This is a continuation of the repair and restoration of the old Sega Game Gear handheld console. If you haven’t followed the progress so far, please read Sega Game Gear Repair (Part 1) to see what was done so far. The console can now read cartridges but the screen is dim, the brightness adjustment wheel doesn’t do much and the sound is almost inaudible. The handheld system is around 30 years old so to fix these issues I’m going to change out all of the capacitors. I’ve picked up a Sega Game Gear Capacitor Kit from eBay and I made sure the kit consisted of Panasonic capacitors which should be of reasonable quality.
Opening the console
There are six phillips head screws – four on the back and two in the battery compartments – as well as a security screw in the cartridge slot.
Once the console is open, separate the two parts. Unplug the white ends of the cables from the power and sound boards.
Next, remove the six small screws around the edges of the PCB as well as the two larger screws on the cartridge slot. Extract the PCB from the enclosure.
Since the screen isn’t being removed, place something under the PCB to prevent scratches. I just used a plastic bag.
Taking inventory of the Capacitors
The replacement capacitor kit came in a small plastic bag full of capacitors.
The capacitor kit consists of the following:
- 2 x 47uF 4V
- 1 x 100uF 4V
- 1 x 22uF 6.3V
- 1 x 33uF 6.3V
- 1 x 68uF 6.3V
- 4 x 100uF 6.3V
- 4 x 10uF 16V
- 1 x 4.7uF 35V
- 2 x 0.47uF 50V
The best way to ensure that all required capacitors are there is to arrange them around the board nearest to the capacitors they’re meant to replace.
Replacing the capacitors on the main board
The capacitors are all attached to the PCB with glue. They should be pried away from the board before desoldering. The glue is likely to be pretty weak so don’t pull hard, just enough to loosen them.
If your replacement capacitors are the same size you can most likely re-use the original plastic capacitor casings. I ended up only using one because the capacitors I bought were not the same size and most didn’t fit.
The capacitors are surface-mounted and do not go all the way through the board. This makes it somewhat difficult to attach them in a clean, good looking way but I did my best with my relatively limited soldering skills.
The board about halfway done.
The board with all of the capacitors replaced and the excess length cut off the terminals.
Testing the main board
At this point I’ve put the Sega Game Gear back together to test that everything I’ve done so far works. The display image seemed much better and the backlight was responsive to the brightness adjustment wheel. The sound was still
Replacing capacitors on the Sound Board
In order to replace the caps on the sound board it’s necessary to remove the board from the back of the enclosure. There are four screws on the metal EMF/RFI shielding which have to be removed.
The board is held in by two screws, one in the top right corner and one in the bottom left corner.
The capacitors on the sound board are surface mount electrolytic capacitors which are quite a bit more difficult to remove. You have to pry up from below the capacitor while holding the soldering iron to the edge of each foot. Ideally, try to do this without melting any plastic components like I did…
The capacitors from the kit were difficult to put in but I managed somehow. They had to be bent down in order to fit correctly under the EMF/RFI shielding. I also melted the speaker connector with the soldering iron so I had to cut out the melted plastic without jeopardizing the integrity of the port. Thankfully I didn’t melt it completely.
Testing the sound board
The last step in the process is to put everything back together and test the console to make sure the sound has improved.
It’s difficult to demonstrate that the picture has improved, and even more difficult to show that the sound is also much better using images. However, rest assured that both issues are successfully fixed.
I’ve read about just how much this handheld system likes to eat through batteries and I’ll play around with it and test if that’s the case. I imagine it would probably benefit from a modern LCD and the lack of a massive fluorescent backlight. I probably won’t be in a hurry to find and fit a modern LCD kit into this device but I will do some research into exactly what benefits an LCD replacement can provide.