We bought a console lot with a few games the other day, but I can’t post much about it yet since we’re still in the process of cleaning everything up. The seller drove a long while to meet us in our city for once, and he came bearing a box of stuff. The seller was quite apologetic for the dusty condition of the items, but we didn’t think much of it until we got the box home and started pulling things out to have a look. Every single thing was covered in a thick layer of dust – not the light sprinkling you might get while keeping your console out on a table in your home, but rather the thick, black-grey dust that accumulates in damp basements that comes off in tufts, sticking to and coating your skin along with everything else it touches. It also didn’t help that the bottom of the box was filled with sawdust and cat hair, either. All in all, it was a huge mess.
Dust and debris tends to get into consoles and games during long storage periods, and this particular lot was no different. The Sega Master System was especially gross, so my boyfriend decided to take it apart and scrub its innards. We carefully cleaned all the ridges in the plastic casing with a toothbrush and wiped everything down with some warm soapy water, but the circuit board was absolutely filthy. Since I don’t know up from down when it comes to electronics, my boyfriend skedaddled with the circuit board to his soldering area to take a better look at things. He discovered a loose capacitor and fixed that up, but while he was manipulating the board to scrub everything clean, he accidentally put too much pressure on the board and heard one of the vias pop off. Vias are the small copper rings around the board holes where you solder on capacitors and other components, and they lead into a trace (the flattened “wires” that look like pathways) that transmit the signal to a part of the machine. From what we could tell, the connection would have normally gone to the A/V multiport of the system, but now the connection was broken. To fix this, my boyfriend wired up a new connection superficially to bypass the issue. In the photo below, you can see the little green wire piece soldered onto the two pins, with the damaged via looking “rusty” around the right hole. You can also see the trace that we bypassed on the board between the two pins the new wire is soldered onto.
In the photos below, you can see the wire job on the underside of the entire Master System board on the bottom edge, and a closeup of everything from a top-down perspective. I’m so glad he noticed the break, because otherwise we might have had faulty audio/video and not have known the cause of it. Old electronics are so fragile, but I’m also going to assume that my boyfriend’s power level has somehow gotten over 9000! How else could he have quite literally singlehandedly destroyed something so badass like a Master System?
The soldering iron we bought a few months ago was one of the best investments we’ve made in a long while. It has gotten us out of some potentially sticky situations! I still have yet to order a billion replacement batteries for all my copies of Pokemon Gold, though…
Luckily for us, the fix worked. We hooked the Sega Master System up to the TV to test it out and popped in Ys: The Vanished Omens (or if you’re this game’s misspelled label, Y’s) because it was handy. To the sounds of that sweet title screen music, we rejoiced and welcomed our resuscitated SMS to its new home!
The internal layout of the SMS is nice and simple, and I think my favourite part has to be the green power light! There’s a hole in the heat shield for it to stick out through so it can reach the power indicator on the top of the console. Things like that are always reminding me of the humble beginnings of gaming before internal hard drives and downloads and all of those newfangled modern day gaming add-ons. I’ve seen the insides of more consoles than I’d care to admit, and the Sega Master System was by far the most pleasing to me. Nice and straightforward.
I hope you are all off to a wonderful weekend start. Thanks very much for spending some time to read this!