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

Friday, February 26, 2016

Welcoming an NES into the Retro Game On Fold

Over the years, I've gradually fulfilled the wish list of consoles I want in my collection. However (and unfortunately), since I started the price of everything has seemingly risen two-fold.
That sucks, and since I'm an extreme tightarse who can't stop talking about the price of retro hardware 'in the good old days', I very rarely add new hardware. The last thing added was a restored Game Gear, and that was back in the August of 2014! Plus, the only reason I bought it was because I failed at trying to fix two other broken units - my way of trying to save money that ultimately wasted a lot of time and money anyway. Check out the 'Game Gear' label to the left if you want to read more about those particular stories (to build intrigue I'll add that it all started in a French village).

Anyway, not being one to be swayed by two failed repair projects - I did it all again by buying a broken NES. I'm glad to say, though, that this time I was successful in the repair.
I got the idea after seeing a broken NES for $100 in a pawn store. Yes, I shit you not. I thought that was a bit ridiculous since I've seen a lot of working units go for between $120-140. Not wanting to pay that much anyway, though, I visited one of those Nintendo buy and sell pages on Facebook asking for a broken bargain.
I found a nice guy who offered me a dismantled NES (including all parts) AND a replacement 72 pin connector (the likely problem part) for $50 delivered. Considering the size, the distance (he was on the other side of Australia from me) and the fantastic packing the guy did, it was an amazing deal.

Towards the end of the repair.
The connector was an issue - yes, but replacing that didn't quite fix the problem. A little later after some Googling, though and I was deactivating the region lock-out chip. I should add by the way, that all of this is in the video I posted a few weeks ago.
If you don't feel like watching that however, pulling out that chip (well, pulling out the right leg of the chip, anyway) actually got the NES running. It wasn't the end of the road, though, as the controller didn't work.
The controller I had was a cheap aftermarket knock-off (told you I was a tightarse) that may have been the cause of the problem. But since I had to wait a little while for a legit controller to arrive from eBay, I researched all the possible problems that could cause the controller not to work in the mean time.
The possible issues ranged from the controller port modules being shot (which could be replaced but at a high-ish price) to the IC's that tell what the controller ports to do being fried. I didn't really feel like dealing with any of that, so it was a relief the legit controller arrived and it worked.

This brings us to the Part II of that video linked above, where I reassemble the NES (firstly doing it wrong) and then where I try to repair the broken knock-off controller (unsuccessfully).

After all that, my $50 NES works. I may have spent quite a bit of time on it, but hey - it's there now and working. I even plan to eventually give the case a one over and attempt to make it less yellow, as well as cleaning off all the sticky residue from shipping (it was all taped together).

So, what's next on the console wish list? There is quite a bit actually, but discounting the rare or hard to find in Australia (like the Vectrex or 3DO) the two I really want is the SEGA Master System and SEGA Saturn. I might try to do the same thing with the Master System and buy one broken, but that's only because it's cartridge based. I would love to buy a broken SEGA Saturn and try and repair it, but systems that run on disks and use laser assemblies seem to be a lot harder to fix. Once a laser assembly goes, it really goes.

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