Sega Game Gear Restoration/Mod thread


#1

I was a Sega kid and love the Game Gear and I still have my original one from when I was a kid :slight_smile:

A common problem with these are bad capacitors and mine was re-capped a good few years ago and sadly the audio caps have gone out again (symptoms are quiet audio and a buzzing sound) so I decided to step things up a notch to make my GG super awesome!

I’m going to re-cap the audio board to fix that and then the big thing I am doing is the McWill screen mod!

http://retrorgb.com/gamegearmcwilllcd.html

Today I ordered the screen and some cap’s and am excited to get started! :smiley:

Who else had a Game Gear here?

I’m going to update this with the progress as I go :slight_smile:


#2

The screen showed up today!! I’m still waiting on the capacitors and some other consumables like Isoprop alcohol and some desoldering braid for clean up duties but hopefully they’ll turn up before the weekend.

Anyway I thought I’d show you a picture of the patient along with the new screen! The screen is shown from the back side and you can see all the solder points as the front looks like a 3.5in black square when the screen is powered down :slight_smile:

For a Game Gear the screen on mine is not too bad, it looks better to the eye but you have to tilt it to get the colours looking nice and its hard to capture it on a camera but its really not much better than that!

The bottom 3 lines are not working on it either shown in the next picture. This screen aint no TFT so you lose entire lines not just one pixel:

For those of you not familiar with the internals of a Sega Game Gear the back light is actually a tiny flourescent tube! You do have to bear in mind that this thing is over 20 years old and the main hardware is still working great.

Whilst I could probably rework the pads to restore those screen lines its too late now I have the McWill screen ready to install!

Who the fuck is this McWill guy anyway!? some of you might be wondering…He is a guy from Germany who designed the board that takes signals from the GG and displays them on a modern TFT panel :slight_smile:

I R so ready to revive my childhood GG and give it a new lease of life!

fizz :crazy_face:


#3

When I fixed ATMs, I used to fix the LCD screens. I always thought such things were just throw-away-and-replace… Thinking that to take them apart outside of a sterile environment could only to issues… but apparently not. I used to split the screen down to various layers of what looked like plastic, and pull out and replace a tiny tiny fluorescent tube.

Just remember though - no matter how small - the power inverters on the board can bite :smiley:

Game Gear is looking good :slight_smile: Remember to keep the Isopropyl well away from the plastics… Would probably eat something that old :stuck_out_tongue:


#4

The isoprop is not going near the plastics, only to clean the flux from soldering off the motherboard :slight_smile:

I have to remove the HV stuff from the board to fit the new screen so ill have to be careful to not get a nip from it :smiley:


#5

Unfortunately the Capacitors I need are not here yet but the rest of the supplies are here which is good.

I’m going to do all of the soldering in one hit so I’m going to wait to do the install until the caps are here :slight_smile:

Part of the prep work is to know if the GG is a one or a two ASIC design where the 2 ASIC is the earlier of the two designs and since it has been many years since I saw inside this thing I thought I’d crack it open to check how many ASIC’s it has!

Due to the age of mine I had a hunch it was a 2 ASIC design and I was correct!

You can see the ASIC’s bottom right and top right is the sound board and it looks like when I recapped it I didn’t do all the caps on the sound board! The blue caps are the ones that I replaced.

You can see both end’s of the flourescent tube behind the reflector above the cartridge connector! it really is just a small tube under that reflector with a diffuser behind the screen to even out the light LOL :smiley:


#6

So after waiting FOREVER for the cap’s I needed to arrive and then ordering some more because the others got caught in the mail…I have started work! :smiley:

First part of the operation was to replace all the caps on the sound board!

Not exactly my best soldering and yes I burnt the speaker connector (pissed at myself for that!) with my soldering iron as soldering around all the other components was tricky!

Here is a pic of the sound board after replacing the caps with Nichicon audio grade capacitors:

Had some fun positioning them to get them low enough to not catch on anything :slight_smile:

Oh and I just tested it and I swear it sounds better than ever! :smiley:

NOW onto the more major surgery to replace the screen! Once the original screen is out there is literally no going back so depending on how much I get done I might finish this today.


#7

So yeah…the soldering iron was on so I decided to continue!

I have now removed:

9x Surface mount resistors (these things are fucking tiny 0402 size!)
2x Capacitors
1x Tiny ass SMD transistor and two larger transistors
1x Coil
2x Fuses (for the CFL tube)
1x CFL tube

Remember when I said it uses a CFL tube as a backlight? Here it is! Literally a mini flourescent tube!

Before laptop and desktop LCD’s went LED they also used CFL’s but they are super thin and run along the edge of the screen typically, not like this thing that has a mirrored reflector too! Early 90’s tech gotta love it.

You can also see the flat flex cable that connects the original screen to the mainboard. To remove that I had to PEEL it like a bit of tape! I was wincing when removing that!

To give you an idea of how fucking small some of these components I have been removing are:

Meet R44 forever removed from the board with a pen for size comparison.

I have also replaced the two cap’s in parallel that I had in place before with a properly sized one and also one other (you can spot them as they are no longer blue in the pic below)

Its now ready for a voltage check to make sure its not making more than 5.45v (this would blow up the new screen if it exceeds that) but I’m not expecting mine to be doing more than that as the old girl is healthy :slight_smile:

I’m taking a break now but my desk is hilarious right now…its covered in bits of game gear, components, bits of paper with diagrams on it and other detritus :crazy_face:


#8

So I finished work on this today!

Had a couple of minor disasters soldering some data lines to 1mm wide pads as I had a small case of the fucking shakes today, I’m normally neurosurgeon steady hands! Basically ripped one of the pads clean off and another one is still attached but I have secured that one.

After averting the above disasters I give you a pic of what this thing looks like hooked up:

So does it work? HELL FUCKING YES! The screen is so fucking bright it swamps out the camera!

The above was without the case on so here is one with the case on and the screen protector removed (you can see the removal tape bottom left above) with the scan lines mode active which makes game gear games look more like they do on the original screen:

I have an alternate plan for if the wires come off from where I had solder pad issues in that I can solder them directly down near the ASICs on the board so I have contacted Mcwill himself to see if he can tell me the solder points as I have seen another install online that did it that way.

Still pleased it all works :smiley:


#9

Well fucking done fella :smiley:

Now, go finish your drones!


#10

Heh I do actually need to work on building one up and flying my others and getting some decent DVR footage up!


#11

Very nice job! Looks like stock and that screen is gorgeous.

I work with SMD caps on daily basis when tuning my RF coils (around 24 caps in total, somtimes have to change them around 3 - 4 times). Finally someone who understands these kind of hardships.


#12

Yeah SMD caps are fun, I didn’t have the shakes when I was removing them but with a decent fine soldering tip they are not too bad :slight_smile:

The screen really is better in person than on a camera! :slight_smile:


#13

McWill legend status confirmed!

I contacted him on the AtariAge forums via PM and he replied to me with exactly what I need to re-work this thing in the event of my salvaged pads coming lose:

msg-38984-0-25027300-1526833757

Fucking legend! Not only did he design this mod he also continues to help people who are installing it :smiley:

Naturally I thanked him again and showed him a pic of the finished product! :smiley: