Question about cleaning retro consoles:

Total posts: [16]
1 OmegaKross6th Nov 2012 09:22:14 AM from Nosgoth , Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
Since I cant find any dedicated retro console threads, I'm just gonna post this up here. So I bought myself a Sega Mega Drive 2 from my local game shop and decided to give it a clean, as it's second hand and pretty grimy. I checked out a bunch of videos on youtube and it seemed pretty easy so I got a can of WD-40 and dissasembled the control pad. Here is where I ask my question: are the contacts in a european mega drive controller supposed to be black? The contacts in the videos I watched were copper, but everybody in the videos was american, and I've not been able to track down any other scources. If it's corrosion then nothing's going to shift it, I was scrubbing for ten minutes.
2 Elle6th Nov 2012 11:59:12 AM , Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
I can't speek specifically to consoles or tell you whether you've got corrosion, but as a build-mine-and-other-peoples-P Cs person I can tell you that circuit parts/electrical contacts should be cleaned with isopropyl ("rubbing") alcohol because it's nonconductive and evaporates quickly and completely. Never water. I've never heard anyone recommend WD-40 for the purpose and I can't imagine it's a good idea because AFAIK it leaves a film.
3 OmegaKross6th Nov 2012 12:35:10 PM from Nosgoth , Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
Literally nowhere in my whole fucking town sells rubbing alcohol, I tried to get some today. WD-40 seems to work fine, since I've seen it used to clean cartridge connector pins. Tried it myself today and it works.

Now my biggest problem is the AV cable wont display the picture properly unless I fiddle with it. Displays everything in purple. I'm getting an RCA cable off amazon so hopefully that should fix the problem.
4 TamH706th Nov 2012 01:01:51 PM , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
You should be able to get hold of Isopropyl Alcohol on ebay - either or

Seems to be priced rather oddly but it is available.
5 OmegaKross6th Nov 2012 02:22:49 PM from Nosgoth , Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
Yeah, I looked on amazon and they have it on there too. What percentage of isopropyl should I be looking at?

Picture seems to spontaneously fix itself after the console has been running for a while. Then reverts to purple when I reset. Hope this isnt an issue with the console itself. I know how to take it apart to clean it but I'm buggered if I know how to actually repair it.

Oh, and the pad only works if I really jam it into the socket. One of the pins is slightly bent. If I straighten it will it register the pad better?

EDIT: BTW, I found an image of a japanese Mega Drive 2 motherboard. Since the connector pins for the Mega CD port are black, like they are on mine, then I assume that means that black is normal for contacts on Mega Drive 2's and their controllers. Probably to protect them from corrosion.

Image here. Pins are on the right of the board.

edited 6th Nov '12 2:36:52 PM by OmegaKross

6 Elle6th Nov 2012 11:13:58 PM , Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Where the heck do you live? Drugstores and grocery stores generally both sell it.

Go for the highest percentage you can get, generaly 90%+, avoid anything that's colored/scented/flavored.
7 TamH707th Nov 2012 12:26:34 AM , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
You may be able to bend the pins back into place but don't use too much force otherwise they will fracture where they are bent.
8 Enkufka7th Nov 2012 01:01:38 AM from Bay of White fish
Wandering Student ಠ_ಠ
... why the fuck would isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol be flavored?!

That's like lemon flavored bleach. :|

edited 7th Nov '12 1:02:28 AM by Enkufka

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9 OmegaKross7th Nov 2012 04:38:21 AM from Nosgoth , Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
Where the heck do you live? Drugstores and grocery stores generally both sell it.

England. And the town I live in is a backwater shithole where the only prospects for the future are urban decay and alcoholism. Apparently only specialist electronics shops sell it. I did try to contact one not five minutes ago, but it seems everybody is on their fucking lunch break.

The issue seems to be with the RF cable itself. I'm gonna check the motherboard later and see if the solder round the AV connector is ok. Course if it isn't there's fuck all I can do about it. But I got paid today, so my scart cable is on the way.

The connector on the RF cable is weird in and of itself. The AV jackhas 9 holes, but the connector only has 3 pins. It's the right one, I checked, and there arent any pins broken off, so why would it only have 3 pins if the connector has 9 holes?
10 OmegaKross12th Nov 2012 02:01:42 PM from Nosgoth , Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
So I got my new AV cable today, hooked it up to my Mega Drive expecting it to fix the display problems I'm having. It didn't. Everything is still purple and blurry. Sometimes if I fiddle with the jack it will display normally but within a minute or so it goes back to purple. Oddly, Primal Rage displays properly during gameplay and on the scoreboard, but all the menu screens are purple.

I think it might be a problem with the AV port itself. And I have a strong suspicion that somebody has spilled coke in this thing at one point, judging by the brown syrupy crap I cleaned off the motherboard. If I wanted to reflow the solder joints on the AV port, how would I go about it? Bearing in mind I have no experience with this kind of repair.
11 TamH7013th Nov 2012 01:38:22 AM , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
If you don't know what you are doing with reflowing, just don't do it. You will, no shit, kill your console. The shops that do this stuff professionally have ovens that they know operate at the correct temperature and their workers have a lot of practice at it.

You would be far better getting a new console from Ebay. There are at least a hundred of them on sale just now, most with games and controllers.

Oh, just thought of something. What kind of television do you have? A CRT or one of the new flat screen thingies?

edited 13th Nov '12 2:04:20 AM by TamH70

12 OmegaKross13th Nov 2012 02:07:55 AM from Nosgoth , Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
Well if it's screwed anyway I'm hardly going to make things any worse. But yeah, at this point it'll probably be cheaper to replace the console.

Just how the hell do you learn the skills necessary to repair old consoles in the first place? Is it just a case of experimenting until you stop fucking up?

My TV is an LCD Flatscreen, but I dont think it has anything to do with my display issues. It has a port for the oldRF cable and I'm now using an AV cable with a SCART connector. Also, like I said, Primal Rage displays somewhat correctly, and fiddling with the jack sometimes corrects the issue for all of a minute. I'll give it a try on the downstairs TV, which isn't a flatscreen, but I dont think it'll make a difference.

edited 13th Nov '12 2:13:09 AM by OmegaKross

13 TamH7013th Nov 2012 02:23:21 AM , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
The best way of fixing motherboard problems on a console is to simply bin the one you know is busted and fit a newer one that you know works from a console that is otherwise screwed up. That's how I eventually ended up with a working PS3 and DS Phat.

Reflowing is something that does take practice to master. Even if you follow every tip online reference doing it you can still get it wrong. Shop workers who do it are usually working on machines that are gubbed anyway, as far as the owners of the machines are concerned. Actually getting a system back that works is a bonus.
14 OmegaKross13th Nov 2012 02:33:23 AM from Nosgoth , Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
Funnily enough, replacing the motherboard is exactly what I'm thinking of doing.

All I've managed to glean from the internet about reflowing solder joints is to either fry the motherboard with a heat gun (which seems like it could cause more issues than it fixes) or to melt the solder joints manually with a soldering iron and apply new solder. If I had any soldering skills I'd probably try it, but unfortunately I had a dickhead for an electronics teacher in high school, and he bumped me down to woodwork on the very first day to make an example to the rest of the class, so I never learned.

Checked eBay, but I prefer Amazon. I dont like having to compete with everybody else who wants a console, I prefer to just buy my stuff outright.
15 TamH7013th Nov 2012 07:42:33 AM , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
[up]There is one available "buy it now" on ebay for under a tenner. Postage and packaging are free. Just the console unit, no accessories or owt like that, but if you have working versions of those already, you don't need 'em anyway.
16 OmegaKross13th Nov 2012 10:45:57 AM from Nosgoth , Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
Hmmm... that puts me in an awkward situation. It's likely I'll be able to get hold of a Mega Drive thats currently going to waste and swap out the motherboard, but if I cant, it leaves me up a creek with a borked console. I could just buy the one of eBay and return my current console, but I'm suspicious as to why only the console is being offered, and for such a low price.

I think I'll wait and see what the next few days bring. If I cant get hold of a replacement motherboard, then I'll look into eBay. You're looking at 30 quid or more on Amazon.

BTW, nobody yet has offered any suggestions as to what exactly may be wrong with my console. I think it may be the AV port is FUBAR'd, but I'm just going off intuition. And Why would Primal Rage work properly, but only during a match?
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Total posts: 16