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Everything retro - big and small! Live from Perth, Australia!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting Technical

Whoa there! Three posts in three consecutive days? I think this is a first for Retro Game On! Better add a forum plus a busy community to go with it!
Anyways, you may remember in this post where I got my greasy mits on a Sega Game Gear. I bought it knowing that the speakers didn't work and the screen could only be viewed at a weird angle, the plan was to buy a TV adapter so I could play it on a television instead (thus pushing the problems out of the equation). Only one thing stood in the way of this plan... no such things exist.

I wasn't too happy having to live with a broken GG considering I've wanted one since I was about 10. I've since decided that I'm going to have a crack at fixing it. After many a Google search I've come up with, what I hope is, a solution.
If I'm right my GG is suffering from a fairly common problem among GG's, which isn't too hard to fix.
You see back in the 90's when these were produced, it is believed that Sega cut corners and fitted all GG's with shitty capacitors. They did the job at the time but 20 years down the track they're starting to fail.
The fact that the speaker does not work but the headphones do (headphones run off a different capacitor) and that the screen can only be viewed by turning it on a weird angle indicates regular symptoms of the capacitors dying. The fix is completely straight forward, remove the old caps and solder in new ones.
I'm doing this by following two different YouTube tutorials and my old man is teaching me how to solder since I've never done it before. It doesn't look that hard though.

I've already bought the supplies in which I need online for the job.
First off I bought this Gamebit tool. I need this so I can get the security screw off as it is unique, all the other screws are just your standard Phillip Head though. The pack I bought came with two different tools which cover a wide range of consoles and cartridges so the purchase is not a waste after this project. No doubt that I'll need to use them again in the future.
Second off was this 'Fix Kit' which I bought off Rewind-Bits.com.uk. Rewind Bits is an online shop for repairing retro game consoles. The kit in which I bought contains all the caps that you'll need for both audio and visual problems covering both versions of the GG. It also comes with a printed colour instruction manual just in case.

Watching those video tutorials the presenters stress that it might not be the problem, but it usually is. Its not the only thing that can go wrong with a GG. I understand this but I really want to try the fix anyway for the experience and also a project to keep me occupied. Plus I just really want to play my Game Gear.
If it fails, so what. I haven't lost much. A little bit of money and time is all.

I've only just ordered the necessary equipment so I don't expect it to get here for another few weeks. The Gamebit comes from America and the caps come from the UK, both of which are on the other side of the world from me.

More on this story as it continues.


  1. I've been thinking of getting the exact same kit from Rewind Bits for months now, due to my Game Gear not working at all. I've found the 20-odd capacitors required to be removed and soldered to be a bit too daunting though.

    I'd really like to see how you get on with this, good luck!

  2. Thanks, I'll make sure I keep the blog updated. And yeah it is a lot of work but I'm determined to make sure my Game Gear works, I can play it in about 5 minute intervals before the screen becomes unwatchable, which is so teasing.