked too, The MEGADRIVE has been stripped and put back together was working, some reason not now. I have a spare MD1 which i will use and put into the cleaner case. Also problem with picture signal with both MD1s pic flickering. No probs with MD2. will show keith in the week but im fixing it. Gotta get more confident with the Hackery. (y) :coffee:
Will be putting pics up soon
 

r0jaws

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....I think I may have a game gear somewhere with a mashed screen. Might need caps replacing, if I do still have it do you want it FOC just whatever it costs to post? You might be able to save another one or use it as spares. Again I need to look for it first if you do want it.

Cheers

EDIT found it, even has the master gear converter if you are interested.

That would be great, thanks for the offer. I'll definitely take it. :bowdown:
I know that Keith and Jay are after one of these, and they can have it once I fix it up.

---------- Post added at 18:30 ---------- Previous post was at 18:23 ----------

Thanks! I'd still like to see the video of the finished project. :)

I noticed you switched from the square capacitors to the round ones. Were the square ones just unavailable? Also, do the square capacitors have the same information on them as the round ones? I need to be able to determine the new ones that I need. :)

Thanks!

Heather

What Jazmarraz says in #16. It was easier and cheaper to use standard electrolytic caps and all the values were on the originals. I'll pop the case open in a bit and list out which ones went where.

[EDIT]

Game Gear Type 2 Capacitors list:
Mainboard

c1 - 33uf 6.3v
c3 - 10uf 16v
c6 - 10uf 16v
c31 - 100uf 6.3v
c35 - 4.7uf 35v
c37 - 68uf 6.3v
c39 - 100uf 4v
c44 - 0.47uf 50v
c45 - 0.47uf 50v
c48 - 10uf 16v
c49 - 22uf 6.3v


Soundboard

c1 - 100uf 6.3v
c2 - 100uf 6.3v
c3 - 100uf 6.3v
c5 - 47uf 4v
c7 - 47uf 6.3v

Just check your board though, mine is a type 2. If you have a type 1 they are different. I have a list of those somewhere, I'll dig it out. The way to tell is a Type 1 GG has capacitor c11. A type 2 doesn't have this cap.

[EDIT 2]

Game Gear Type 1 Capacitors list:

c68 - 100uf 6.3v
c43 - 22uf 6.3v
c45 - 4.7uf 35v
c55 - 0.47uf 50v
c54 - 0.47uf 50v
c48 - 33uf 6.3v
c49 - 10uf 16v
c1 - 10uf 16v
c4 - 10uf 16v
c48 - 10uf 16v
c11 - 10uf 16v

Unfortunately, I don't have a type 1 Game Gear, so if you have one, check which caps you need before replacing them. My list is not definitive. If you have the time please let me know and I will update the listing above.
 
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SkydivinGirl

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Thanks! I really appreciate it. :) I bought an EverDrive GG and haven't been able to play it because the one GG I had that worked started to white screen so I can't see it any more. :(

I have a couple of the rechargeable battery packs that I may crack open and try to replace the batteries. Adds a lot of bulk to the GG but rechargeable is so nice, especially since these are battery hogs.

Heather
 
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