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  • Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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Game Gear - Nothing comes on the LCD screen
Post Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:39 pm
I've had a faulty Game Gear in storage for many years and just wondering if anyone knows a fix to this problem.

When the Game Gear is turned on, the red light comes on and the screen comes on, but it's black. The game does not start and nothing comes on, it's just the backlight that comes on and the screen is black.

Anyone know why this is and how it can be fixed?

I think it had to do with the power source i used. Instead of a 9volt source i used a 12 volt source - i always used to use this without any problem, until one day the system just stopped working. Could this be the reason for the problem? An additional 3 volts?

Anyone know a fix?
Thanks
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:50 am
[We need to add a new FAQ, I think.]

Replace all capacitors in the system, or maybe just the obviously broken ones, and it will be fine. Here's a recent thread about similar problems, where you can get some confidence that it'll actually work:

http://www.smspower.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9838

and here's viletim's guide which is very comprehensive:

http://members.optusnet.com.au/eviltim/ggrgb/ggrepair.html
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:23 pm
Is it the same without a cartridge inserted? It might be as simple as a dirty edge connector socket (I have various cartridges which cause my Game Gear to exhibit the same symptoms and often need to be removed and reinserted a few times).

I second the recommendation to replace the capacitors on the main board and the sound board, though. It made a huge difference to sound and improved the screen's contrast somewhat.
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:25 pm
Is this problem solved? Did replacing the capacitors help?

I now have the same problem. I've been experimenting with my Game Gear, so I had to power-cycle it a lot. I suppose this has contributed to the problem (maybe putting too much stress on the already leaking capacitors). The capacitors have been leaking since I got the Game Gear. The +5V and +34V lines are stable, so is the clock. However nothing comes up on the screen when I insert a game cartridge. When no cart is inserted it doesn't execute the BIOS either.

Philipp
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:44 pm
I replaced some of the capacitors (C54, C55, C49, C68, C11, C14, C4), two didn't need replacement (C42, C43). I didn't have suitable parts to replace the others (C45, C47, C1).
The problem didn't go away. Instead tunring the Game Gear on and off a few more times resulted in it breaking it even more. It behaves strangely.

Philipp
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:48 am
One of mine used to intermittantly power off 2 seconds after switching on, and had various display/audio issues.

I replaced most of the capacitors and the sound is no longer distorted (interestingly the sound was worse after replacing the audio cap, but now is crystal clear after replacing one of the main board caps), and the display no longer has really bad line artifacts, and lastly is about 5 times as bright as it used to be.

Unfortunately I did not get the oportunity to do all of them as my soldering iron died half way through. It would be interesting to find out the exact areas each cap is responsible for.
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Post Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:49 pm
I just want to inform you of my progress. I have recently repaired old GG bought as "not working" on ebay. When it was turned on, the red LED indicator was ok and the back-light of LCD was ok, but the screen was black. Also the sound was very poor. I could see something (with the cartridge inside) but from an extreme angle.
Capacitors were leaked. Nearly all. I've replaced all the capacitors (all except the ones on the little board with power switch) with classic electrolitic capacitors but nothing changed. So I replaced all capacitors (again) with tantal ones. NOTHING.
So I looked at the contrast-wheel. It looked ok, but just to be sure, i have heaten the contacts with soldering iron and dropped a few drops of special contact-cleaning liquid inside of this potentiometer. And the result was GREAT!
So now its running very good, both picture and sound, with the tantal (much smaller) capacitors. Maybe I should repair the contrast-wheel first, and spare me hours of work. That's all I wanted to say :)
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Post Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:49 pm
Quote
So I looked at the contrast-wheel. It looked ok, but just to be sure, i have heaten the contacts with soldering iron and dropped a few drops of special contact-cleaning liquid inside of this potentiometer.


What was the name of the contact cleaning liquid you used?
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Post Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:46 pm
Phew that could be a problem. It is called RENOL 1 but it is no longer in stores today with that name. The bottle is over 10 years old :)

OR - electricians in my country often use as a replacement liquid polish for furniture (with the same, if not better effect),
exactly this: "Diava politúra 200ml" -look for it on this page: http://www.tatrachema.com/vyrobky_tekute_en.php. There is a components data sheet for it - http://www.tatrachema.com/pdf/kartaspotreb/Diava%20politura.pdf
Maybe you can find something with the same composition (in the data sheet look for CAS numbers - international chemical list).

OR simply go and ask in local electro-store for contact cleaning liquid, or cleaning liquid for potentiometers.

EDIT
Also, it is good when the liquid is a little conductive. Some electricians also used to pour in some grafit from crushed pencil for better conductiveness.

Addon: GG repair
On the sound board I had to change also the three 100microF capacitors, not only the two of 47microF. After that, the sound is marvelous :)
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:23 am
I would suggest one of either isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), methylated spirits or shellite (which I use a lot for work).
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Absent potentiometers
Post Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:20 pm
Hi guys,
I need a hand here, got several gamegear mainboards that I'm trying to repair, in the hopes of getting at least one to work.

I changed all caps, they have all been sitting in storage for years when I found them, so there was capacitor fluid everywhere.

None of the three units have a working brightness pot, so I just shorted the potentiometer contacts altogether.

The first unit worked great.. sound, light and screen for only a minute, then I heard a fizzing sound, smelled something burning, it started making funny noises then the light went out. now it doesn't have any light, but the sound works.

Second one only shows a blank screen.. with and without a cart inserted, doesn't matter. and no sound comes on

third one simply doesn't power up. whenever I flip the switch, the power LED lights for a second then powers back off.

I changed the caps on all three units. I am using the same power and sound boards to test all three main boards, so I'm very confident the problem isnt with either ones. it has to be with the boards.

could it be that the leaking fluid messed something up on the boards?
could I have burned up the CFL when I shorted the contacts on the pot?

How do I fix the pot issue anyway? anybody know how to set a fixed brightness using fixed resistors? or make it full brightness?

HELP!
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:22 pm
The first unit sounds like you probably installed a capacitor backwards or it was the wrong value. Find which one popped and replace it.

I couldn't tell you with the other two, but always double and triple check the work.

Also, about the brightness pots... I use Electrical Contact Cleaner that you can buy at an automotive store. Just spray it on there and then rapidly move it around. Do it for like a full minute, if you don't I've noticed it can sometimes leave a residue or something and it builds up excessive friction. I believe Radio Shack sells some Potentiometer Cleaner, which is probably just the same stuff, the price range (about $8 USD) is the same between both products and they both serve the same purpose.

It may also be worth cleaning the board off with this stuff. Someone here may gasp, but I have successfully used Carburetor Cleaner in a pinch to get rusty computer parts from the 1980s working again. Though, be sure to blow it off with compressed air right away. And obviously make sure it is off, disconnected from a power source, and discharged. I would just leave it the on switch engaged with no power source for a good 5-10 minutes. Should be enough. Though, I don't typically actually follow that rule, but ya never know.

And by shorting the connectors for the pots you are essentially cranking it up to max brightness. I'm not sure what the value is for the original, but you could something like a 100k pot from an old stereo and hook it up, dial in the brightness level you want and use a multimeter to find out the resistance and then solder a resistor in place. Though, the pots appear similar to the volume knobs on old walkman tape players so you could maybe scavenge one from that.

If you use the walkman idea, let me know how it worked out for you.
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:46 am
Hey, thanks! I was getting very desperate.
When I was replacing the caps I made sure everything had the correct value. I live in Egypt so components and parts are hard to come by, so the only capacitors I found had a remarkably higher voltage rating (like 16 volts instead of 4 volts) but I was assured that this doesn't matter, as long as the voltage is the same as or greater than the original.

I could't try the pot cleaning thing, basically none of the mainboards has a potentiometer installed, they all snapped off before I found them.. very confusing. I shorted out the contacts, seeing getting the damn thing to light up ought to get first priority!
second clue - I got out my multimeter and started measuring. Apparently the two capacitors right next to the CFL tube (the big ones, will post numbers when I get home) haven't got any current accross them. Same with the CFL tube itself. the two fuses on the sides of the screen are NOT broken, so there's that out of the way.

Any ideas?

oh, and with the second mainboard, the one that lights up but doesn't play games, I think the problem is bent pins on the cart connector. I'll go in with a pair of surgical tweezers and try to straighten them. got any hints for me?
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:40 pm
beebogates wrote
Hey, thanks! I was getting very desperate.
When I was replacing the caps I made sure everything had the correct value. I live in Egypt so components and parts are hard to come by, so the only capacitors I found had a remarkably higher voltage rating (like 16 volts instead of 4 volts) but I was assured that this doesn't matter, as long as the voltage is the same as or greater than the original.

I could't try the pot cleaning thing, basically none of the mainboards has a potentiometer installed, they all snapped off before I found them.. very confusing. I shorted out the contacts, seeing getting the damn thing to light up ought to get first priority!
second clue - I got out my multimeter and started measuring. Apparently the two capacitors right next to the CFL tube (the big ones, will post numbers when I get home) haven't got any current accross them. Same with the CFL tube itself. the two fuses on the sides of the screen are NOT broken, so there's that out of the way.

Any ideas?

oh, and with the second mainboard, the one that lights up but doesn't play games, I think the problem is bent pins on the cart connector. I'll go in with a pair of surgical tweezers and try to straighten them. got any hints for me?


The voltage can be higher, but the farad rating must be the same or very close (i.e. if you cant find a 0.08uF a 0.1uF would work okay).

I never had to play with the CFL tube or any part of that circuit, but from what I read there's a small transformer near it too. I would double check those fuses, just wire a small 30 AWG wire for each of those to bypass the fuses and double check. But, likely you soldered the capacitor wrong polarity and it exploded or the fuse popped to prevent the capacitor from exploding and destroying the tube.
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Post Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:53 pm
So I just wanted to ask some advice in this thread since I'm having a similar problem. In my quest to get a working Japanese Game Gear, I bought the only one I saw on Ebay for a reasonable price. It was considered junk though, but did turn on.

I have the same problem as the original poster, red light comes on with a game in, but screen is completely black, as if it's not even trying to turn on, and I can hear no sound, so I have no idea if the game is running or not.

It seems like the advice of replacing the capacitors hasn't really worked for any of you.

So I just wanted to check and see if this is even worth changing the capacitors on, because I don't want to waste my capacitor kit on this if it's not.
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Post Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:54 am
Replacing the capacitors is pretty much mandatory for any game gear related repairs. They will fail, and most have already. It's very "use it or lose it" with those cheap caps they used for the game gear.
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help
Post Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:05 pm
Anyone have more info on how to clean the pot on the gg?
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:57 pm
just buy some electrical contact cleaner at an autoparts store and spray it on the cap and keep moving it back and forth to its extremes for about a minute or so.
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Fixed!
Post Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:43 pm
UPDATE - The game gear with no lights has been repaired. And you'll never guess what was wrong.
When I first found it, there was a very serious case of capacitor fluid leak all over the main board. I had cleaned it up as good as I can, and completed the re-capping, but there was a build-up of slimy capacitor fluid under the small power transformer near the top left, and I didn't notice it there.
When I powered it up, the high voltage of the transfomer simply shorted out on the fluid underneath it. The sizzling sound and smell was the fluid boiling.
I just replaced the transformer with another one I pulled off a dead mainboard, and it lights up and loads games like magic.
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:36 am
Did you test the transformer windings to see if it was shorted or open? I'm sure someone out there could rewind it by hand considering its tiny size.
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:39 am
No I didn't bother, I had plenty of spares and the old one was wrecked in the removal process.
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:00 pm
Sorry for this massive bump, but my GG powers on for one second(power light does not come on) and shuts down. I've replaced the caps on all but the sound board, cleaned the thing with cleaning alcohol, and it still wont come on. I also notice the screen only flashes white on part of the screen, if at all.

Please help!

-Capt. 2110
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:13 pm
Did you replace the capacitors on the power supply board as well or just on mainboard and audio board? Generally those are more reliable, but sometimes they also need to be replaced.
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:26 pm
I replaced the main and power board's caps. I skipped the audio for now.
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:30 pm
Does it do it without a cartridge? Maybe the card-edge connectors contacts are corroded and shorting some pin.
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Post Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:11 am
Yes, I also checked the pins when it was open.
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Post Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:44 am
Honestly, as cheap as they are to find these days I find it really worthless to spend more than a day or two trying to figure it out. I'd say move on to the next one and recap it.
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Post Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:45 pm
Ok, I've only had it a day. Would a failing CCFL cause this?
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