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Thread: Let's consolize and old dirty broken Game Gear found in the trash.

  1. #1
    Master of Shinobi MaxWar's Avatar
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    Default Let's consolize and old dirty broken Game Gear found in the trash.

    There is not enough room to write the full title of the thread up there but this thread is actually about:

    LET'S CONSOLIZE AN OLD DIRTY BROKEN GAME GEAR FOUND IN THE TRASH IN A MOLDY RAT INFESTED BASEMENT.


    Its a work log written like a story, It's still a work in progress so it will be updated in the future and I hope it can also be a source of information and inspiration for folks who wish to repair/mod Game gears. I hope you guys like reading this stuff.

    First, why is there no Game Gear Post icons on this forum? It's a Sega forum, there is a PS1 icon and Nintendo DS icon but no GG?? Well, Here's one: Attachment 5830

    Also, If you guys have not seen it already, here's a link to a truly impressive consolized Game Gear.
    http://www.smspower.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=13381

    This guy has insane skills and pushed it to the extreme, I found this very inspiring.
    Im definitely NOT going that far though. My goal is to have it work well and be practical.

    This project actually started with trash, yeah really...
    I never buy handhelds because I do not like them, I prefer a proper TV console.
    But then i found this poor, unloved, left for dead GG in a trash bag in a damp, moldy, rat infested basement. It's a place I helped clean after the last tenants had abandoned the place filled with trash. ( True story )

    So between Rat hunting and plumbing repairs, I found this garbage bag that was chewed and pissed on by rats and Imagine my surprise when i found inside it, a freaking Game Gear!

    The thing was a sorry sight, as battered and dirty as ive seen. Turns out the batteries had been left inside and they had leaked Acid everywhere in the thing. The battery covers were broken, it was crusted over with lime, rust and battery acid and smelled of Rat urine. It must have been rotting down there for 10 years.

    I wish i had taken pictures of it back then, to show you how bad it was.
    The average human being would have left it where it was, in the trash, but not me. I told myself: " IM GONNA MAKE THIS THING WORK!"
    I just like this type of challenge.

    First thing i did is clean the exterior with a damp cloth and open it up to look inside.
    Some of the screws holding it together were so damaged by the acid that i could not remove them with a screwdriver and had to drill through them.

    The battery leakage inside was massive and did some significant damage on the motherboard but not as bad as it could have been as the acid had drained mostly on the side of the plastic case where it had eaten up the metallic lining inside the console.

    Despite having already washed most of the crap off the exterior and totally cleaned the motherboard, here I took some pictures of the thing. ( I really regret not taking pictures of it when it was nothing more than a rusty piece of junk but it cant be helped, back then I had not anticipated the need. )

    I let you imagine the amount of Acid that leaked in this thing.


    The exterior shell once cleaned with damp cloth is not too bad but its still kind of scratched. Certainly not that minty clean collector's grade piece of hardware.


    The acid had gathered inside the thing and it ate the metallic paint lining that serves as RF shield for the console. Here's what it looked like after i cleaned it up.


    After completely cleaning the board with a toothbrush and soapy water + ultrafine steel wool, I could make a pretty good estimate of the damage. Many traces were corroded but not enough too lose continuity. The most affected area was on the button side.


    Ok that still looks kind of nasty but all the bad stuff being neutralized I deemed it was still usable.
    However half the caps were leaky, and i could see the electrolyte crust all over the SMD caps pad, This thing would need a recap so i ordered a cap kit from console5. In the meantime, I decided to try to power it on nonetheless using a Model 2 adapter. I saw the screen flashing for a split second then the thing shut itself down and would not power on for any longer than this.

    So I fully recapped it, confident I would get it to behave better with new caps, I had read about such behavior elsewhere.

    After replacing every single caps I tried it and the blasted thing would still do the auto-shut down crap! No improvement at all!!

    So i got my multimeter out and started measuring for shorts and other nasties. Finally I found something! The Game gear uses 3 PCBs and they are interconnected by small cables. One of the PCB is the power supply PCB and one of the wire in the cable was broken due to corrosion. I cut the bad wire off the plug and Jumped it with a new wire.


    I tried the thing again and WOOHOO It stayed on!! The led was on and the backlight shone in all its glory. Now i would need a game to test it !!

    I went to the nearby used game store with my GG and asked the owner if i could test the GG. He took out a game and we tried it, Nothing... I had cleaned the contacts and all and his games were clean, we tried several of them and still nothing. Game gear was on, backlight was on but screen only showed corruption and horizontal lines and no sound. The dude told me, "man this thing is dead, i would not bother with it"

    Of course i would not do just that so i decided to buy a cheap game to do further testing at home.

    I rummaged through the discount bin and finally found a non-sport GG game.
    The revenge of Drancon!! For 4.99$, Hell yeah thank you.


    Back home I tried again and after messing around a while i noticed that some stuff was actually moving on the screen! I could see some faint corrupted graphics scrolling, yet the screen was mostly blank. I started playing with the sound volume and the speakers was mostly silent with some amount of faint scratchy noise but then when wiggling the volume wheel I could finally hear faint things that sounded like Beepy music! I rummaged all over my stuff to find some earphones, could not find any ( I dont like headphones... ) So i ended up connecting the sound output to my freaking stereo and there it was!! I could ear the game's sound!! It worked!! The screen and build in speaker were apparently dead, only one side of the stereo sound worked out of the headphone jack but that was enough as now I KNEW!!

    I finally knew the thing was still alive deep inside, it was only crippled with a paralyzed body and could not communicate with the exterior but i knew the brain inside was still working. That was good news!!!

    As I said I do not like handhelds so i did not want to bother replacing the damaged LCD screen, I wanted a TV out on the thing!
    So I ordered the GGTV board. For those who ignore it, you can buy this board from an Australian modder who designed it and sells them, bless him.
    Here's the link. http://members.iinet.net.au/~stinkyf.../ggtv/ggtv.htm

    Soon after i received my GGTV board in the mail. This board is designed to fit inside the game gear, there is some amount of free space under the LCD where the board fits nicely. This board provides RGB, S-video and Composite outputs to your game gear.
    I was really hoping it would work and it could replace the bad screen.
    Here is a picture from before i started installing it, to illustrate how the GGTV board is supposed to fit inside your Game Gear.
    At this point the GG is thoroughly cleaned inside and out and its fully recapped.


    The instructions for the GGTV are pretty straightforward, just solder wires to the right spots. Only some of the spots where you need to solder are Damn small! It could be worse but definitely not a recommended mod if you are new to soldering. Especially this part here, where you need to solder in some wires on small SMD parts. The picture is a super macro and does not do the tininess of the parts justice. The whole area in the picture is about an inch wide.


    So Im finally done soldering everything. ( Yay!!) Here I connect S-video to the board and am ready to try it!


    After verifying all my connections and all i hook up the thing expecting some glorious picture to pop on my tv or something but NO SUCH LUCK, that would have been too easy right??
    The blasted machine just shut itself down, just like it was doing when it was freshly out of the moldy rat's den.
    Gotta be fucking kidding me right??!!!

    I double check all my soldering and connections, cant see any short or anything at fault on the GGTV board, NOTHING.
    Because this looked to me like a power shortage I decide to try removing the screen and light in a hope to lighten the load. ( I did not need them in my mod anyway so they had to go sooner or later)
    I just unsoldered both Screen and fluorescent light. The light at least looked to be in pretty good condition so i decided to keep in as spare part.


    That did not fix it however so I removed all the power lines from the GGTV board and tried it again. This time it worked!!
    The GG TV board uses
    1. +5v
    2. Unregulated supply ( It has its own regulator for the encoder )

    I determined that when the Unregulated supply was connected to the board, it would not work and the GG shut itself down. Normaly this auto shut down thing happens when there is a short or something, so i looked for a short. Nothing.

    I ended up using a second sega power supply brick and connected this to the regulator of the GGTV board.
    IT WORKED!!!!!

    I had image on my TV!!


    Turns out the Game gear is very anal about current fluctuation and will shut itself down when detecting voltage drops or something. In the original GGTV instruction the Unregulated DC was tapped off a tiny trace on the mainboard. I discovered that by tapping it at the source instead ( The power switch ) it worked just fine!! I measured the draw of the GGTV board to about 45mA, thats not much but my machine glitched when I tapped it off the small trace.

    I was experiencing a severe AC hum in the audio ( ground loop ) at first but i eventually got rid of it by linking some grounds together.

    So I finally got the thing to work with image and sound on a TV, without hum in the sound. The worst part is done!!

    This is where i am at this point, here's a picture just taken. Still a long way off a finished consolized GG, the system is barebone but IT WORKS. And it was resurrected out of a pile of Rat poo and rust.


    Actually I have some one more thing to troubleshoot... I only have audio out of one side of the stereo out, the other side is silent but will sometime spit out a bit of noise if the volume wheel is at maximum. I tried bypassing the 1/8 jack but it does not help.


    *TO BE CONTINUED

  2. #2
    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    That is absolutely fantastic. I love seeing consoles at the brink of death get resurrected, and it's especially perfect to see a Game Gear in such poor condition used for this project (rather than seeing a mint unit get sacrificed).

  3. #3
    ToeJam is a wiener Hero of Algol Guntz's Avatar
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    Holy fuck, that game gear is gonna haunt me in my nightmares. I can't stand vermin or extreme filth, I've had enough of that for one lifetime.

    I have to say though, you are my hero! I also enjoy (and sometimes hate) board repairs, but that game gear is beyond me. I would have left that GG for dead. In fact, I wouldn't have been in that basement to begin with!

    I'm glad you didn't take "before" pictures, I might have lost my cookies.

  4. #4
    Co-Creator of the MegaAmp Raging in the Streets villahed94's Avatar
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    Wow, I think I'll now go for a GG I saw at an attic some days ago...
    Great job on repairing the GG!.


    Mega Amp: The reference audio circuit for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive.

  5. #5
    Master of Shinobi
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    I love that last picture. Awesome work!
    Can I be your first customer?

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    Road Rasher Solkia's Avatar
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    Wow, how did it even get like that? I've never had an acid leak in all the years I used batteries. Even with those shitty Dollar General batteries.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Redifer View Post
    Oh. I'm kind of new to the Genesis so I didn't know. It took a lot of time tearing that MUSHA label off. It came off in many pieces so I just stuck them on the insert and manual (which I also trashed) while I was doing it. I did keep the plastic case, though!

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    Antiquing Hedgehog Lord QuickSciFi's Avatar
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    Great job dude. Long live the Game Gear.

    ...and Crystal Warriors and Defenders of Oasis.

  8. #8
    Master of Shinobi omp's Avatar
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    Well done! At least with a TV out board you can revive an otherwise dead console.

    Here is a pic of mine I did a few years back. So much better to play than on the crappy screen.



    I used the Master System controller pause mod to use a modified control pad for the "START" button duties.

    Did you replace all the caps on the sound board?

  9. #9
    Super Robot Raging in the Streets Obviously's Avatar
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    Wow, that is one sexy piece of work, omp.

  10. #10
    will hog your hedges... Raging in the Streets djshok's Avatar
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    Wow! Great job man!

    Though I wonder, would it be possible to take one of these consolized Game Gears and put them into a model 2 or model 3 gen case, or better yet into a case from one of those firecore systems, so that it looks more like a console?

    Do you guys think it could be done?
    Ready to print game covers and cart labels: http://www.mediafire.com/?5gm45wyxr3xvv

  11. #11
    Master of Shinobi MaxWar's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the nice comments guys

    Can I be your first customer?
    If I ever start taking orders I'll let you know

    Wow, how did it even get like that? I've never had an acid leak in all the years I used batteries. Even with those shitty Dollar General batteries.
    The batteries have been left in the device when it was abandoned, after possibly 10 years in that damp cave, im not that surprised they leaked.

    ...and Crystal Warriors and Defenders of Oasis.
    Ill make sure to try them once this project is over!

    Quote Originally Posted by omp View Post
    Well done! At least with a TV out board you can revive an otherwise dead console.

    Here is a pic of mine I did a few years back. So much better to play than on the crappy screen.



    I used the Master System controller pause mod to use a modified control pad for the "START" button duties.

    Did you replace all the caps on the sound board?
    Very nice! I really hope mine turns out as nice as this one. I was actually thinking of using my universal arcade stick for this through the NeoGeo style db15 pinout, but im not set on the idea yet, Its either that or a master system port.

    Yes I recapped everything, audio board included. I haven't put much time yet troubleshooting the missing audio channel, that's next on the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by djshok View Post
    Wow! Great job man!

    Though I wonder, would it be possible to take one of these consolized Game Gears and put them into a model 2 or model 3 gen case, or better yet into a case from one of those firecore systems, so that it looks more like a console?

    Do you guys think it could be done?
    Im sure it would be possible, I dont have any empty console shell to use though. I was contemplating the idea of buidling a custom shell for it but im most likely gonna reuse the original shell.

  12. #12
    HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG Raging in the Streets Moirai's Avatar
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    You should put a JAMMA connector on this bad boy.

  13. #13
    ToeJam is a wiener Hero of Algol Guntz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djshok View Post
    Wow! Great job man!

    Though I wonder, would it be possible to take one of these consolized Game Gears and put them into a model 2 or model 3 gen case, or better yet into a case from one of those firecore systems, so that it looks more like a console?

    Do you guys think it could be done?
    No, none of those options are acceptable when the work of god is just waiting to be mass produced:

    http://www.smspower.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=13381

  14. #14
    Your current user title Nameless One donluca's Avatar
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    Awesome work, very well done!

    Also, +1 on Crystal Warriors, fantastic game. It even had a sequel but only in jap. I think I did find a translation somewhere though...
    "Ask not what others can do for you, but what you can do for others."

    Founder of the 16-bit audiophile project
    http://16bap.theclassicgamer.net

  15. #15
    will hog your hedges... Raging in the Streets djshok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guntz View Post
    No, none of those options are acceptable when the work of god is just waiting to be mass produced:

    http://www.smspower.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=13381
    Yeah I've seen that before, but didn't the designer say that he won't be mass producing them?

    If that were to actually be made I'd be the first to throw money at it. Though more realistically I'd settle for a consolized GG in a Firecore shell.
    Ready to print game covers and cart labels: http://www.mediafire.com/?5gm45wyxr3xvv

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