Ok, I’ve heard of “Rose Tinted Glasses” a lot in the retro gaming world. Getting a chance to play an old game from your past on an emulator only to find that it was a pile of crap!! It leaves you wondering why yourself and everyone else went totally banzai over it!!
Well time for the old switcheroo….reverse rose tint! I had a quick play of “Fire Track” on BeebEm the other day and was amazed to find that it was a smooth acomplished lil shoot-em-up. From what I remember of playing it “In The Day” on my Beeb B it was gregariously couloured, jerky and generally left you with a headache and some travel sickness!!
Playing it on emulation was a pleasure, and I kept going back for another go! Most shmups on the Beeb were hideous affairs (Some exceptions!) but this lil fella kept me hooked…In fact i want another go right now!!
Kudos to BBC Micro B Fire Track. A kuul Shmup still worthy of todays attention!!!!!
The second of my Game Gears that I’ve stripped down is the single ASIC version. This has a higher wet capacitor count on the motherboard by one.
Having checked the capacitor values out against the list on the link on the previous Game Gear Repair post I again found some differences which may just be down to what capacitors were thrown in there at the time.
C4, C14, C42 and C11 are all 10uF / 16V on my one rather than 10uF / 6.3V. Whilst this is probably donw th 16V ones being cheaper than 6.3V ones at the time it may be best to err on the side of caution and replace with 16V ones, this could have been a mod due to 6.3V ones leaking excessively.
This one does show some minor signs of wet capacitor leakage. Whilst it hasn’t actually spilt over the motherboard and caused corrosion, there is some sweatiness around a few of the caps.
I now have one final Game Gear to open and check before I have to decide on the actual caps I’m using as replacements. I currently thinking dry alluminium electrolytic ones to negate having to replace them all again in 15 years time!
After reading some wise words about Sega Game Gear Repair Here I now have one of my three game gears stripped and ready for surgery.
From the link above you can see that Sega Game Gears have two different motherboard versions, one with a single ASIC chip and one with two ICs. The wet and potentially leaky capacitor count is also different depending on the version you have. It seems that the first one I’ve picked to perform the capacitor transplant on has the 2 ASIC chip motherboard (top half of picture) which also has one less capacitor to change, however before I start ordering capacitors by the bucketfull I need to check the other two to see which revisions they are.
I will make a couple of corrections to the capacitor list for the two ASIC version motherboard, the capacitors are situated very tightly together but C38 should actually read C37 and C14 should read C6. Looking at the motherboard itself I can see how the author of the link above would get these things easily confused!
I should point out at this stage that I found no actual evidence of leakage from any of the capacitors but the Game Gear itself had started to display some evidence of capacitor drift. Switching it on from cold would just get you a blank screen for a few seconds followed by it switching itself back off again. The second switch on would just get you a blank screen, off and on a third time and it leapt into life.
The bottom half of picture shows the inside of the back of the game gear with power board lower right and audio board lower left.
This Game Gear has had previous surgery on the audio board as when I first got it the audio from the external speaker wasn’t working. This also turned out to be a capacitor issue. Two of the caps on the audio board start to try out after a while causing loss of sound so if you’re carrying out the repair on the motherboard, it’s probably a good idea to change the audio board caps as well for some non wet types.
I’ll mention the 4.5mm Gamebit head screw here. The Sega Game Gear itself is held together by 6 standard phillips head style screws and a “Gamebit” head screw. This 4.5mm gamebit head screw is basically a screw with an odd shaped head that a standard screwdriver won’t undo and is used as an anti-tamper screw to stop you opening your Sega Gamegear. Nintendo and other manufacturers also use the gamebit so if you take consoles apart regularly it may be worth investing in one. Just google 4.5mm gamebit and you should be able to get one no problem.
If you want to save yourself a fiver and have a decent set of thin nose plyers then it is possible to get the gamebit screw off by holding the screw head in the pliers very tightly and then gently turning the screw head round. BE ADVISED!! If you don’t do this very very carefully then you can damage both the Game Gear case and the Screw head so it’s off of your own back which method you chose and I accept no responsibility for damage etc done by people too tight to pay a fiver for the 4.5mm gamebit socket!!