Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: re-capping and other restorative measures

  1. #1
    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,187
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    89
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    81
    Thanked in
    77 Posts

    Default re-capping and other restorative measures

    I have replaced capacitors on the NES and Genesis with varying degrees of success. On one of my Gen model 2s (don't know what revision) I recapped it and went from a working Genesis to a non-working Genesis. I was pretty certain I had the polarities going the right way, so I wonder if I didn't add enough solder to some of them. Nothing else got shifted around. I recapped an NES which is much easier because there are so fewer of them on the board. The only one that's somewhat hard to do is the monster in the metal box in the corner. It went from a system that I had constant issues with to a system that had much fewer issues.

    So with that said, I have a few questions for anyone with an electronics background or someone who's worked on consoles-

    1) Is there a specific type of solder I should use? I used leaded solder with flux core in the past which I like because it has the lower melting point and seems to flow better. I also have some that has silver in it but I don't know if that is good or bad.

    2) What are some other things to replace to get the system working as close to 100% as possible? I know the voltage regulator is one thing people replace but I don't understand how it affects anything. I know that people replace the 72-pin which I am adament against because every time I installed a new one, it had a death grip on it. I heard Blinking Light Win is good but I do have concerns about the death grip thing.

    3) Best cleaning methods? I usually just swab the PCB of the carts with rubbing alcohol and it's really just a temporary fix. I think all it's doing is creating better conductivity. I shouldn't have to clean a cart every time it's removed from the system. I like the official cleaner from Nintendo for the system but again it seems like a temporary solution and I feel like it's dumb to keep inserting the dirty pad in and out of it since I don't have replacement pads.

  2. #2
    Great Puma (Level 12) jb143's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    4,240
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    5
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    66
    Thanked in
    59 Posts

    Default

    1) Unless you've got some heavy duty solder, it doesn't really matter too much. Like acid core solder. Don't use that. That's used for soldering metal pipes and such together. Not electronics. Lead free solder is a bit harder to work with and the solder joints don't look the same. I like to use thin silver-bearing rosin core solder, but usually just use whatever I have on hand/in reach. But like I said, it doesn't really matter as long as you get a good joint. Just look up some pictures of good solder joints (and for lead-free as well) to make sure.

    2) I would only replace the regulator if it actually needed replaced. And the only time I've ever seen one needing replaced is when reverse polarity was applied. If anything, you could remove the heat sink if it has one, clean both surfaces, and put some more thermal paste on it. I can't comment on new pin connectors since I've never done that before. I have cleaned and bent back into place before and that seemed to do the trick for me. Other than that, replacing the batteries in carts is something that'll need done at some point.

    3) Do you mean you cleaned the contacts or the whole PCB? Really the contacts are all that *should* ever need to be cleaned. All but the most suborn of my carts have ever needed anything other Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol. I point out isopropyl because in some parts of the country/world "rubbing alcohol" is something completely different. Some places it's ethanol, and you don't want to be using that. Also, you want the % of alcohol to be on the high side. Try to use at least 90%. Electronics grade is probably overkill but you can get it 99.9% if you really wanted but just a warning, it will find any cut or scrape on your hand that you didn't even know was there. And be sure to clean the contacts on the system as well.

    But I've never re-capped any system, I just keep the contacts clean and never had any problems. Not that they won't need new caps eventually, but so far I haven't needed to. Something else to keep in mind, keeping systems stored in extreme temperatures like an attic or garage can cause premature death in caps.

    Though, now that I think about it, I do have a couple Game Gears that DO need re-capped, but that's a common problem due to them using poor quality caps. One of these days I'll get around to that.
    Last edited by jb143; 09-12-2020 at 10:19 AM. Reason: typos
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

  3. #3
    ServBot (Level 11) Custom rank graphic
    Cornelius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Wrong Place, Wrong Time
    Posts
    3,776
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    72
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    25
    Thanked in
    24 Posts

    Default

    2) BLW: I have the original, and it is quite tight. They offered free replacement to their revised version that they said isn't so tight, but I hadn't installed mine then and didn't ever get around to it. I suspect what they currently sell is pretty decent.

    3) In my experience, dirty cartridges are a bigger problem than system contacts. I've rubbed carts with alcohol and a q-tip, and it is okay, but I'm a firm believer in an occasional (every 20 years?) use of metal polishing compound. I have a tube of Maas (I think) that will easily last me another 15 years. It takes way more off than alcohol ever did. You have to open the cart, put a dab on some paper towel, then rub the contacts till they are shiny and no more black crap comes off on the towel. For system contacts that really are dirty, I've had good luck with wrapping very fine grit sandpaper (like 2000) around a credit card and inserting that a few times, followed by thick paper with iso alcohol on it. I've also more recently boiled 72-pin connectors out of curiosity, and it really does seem to work.

  4. #4
    ServBot (Level 11) Niku-Sama's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Deadford, OR
    Posts
    3,793
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    3
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    37
    Thanked in
    33 Posts

    Default

    I use a fine silver bearing solder, it was cheap when I got it (radio shack closing) and I had used it before to good results. is all personal preference, really. just don't use the stuff for plumbing.

    as for the genesis, toss it in a box to scavenge parts off of it in the future and just go get a working one. i'm sure you could find a bare working system for pretty cheap

  5. #5
    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,187
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    89
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    81
    Thanked in
    77 Posts

    Default

    I used the search function to see if someone made a thread about caps and lo and behold I made one in 2018 hehe.

    so here we are now in 2020 and upon testing some capacitors I had ordered from console5.com circa 2016 I see that a number of them fall below resistance ratings. Luke from Console5.com told me the MESR-100 and its chart isnt a good reference to tell if the caps are healthy or not. I am led to believe that a meter that reads farads is the best way to determine if a cap is good or not. and I am guessing I have to desolder the cap to test whether or not it is good?

    I heard someone say that they recapped an NES and it reads cartridges a lot better now. I have the BLW installed which I love to death but I notice that unless I cleaned my cartridge in the last 24 hours, it doesnt make a solid connection and I still get problems. I am hoping that a recap will solve this or at least help.

    I ordered some new cap kits from Console5.com and I would really like to test them to verify that they arent old (drying/half-dead/not as fresh as one would expect) but Im looking for a proper meter and good reference charts. I was told ESR isnt a good reference to look at. the ohms were higher than what they should be on the caps I did check

  6. #6
    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,187
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    89
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    81
    Thanked in
    77 Posts

    Default

    I will say right now that I can insert a perfectly clean cart into my NES with BLW installed and still not get picture and the only thing I can think of is to install known good caps. I dont know what else it could be

  7. #7
    Great Puma (Level 12) jb143's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    4,240
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    5
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    66
    Thanked in
    59 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    I am led to believe that a meter that reads farads is the best way to determine if a cap is good or not. and I am guessing I have to desolder the cap to test whether or not it is good?
    That would be correct. You only have to desolder 1 pin though. You can't read the value of a cap with just an ohm meter. You could tell if it's shorted or open maybe but your not going to get an accurate reading without a proper meter.

    I wouldn't imagine capacitors that are only a few years old to be too far off though, especially if they've just been sitting somewhere not being used. They do have a tolerance value though meaning that the actual value may be off by a certain amount from what's printed on the cap. In most cases though, a precise value isn't important.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

  8. #8
    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,187
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    89
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    81
    Thanked in
    77 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    That would be correct. You only have to desolder 1 pin though. You can't read the value of a cap with just an ohm meter. You could tell if it's shorted or open maybe but your not going to get an accurate reading without a proper meter.

    I wouldn't imagine capacitors that are only a few years old to be too far off though, especially if they've just been sitting somewhere not being used. They do have a tolerance value though meaning that the actual value may be off by a certain amount from what's printed on the cap. In most cases though, a precise value isn't important.
    do you know of a good meter for this?

    well after re-capping my NES doesnt even power up now. I double checked all my solder joints. only thing I could think of is that it seems like I somehow damaged the pads.

    I tried uploading a photo but it failed. whatever

    I was thinking of replacing 1 cap at a time, testing, etc etc but it wouldve taken a really long time since there is so much solder you have to blob on top of the board for the geounding. just desoldering it all is a very time consuming process
    Last edited by gbpxl; 09-12-2020 at 10:12 PM.

  9. #9
    Alex (Level 15) Custom rank graphic
    Gameguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Richmond Hill, Ontario (Canada)
    Posts
    7,502
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    44
    Thanked in
    38 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    I heard someone say that they recapped an NES and it reads cartridges a lot better now.
    Didn't you say that?

    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    I recapped an NES which is much easier because there are so fewer of them on the board. The only one that's somewhat hard to do is the monster in the metal box in the corner. It went from a system that I had constant issues with to a system that had much fewer issues.

    In any case there's a few things. When you installed the BLW did you clean the connector of the NES system board before attaching it? Most people only clean the cartridges but the system has a connector too which can oxidize. Also, did you check the solder connections on the BLW? I believe it's two connectors just soldered onto a PCB, maybe the connectors weren't soldered well. Maybe the connectors on the BLW need to be cleaned too, maybe they wear quickly as I don't know the quality of the parts used in these.

    Also with the new caps not reading at the correct values, doesn't this usually happen when caps sit around for awhile, but they charge back up to their correct values when put into regular use? Honestly I forget the details on this.

    If it's not powering up at all now, maybe you damaged it in someway while soldering? With no power it does sound like it could be the voltage regulator, usually these don't need to be replaced unless you plugged in the wrong adapter or had a power surge.

    Personally I found a specific cleaning kit made by Gemini to be the best at cleaning console connectors, but it's sadly difficult to find. Even original NES connectors work like new after I spend time cleaning them, and I also use the kit to clean other consoles like the Gameboy/GBC/GBA, SNES, and Genesis. Every system that uses cartridges needs the connectors to be cleaned eventually, even on PC motherboards.

  10. #10
    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,187
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    89
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    81
    Thanked in
    77 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    Didn't you say that?




    In any case there's a few things. When you installed the BLW did you clean the connector of the NES system board before attaching it? Most people only clean the cartridges but the system has a connector too which can oxidize. Also, did you check the solder connections on the BLW? I believe it's two connectors just soldered onto a PCB, maybe the connectors weren't soldered well. Maybe the connectors on the BLW need to be cleaned too, maybe they wear quickly as I don't know the quality of the parts used in these.

    Also with the new caps not reading at the correct values, doesn't this usually happen when caps sit around for awhile, but they charge back up to their correct values when put into regular use? Honestly I forget the details on this.

    If it's not powering up at all now, maybe you damaged it in someway while soldering? With no power it does sound like it could be the voltage regulator, usually these don't need to be replaced unless you plugged in the wrong adapter or had a power surge.

    Personally I found a specific cleaning kit made by Gemini to be the best at cleaning console connectors, but it's sadly difficult to find. Even original NES connectors work like new after I spend time cleaning them, and I also use the kit to clean other consoles like the Gameboy/GBC/GBA, SNES, and Genesis. Every system that uses cartridges needs the connectors to be cleaned eventually, even on PC motherboards.
    There was someone else who said it, they made it sound like they could just put a cart in without cleaning it and itd start on the first try

    The BLW works fine. It worked on another system of mine. The polarities of the caps are fine and the farad values are identical, voltage ratings a little higher for a few of them which I am told is fine. to be honest the soldering iron I was using has a bad tip and I think pulling out the old caps, it almost looked like I pulled some of the PCB through-hole contact trace material with it.

    Today Im just gonna pull all the caps and take photos of everything and try to upload them somehow. If the PCB is fucked, Ill start over on another known good PCB and just do one cap at a time test, do another cap, test

  11. #11
    Great Puma (Level 12) jb143's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    4,240
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    5
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    66
    Thanked in
    59 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    do you know of a good meter for this?
    I've used Fluke meters professionally in the past, but for hobby use, I'd say any meter that reads capacitance is good enough.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post

    Also with the new caps not reading at the correct values, doesn't this usually happen when caps sit around for awhile, but they charge back up to their correct values when put into regular use? Honestly I forget the details on this.
    I've heard of that with things like antique radios but I'm not so sure about modern components. More likely the values are off by trying to guesstimate the values with an ohm meter.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

  12. #12
    Ghostbuster
    Greg2600's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Soprano Land, NJ
    Posts
    3,763
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    4
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    41
    Thanked in
    36 Posts

    Default

    Ironically a friend of mine was asking me about this the other day. I only recap stuff if it's either gone bad, or I'm having another mod like for AV or RGB or something being done. I can't fix stuff myself, so it only makes sense if I'm having something else done.
    The Paunch Stevenson Show free Internet podcast - www.paunchstevenson.com - DP FEEDBACK

  13. #13
    Alex (Level 15) Custom rank graphic
    Gameguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Richmond Hill, Ontario (Canada)
    Posts
    7,502
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    44
    Thanked in
    38 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    I've heard of that with things like antique radios but I'm not so sure about modern components. More likely the values are off by trying to guesstimate the values with an ohm meter.
    I've heard there are ways of reforming old caps so they actually work properly again, and really old caps can actually still work perfectly as someone on youtube demonstrated while making a video on the subject. Basically as a point that you don't automatically need to replace all old caps on every piece of old electronic as plenty of old caps work better than modern ones. With really modern caps I don't think they need to be reformed that way as they're too new to have degraded that much.

    It could be exactly as you've said with needing a better meter to get more accurate readings. I'm really not too sure. It just doesn't seem like those caps would already be failing unless they were really poor quality as they're really too new.

  14. #14
    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,187
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    89
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    81
    Thanked in
    77 Posts

    Default

    What's the best way to know if I soldered a capacitor in correctly? I thought about scraping some of the masking off the traces that are run upstream/downstream of the legs of the cap and checking for continuity but knowing me Id probably scrape too much and break the trace

    Edit- I think I found the problem. Im not getting continuity with one of the legs on a cap I installed and a component that shares a trace with said leg. tried uploading a photo but it failed

    Edit2- maybe not. I found continuity. the joint looks fine as do all the other joints... polarities I was pretty careful about not mixing up

    Edit3- Luke from console5 told me that I likely damaged one or more of the vias because I desoldered the 5 signal pins from the wrong side of the board
    Last edited by gbpxl; 09-19-2020 at 12:20 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. Irritating security measures....
    By maxlords in forum Classic Gaming
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-20-2003, 10:20 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •